A little kiss on the forehead….together forever.


There comes a point when you just love someone. Not because they’re good, or bad, or anything really. You just love them. Sometimes in spite of who they are, and sometimes because of who they are. And you know that they love you, sometimes because of who you are, and sometimes in spite of it.
Valentine’s Day makes me so sentimental. ♥

HJS&JJS

Now, what ever will I post on Valentine’s Day?!
Be Well,

In Winter’s Cold Shadow…There is Gold.


I find that I am not as patient as I once was; sometimes, I feel as though I am attempting to strain the mud puddle rather than patiently waiting for the mud to settle and the water to clear….Do you ever feel as though you are treading water, when you should be swimming?
Feeling over whelmed, me? “Why”, I ask myself. I know there is no easy road, no magic bullet. I am well aware the frustration I feel is of my own making. . . yet as I concentrate so much energy on my objectives, my world, …stumbling through endless lists.
I have always had lists. That can’t be it; am I just getting older and grumpier? Is this what mid-life, what 50 feels like? If it is I don’t like it one bit. Is it just the solitude that winter brings? Could it be I just need to idle my motor, wait for things to happen as they should, when they should?
Or maybe, just maybe; I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these that let me savor a bad mood….until the afternoon sun turns it to gold.

shadow
Mercedes’ shadow cast on the barn wall.

butts
Intent on supper…”oh, are you still there?”

Mercedes

Mercedes, always so graceful , never in the front, never pushy, or needing to be the first…always patient and full of grace. I want to be like her.

Andy 13

Andy, is so frail; he did not have the benefit of his mother’s milk and nutrients pat the age of 2 months. I worry about him in the cold; he is wearing 2 polar fleece vest, a goose down vest, and a rain jacket with the arms cut off, ( all zipped up across his back) to protect him from the frigid temperatures. He sleeps, always, between KatDoll and Camille…they keep him warm.
I am going to have him gelded, so that he never has to leave them.

the crew
Even the chickens head to the llama barn for warmth and protection.

The winter blues. How do you deal with this issue? Or is it not an issue for you? Where do you find your patience?

Be Well,
Jess

You don’t get an award for the Most Beautiful Things in Life; Your Heart Simply Swells to Six Times It’s Size.


The Big E, a favorite Llama Show of many held at the Eastern States Exposition venue in Massachusetts. We have attended since Jenni started showing her animals, I think she was in second grade; she is now a college freshman.

We have forged lifelong bonds, respect, and simply an awe of others abilities and gifts. The beautiful lady who wrote the following (for her blog); is one of those of which, I am in awe….I think you may be too…

……..The Big E Llama Show is one of my very favorite things. I was around llama people and llamas for almost four whole days! I loved seeing old friends and making new ones. I loved talking llama all day with the public and getting on my knees with little children to help them pet the llamas. And this year it was fun to have some of my llama lockspun yarn to show people and let them touch a tangible product and see the animals it came from.
On Friday, my buddy, Bruce, from Living Resources came to the show. Bruce and others in the day program have been coming to the farm for over two years to help with some farm chores and work with the llamas. I had told him if he came to the BIG E for a day, he could help me – he was excited for weeks prior! His father brought him early and he helped with some sweeping and with a little assistance, he did some wonderful PR (answering questions from the public). I am so proud of him!

But….the best part – and this is important because it defines me and my llamas….I took my llama, Lisel, (the best public relations llama EVER – even if we flunked the PR class), into her halter class – there was only one other llama in it. Lisel did her muppet bounce walk, didn’t hold her neck up, and confirmed for me that this would be her last show because it’s not her thing. I wasn’t upset, mostly I felt guilty for putting her through it. The saving grace – Bruce was waiting for us when we walked out. I clipped the big shiny Second Place red ribbon on his jacket and handed him the lead rope. He pet her and complimented her, and Lisel’s neck straightened right up and she walked at his side easily and smoothly. With him…she walked with PRESENCE and meaning. Bruce’s smile was so big, I got a lump in my throat and had to blink back…well, you know. He walked her back to her pen, obviously tickled to walk by dozens of people oohing and aahing over her (those swaying suri locks, you know). I watched Bruce walk tall and proud. He knew to stop and let children pet Lisel. ”STAND, Lisel,” he would say. ”Pet her neck, not her face,” he told people. Back at the pen, he unbuckled her halter without any help from me, and told her she was wonderful and a good girl….and rubbed her neck. THAT few moments, my friends, was better than any first place ribbon for anything…ever!…


If you were teary, don’t worry, I was too.
If you are intrigued, her is my blog post from last year’s show
Be Well,
Jess

Of all the best that can come true….


