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
Today didn't start out all that great for me. Sure, it's Monday, and I really don't do Mondays as a rule. Historically I've always preferred my "weekend" to be Sunday/Monday, that way I was always able to bypass any sense of responsibility to the dreaded Monday of each week. I had always booked my Mondays to be "my" day, to do with whatever I wished. Several years ago though, I decided to push my boundaries in several ways, including writing this blog. I chose Monday as my publish day on purpose, so that I am literally forced out of my shell where I prefer to hide. In my daily practice towards balance and healing, this personal "kick my own @$$" approach has really worked well for me. Where I used to spend my Mondays basically non-functioning, I now have absolute motivation to get up and work on this blog. So why would I decide to publish on Mondays? To punish myself? Actually no. I chose Mondays as a way to help me break free from a cycle - one that truly was not serving me. Now when I wake on Mondays, I am likely still grouchy, however I have focus from the moment I wake up, to be able to work on this task. To me that speaks progress! Challenging myself is essential for my growth. If it is difficult, than likely the greater the learning and growth opportunities will come out of it. So here I am, writing on another Monday. 😁
I am excited to announce some brand new program offerings. Wellness in the Workplace is a brand new initiative where we can help support mental health in the workplace. A few packages are available for your consideration. This past Friday I had the immense pleasure of taking a dozen of my goats to Quemby Electric in Bracebridge, ON to be part of their Staff Appreciation party. The staff and their families were able to snuggle with the goats, feed them some yummy leaves, and attempt to grab a great goat selfie. Other than a mystery of missing containment pen pins, and a last minute emergency run to the hardware store for a quick solution, the entire event went off without a glitch. The sun was even nice enough to come out for the occasion which was lovely as it had been hailing shortly before our arrival. I want to personally thank Mark from Quemby Electric and his lovely family for having us out for your staff, and to his staff and their families for showing us such a great afternoon. If you're interested in hearing more about how we can help support mental health in your workplace, contact me for more details. More information on these programs will be posted soon.
Have you booked your private Cuddle Puddle yet? If you haven't, what are you waiting for? The goats have been cuddling up a storm and loving all the extra attention through the busy fall season. I have been so blessed to witness some of the most magical connections, transformations and openings of hearts in the past few weeks. A new trend has begun which fills me with great excitement. For years I have loved the quiet moments when I can lie quietly with the herd in meditation. There is a peace and calm I feel, unlike anything else when I am in their space. I find the sounds and rhythms of the herd chewing their cud so soothing. I guess this spending time with the goats really is contagious as others are now starting to join me in laying down with the herd. It started with my volunteers, but now even our guests are starting to get right down into the herd for a deep, personal connection. The magical calm you will feel in that moment goes beyond just feeling great. When goats sleep and begin to ruminate, their heart rate slows, as does their breathing, and our bodies will begin to naturally sync into heart resonance with the herd, bringing an immediate feeling of calm. This is something that most people will experience when they visit with the herd. As the weather gets colder and the days shorter, most of our programs turn indoors and this allows for even greater chances of close snuggles. Don't worry about the cold! It is quite toasty warm when nestled into or buried under the herd. Goats have a much higher body temperature than we do which I find make them even more cuddly in the winter. Come and try a Cuddle Puddle today. You won't be disappointed! Our lovely volunteer J'aime recently created a video showing How to Cuddle Puddle, complete with some helpful tipson our Instagram account. Be sure to check it out: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CGiAM50pMpY/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Now for some sad news coming from the farm. Last week we began to catch sight of a fox hanging around - a lot. Sightings became more and more regular but for the most part the fox just seemed to go about his business. That is until Friday night. At bedtime, it was noticed that Peckahontas was missing and not anywhere to be found in the barn. A closer search the next morning determined she was in fact gone and hadn't just gone to roost for the night. That same morning, Bailey actually caught the very same fox inside our barn enclosure, and we knew for certain we now have a problem fox on our hands. No one around here likes to have to deal with an issue like this, but the security of our herd is paramount, and that includes the chickens as they all live under the same roof. We can't risk a fox being around, especially this seemingly too friendly, out in the daytime fox that sends alarm bells of rabies caution through me. I have reached out to a few people to assist in a few different ways in the hopes that an easy solution is found quickly. This is the first predator issue we have had to deal with in a couple of years. The last time we had an issues was a fox as well, and that didn't end well for the fox. In that