Sitting down to write today feels very strange. I am coming out of a wonderful holiday spent with my close loved ones. This has been a Christmas, and a year for the record books for everyone. I am so grateful that I was able to spend it with my son Daniel, grandson Wylder, and boyfriend Fred. Many that I would normally share the holidays with were missing from my table this year. What an adjustment. Instead of our usual large gatherings, we enjoyed several video calls with family and loved ones. I was surprised, but it was a lot of fun, and definitely made them feel closer. I had insane high hopes for being able to host a large gathering for Christmas dinner and purchased a monster of a turkey (24 lbs!)in the fall in preparation of that. Well... we have a LOT of turkey leftovers now, which isn't a bad thing anyways in my opinion. As a way of keeping my mind off of dwelling over the fact that I couldn't be with everyone I wanted to, I spent the holidays baking and cooking up a storm for my trio of hungry men. My Christmas budget this year was non-existent, so I had to get creative. Gifts were either repurposed, handmade, or if I purchased something I tried to keep it local. Through my favourite online auction group, I was able to find some pretty incredible stuff, including finding a local woman who hand knitted scarves for my volunteers. We chose to celebrate our family Christmas on Boxing Day this year as my son has shared custody of my grandson. This gave my grandson two special mornings with both sides of his family, and some serious spoiling this year! If I was to express one thing I am most grateful for, it's that I was able to share in that special Christmas magic with Wylder this year. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a toddler again was the greatest gift I could receive. His excitement, joy and his little voice saying "thank you Daddy!", "Oh! thank you Gramma!" for anything and everything. My most precious moment happened in a video call with my Pappy (Dad) in which Wylder said "Bye, love you Bumpa!", and I was able to see his touching reaction ❤ Precious memories are still able to be made, even when we are apart.
What a ride 2020 has been. Coming to the end of what has arguably been the hardest year of my life, I can't help but reflect back. You can't see how far you've come if you don't peek backwards from time to time. 2020 has been a year that none of us alive will ever forget. It is easy to look back with a negative lens and feel utterly defeated - especially if you're like me - a small business owner who has been forced to close it's doors once again. I'm working hard to turn my thoughts to the positive, and hanging onto the wonderful things I have learned from this challenging year. The more time I reflect on the positive, the far better I feel. 2020 was supposed to be the most incredible year for me. I officially opened my therapeutic farm and began taking my FEEL practice to my local community. Woodfield was also set to open officially for the first time, bringing two long standing projects forwards. Funny how life doesn't always go as planned. I am now closed for the second time since opening my doors and am faced with the fears associated with losing my source of income. I have a lot of mouths to feed here and that increases the pressure I feel exponentially. Giving into despair and fear would only set me farther back, so I vow to find a way through, keep my feet firmly grounded, and take this "break" for the benefit it will give me in slowing down and regrouping once more. Hang in there my friends, we've gotten this far! See you all again in 2021 ❤
With love and light,
Here it is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. The skies are currently overcast but I hope they clear for me to see the convergence of Jupiter and Saturn tonight at sunset. Either way, I am happy that it gets closer to spring each day! What strange and interesting times we live in. We are a few days away from both a 2nd lockdown, and Christmas, for which I am very excited about it this year. My inner circle is very small but includes my son and grandson, so I am grateful to be able to spend the holidays with them. Everything is so magical to my grandson at the moment we are just focused on him and all the fun we will have. I am not looking forward to another lockdown as this means our doors must close also. My heart breaks for those who are forced to be alone this Christmas, and for the family I wish I could share it with. You are all in my hearts ❤
A week ago one of my goats, Sky River Meadows Goderich, fell coming out of the gate at dinner time and broke his leg. It was a horrible things to witness and I am just grateful that he wasn't injured even worse, considering the entire herd trampled over him. Fortunately we have a wonderful vet to rely on and Goderich should fully recover. He is in a full leg cast for the next 5 weeks until we can take the cast off and see how the bone has knitted. He will spend his time with his triplet siblings in his private boxstall to limit his activity and ensure he rests well. His sisters Rowena and Ariana seem more distressed than Goderich does, however that could be that he is on pain meds and pretty comfortable. My volunteers have been signing his cast and spending lots of extra time with him. Special thank you to my friend and vet Dr. Kelli Drost, of the Muskoka North Veterinary Services for all of her help putting Goderich back together. It gives me great peace of mind to know that my gang are well look after when they require special medical attention. Kelli has been helping my herd since the very beginning and I can't praise her enough for all she has done, and continues to do to support the health of the herd, so we can do our work .
Over the past week I have been enjoying posting photos to my social media accounts as "The 12 Goats of Christmas". As I know that not everyone is on social media, I wanted to also share these photos here to ensure everyone gets some extra Goaty Christmas cheer this year. I hope you enjoy looking at these photos as much as I do! May they bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart. 💗
From all of us here at the farm, and from my family to yours, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May love and light shine through the darker days, and may you keep hope alive knowing that spring will always come. 🌞
OK, so I'm not going to beat around the bush - I'm angry and I'm struggling with my new reality. I've been angry since Friday and no matter how I try to process and flow with this anger, it doesn't want to move. Why am I angry? As of this morning, the District of Muskoka has moved into a RED Zone.. Seems simple right? Everyone must do their part? However, Muskoka is only a RED Zone now based on the numbers of covid in the Simcoe/Muskoka Health Unit - which predominantly means the City of Barrie. As of this writing, Muskoka has 9 active cases of confirmed covid currently and none are in the hospitals. So why are businesses in Muskoka being forced to shut their doors once again? To me it seems like lazy politics and bad decision making. For the time being, my business operations are having to adjust once again. I will do everything in my power to keep fighting. I am not willing to throw away 12 years of work and give in now. So now in order to be in compliance with the Province of Ontario, I can only now allow a max of 5 people on site at a time. I can only hope this restriction doesn't last long. I worry about the ability of many small businesses to be able to stay alive during this period. I have been trying to distract myself by filling my free time with decking the halls in the barn. For those who will be choosing to come to the farm for a visit over the holidays, you are in for a real treat! The magical glow inside the barn is enchanting when the full lights are turned off. I was attempting to make the barn feel more intimate and cozy for the colder months ahead, and I am not disappointed in the least! I literally have had to stop myself from stringing more lights. For safety, all of the lights in the barn are battery powered. I have to admit it is kind of tedious turning them all on and off each day, but I am admittedly obsessed with Christmas lights so don't mind one bit! So while I worry about the future of my farm through this prolonged pandemic, at least I can enjoy the cheer of the decorations while they are up.
