Where does the time go? How are we nearing the end of April already? The greener months will be upon us soon, and then what? Will we continue to be locked in? Will we still be waiting for answers and a solution to a problem that we can't see and barely seem to understand? Although it feels like time is standing still for some of us, I know that for those on the frontline, things feel very different for you. There is a battle going on in the world and it is happening on many fronts. This is definitely a time for all of us to pay very close attention to what is happening in the world around us. Never again will I take for granted so many things that I am guilty of taking for granted. During the past several weeks, I have been really examining my life up to this point, and spending a great deal of time in deep meditation. In recognizing some parts of my life that were unbalanced, I have made some hard decisions and adjustments in support of my health and journey to self love. Anyways, I'll get back to all that later, here I am rambling and I haven't even introduced this beautiful little angel pictured here yet <3 She is my pick for GotW this week due to the inspiration I currently draw from her daily. This fierce little doe is the epitome of a virago - a female who demonstrates heroic qualities - my Heroic Maiden to be exact, if I was to stereotype her personality. This is Gilraen <3 I call her Raen, but my son, calls her Gil. Either way, neither he nor I will ever agree on her name or who owns this tiny feminine warrior. Raen loves us both and comes to either name anyways. Can you believe this little one stands only 12" tall? Often overlooked in the herd by visitors until the moment she picks a fight with a herd mate. It is hard not to notice her then! Being one of the smallest in the herd, she will still challenge ANY goat, including the herd Queen if she sees fit to.
Raen was born on the afternoon of July 9th, 2017. Born out of SRM Soleil, Raen has the same amazingly sweet personality that her mother does. She is a bit shy though and can be reserved at first. Her birth was a difficult one as all four babies were tangled inside. Raen was at the greatest risk as she had the umbilical cords of two of her siblings tightly wrapped around her neck. With time, patience and a lot of luck I managed to safely deliver all four babies. Raen was born second and I will never forget how when I held her up to look at her the first time, she latched right onto my chin and try to nurse. She was born hungry and that hasn't changed! A fighter from the time she hit the ground, this little one thrived! She was one that I would have to hold back to allow her siblings time to properly nurse. She was stronger than her brother Bilbo and used that strength to her advantage. With two younger sisters to also push around, it is no wonder Raen grew to be "top" of the siblings pecking order. Only her older big sister Star seems to "outrank" her. When I watch the two of them together I can see where Raen got a lot of her fierceness from. I think she learned a lot of her dirty fighting moves from her big sister too! They both have a tendency towards biting their opponents ears, or even trying to latch on to a teat! (nipple) Now that's some shady fighting moves, but who am I to judge how goats settle things. Compared to the rest of the herd these ladies are SMALL so perhaps that is the tactic that balances the fight. The entertainment value is absolutely priceless and the things I get to observe and learn make living this lifestyle so worthwhile. I call it Goat-O-Vision and it is better than any TV I've ever owned.
I don't mean to make it sound like Raen is a bully, as that is not her at all. She is more like a military leader perhaps who lives by the CODE and rules of the herd (I am convinced they have one), set out by the Queen. She sees the need for herd stability and works as an unofficial enforcer of sorts to personally oversee the herd not only safe, but taking care of each other. The cute part is that she works as an enforcer with the youngest generations. Due to her genetic issues and tiny stature she will never be bred, so it kind of makes sense for her to fill the role of a drill sergeant of sorts to the "cadets". The babies are often bigger than Raen by the time they are 8 weeks old so I don't ever have to worry about her being too rough or harsh with them. I am often more concerned that Raen will get hurt than I worry she will hurt anyone else. The entire herd seems to take her seriously, when she starts hollering. She cares about her herd and wants everyone to be safe and happy. What an interesting perspective to consider, but one that we often see in nature, is that small size does not mean defenseless or vulnerable. Just because one is small does not mean that they can not also be mighty! Raen is very self aware and that gives her confidence that I admire. When I observe her, it would seem to me that she views her small size as an advantage rather a disadvantage. She is easily hidden amongst the herd and that actually keeps her quite safe. Although she is small, she is not slow on the move and has no problem keeping up with the herd at a run. At the moment Raen is only working with our main herd doing goat walks, but I am hoping to start working with her indoors to see if she will be able to join our Goats on the Go! program with her brother Bilbo when we get to resume working. The two of them working together would be too cute for words! <3 They also share a very close and special bond so I bet would do magic working together!
The quality that Raen possesses that I admire the most is her ability to set clear and concise boundaries. Up until recent months, I was unaware of my lack of boundaries in my personal relationships. As I continue to study, and am committed to my own personal development, I am painfully aware of some of the areas of my life that have been very out of balance. This is due to no ones fault, but within my own personal issues, but in learning to honour and love myself, when I discover these areas that are out of balance, I need to make adjustments. The process of learning to set healthy boundaries in my life and relationships has not gone over easily in all cases. For some of my relationships the adjustment has been received beautifully as we both adjust to a new healthy balance. In other instances however, it has had devastating consequences. Not all relationships will survive the test of setting boundaries I have learned - no matter how many years you've been friends. As painful as this lesson has been for me to learn, and as difficult as it is to move forward from it, I now love myself and refuse to look backwards. True friendships and true love will, without judgement, survive the challenge of adjustments, through open and honest communication. By taking a stand that says what kind of behaviour or treatment you are willing to tolerate, sometimes people will leave your life. Painful? Yes, damn right it is. BUT, if we are to honour and love ourselves, then I have to choose ME. I can't regret choosing myself. So, on to the next phase of my life with my head held high and instead of being hurt and angry, I will instead choose LOVE and to remember fondly all the years of great friendship I had. I am blessed with many amazing friendships still, of all shapes, sizes and colours. Each relationship I have changes and evolves as we each grow. Sometimes those evolutions take us away from each other. When that happens I think we have to learn to accept it. To fight it may slow our own evolution. In my own life, I have come to the point where I am done fighting the process and I am surrendering to the endless possibilities of journeying through life with an open heart! It really is much easier to just ALLOW :)
So at the start of this post I was talking about how I have been making some adjustments in my life in support of what I feel really matters not only in my own life, and my families, but also of my greater community. Like Raen who is always looking out for her herd, I too care a great deal about my Muskoka community. Supporting local business and small farms has always been very important to me, but this crisis has reinvigorated my passion for all things homesteading, local business, and local community. I don't feel the world will ever be the same - nor do I think it should. There were a great many imbalances in our society that this pandemic has really shone a very big light on. There is not a lot that we can do individually to impact the greater world, but we can focus our individual energies closer to home and make an INCREDIBLE impact on our communities! Reaching out and supporting small businesses to see what they need during this time may be all that is needed to see them through. Showing small supports will not only help financially at this time, but it will also let them know that you value them as a part of your community. Not everyone is able to help out financially either - I get that as I am in the same boat. There may be other ways that we can each reach out locally to a person or organization in need. Using my herd (and Raen) as inspiration, I am excited that I have a plan on how the goats and my team can continue to spread LOVE during this time. I will not make an announcement just yet, but there will be one coming in 1-2 weeks if all comes together as planned. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to remember kindness as the days and weeks continue to pass. Stress and fear take a very large toll on all our psyches and we can all do our part to be compassionate and caring. We are all going through this together. We will each experience good days, and bad days, easy days and hard days. Let's not give up on each other yet when we have already come so far. Each day that passes I believe more firmly that LOVE is the answer and solution to everything. <3 Hang in there everyone! Always with LOVE ~ Angee