case though, that fox was clearly sick and suffering so I had no problem doing the right thing and putting it down. This time around, this fox appears young, healthy and quite smart. It seems unafraid of us, even after we've taken a few unsuccessful shots at it which makes me very cautious. Foxes are opportunistic creatures and this one has already learned our chickens are tasty. Sadly this beautiful creature who is just doing what foxes do, has come into my world and is creating trouble. This is one aspect of farming that is not often talked about but it is a reality for livestock farmers. As we do not have a livestock guard dog here anymore, the herd is more vulnerable to predators of all kinds. I appreciate the reminder, but the lesson was heartbreaking. RIP dear Peckahontas. You taught me a lot about chickens and how to earn their trust. Your pecks were mighty direct, but in the end you taught me that my perseverance with establishing a heart connection is worth the time and patience every time. You taught me I COULD connect with a chicken, when I was convinced I COULDN'T, and now I have beautiful relationships with many of my hens. Thank you for your beautiful eggs, and the short time we shared together. No one here will ever forget you dear Pecky ❤
Now to end with some exciting news. Well, at least I find it to be exciting news. Yesterday I took a long road trip with Fred to go and collect a long lost friend from storage at my parents place. This truck has been adored by me since I first laid eyes on it so many years ago. As I had no place to store her for the last several years, she has been parked and stored in my parents barn collecting dust. After a long separation we are finally reunited! Please meet my pretty 1956 Fargo. I received this truck from my dear ol' Pappy quite a few years ago and I am determined that he will see me driving it again. She is all original and only has 66k miles on it. Would you believe this old gal was once a firetruck? Sadly she looks a bit rough at the moment but with a wee bit of body work and some new paint she will be back to her former glory. Expect to see this beauty driving around the roads of Muskoka next year! Don't be alarmed if you see a goat or two in the front seat with me. We're just headed to town for an ice cream cone.
Until next week, with much love and gratitude ~ Angee
Sending the warmest of Thanksgiving Blessings to you all from everyone here at the farm ❤ This year I am even more thankful than in previous years, as 2020 has been a massive eye opener on many levels. The glaring deficiencies in our society are now very apparent, however we as a country are now also becoming divided on so many issues. It is shocking how our world has transformed this year, and how when we need our neighbours and communities the most, it seems fear will keep all us separated. I hope this a temporary reality. At the early part of the year during the lockdown, I used that time to clearly reevaluate what was the most important to me and how I wanted to move forward. I am so grateful for that time, as hard as it was, as I set clear intentions for the year ahead. I shifted my focus to be more mindful and to use my business to reach and help as many as we could. I am so glad that I did! This year has made me more thankful and passionate about the simple things in life. I am so thankful for my family, friends and community. I am very thankful for my life and where I live. I am so thankful for my amazing herd and all the healing they bring to me, my family and each and every one of our visitors. I am so thankful to our beautiful planet, the life she provides, and the sun that shines down on us all. We may live in scary and uncertain times, but we all have things to be thankful for. I hope that you each have a wonderful day full of love, smiles and laughter ❤
I think I am long overdue in giving a farm update. It has been a very busy few weeks with more and more families coming through all the time. The herd is actually starting to get even friendlier, if you can imagine! I think the flow from our old work to the new rhythm is finally settling in. When demand is super high, like on recent weekends, we are able to allow 5 groups through a day. Each group that comes, brings out new magic and connections. The herd as a whole is in good health and my team of volunteers continue to work hard to ensure all their needs are met. Lots of hands on learning continues to happen here with hoof trimming, deworming and other routine tasks. As the colder weather comes in, keeping winter coats growing healthy and thick is important. We have a few goats in our herd with skin and coat issues so this time of year it is essential to stay on top of it otherwise they can struggle all winter. The herd is eating and bulking up in winter weight, and it is also the time of year for goats to begin to rut. Like deer and moose, goats have a seasonal breeding season and if they had their way, it would be now! Unfortunately for my herd, they live in Muskoka where winters are very long and harsh. For this reason we do not actually begin breeding here until January. That way I can ensure kids are born in the warmer months and we don't have to bring in the use of heat lamps and other devices which increase the risk of fire. I would rather play it safe, and have babies born when it is easier for them to thrive. I have just begin my breeding plans for 2021 and as usual we should have new babies on the ground from May to August. I know for certain I want to have enough milk to begin producing goat's milk soap again, so I know I need to breed accordingly. This will mean more babies to love and cuddle next year though, and who doesn't love that? Stay tuned for those details soon!
