Sacred Sueños: Animal love.

One of my favorite parts of the Seed Camp were the animals (Note:  Sacred Suenos is divided into the Seed Camp, where I stayed, and RADI, which I think of as Yves’ place and is a thirty minute walk from the camp).  While the farm doesn’t have a ton of livestock, it took plenty of work to care for the few each day and love them each week.

Chickens.  The Seed Camp has a dozen chickens and rather than let them roam freely in the garden beds, they live in what are called chicken tractors.  Their coops are long and narrow so that the chickens peck and poo in a garden bed, turning and fertilizing the soil naturally.  Each week the tractors are moved on a rotating schedule.  We harvest the plants heavily before the chickens are moved, but they still get plenty of the leftovers.  It’s a simple system but a genius one.

Goats.  Between RADI and the Seed Camp, there’s three goats up on the mountain:  two mamas and a baby.  The mamas produce milk for Yves’ Goat Cheese (it has a nice ring, eh?).  The Seed Camp is currently taking care of the baby, a beautiful little white goat named Mani (peanut).

Barbara Kingsolver writes about the difficulty most nonfarming folks have in placing farm animals.  Off the farm, she writes, most of us have only two categories of animals before us, wildlife and pets.  It’s difficult then to understand how to treat farm animals that are raised for a purpose like meat or milk.  And so it was for us as Mani quickly took the place of farm dog.  Bad goat, I would chastise her.  And yes, I spoiled her rotten, bringing her treats of clover during the day and moving her early in the morning so she wouldn’t wake up Kimmie (or maybe I spoiled Kimmie in this way).  A goat’s cry is not a great way to wake up, or so I hear.

Cats.  The two camp cats keep the mice at bay and (at least one) warms our laps everytime of day.  They are also horrible beggars for their breakfast and dinner.  You’d think they were getting raw salmon (mmm).

Love.  Animal love is a weekly trip to Yves’ place (RADI) to wash the (larger) animals.  Fishbean, an antiseptic plant from Africa, is chopped up and soaked in water overnight.  The animals are then dunked or scrubbed with the mixture which discourages ticks, fleas and any other creepy crawlers from making their home in the animals’ fur.  They don’t love this (the puppies are especially vocal in their not love) but we do this because we love them.

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The day ends with a large meal on the beautiful floor of Yves’ place.  Simple but breathtaking.  We sit back and appreciate the moment of the day.

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