Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Life on the Farm

I have been absent from my blog for a few weeks.  I have so much to report. Some happy, some very sad.  I'll start with the sad.  Around midnight Sunday, my border collie, Burtee began barking which alerted me to some banging in the barn.  I got my flashlight and saw my horse Valkyrie rolling furiously.  And I knew it was colic....Jim and I rushed to the barn to get her up to no avail. We called the vet (Dr. Stephanie, a beautiful compassionate young woman) who was out on another emergency and said she could come right over.  She arrived around 1 am and we tried a stronger muscle relaxer and pain killer and got Valkyrie up.  The Doc did not like what she found when she did the internal exam and suggested emergency surgery.  Alas with no trailer available at 2.30 am and a 2 hour drive to Tufts, we were disheartened and confused. Our only option was to keep her pain free and pray that she would feel better.  Dr. Stephanie left us with medicine to help us get to daylight and to reach my friend with a trailer.  She returned at 7.15 am and Valkyrie had gotten worse.  It pained us to see her suffer for one more minute and we had to make the decision to euthanize her.  It was truly one of the saddest heart-breaking moments that I have had on this farm or in life.  I have had a heavy heart for the last few days. I pray that my dear sweet Valkyrie lives on in the divine world from where horses are known to come.  

I observed the other horses were painfully aware that something happened to their friend and one's mother. The baby (who is now three) whinnied for her mother and the other two horses expressed such compassion and love.  They circled Gaefa, kissed her, groomed her and have not left her side.  The herd is in mourning but they are supporting each other - their behavior has helped lift my sadness.

But before all this sadness, new living creatures have joined life on the farm.  On June 27th we welcomed three Scottish Highland cattle - Julia, a three-year old, Delilah, a 9 month old and an unnamed 9 month old bull.  I will write more on our new herd, our intention to raise grass-fed beef and the experience of this new journey.  And last Tuesday the 7th we got 12 new egg layer chicks and 12 broiler chicks.  

Life on the farm places the realities of the cycle of life front and center.  I am not sure that I factored that into our decisions to get farm animals, but it has both sobered and strengthened me.  Somehow I think the barnyard has a lot more yet to teach me.

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