Now that autumn is in full swing, that means the farm slowly turns towards winter preparations. The farm equipment used to make hay is being put away for the year. The yard gets tidied and outside furniture put away. I am also slowly putting my garden to bed. I say slowly as it continues to grow zucchini like mad even with the frosty mornings. I am not looking forward to snow coming, but I know it will be here in a matter of weeks. Once the snow is on the ground, our programs move into the cozy barn. Goats are not fans of precipitation of any kind, and wouldn't dare to tread in more than an inch of snow. This means during the cold months, our guests get to relax with the goats in their main living pen. Cozy with fresh straw bedding, many guests find themselves laying amongst the goats and falling asleep to the sounds of the herd chewing their cud. Sound strange to you? Don't knock it until you try it! My herd are super willing to let you use their soft tummies as a pillow, while you gain a deep understanding of the term "Cuddle Puddle" , and also why we are so addicted to doing it here. If you've been looking for a new experience, here it is!
Until the snow is here though, we will continue to operate our outdoor programming for as long as possible. We have recently made a change to our insurance providers which I am hoping will allow us to continue to open more and more doors moving forward with our programs here. 2020 has proven to me that the work the herd and I do is not only needed, but also deeply appreciated. I wish to personally thank every single person who has taken the time to come out to see the herd this year. You've all helped us to stay afloat, but also continue to inspire us to keep going. With all of your continued support, my dream continues to grow.
From the bottom of our hearts, the herd and I thank you ❤ ~ Angee
Welcome to the month of October! We are in the midst of the fall colour display here in Muskoka, and this year Mother Nature has given us a STUNNING show of her true beauty. No matter where I look currently, I am dazzled and inspired. The temperatures are staying colder and we have had several heavy frosts recently. No doubt that winter is not far now. I watch for signs and confirmations each year and one very telling sign to me that winter is not far off is a sudden increase in hay consumption by the herd. Generally simultaneous with this increase in hay demand, the telltale bushy cheeks start to pop out on the adorable faces in the herd. More fuel must be burned in order to grow a bushy, warm winter coat. I take advantage of the freedom to graze the herd as much as I can at this time of year to compensate. Once the snow comes, the goats have no interest in exploring outdoors until spring.
Another busy week has passed on the farm with many lovely families coming to visit with the herd. Each day I am filled with pride for the loving way my herd greets each group. The herd always brings out whatever energy our visitors need most. If they need quite cuddles, or playful entertainment, the herd is always in tune and ready to provide. I am able to admit that I am whole-heartedly addicted to my job. Each face the herd and I meet leaves with an incredible smile upon their face and such gratitude in their hearts. This is the best job I can ever imagine doing, with nothing but positive outcomes all around. The word GRATEFUL just doesn't cut it. Instead I up my game and move to the realm of GRATEFULNESS. Here is a quote I adore that really resonates with me;
"Positive thinking says the glass is half-full. Dour thinking says it is half-empty. Gratitude helps us to better enjoy whatever is in the glass. But gratefulness can help us focus more intently on the radical fact of having a glass at all, making the most of the glass we have, and on ensuring that those around us have a glass as well." ~ Kristi Nelson
I bring this up because I am working my way through a personal struggle right now, and am holding to my reminders. Staying positive, remaining focused on all the good in my life, practicing gratefulness, showing appreciation and practicing diligent self-love will get me through this challenging time.