I think my flock of hens has really sensed how stressed I am as well. They have been going out of their way to gift me with beautiful fresh eggs each day. Yesterday was a record with 5 eggs left by the ladies! This past week our Black Copper Marans have also decided it's time to start laying! We've collected 8 rich dark brown eggs so far that sure do stand out in contrast against the Bielefelder light brown eggs. If production keeps picking up, soon I will enough eggs to share with my neighbours. I never thought I would have taken to my hens (and rooster) the way I have but I am very glad they are here. I get a different kind of joy from spending time with them. I am sad that Attila has reached her maximum size for being able to perch comfortably on my shoulder though. Not only is she heavy but she is just a very large hen and I am not as big I once was. I have yet to catch Attila in the nesting boxes so am pretty sure she is the only Bielefelder not yet laying eggs. Why is it always the ones I spoil rotten that become the freeloaders around here? Regardless of how many eggs I get each day, I won't ever be able to go back to store bought eggs. The colour of the yolk, and the flavour of our home raised, loved eggs can't be beat!
I have been fairly silent on social media for the past 2 weeks. This was literally just so I could stay focused on my studies and not be distracted by world events while working through my next level of teachings. As a way of making up for the lack of recent posts, I decided yesterday to launch the "12 Goats of Christmas"! Each day between now and Christmas I will feature one of our beloved herd members on our Instagram and Facebook accounts. In case you are not on those platforms, I will share the same photos here on my weekly blog. What started yesterday with Carmela, continued today with Vanilla. I hope you enjoy these photos, and that they bring a smile to your heart in these troubling times. Hang in there my friends. With love ~ Angee
Ease. This is what I am now working to bring into my life. When I woke this morning, I stepped into a new path in my life. Trying on anything new feels strange at first, whether that is adopting a new wellness practice, workout routine, starting a new job, or in my case, coming home from an extraordinary 3-day workshop in my shamanic studies. I gained so much insight into myself that before coming home I made a sacred vow to myself to adopt some immediate changes in my life starting this morning. This past weekend was one of the most incredibly magical and powerful, transformative experiences of my life. I am humbled and honoured to study with some of the most amazingly courageous and authentic people, other brave, searching souls looking to find meaning and understanding in their own lives. When I started this journey I had no idea how deep I would be willing to go. With each teaching that I receive, I slowly work to unfold the mystery of Who I Am, and Why Am I Here.
Ease. Pause. Breathe. Be Still. Reflect. Soft. Let Go. Flow with Ease.
These were just some of the loving, whispered messages I received while working with my horse teachers through some incredible personal reflective exercises over the weekend. I hope the echo in my heart remains from these incredible exchanges, and that I don't convince myself that it never happened. Journaling has become a very importance piece for this reason. One of the most amazing things you can do for yourself is to step outside of your own comfort zone and to explore the areas in your own life that may be leading you out of balance. With each lesson I go through, another missing piece of the puzzle is found. This past weekend I found the courage to look deep within myself to explore why I set such ridiculous expectations on myself. The things I learned have shaken me to my core and I was shown how limited my remaining years would be if I did not stop this cycle of self abuse through overworking. These new discoveries will take me some time to fully process and for that very reason I am choosing to head this very important advice and for the time being just flow with ease. I am forever grateful to my community of brothers and sisters who so willingly take on every personal challenge alongside me, so that we can support each other fully through these processes. I came away from the weekend with a new direction, a fresh outlook, direct focus to what I need to do for myself to continue towards my goals, and a brand new Totem Animal to add to my growing menagerie. Welcome Moes, the black Dragon who has come forward to be my Warrior Animal, joining my Power Animal the Wolf, and Birth Animal the Sturgeon. The gifts and power of these guides help me to better understand myself. To my horse teachers of the weekend, Contendor and Juliette, as well as the rest of the HSC herd, thank you for the beautiful love and wisdom you shared. To my human teachers Andre and Janis, words will never express the love and gratitude I have for you both being a very important part of my life. To my brothers and sisters of Wisdom Circles, I am so looking forward to the taking the next step in this incredible journey with you all. With deepest, loving gratitude ~ Angee ❤🎇
What a wet and dreary Monday in Muskoka! The forecast is calling for 30cm of snow over the next couple of days though so I should enjoy it while I can. This has been one hell of a week for me. You know the kind that just never seems to end and nothing really goes quite as planned? Not only has this been a really heavy week for the herd and I helping our visitors to process the stress of the past several months. The emotional energy seems to be lingering in my barn these days with an echo of sadness, that no amount of smudging seems to able to fully clear. There has been some powerful healing shared though and for that I am always grateful. I am living the best life for myself where my daily routine requires me to be grounded and focused. Last Monday started with me putting myself in the ditch. My week ended with an amazing a beautiful gift of community, and a fierce reminder that there are people in the world who intend harm without provocation. I will write about both of them in this weeks post. Normally I would share photos pf the previous week in my blog, however this week I am posting photos for myself. Self loves seems to be hard for me today, so I want to remind myself that I am never allowed to quit, but have to continue to find a way. These photos are to remind me of the loving magic that exists and is shared here.
