Earlier this summer we had a terrible time with a predator or predators attacking many of our chickens, guineas and turkeys. Although we feel we have things mostly under control we continue to be vigilant and concerned. Because it is our philosophy that the animals who live here be given as much freedom as possible, sometimes that involves risks of living in a world where they are prey for others. We know and honor the circle of life but our hearts break each time we lose a beloved friend to the natural consequence of free living. The feathered ones who live here are offered their safe houses to roost at night and are closed in after dusk. They are let out every morning to forage, roam and fly as they wish. Occasionally we lose someone before they are safely in at night or even during the day. The felines who have found their way to us are given the choice of where they want to live. Some choose to live in the house with us, content on our laps and never ask to be let out. Some live indoors but love to lay in the grass and sunshine outside and others choose to live outdoors and in the hay shed. We recognize the danger involved and honor their choices. If you know them, it is clear who longs to hunt and explore and who prefers a couch or a lap. When we were asked to take Pandora and Prometheus into our family, it was clear that they loved the outdoors. Especially Pandora, the mighty huntress and most beautiful wild one. Although they love being free, they also love us and greet us affectionately, always snuggling, rubbing and purring and we look so forward to seeing their gorgeous faces every time we are down at the hay barn. They are most often there to greet us but sometimes are out on an adventure and we miss them for a day or so. We worry when we don't see them and check back often. But, earlier this summer, Pandora wasn't there when we looked for her. She wasn't there the multiple times we checked and as the days went by, I wished for her to return safely. I walked looking for signs of her and have not found anything. It hurts every time we lose someone, but somehow, this one has been exceptionally difficult. Maybe because I don't have confirmation of what happened and hold on to a little hope. Maybe because I love her so much and wasn't ready to say goodbye. But, it is time for me to finally say goodbye to my friend Pandora, my love and the most beautiful cat I have ever met. Be free my love. Run and be the wild, magical one that you always loved to be. We will miss you always and love you so, so very much.
We just returned home from a ten day trip out west. We were able to spend time with so many beautiful animals and amazing natural wonders. It gave us time to contemplate, to wonder and wander, to remember and to return home, thankful, knowing we are right where we should be, doing what we should be. We missed our four-legged and feathered family and they missed us. We saw the beauty and power of our beautiful Earth. We saw the magnificence and the suffering. We watched the animals and the humans. We saw the majestic mountains and were sad seeing the miles and miles of prairies turned to cattle ranches. We saw the raging rivers and gently wandering streams and watched as they shut down the Yellowstone River due to massive fish death. We saw fields of sunflowers and huge CAFO's all along the interstate. We watched livestock truck after livestock truck pass by, one after another, after another. We noticed that the food menus along the way were all the same. It was terribly difficult to eat real food on the road. It was majestic to watch the bison roaming and at the same time heartbreaking to know that they are "managed" by death sentence to maintain the herds for human greed. It was joyful to listen to the adorable prairie dogs as they sqeaked and popped out of their holes and rubbed teeth in apparent kisses and then to read the signs warning of the plague they carry, another death sentence for them and the already endangered black footed ferret for whom they are food. The whole experience was bittersweet and yet confirmed the urgency we feel to share our message, to make change and to do it now. We are grateful that our children were able to experience the splendor and fragility of some of the Earth's most precious places and that they are aware and will help to make the necessary changes so their children have the same opportunity. But, it is abundantly clear that the change needs to come from all of us and it needs to come now.
An extra special thank you to our wonderful friends, Mona, Steve, Zain and Eli and my parents for watching over our family at home while we were away, and very warm grateful hearts to come home to happy wagging tails, purring faces, hollering goats, turkeys and chickens running to greet us, the gentle relaxed energy of the alpaca house - even they, who don't often show affection, were clearly happy to see us. It's good to be home.