One thing that I have learned in life, is that you can't become too complacent. Don't assume that one day to the next, things won't change. I get so focused on my work and doing so many different things that I always seem to forget to take care of myself. The universe determined to send me a message a few days ago that was too loud for me to ignore - I'm listening now, INTENTLY. I guess I have allowed myself to get run down. Mentally, emotionally and physically I am exhausted from the effects of 2020. I haven't been taking as good of care of myself as I know I should be. I am losing weight again and have some health concerns but overall I have convinced myself that "I'm fine" and have been ignoring the subtle signs of weakening. So what happened was that I received a phone call that under normal circumstances would not have fazed me. This time however, it had an effect I was completely unprepared for, proving my weakened state. An abuser from my childhood suddenly and without warning came crashing back into my existence. How dare this person ask about me at all? Haven't you already done enough harm? My life was thrown into a mini tailspin over the weekend, but I am settled and solid on the ground once again. That's twice in two weeks that tyrants from my past have tried to knock me down. You've both failed. I just want you to know that. I am a phoenix! I have powerful aides and guides to steady me.
I won't direct any energy towards being focused on the past, but instead continue to move forward. This was a powerful reminder to me though and once again I am grateful for the lesson. LOVE Hold love in your heart and be patient until you find your way back to yourself. Sure, I could chose to send hate and hurtful energy towards those who choose to persecute me, but what would that solve for me? Holding onto anger and hate will only prove to diminish me, and will do absolutely nothing to them. I fully believe in the power of karma. I don't have to react in a way that lessens my vibration. To do so only harms myself. I choose instead to patiently hold onto love until I heal again. I know some of you will judge me. We all get judged, it's nothing new. Your judgement has no effect on me unless I allow it to. Your judgement doesn't make it factual, free from assumption or guilt. The difference between you and me, is that I'm not hung up on the past, but have risen above it as a powerful warrior of love, sharing a beautiful message. You however, are clearly being haunted by your past choices. Is that why you reached out? Did you do something to me that haunts you to this day? I've felt that, I was haunted for years. I wonder how different your version looks that plays through your head. Bet it's hard to watch now. Does it keep you up at night? It used to keep me up at night too. None of that matters to me anymore. No more flashbacks, haunting memories, no more terror filled dreams. My wounds have healed and my body is stronger than ever before. Did you know I found the positive in this between us as well? Yes, and I want to thank you for teaching me how to become who I am today. A few of you have had a big part in molding and shaping me, but the one thing none of you could ever do was to teach me about love. Well I now live a life so full of love that some days I don't even think my life is real. I am surrounded by unconditional love and acceptance and have no need to dwell in the past. My herd empowers and inspires me to continue to do this work, as do the many beautiful smiles I get to see every day. My path and choices led me here. Where did yours lead you I wonder? (I don't really wonder, nor think about you at all, just so you know)
In order to continue moving forward, I occasionally look at where I came from and see just how far I've come. In the years since I chose to live a life filled with love, compassion and kindness, the blessings continue to pour in. I have a wonderful family consisting of both blood and non blood relations that is my true tribe. I have a wonderful and loving herd at my back, eager to work with me each day. I live in the most beautiful place in the world, have a great roof over my head, food in fridge and love in my heart. Honestly, what more could I possibly need in my life? If for some reason you think I'm not happy, you might want to think again. I have everything I could ever need. 💗 ~ Angee