Before I get into the darker side of this week's post, I want to take a few moments to thoroughly express my undying love and gratitude for all of my volunteers. Not only does this amazing group of ladies love all of my animals, they also care about me and want to help me as much as they are able. This past weekend I had scheduled a big job that requires many hands - mucking out the main goat pen. This is no small task, and it is horribly dusty and dirty. As a team we all got started first thing after morning chores, and I honestly thought it would take us until dark to get it all done. Oddly there was no place for me in the barn so I busied myself for a bit with doing pre-breeding shots on my bucks. I had some errands to run and promised to return with pizza for everyone in the afternoon. I was home by 2 and went to the barn to call everyone in to eat and stopped DEAD in my tracks. The barn was DONE! I was completely speechless! These amazing 5 ladies knocked it out of the park! I felt guilty for not being able to pitch in and pizza felt so inadequate for the amazing work they did. I can't thank these ladies enough or express how deeply it touched my heart. You truly all must love these crazy goats as much as I do! Thank you to all of my amazing volunteers for always being here when I need a hand! You all fill me with the love you so freely give to everything we do here. You are all amazing, bright lights in my life, and I know the herd loves you all deeply as well ❤🐐
So, now I need to get something off my chest. Someone over this past weekend committed a criminal offense against me, in a malicious attempt to cause my family and I harm. I won't share the details of what happened as it would only give this person exactly what they want - an audience and attention. The police are involved, so that should tell you that it is serious. Fortunately there was plenty of evidence collected and I pray that justice finds this person. I will not give it thought, or allow it to bring me down in any way, but willingly leave it in the hands of the OPP. You didn't hurt me, but you sure have made things harder and darker for yourself. Karma really is a mean, cold bitch sweetheart. We all face our pasts eventually. I wish you luck with that...
Here is the greatest lesson life has ever taught me. You can't control what other people choose to do - period. Bad stuff happens to good people. You can't choose what happens to you in life BUT you CAN choose how you REACT to it. I refuse to lower my own vibration by giving this attack my energy and will instead choose to send love to this person. They clearly need all the love they can get, and I have it in spades to share 💕 For those of you who read this and are now concerned, please don't be . All is well here and I will continue to forge ahead, as I always do. With love in my big, open heart and with a smile on my face.
Be well my friends ~ Angee ❤
So how did your Monday start? This was mine. Funny story too, and very likely exactly what I needed to kickstart not just my week, but ME. I have recently acquired an addition to a certain 1$ auction on Facebook. This group and all of the available treasures being offered have given me a lot of joy in recent weeks. Soon I even plan to start selling some of my own stuff on this site to justify the buying I am doing. In my own defense I do have a huge house to furnish. So this morning I find myself off to pickup an antique table that I just won for $2. I am quite excited as these runs to collect my new found treasures, like I said are bringing me joy. Well, I made a bad decision this morning when I chose to go down a road that was marked CLOSED DURING WINTER. Now, we all know what they say about making assumptions. Well I made one and YEP, it DID make an A$$ out of me lol. I assumed that the road would be not winter maintained - as in not PLOWED, but we only had an inch of snow. Fact is, it's due to the insane hill that is shear ice! Let's just say, I never made it to the table and will have to find another way to collect it. Fred to my rescue ❤ for sending out a tow truck! I was back on 4 wheels and rolling in just a couple hours. I had plenty of time to stew over my silly decision while I waited. In hindsight, I was able to shake my own head. See kids, just goes to show you're never too old to get excited about something and make a bad decision lol.
Having shaken that off as the start of my day, I feel ready to take on the week ahead. Each week I kind of toss around ideas in my head of what I will write about. This week I admit I was a bit stumped for a bit until I started to look at the stories that were coming together to round our this weeks post. I have had the usual incredible animal interactions, but this past week I think I achieved a milestone in my life and can say that I am no longer afraid of birds. At the beginning of the pandemic I decided as a covid challenge for myself I would start to raise my own chickens. I have had chickens as a child and even had some boarded with us for awhile. I can look after chickens, but I NEVER trusted them. I found birds frightening in the least and normally would just avoid them as much as possible. Choosing the breeds I got was important, but mostly I wanted the opportunity to raise them from chicks from a trusted hatchery. I picked up my 6 Bielefelder chicks when they were 10 days old and I have watched them grow into the beautiful hens they are now. I surprised myself that I COULD bond with birds and am even proud to say that I am no longer afraid of them! I am building special relationships with each of them and really enjoy the time I spend with them. One hen in particular has really captivated me, and I truly think that without her being the way she is I wouldn't have had such a positive experience. Attila the Hen as we've named her prefers the company of people to that of the other hens. She loves to roost on me and will hang out for as long as I let her. I used to have to go find her, but now I can call her and she comes! She is only about 6 months old and already a massive hen. I hope she stops growing soon or I won't be able to fit her on my shoulder anymore. I haven't caught Attila laying yet, but know for a fact that Helen, Lizzie and Chicka Khan are all laying! I am finding 2-3 eggs each day now and they are all very different in size, shape and colour which I find fascinating! Same breed, same feed and environment, but very different eggs. As each hen starts laying I am sure the variety will be spectacular! Come on Black Copper Maran hens! Lay those black eggs!
Speaking of my Black Copper Marans, which are the second breed I am now raising. I was starting to notice something VERY obviously different about one of my hens that had me stumped for a bit. The behaviour and energy of Cluck Norris was starting to stand out to me but I still couldn't figure out why. Well, turns out that Cluck is a ROOSTER!!! I felt so silly when it finally dawned on me and I swear I heard that old Sesame Street song "One of these things is not like the other..." playing through my head. At first I was confused and thought I had to be wrong as I bought 12 hens that were hand chosen for me by my friend that I bought them from. It was then that it dawned on me what happened and I LOL'd with delight at this hilarious accident. When I picked up my BCM pullets, I also collected an order of pullets for a friend. That order consisted of 5 hens and 1 rooster....well shucks lol. Obviously an easy mistake but it did take me months to realize I had done it. Now I have a rooster I don't want, but will keep as I am VERY bonded to him.
