Last night when Rob got home from work, we went for a walk in the forest. Our property directly borders Pachaug State Forest, Connecticut’s largest state forest. We walk out of our horse barn and are in the state forest in 20 yards. It is my absolute favorite thing about our house. Rusty loves the forest too!
There is something special and relaxing about hiking. I find it resets my inner peace. This time of year, the earthly smells of leaves and water, ground me like nothing else really does. Maybe the Japanese are right about that forest bathing thing…Exercise and nature fill up my bucket.
We didn’t hike for very long, we walked for about 2 miles. The sun was setting and Rob is still recovering from his accident. He took a few running steps and said: “Not yet”. Yes, I agree. Not yet. Patience is a virtue.
We walked over to the “water fall”, which is a popular destination for our kids when they hike or run in the forest and we contemplated new better ways to connect to the Yellow CT Horse Council trail without having to go out to the main gravel road first. Maybe this is a good project for Rob’s recovery this winter. We had found an overgrown forest path several years ago, but never finished clearing it.
As we came down the path to the house, the kids texted that goat chores were done. The light was fading and the view of the sunset across the road was, as always, spectacular.
Today was hard as we were forced to say goodbye to Mack. Mack has always had some health issues, but in the past month or so he developed a cough and had fluid around his heart and lungs. The vet told us it was likely heart failure or lung cancer. Over the past 24 hours he declined extremely fast and we knew that it was time. We got Mack in 2012 as a 1 year old dog. He was the patient teacher for both Turbo and Rusty as puppies. Mack was a typical Golden Retriever: everyone was his friend, he was always happy to see you, and he left a trail of water across the kitchen after he drank out of the dog bowls.
The pictures don’t show how loyal Mack was to Alex, which is the hardest part of today. Alex was there with Mack (and Rob) when he passed. Mack slept in Alex’s room every night and Mack was Alex’s closest confidant. The two of them would take walks in the woods together because Mack had to give up running with me years ago. At just under 10 years old, we wished we had more years together, but I think that’s true of all good dogs. Heaven gained a very flappy angel dog today.
Our new Brittany puppy, Rusty Red Waggin’ came home yesterday night. He has had a busy first day meeting Mack and Turbo. It was a rainy day, but finally cleared up enough this afternoon that they could run around outside for a while. Mack was happy to have another dog in the family. Turbo was more skeptical, but finally decided it was ok.
Today is also Vicki’s 12th birthday. As usual, she demanded to bale her own cake. Anna bought her a new cake pan that is a 3-D cupcake. It is baked as 2 cakes and then assembled and decorated. She made a unicorn cupcake, complete with fondant ears and horn.
Last night, Anna went to bed as I stayed up working on some things (ok, I was on Facebook). Around 11, I was ready for bed, but first went to the barn to check on West View Swan’s Saffron, one of our Lamancha does, who was in the kidding stall for the night since she was already 2 days overdue. I discovered she was in labor.
I headed back in and woke Anna to tell her I was getting more warm clothes and heading back out to the barn since Saffron was in labor. She thought I should get a couple of hours of rest first and then go out around 1. I didn’t think so. As she drifted off to sleep, I headed back to the barn. When I arrived, the first kid was already on the ground. She was a long legged doeling that looks a lot like her sire, Blue-Ridge Apache and weighed in at 6.6lbs. Her brother followed not too long after and weighed in at 6.9lbs, and has the look of his mother. Both started with wobbly legs, but by this afternoon, they were getting around a little better, so we took them out for some quick photos.
Introducing the newest member of the farm! This little 3 month old boy sheltie joined us this evening. Names are currently being tested. In contention are Waldo (because I expect to say Where’s Waldo a lot), Turbo, Geyser, and Rocket. The plan is to train him for agility amd 4H showing.
Mack is very happy to have another dog around.
It has been quite a while since we updated about Mack. He had adjusted well to the new farm. We bought a remote training collar which has been effective at teaching him to stay with us outside. He no longer chases the chickens. And Alex has become quite fond of him. In fact, Alex wants to join the 4H group for dog training.