I think I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but honestly, where does the time go? I can't believe once again another week has passed, and like so many this year - a total blur. I have had my fair share of obstacles this past week, and for that reason I feel this post may "feel" different. It is no secret to anyone who knows me that my childhood was less than ideal. My family definitely faced hardships and challenges that many others didn't, but that is OK. Through it all, we ALL survived and have come out the other side of those trying times. Moving forwards in our lives, we've EACH had individual choices to make about how to move forward and live our lives. We've all made different choices and are all now living very different lives from the years growing up together. The choices we each made are the ones we need to live with. Although my childhood lessons were hard and left some deep scars, I try to move forward each day instead of dwelling on the past and what might or could have been. You can't change the past, and quite honestly, I've spent enough time there already! One of the hardest things I had to learn to do was to set boundaries in my life and personal relationships. (...this is still an ongoing battle - who am I kidding?) Setting boundaries can be difficult as it will cause a shift or change in the relationship. Not all relationships will survive the setting of boundaries I've learned, but for the sake of self preservation it is essential. So, I am the BLACK SHEEP of my family! This fact used to really bother me, but it hasn't for a very long time. The choice I made was not an easy one. I chose to walk away from all of the toxic, negativity and abuse, but that also meant walking away from my family. It's been quiet for years and I have become settled and very happy in my life. This past week a ghost from my past tried to enter back into my life to try to derail me. This person was once a huge influence in my life. After 5 years of no contact, suddenly a message on social media, attacking me, my integrity, my choices - just lashing out in general - how quaint🤨🤭 With as vulnerable and emotional as I've been recently, this really did knock me off balance for a few days. Then I remembered all that my childhood taught me;
I am a survivor!
I am resilient!
I am strong and courageous!
I am kind, compassionate, honest and authentic!
I am enough!
I am LOVE!
I remembered that no one can take your power without your consent. Guess what....sure you may have caused a little sting (shows me I'm still human) Guess what else? I'm still standing and your attempt failed. Hindsight continues to show me that I made the right choice years ago. I think this year is giving all of us a wonderful opportunity to reevaluate what is important in our lives. To check in with ourselves, and to make sure our hearts are in alignment with the lives we want, and choose to live.
Happily moving on from all that, what a week it's been at the farm! Guess what we spent several days doing? Bet you didn't guess making more hay! LOL So far our grand total of small square bales made is 1358. The weather forecast shows me that hay making days are now done for the year and that actually makes me sad! I find it crazy, but I really do enjoy making hay! It is a job with a purpose that is easy to understand. There are steps and stages and the progress is trackable, making it feel like each hour is a huge accomplishment. Sure it is itchy, dusty, hot and heavy work, but the reward is a happy, healthy fed herd for the winter ahead. To me, that translates to: I can sleep easy knowing the hay is in. This past week we hustled in the fields with Emma, Laura and Ben, with my business advisor J'aime also coming out to pitch in and see what all the fuss was about. If you didn't catch the video she made, please check it out on our Instagram account. J'aime was such a trooper and proved to herself that she is a lot stronger than she thought! I also don't think she minded getting dirty too badly either. Don't worry J'aime, there's more hay to be made again next year!