So if you thought this chicken story is amusing, it gets better! My volunteers, family and I spent all summer coming up with creative and awesome chicken names for our flock. Not sure if ever posted the final names list, but our hens are: Henrietta, Henny Penny, Attila the Hen, Bok Bok Choi, Helen, Lizzie, Cleopecktra, Chicka Khan, Eggelyn, Karhen (the h is silent), LayD Godiva, Henneth Paltrow, Eggy Azalea and CLUCK NORRIS. So tell me, how is that after all the names we chose we actually settled one name that was after a man. We specifically assigned the name to the wimpiest chicken we had as a way to help build up their ego. We didn't know at the time that Cluck is in fact a rooster and now has the BEST rooster name EVER!!! So many things about Cluck's behaviour make so much sense now. Like why does Cluck talk so much more than the others? Why is Cluck's tail so different? Why does Cluck have beautiful wattles when no one else does? It would eventually become totally obvious in time when Cluck started cock-a-doodle-doing, but I am glad I figured it out first. My plans to get a rooster in the spring were just solved! One more thing off my list 😁
I started writing this week's post about fear and I want to circle back to that. Several years ago when my late husband Geordon became sick, I decided that fear wasn't going to stand in my way any longer. He died at age 46, and I was a widow at 37! I started to examine the things I was afraid of and challenged myself to explore them to see if perhaps I was just standing in my own way by giving into fear. I was once VERY claustrophobic and struggled even being in stairwells and elevators. I challenged that fear while visiting my Mom in New Mexico and went and explored the Carlsbad Caverns, which is a pretty insane experience. It was intense and there were moments of absolute sheer terror, but I managed it to come away from the experience with a drive to challenge more. Since then I have met, interacted with and even HELD a tarantula named Rosie who taught me that spiders aren't THAT bad, but they still need to keep those freaky 8 legs to themselves! As well as tackling chickens this year, I also very recently started putting myself a little more in the forefront. It has been very easy for me to deflect attention off of myself and direct it to my goats, thereby escaping notice. That will only get me so far in life. I now realize that my herd is the way they are because of me and that means I can't hide anymore. This past week I REALLY put myself out there when I volunteered to do a virtual farm tour for a group of seniors through the Active Living Seniors Centre new Virtual Village program. The catch? I was LIVE for an hour! Yikes! Anyone who knows me knows I have a potty mouth and profanity does tend to come out of it often. I was terrified I was going to swear! I am happy to say that didn't happen, and I survived talking with a camera in my face for that long. I plan to continue to find my bravery and do more to showcase just what it is I do all day here with this crazy group of animal friends. I successfully experimented with Instagram and Facebook live this past week and will be doing that more. The work never ends here and I literally do work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week to make this all possible. Living the dream? Perhaps not for some! For me though, it fits just right! Why not examine some of your own fears to see where they may be holding you back in your own life? We don't grow if we don't seek to improve and change things in our life that don't serve us. Fear can immobilize us, stop us in our tracks and keep us from moving forward. It weakens us, destroys our immune system and we can easily become stuck in the emotion of fear - especially in our current world. My advice is to always PUSH. Learn to question everything and push yourself, your boundaries, belief systems and thought patterns so that you continually grow. Until that day we take our last breath in this life, we are all still children after all!
Until next week my friends, ~ Angee
November is back! and with the fury and vengeance we should expect from 2020! What a wicked storm that was that blew in yesterday and continues to rage on now. As I look outside my window there are the huge fluffy snowflakes that are guaranteed to bring a smile to my heart and face. I think big fluffy snowflakes falling is my favourite natural wonder to watch. I Hope everyone fared well through the storm. We survived unscathed, and were even fortunate enough to keep our power on, which is not typical during a storm. This past week has been quite the adventure in farming on a few levels and I look forward to sharing some of the tales today. The recent beautiful weather we had was a magical blessing in my opinion. After so much stress and a challenging year, it almost felt like we were given a beautiful break from it all for one glorious week. I enjoyed every single second of it and it seemed all of my problems melted with each ray of sunshine I absorbed. Super contrast to the white snow flying around out there today. The past week on the farm saw more first time visitors and a few familiar faces. Almost every group that came was able to go for a walk with the herd and enjoy the sunshine. Smiles, laughter and joy surrounded me all week and I was able to let go of that dark cloud of lingering tension I had been carrying. In my journey of self awareness I have learned that for the majority of my life I was stuck in a co-dependent cycle. When we are in this space, we become either the Victim, the Rescuer, or the Persecutor in an endless cycle. Without recognition of these patterns you may feel lost in an endless dance, which was how I existed for most of my life. Through my FEEL training I have learned how to change from a co-dependent cycle, to one bringing co-empowerment of self instead. Now rather than persecute myself, I listen to myself. I don't look to be rescued now, but instead I support and hold space for myself. In order to not fall into the victim trap, I challenge myself to try to see beyond. Changing patterns is hard, no doubt. Nothing is gained without effort though and we owe it to ourselves to endeavour to be the best version of ourselves and to recognize the bits of ourselves we need to work on. Personal evolution happens when we let go of destructive patterns of behaviour and step forward in new ways, allowing the shift to occur.
