Llama Trekking at Moose River Farm

Llama Trekking at Moose River Farm
Activities at MRF; Fall 2021

Monday, February 17, 2014

By the Light of the Snow Moon

     Good Afternoon,
     Did you know that February's full moon is referred to as either the Hunger Moon or the Snow Moon?  Native Americans counted February as the deepest winter month; farthest from the time when food could be collected, stored or harvested once again.  They prayed powerfully for dwindling food supplies to carry them into the first weeks of spring.  Then they could begin foraging before the new growing season replenished their needs.  My larder is full.  Therefore, I choose to acknowledge the Snow Moon in a quest that warmer days and sunshine may not be too far away.  

By the Light of the Snow Moon

Snow Moon waxing
Into the heavens above
Hoisted by a celestial puppeteer
Pulling strings from a coruscating glove

Snow Moon hanging
Above the cloudy sky 
Casting eerie shadows over
A mantle of sparkling winter white

Snow Moon beaming
Radiates gratitude from my shimmering face
Despite the freezing crisp air
That limits time spent in my favorite place

Can't be too much longer
Hints are everywhere
Extended in minutes of daylight
Faint birdsong trills here and there 
And with every hay bale eaten
By goats, horses, chickens and donks
One day simply passes to the next
And on into the next month

Snow Moon waning
28 days more until we might hope 
The Worm Moon escorts the vernal equinox
And brings an end to bitter cold and snow
Zambi and Easau enjoy an evening snack by the light of the Snow Moon.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Life....A Literary Path

     Good Morning,
     Sadly, one of our chickens died last week after a long convalescence spent in the heated tackroom.  For three weeks we tended to her every need; offering food by hand and holding a cup of water for her to drink several times during the day.  In between these interactions Rod searched the internet with key words such as sick chicken, egg-bound, and poultry antibiotics.  His virtual research led him in many different diagnostic directions.  In the end she deteriorated and finally slumped to her death.  Desperate to have an answer, my husband performed a most dignified autopsy on the hen and discovered that her entire abdomen was full of what looked like scrambled eggs.  Cause of death?  The hen had become egg bound; a condition in which a developing egg blocks or ruptures the assembly-line apparatus of egg laying anatomy.  Throughout the whole ordeal, Rod never opened a book!  All of his information came from a plethora of information available instantly through the world wide web. 
     Before the internet, books were the most effective means for collecting knowledge about the subjects that I loved.  As a result I accumulated a whole library of resources that addressed everything I needed to know about animals, particularly horses.  While revisiting these dusty volumes now taking up space in a spare bedroom closet, I was both comforted and delighted to relive my animal education between their covers.  They chronicle the path of interests I've taken along the way to MRF.  Their pages hold wisdom and answers to many situations I have faced in areas of training, nutrition, first aid, general care....and spiritual growth.
C.W. Anderson's Billy and Blaze series of books were among my favorites in first grade.

I wished I could have jumped right into the illustrations and had handsome Blaze for my very own.

I got a kick out of finding this audio file!  Apparently, David Cassidy narrated all of the Billy and Blaze books for a recording!  Who knew?

A sample of books from school days contained competition photographs of great horses and riders along with veterinary care.
In college I studied the Anatomy and Physiology of horses and other animals, paying particular attention to the failure thereof. 
I also read the masters of horsemanship, collecting a whole "toolbox" of philosophy and technique that worked for me while training horses.
Eventually, my literary interests broadened to include a multitude of species.  It began to occur to me, at this point, that I would write my own animal chronicle some day!

Although horse training and physical care of animals still appeal to me, it is the relationships with all of them that are of utmost importance in daily interactions with my animals.  
 As school teacher and riding instructor, I have an excuse to read and to share literature that speaks to the kid at heart still inside of me.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Delicious Demolition of the Gingerbread Barn

     Good Morning,
   The end of the holiday season is official now that the animals at Moose River Farm have consumed the gingerbread barn.  Thanks again, Haley and Robbie!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Come to the Stable

     Good Morning,
     "I've always wanted to have some kind of informal holiday service in the barn on Christmas Eve; an opportunity to heighten awareness, through the senses, from that magical night in a stable so long ago."
     "Let's talk," said Lawrence Bartel, the Pastor of Niccolls Church in Old Forge.  He and his family were attending An Author's Fair at Moose River Farm.  From this initial exchange of thoughts last August, "Come to the Stable" materialized on the 24th of December.  The object of the event was to infuse the miracle of the Christmas story with living animals whose ancestors may have been present on the first Christmas Eve.
    Despite a -4 degree temperature, approximately 175 people, bundled in heavy layers, gathered within MRF's indoor riding arena.  There a living nativity, enhanced by light scripture and beautiful song, warmed our souls and lifted our spirits.  Rising puffs of breath from donkeys, horses and goats, not to mention the sweet aroma of the barn, instilled a sense of peace on such a frigid night.  
     Afterward, delicious homemade horse treats were offered to all of the animals.  Cups of steaming hot chocolate encouraged parishioners to linger among the animals and to extend feelings of goodwill with each other just a little bit longer....The following photographs capture highlights from this merry event.  Can you feel the magic too?
Photos by Dawn Montayne and Amy Bartel  
MRF's indoor riding arena transforms into a cathedral on Christmas Eve.
Niccolls Church Choir fills the space with angelic song.

The heated tackroom provides a place to escape the bitter cold. 
Tango prepares for his role as transportation for the Angel of the Lord.
Target greets a visitor.
Reverend Bartel introduces Elizabeth the hen to children.
The family Swick play the roles of the Nativity's main characters.

Homemade horse treats are offered to all of the animals.

Liam the goat represents all ruminants who may have attended the birth of Christ.

Huxley the Dachshund, peeks out of a coat that kept him snugly warm.

Bing and Frankie entertain the crowd with their antics.
Two full school buses provide transportation to the farm.