The beauty of the fall colours is dazzling this year! I marvel and the changes scene each day. With the cooler mornings, the fog is quite heavy here off the lake. It gives the feeling that the farm is contained in snow globe until the sun warms the day enough for it to dissipate. It also seems that summer hadn't left after all but just took a temporary hiatus. At least she returned giving us the best hay making weather of the entire season! I had thought that the heavy frost we've had here recently had ensured the end of my garden for the season. Oddly though, the squash are reblooming and sprouting once more, with new babies growing more amazing bounty! For my very first vegetable garden this year I'd say it was a massive success! We've enjoyed tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, green and yellow zucchini, acorn and butternut squash, as well as an abundance of swiss chard and kale all summer long. I am excited to expand the garden next season to include the old dormant Woodfield garden across the road. I learned just how amazing goat manure really is this year and plan to haul a lot of it over to the new garden beds in preparation for next year. Having a large garden here will mean another way you can get involved as a volunteer. Do you have gardening skills, or are interested in learning alongside us as we start the planning process? A year ago I swore I had black thumbs and couldn't grow a garden to save myself. I am so glad I was so wrong. Not only did I grow a lot, but I also learned just how therapeutic spending time with my garden was. I spent hours lost amongst the plants, talking to them, picking out the bugs and weeds, and admiring all that grew there. I am so grateful that I took a chance and challenged myself to do it. What a wonderful way to recharge, destress, BREATHE, and embrace the magic of life and nature. Haven't grown a garden yet? I highly recommend it ❤
I promised myself that I'd get away this past weekend to take some more time for myself. Relaxation and some extra sleep were on the agenda, with a side of hiking and kayaking. Sounded like exactly what I needed. Why is it always so much work to get away? I laughed out loud at my own To-Do-List on Friday while also trying to pack and tie up loose ends. I think this is part of the reason I avoid going anywhere, as it actually IS a lot of work to leave behind, and catching up isn't always easy either. Fred and I packed up the truck and kayaks and headed north to his families cabin on the Vermillion river. I won't get into the details of what turned out to be a less than relaxing weekend. If I am to blame the lack of relaxation on anything, I will blame the black flies for sure! September 2020, in northern Ontario, there are swarms of hungry black flies! I don't know who they think they are, but everyone knows that autumn is enjoyable because there are NO FLIES! We fed, fought and contended with black flies all weekend long. I'm a little chewed up but none the worse for wear. The best part of the entire weekend away has to be one of the best wildlife encounters I've ever experienced. While sitting on the riverbank enjoying morning coffee on Sunday morning, a pair of wolves popped their heads out on the other side of the river. Both Fred and I got a good look at them both before they disappeared, and we continued to chat and marvel at how lucky we were to see them. A few minutes later father downstream, the wolves popped out of the woods again and followed the riverbank. This time we could see there were actually six wolves! There were 3 adults and 3 pups. The alpha came out of the woods and sat on the edge of the bank watching Fred and I while his family continued to move along the bank. That big guy sat watching us for what felt like quite a few minutes before finally getting up and moving on. Later in the day when we headed out in the kayaks I paddled over to the place where the alpha male sat watching us. I took a photo of his paw print as I didn't have my phone on me during the encounter. I feel like I was given a magical gift to be able to witness a wolf pack in nature. I recently learned that the wolf is my spirit animal and this encounter makes it even more special. After a rough week, it was a great reassurance to receive the wisdom of the wolf this past weekend. I was actually blessed with quite a few wildlife encounters on Sunday which included a red fox running within 5 feet of me. Startled by Fred on the other side of the cabin, the little fox didn't know I was sitting there until it was practically upon me. Gave us both quite a fright! I am always so happy when I see wildlife that is healthy and thriving, as these all were in the north. Truly a gift!
Well dear friends, that's all for this week as I need to get back to the herd and all the things I left undone in order to get away. I'll return next week with some updates and information about the upcoming workshops I'll be launching.