For years while I was personally trapped in these cycles, I would just focus outside myself. I was always searching for the next person I could rescue, focusing all of my energy instead on trying to fix someone else. Let me tell you how futile that is. No one changes without conscious thought. What we try to put onto other people is our own expectations and ideals of what we perceive to be "right" for them. When we say someone "should" do something, we are in fact judging that what they're currently doing is wrong. In the end we fail ourselves by choosing judgement of another instead of support, and we also fail that other individual by enabling them to not do something for themselves, which in turn can weaken them further. I now use the term holding space, when I am supporting someone. What does that mean to hold space? It means walking alongside another person in whatever struggle they are in, without judgement, trying to fix them, making them feel inadequate, or trying to change the outcome. Holding space means opening our hearts to offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control. We only have the power to choose our own thoughts and actions and can never decide what is right for another. Knowing that I have plenty of my own work to do on myself stops me from thinking that I can "help" someone else anymore. I felt guilty for awhile when I first made this shift, like I was letting people down somehow. I recognize that the guilt I felt was a false self pattern, and let it go as quickly as it comes now, saving my own energy, and holding space for that person instead.
Letting go has always been challenging for me. I think that is partly why I am so passionate about living on a farm and doing the work I do. I can't control the weather, the daily chores that need to get done, the moods or behaviours of the animals and people I work with OR the daily surprises that can come with a typical farm day. Animals can get sick, things break down, don't work properly, wear out etc. Learning to roll with what the day brings, and being able to still accomplish everything I need to in a day despite the challenges gives me peace at the end of the day, with a bonus sense of accomplishment, that I did my best. That's all we can do anyways. There is always tomorrow, full of more of life's adventures, mysteries or mishaps that ensure no matter how old we get, we never stop learning or growing - unless we choose to stop learning that is.
Speaking of ups and downs, what a week! Although there was plenty of stress, I do believe that laughter and humour prevailed! Last week I spoke of my laying hens and how we will have to wait a few months longer for them to start laying. Well, I was wrong! We have at least 1 Bielefelder now giving us an egg every day or so! They are a little confused as to where they should lay when it happens to whichever one is dropping eggs in random places. The first one we spotted was found on the cement floor where the cows tend to hang out. I ran in to try to rescue it but Elsa got to it first. The next day I rejoiced to find one in the nesting boxes. Two days later I walked into the barn to find one in the middle of the main aisle, on the cement... Honestly though, the thought of one of my hens just walking along and all of a sudden dropping an egg like it surprised them to have happened has made me laugh each time I find one. Why lay in a cold and uncomfortable spot instead of the boxes filled with straw that Henrietta seems to love so much? I wish I could catch them in the act just so I could observe what happens. Are they surprised when they start to lay? Henrietta is our only laying hen at the moment, and she is so old she doesn't lay often. She lays in her nest for HOURS before laying sometimes. She also announces her amazing egg laying success EVERY time she lays, and kindly requests that all humans come to congratulate her. Seriously, the longer you take to congratulate Henrietta on her life's purpose, the louder she becomes. As she makes such a big deal out of her eggs, I just assumed the other hens would know what they were doing when the time came to lay, and not choose a nice place to do it. Any eggs are a sign in the right direction! Our hens are happy and healthy and will provide the best eggs. I can be patient and just continue to learn with them as they grow. I am so happy I added chickens to my life! If only the local fox population would stop trying to make a meal of them, we would be able to relax a little easier.
These days, the biggest daily chore is "poo patrol" as I like to call it. With the cows and donkeys at the barn and not on pasture, that means each and every piece that is dropped MUST get picked up by someone - a human someone. If that person isn't me, then it is a wonderful, loving and dedicated volunteer that will pick it up. Without the help of my volunteers this farm would not be the clean and tidy place visitors know it as. I only have so many hours in a day to complete the tasks of running a business, a farm, and a family. The amazing team of volunteers I have step up to the plate to help lighten my load. Not only do I adore and love these amazing ladies, but the herd does as well. I prefer my team to feel like family and will always try to be there for them as much as they are for me. Whether that means swinging by with my handy boyfriend when your car breaks down, or hosting a surprise birthday party to help make someone feel special, I will always try to do my best by the team. This past weekend one of our youngest volunteers turned 12! Her family made arrangements for her to have her birthday celebrations begin here at the farm. I was away and missed the celebrations, but her mom was kind enough to share some of the special moments with me. It looked like a perfect day! Hope you had a great day Bridget!
I was whisked away for the weekend by the wonderful Fred - who tries so hard to make me smile. He booked us a room with a jacuzzi for two that overlooked the lake. I will refrain from mentioning the name of this motel for the purposes of telling the hilarious story of our weekend experience there, mostly as this was a place local to my area - apparently under going heavy renovations lol. We arrived on Friday evening, after the office had already closed so checked ourselves in. It was Friday the 13th so we should have expected something to go wrong. Quickly it was discovered that the room hadn't been cleaned very well, but that tub sure looked inviting! I set to cleaning the room, which honestly didn't bother me as I usually do it anyways just to be sure. We very quickly learned that in this "suite" as they called it, if you touch anything, it will literally break. Every tap in the room came off at a touch, as did the towel racks. The room came with no coffee maker and apparently they offer none in their not open restaurant either. The towels were cleverly folded to hide all the holes in them. I wish I remembered to get a picture of the towels lol. Saturday morning we were woken at 8:30am by the contractors ripping apart the unit right next to ours... So woken, and without coffee we set out to Huntsville to buy some things for our room - including a coffee maker and kleenex. Saturday evening I needed to track someone down to borrow a bottle opener to open the wine Fred brought for us. The bottle opener also broke - but AFTER the bottle was opened so it was OK. Phew! Even with all of the room issues, we took it all in stride and laughed about it all. Life and travel is always an adventure and you need to be able to relax and just go with it. I had an amazing weekend away with a really sweet man, who really put some special effort into making me feel important and loved. I look forwards to our next adventure away together.
