A few weeks ago when we were sure that the animals would be lining up two by two, I was invited to tour P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm. I donned my boots and my favorite sun hat which I figured could double nicely as an umbrella when the moment came.
Even though the yard was crawling with bloggers and those of the social media bent the land and home gave off quite a calm serene feel. As if you could just start walking without a care and let the mind wander…. and wonder.
Meandering the garden paths in the mist and thunder.
Wishing you could waste the day on the sleeping porch as the clouds rolled over the river.
Pondering the vegetable patch.
And traipsing through wet fields and muddy roads to visit chickens.
I was especially captivated by an original painting of Allen’s hanging in the front parlor. A larger landscape of rolling hills and pasture land.
This was his family’s farm in Tennessee. If you stared long enough you could see the trees and grass almost sway with wind. And imagine the work happening on the homestead. I love pieces of art that hold personal history.
The house is full of windows big and small that open up to a view that seemed to never end.
They all invited you to lounge on a cushion or rest your shoulder into a windowsill and just take in the drizzle and fog of the Arkansas River Valley.
By the time we were leaving I was damp and muddy and all my curls had sprung despite my big hat. But it was a wonderful, wanderful day.
“I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it.” -William Shakespeare, As You Like It
I’ve never wanted pets because they were to easy to become attached to. And it’s hard when they go.
I’ve always said our goats walked a fine line between pets and livestock but for me Holly crossed over the line right into my heart.
She was my bottle baby since her mom didn’t want her. I took her to work with me for about a month or more. Everyone was just in love with her. And how could you not be. She loved to jump and dance like all baby goats. And cried when she couldn’t find me.
Working her back into the herd was hard. They never really accepted her but she was getting too big to carry to work everyday and too active to sit complacently in your lap. She wanted to run and jump and explore. A church office wasn’t the best place for that. So we had to get her used to living with her goat family. That was hard. For me and for her I’m sure. She would cry and call for me. Making me feel like I’d abandoned her. But she started to learn her way.
We had to put her down this weekend. Thursday she just wasn’t acting right. She seemed sad and depressed. She wasn’t her usual talkative self. Friday her head was drawing back to one side and she was walking in circles. I brought her to the office with me. Her ears felt hot and she would stand with her head pressed into something so that it didn’t lead her in circles. She tried to fight it but eventually she couldn’t. I sat on the floor and held her head into my chest until Ben could come at noon to take her to the vet.
She stayed over night getting medicine and other treatments but nothing was helping. She had tested positive for worms and another parasite but had showed no signs that we were familiar with to indicate that was what was wrong. Even the vet said she looked fine. But we had been down this road with other goats before. And when she wasn’t responding to the treatments we decided we didn’t want her to have to suffer anymore.
Saturday was tough. I think that eventually we may get rid of all the goats. For awhile. I love raising them but I think we need to do a lot of updating to the pens. But things we just aren’t able to do right now.
Holly, I’ll miss your sweet sweet face.
Moss Mountain Farm. Roland, AR.
Years ago Ben’s parents had this metal sign made for us. At the time we were living in a small San Antonio neighborhood and I couldn’t fathom any reason why I would or should have a sign with our name and a chicken in my house.
Little did any of us know what foreboding the chicken sign would have on my life now.
For years I lugged that thing around. Hiding it in closets, underbeds, the back of the utility room. I was all for the country, distressed look but a chicken?! Really?!
Then we moved to the woods. And not just any woods. Two acres of overgrown, barely cleared for the house, snaky woods.
Soon came the goats.
“But why?!” I asked
To clear the pens and chicken coup.
So we can have chickens.
And there I was. Finally in a situation where the chicken sign could come home to roost. And I wouldn’t change it for a thing. Well I would add more land for more goats and chickens and a barn and more gardens and OH a tractor and for me to be able to stay home and take care of all this stuff. But all of that is yet to come.
I had a sign.