Until next week, please be kind to one another. Love is so much easier than hate! ~ Angee
Mood. That's how I best describe this past week. Something about the times keeps me feeling like I can't ever fully relax or let my guard down. Shifts are occurring everywhere. In nature, in communities, countries and individuals themselves are shifting. Lines are being drawn, old belief systems are being tested. The world at times appears in chaos. For me this year, a common resonating theme is that you can't become complacent in life. You need to be ready for anything, and to grow you have to learn to adapt. I keep telling myself "Change the plan, not the goal!" This year has thrown more challenges at each and every one of us than we could ever have been prepared for. Hopefully everyone is finding ways to find balance, solace and comfort in your own daily lives. Self care is especially important when we are facing challenging times. If we aren't able to look after ourselves, how can we expect to be at our best, or be there for others? I try to tell myself this often as I work out my own issues with lack of self love. If I stay focused on what speaks to my heart, I tend to come out on the right side of things. If I remain open, I am always in awe of the messages and support that come. This past week I have been visited by a Great Blue Heron multiple times - and in some rather odd and unusual places, like up in the trees. I have grown to believe that there are no coincidences in life, and that everything happens for a very specific reason. When I have an unusual encounter with nature, I pay attention, as I believe in the innate wisdom in all things. Like with my daily Blue Heron visitor for example, I spend time contemplating the wisdom they share. The Heron as a spirit guide reminds us to stand for what we believe in, and to follow your heart no matter what disapproval or judgement that may come your way. I am grateful for the reminders to stay grounded, balanced and to always stand tall and proud, especially if I'm in uncomfortable surroundings. That sure sounds like 2020!
Do you ever become stuck? Like either in life, or even in your head? Thought patterns and processes can become ingrained patterns and cycles that become hard to break free from. Through the FEEL Approach, I have learned that in order to shift the mood, you often need to shift the energy state you're in. By "shifting", I mean to change the element or environment, and by doing so I allow myself the opportunity for a new perspective or approach. For example, if I am depressed and feeling lost, I take a few moments to do a Heart Breath and I am able to refocus and find ways to move forward - even baby steps are forward movement. If I am feeling overwhelmed, I will go outside and put my bare feet directly on the ground for a few minutes (even in the snow). Walking barefoot connects me to my body almost instantly. The thoughts that were clouding my head moments before seem to disperse the moment I am able to ground myself. There are many things one can do to create an energetic shift in your day, or even in your life by adopting new practices. Making the choice is the first step. I recommend exploring as many ways as you can to find what works for you. We all need different things at different times too, so don't be afraid to mix it up. Sometimes I need music, but at other times I need silence. I try to find an outlet that fits the mood in the moment. I find the best experiences have come when I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and done something completely new. It's almost like the fear of the unknown allows me to capture a pure moment where I can really learn about myself. Turns out I'm a lot braver than I ever knew.
The herd is having to adapt to a shift in living situation this week. Thelma the donkey has a hoof issue requiring treatment, which means she is off pasture for the rest of the year. This means she is up at the goat barn and needs to try to learn how to make friends with the goats. Neither Thelma or the goats are happy with this change as it makes them feel vulnerable. No matter who (or what) you are, being vulnerable can be extremely difficult as it opens us up to potential outcomes that may be unpleasant including judgement or rejection. That is only one possible outcome though. Being vulnerable can also open you up to new possibilities, opportunities for growth or change, and most importantly to learn about yourself. I am currently facing some things in both my business and personal life that are causing this uncomfortable but necessary emotion. I am sure that many are feeling vulnerable these days as the stresses of 2020 really set in. My work with horses through the FEEL program taught me that only through experiencing moments of vulnerability can we truly learn about ourselves and grow. In the time since bringing the FEEL Approach into my life, I have experienced the biggest gains and continued to expand, all by learning to understand and embrace my emotions in new ways. As uncomfortable as some emotions can be, they are all essential and important, a built in survival guide to life. Our emotions are the vital link between mind/body/spirit that guide us daily. Personally I have found that as my emotional intelligence has grown, my life has gained more meaning and purpose, as I learn to live from my heart, and stay focused on being true to myself. With each hurdle I face down this year, I get smarter, stronger, more determined than ever. With a great deal of hard work and many 2020 challenges faced, I will be making an announcement about the availability of my upcoming workshop series soon. Sadly there is one more bump in the road to traverse first, but if all goes well, fall will be a very exciting time at the farm. Please send your positive energy and love for it all to work out ❤
In gratitude, appreciation and love,
P.S. Sorry for the shorter post this week, however with the beautiful weather of Indian Summer upon us it is time to make hay!