After such a relaxing weekend away, it felt like we returned into utter chaos. We had a pre-arranged plan to pick up a load of round bales from a neighbour at 3pm Sunday afternoon. The weather forecast wasn't good so we knew we had to work quickly. Well, remember when I mentioned things break on a farm? Well, after hitching the hay wagon and driving over to the farm to get the hay, it seems that the wooden deck on the wagon was completely rotten away, and the entire thing came falling apart at the end of their driveway. I am so grateful for the ingenuity that farmers possess to get things fixed - even if just good enough to limp home. We learned a valuable lesson about the importance of checking your equipment before every use! With the help of Paul and his tractor, we managed to push the pieces back together, tie it up and drag it home. What should have been a simple hay run turned into over an hour long ordeal, meaning we missed our window of good weather. While we pulled the broken trailer home, Paul loaded up his own hay wagon for us to use it. We were in the midst of unloading the hay into the barn when that storm hit like a hammer. There was rain, hail, snow, thunder and lightning and you couldn't see more than a few feet. With super human strength it seemed, Bailey, Fred and I muscled the hay into the barn and under cover without it getting ruined which I am very grateful for. We were all beyond soaked and freezing cold, BUT we got the hay in so we celebrate! It's those small victories that add up to a great day. When we can sit back afterwards and share a laugh together, or even laugh about it years later, that is priceless.
Well friends, the hour is getting late and the herd calls for their dinner so to the herd I must go!
Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead! Sending blessings of love and light ~ Angee
Here it is the second week of November, and I can honestly say I am excited for the end of this challenging year. Not that I am disillusioning myself to think that 2021 will be any less challenging, but I am definitely ready to turn another page and take on a new year. The past week since the full moon has been quite the rocky ride for me. I can't speak for anyone else, but that moon definitely had an impact on me that I wasn't prepared for. For those who don't know, I have PTSD. It is something that I have lived with since early childhood and it has not made my life easy. I have spent many years in therapy and taken on other practices such as meditation and yoga to help me with my symptoms. The work with my animals is by far the most beneficial practice I bring to my life, keeping me grounded, focused and balanced. For the most part, I have rarely suffered any symptoms stemming from my childhood PTSD - at least not for many years. My secondary diagnosis of PTSD when Geordon died, and the symptoms from THAT diagnosis was what I had become accustomed to. Something happened to me during the last moon shift however, that brought back way more of my past than I ever could have prepared myself for. For anyone who doesn't live with PTSD, it is really hard to understand just how difficult it can be at times. I will do my best to describe what a combination of days last week was like for me. Literally starting the night of the full moon, I was awakened multiple times with nightmares of past abuses. It was like reliving every agonizing moment of those times. Smells, sounds, even the music playing in the background would come flooding back like I was there once again. I would wake up soaked with sweat and felt like I was literally fighting for my life again. Waking from a dream like that when you have PTSD means that sometimes when you wake, you still feel like you are there. To the innocent people who share their life with someone with PTSD, it is never easy. The one who suffers the symptoms AND everyone who loves them suffer. I am not afraid to admit that I become very volatile and will work hard to push people as far away from me as possible. This is a defense mechanism that is so ingrained into me, that it is a cycle I have been fighting to break for most of my life. This also stems from an old constant fear of abandonment I'd carried since very young. My internal dialogue for most of my life was always: "Don't get close to people. If you love them they will leave or hurt you. Push them away before it's too late. DON'T FALL IN LOVE!" This was never the right choice for myself and it absolutely did more harm than good. It took me a really long time to recognize I was very good at intentionally sabotaging my relationships. I know some of you reading this may be a victim of just this type of behaviour of mine. If you are, I am truly sorry for any pain I caused you. I hope wherever you are in life now, you have found happiness. Very fortunately for me, I really only suffered for about 4 days even though I am still fragile quite fragile. My son gave me some great advice as well as a reminder about this being a karmic moon. It helped me to realize that I wasn't in fact suffering from a resurgence of flash back symptoms, but was living through what could be considered an "echo" from that time. I am strong and still hold all of my power, thank you Daniel for the reminder ❤ No one gets through this life unscathed. We all receive scars through life, and each and everyone of us has also been responsible for giving scars to others. We all eventually have to deal with our own karma. I am no saint, but I do know that I am a good person, and intend no harm to anyone. The echoes of pain I felt that terrorized me for a few days last week, were coming from my tyrants dealing with their own karma. The knowledge of this has allowed to once again accept the reality of my past and look forward with a strong heart into my future.
November is normally a very exciting month for me as my favourite time of the year is the Royal Winter Fair. Due to CV19, like every other agricultural competition, the Royal was cancelled this year and instead they are having a virtual experience. The Royal has been a favourite of mine since I was a little girl, and as an adult it became my favourite place to meet and spend 4 days with all of my goat breeder friends. This year we will not see each other and it has brought back so many great memories. I have smiled and laughed often over the past couple days as I thought about what we'd all be doing if we were there now. All the reminiscing got me into looking at old photos. I came across a photo taken of me in 2013 at The Royal. We had just finished our competitions and my herd did the best they ever did that year. Looking at this photo taken of me 7 years ago I realized just how far I've come in many aspects of my life, but most of all where my health was concerned. When the below photo was taken I was 8 months post gastric bypass surgery and was feeling amazing and on top of my game. At this point though, I still wasn't REALLY dealing with my issues and was still pretending to myself. Fast forward to today and I am in the best shape of my life. The surgery helped me start the journey but the real work came from learning about myself. Through self exploration I learned what the root of my issues were that contributed to my struggles with weight. Learning to let go was the biggest step. I had to let go of old patterns and belief systems that were taught and not serving me. Once I recognized that, they really hard part was actually letting go. Old relationships that no longer served me had to naturally evolve and I had to accept that evolution. So fast forward 7 years and I don't look the same that's for sure. I've lost more weight than I am currently and have a substantial amount of tattoos. Below is that photo I mentioned, compared to one I took a few days ago. I don't know how heavy I was in the first picture, but I am currently sitting at 155 pounds and am very proud of how hard I've worked to get here. I no longer suffer from emotional eating and the happiness I feel now is genuine, and not forced or fake. The biggest change I love between these photos is the addition of so many wrinkles around my eyes and mouth, as I know they are from always smiling. I'd rather the wrinkles of happiness to the scars of trauma any day.
As always, the farm and the rhythm of the routines keep me sane and grounded. No matter what, no matter how hard it is to get out of bed some days, the chores MUST get done. I will always be eternally grateful for the life I live that allows me to sync so perfectly with what happens to be my perfect medicine for PTSD. My herd, ever loving and supportive and always there for me any time of the day or night. I haven't slept with the herd in sometime, but it is something I will do if I feel the need. It is my perfect space. My safe haven. This week I have also been happy to have some of the NOT everyday variety of chores. Fred and I learned how to fix a driveway which was actually a fun project. I did feel nervous that we may have botched the job, but my neighbour who shares our driveway popped by this morning to say we did a great job! Whew! My passion for community makes me equally passionate about being a good neighbour. I share a driveway with a few lakeside homes and they are often having to wait while I get the herd off the driveway. Come to think of it, the chickens are often in the way and even the cows once. Let it be said I have very lovely neighbours who have so much patience! It has been fun getting to know them better.
Another project we tackled this past weekend was to bushog the brush along the outside pen. This thick brush has been the perfect cover for nuisance foxes and recently a cat, so it had to go! Now there is a completely unobstructed view of the pen which will make security a lot easier. Fortunately we have not lost anymore chickens, although our volunteer Bridget had a scare on Saturday when she saw the fox and was missing a hen at head count. Fortunately we still retain all members of our lovely flock of hens. Now if only they would lay some eggs! The literature I read states that both breeds I chose: Bielefelders and Black Copper Marans, both coming from Happy Hens Heritage Farms, are late bloomers and won't start laying until they are 9 to 10 months old. That means I have a little time to wait yet as they are only 4-6 months old now. It is an exciting wait though! I'm looking forward to ANY eggs, but I am especially excited to see the colour of the Black Copper Maran eggs. They lay a very dark brown egg that looks like chocolate! I look forward to announcing when the hens start laying and can't wait to supply my neighbours with farm fresh eggs as they pass on by.
I put my Fargo to bed for the winter and sent pictures to my Pappy to prove it. She's snuggled in with the rest of the equipment in an old barn on the property. I can't wait to get her running again over the winter to when spring comes she is up and shining again! I love this truck probably WAY too much, but if guys can love their vehicles, why can't a girl? When I first saw this truck it was love at first sight and I was very fortunate that my Dad bought it and years later passed it on to me. This truck and I plan to spend the rest of our years together, so anyone thinking they can convince me to sell it - save your breathe. I've been on this earth long enough to have learned that the secret to happiness in life is to make choices that will lead you in that direction. Find your tribe - the ones that just "click" in your life and never let them go. Those connections are part of why we seek out companionship or socialize at all. Pay attention to those people and the moments you'll share, as within them lies real love, true beauty and happiness beyond your wildest dreams. Don't ever stop fighting for what makes your heart sing, and don't let people stand in your way. If you need to let people go, try to remember to do so lovingly if possible, and if not, then send them love anyways as it is better karma for you. We don't have to walk the footsteps of others expectations, but can instead choose to walk our own path. I have learned that true freedom comes from following your heart and enjoying every moment of the precious life we are given.
Until next week my friends ~ Angee ❤
Emotions are like water. They always flow. In FEEL we are taught that emotions are E-motions = energy in motion. This is very true when it comes to the things we feel. The good feelings tend to leave quicker than the more uncomfortable ones. What some would call the negative, or darker emotions of sadness, anger, frustration, depression etc, can actually offer us some of the greatest growth opportunities. Change is hard. So is learning. Only when we hang onto emotions, instead of letting things flow, do we tend to get tangled up in the confusion of them. Also like water, each and every thing we each do, say, and think sends out energy which creates a ripple effect, like a pebble thrown into a pond. Those ripples of each and every action and decision we each make, sends out a ripple that will impact and touch every single living being we come into contact with. Didn't think you had that much power? Have you ever been in a room full of people having a good time and suddenly someone new walks in and the entire energy shifts? That's the kind of thing I'm describing. We can create ripples in other peoples lives that have side effects we may not be aware of. Blind spots are something we all have. Nobody is perfect and we are all the center of our own story being written. This week I am only going to post pictures of the highlights of my week. This is as a reminder to myself that I am surrounded by beauty and blessings. As dark and challenging as some days can be, there will always be sun again.
Sending love, light and blessings to you all ❤❤ ~ Angee
When you live on a farm, one thing is for certain, life will never be boring! I choose to live a farming lifestyle because to me it is a simple life of purpose. Spending time with animals is the biggest draw for me personally. This year I also learned to connect to the amazing world of growing food! Adding elements to what I feel is a life worth living has been one of my biggest rewards this year. I learned to garden and grew a lot more food than I thought possible. I also tackled a major fear of birds by starting to raise chickens, and now have a beautiful flock of hens, who one day will provide us with delicious eggs. These simple daily tasks bring so much to my life. I get to connect with my animals, my food and my environment each and every day. There is no option to stay indoors where it is warm and dry when you make a commitment to run a farm. This is a 365 days a year, 24/7 kind of life that is not for everyone. I find the beauty in each moment, and delight in living another magical day on this amazing planet of ours.
Although there are an abundance of wonderful rewards to living on a farm, there are also some challenges that will make you question your resolve to this kind of lifestyle. This past week had a couple of instances that definitely tested me. Last week I wrote about the loss of our dear Peckahontas, who was taken by a fox. She is very missed in the coop and the barn yard. I never realized how dear she had become to me until she was gone. After several days of constant lookout, and keeping the remaining chickens locked up tight, the threat of the fox has ended. After eluding us for a few days it returned last Tuesday and made it’s visit known by hanging out in the wide open, right beside the goat pen. Let me be clear - this was not a healthy fox. It just sat there and looked at us, without running away, almost pleading for us to end it’s suffering. It was heart breaking to look into this once beautiful animals eyes. I could feel it’s pain and sadness. I am very grateful to my son for being the one to take this poor soul. I am even more grateful for your skilled shot that ensured the fox did not suffer. Foxes are special animals to my son and I, so this was definitely hard for us. It always saddens me greatly when a situation like this comes about when you have no choice but to defend the lives of the animals you love and care for. It is a fact that when you have livestock, there will be predators that you will have to protect and defend against to keep them safe.
So what about when the battles being fought are happening within your own herd? Sheesh I swear these days it is a constant girl fight in the doe pen. The goats are in full rut and wishing they were all breeding, HOWEVER as we live in Muskoka and winter lasts forever here, we don’t start breeding until January. They have a long time to wait still. Our handsome breeding bucks are working hard to ensure the odour in the barn is unmistakably BUCK - yuck! The girls go crazy for these urine bathing male goats, but I could do without the smell. The fighting is not just about being hormonal though, as there is still no clear new Herd Queen established yet. I have witnessed so many “doe brawls” in the last few days with the biggest one involving 10 of our girls! Ladies calm yourselves! To be honest though, the herd needs to be free to work out their own hierarchy. The sooner they do, the quieter things will become. There are 3 ladies that I see in the running to become the new Herd Queen. Sky River Meadows Cassiopeia, daughter of our late Queen Bonnie, has a great shot to follow her mom. She quietly waits for everyone else to fight it out and is known to step in right at the end and kick everyone’s butt. Not sure this is exactly a fair tactic but it seems to suit Cassi just fine. Taylorside’s Vanilla Ice is also a serious contender. Even though she is a new member of the herd, this girl is TOUGH and fearless! I have seen her take on 5 other does at once and still come out on top. The third one I think is in the running is Tripping Billies Carmela, which really surprises me because she has never really been much of a fighter before. Guess I was wrong about her! Dear sweet Carmela has some ambition it seems and has been using her heavier weight to her advantage in these skirmishes. All I know for sure is that I hope they figure it out soon so things can calm down for a bit.
Speaking of animals behaving badly… there was an incident this week that left me quite shaken. One of our miniature donkeys Thelma, has been staying at the barn the last few weeks for treatment of a hoof issue. Although she was having issues learning to trust the goats, things have been going well and improving – or so we thought. On Wednesday afternoon while the goats were having their usual afternoon siesta, Thelma went ballistic in the yard and started beating up any goat she could get her hooves or teeth on. I will not go into the horrid details of what I witnessed as honestly it was probably the most frightening display of violent rage I have ever witnessed from a prey animal. I shudder even to see the images in my head again, it was that bad. Fortunately, and I do mean VERY fortunately, no one was seriously injured. I am just so grateful I was home to be able to stop the attack and separate Thelma, otherwise I don’t want to know what I would have come home to. I learned a very valuable lesson about why I should NEVER ignore my gut when it tells me something isn’t right. We have had Thelma with us for 3 years now and her rehabilitation has been much slower than with the other two donkeys. Due to the work we do here at the farm, unfortunately for Thelma, that means once her hooves are better, I will have to begin the process of finding her a new forever home – one without goats. Just another challenge that no one could have expected or predicted. Wish it wasn’t so as Thelma is one of our sweetest donkeys.
We are slowly getting the farm put to bed for the winter. Almost all the equipment is now stored, with just a few more pieces left to deal with. I am reluctant to put the bush hog away when we may still get good days for moving down the over grown areas before the snow is settles in. Getting ready for winter also means pulling our two mini cows and other two mini donkeys off of pasture and moving them all back into the big animal barn. Having everyone under one roof helps share the warmth to keep our barn in great shape. These delightful mini critters are here to be viewed but are not currently part of our programming for visitors to interact with. This shift to winter farm chores adds a bunch more odour and manure to our daily lives, but also adds so much more with their goofy antics and personalities. I honestly miss having them close to the barn during the warmer months and look forward to having everyone under one roof again. Simple is best for this girl and her busy schedule!
What a year this has been. So much challenging every aspect of life. My personal relationships really took a major hit this year. At first the changes that were happening in my life were difficult, until I remembered to surrender to the inevitable growth that comes from all struggles. Breathe. Grow. Keep on dreaming. Back at the beginning of this year, I tried to bring together a group of girlfriends by offering to host a weekly get together at my house. My idea was to support and empower each other through the year ahead, and it would give me a "practice" platform for teaching the FEEL Approach. My plan was 8 consecutive weeks of support and learning for this group of lovely ladies. I won't speak to the details of why this group never met again past week 1, but something did happen and the events of that evening really stuck with me in a way I didn't recognize until recently. I have been working at writing workshops here all summer with varied success. I struggle with procrastination just like anyone else. It took me some time to realize that the reason I was struggling to complete them was that I was actually AFRAID to stand in front of people and run a workshop and I was intentionally delaying myself as a way to avoid what I needed to do. With a BIG kick to my own pants once again with this revelation, I set a goal to overcome this fear. I hosted a workshop for my lovely team of volunteers and managed to get through the process and come out unscathed on the other side - thereby conquering my fear once again. Fast forward to today and I am over the moon excited to announce that I am finally ready to launch my first FEEL based workshops here at the farm! Available now, my new 3 hour Introduction to FEEL workshop, called "Fall Into Your "FEEL"ings" is fun, interactive and full of experiential learning and is appropriate for ages 8 and up. Immediately following my presentation we will take what was learned directly to the herd to put to practice. I assure you, this is one learning experience that is guaranteed to have a positive impact on your life and relationships moving forward. We can all become healthier and better able to adapt to our daily lives and stressors once we have a clearer understanding of our own emotional energy and personal space - two essential components to establishing healthy boundaries with others. I look forward to finally stepping forward on my home turf and sharing with others what truly turned my life around - adopting a FEEL Approach in my life.
Until next week my friends! With love ~ Angee