“How can you get very far,
If you don’t know who you are?
How can you do what you ought,
If you don’t know what you’ve got?
And if you don’t know which to do
Of all the things in front of you,
Then what you’ll have when you are through
Is just a mess without a clue
Of all the best that can come true
If you know What and Which and Who.”
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh


Lexi was such a cute pup, she’s still cute just 120lbs. bigger. She would really rather be outside chasing her ball, but it is a rainy, rainy day here on the farm…


rainy days…


Soggy llamas…silly girls go in the dry shelter…


This is how I will spend the day..spinning with tea near by…perfect for a damp cool September day.
Then, maybe I will bake a Quiche or apple pie for tonight, then, maybe…design a new farm display banner..the resonating silence in the house is deafening some days – like today it is louder than others. Yet, I am filled to the brim pride and joy in watching my children make their way in this fast changing world, and the relief I feel in seeing their successes. I am so in love with them!
Happiness is: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to…I am adjusting to my new normal.

***for some reason, though I have not changed any settings, my photos and text are not aligning; any suggestions on how to correct this?
Be Well,
Jessica

life is delicately balanced, but the scales never evenly hung…


Have you ever been so busy, you had to remember to breathe…(or blog?)

On a messy childhood. Stay focused on staying busy. Courage, determination, pride…that’s what little girls are made of.
I survive as I always have…I survived by keeping my emotions in check – by maintaining my composure and tucking it all away. I managed to stay under the radar, skating through without anyone truly remembering I was here….oh, to stand out would have been unthinkable. Life in my world, was designed to stay busy, less time to dwell…You can’t control what you, as a child are not responsible for…so you carry on, life carries on. I guess you just don’t pay attention. I think you’re too busy attempting to fade…until one day, you realize; I don’t need to hide, I don’t need to keep my head down. I have survived! My husband and children are awesome; my life full of hope and love. Our family has been blessed with a beautifully perfect baby girl; my Step-Son and his beautiful wife are all doing fantastic. A new baby is like the beginning of all things-wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.

Sometimes”, said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”

Our hearts are full, perhaps with whatever we choose to put in them…I choose joy!
Be Well,
Jess

The cuddle chemical effect….no, really.


Everything that lives, lives not alone nor for itself…

Blessed with animals in our lives…did you know there are actual health benefits? Real health benefits – lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduced stress levels, and better mental health. Attachments or bonding of any sort stimulates the limbic system; releasing the (oxytocin) “cuddle chemical” known for its role in facilitating trust and attachment. Bonding with your pet…is also associated with higher levels of vasopressin, and reduced stress and stress-related hormones. Going for a walk with a llama, bonding through the grooming process, going for a trail hike with friends, just providing everyday care encourages us to interact and to get out. We benefit from the exercise and fresh air that we may not seek out on our own. This does wonders for our health and emotions. I became acutely aware of life’s connections and the value of my beloved animals and friends this passed week. Some of us got together at Dakota Ridge Farm http://www.dakotaridgefarm.com/ to “finally” meet a new llama, to bring bring new llamas home and to connect as friends. It was a wonderful day, full of laughter, food, and sharing. A day that may not have occurred if not for the common connection and passion – Llamas ..well, animals in general really. I am still smiling.

For this I am grateful.

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Have you ever thought of sharing your favorite animal? Pet therapy is something many llama owners are involved with. You can actually see the positive health effects; both for those receiving therapy and those who bring in their animals to children’s activities and nursing homes. To see a nursing home patient light up when they see you and your llama or dog come through the door is an unforgettable experience. You may hear heartfelt stories of patients who haven’t interacted with or spoken for awhile- open up, relaxes, talking with, and interacts with a new friend…your animal. What a beautiful feeling. Can you imagine the impact your pet could make in a Children’s Hospital, or a visit with an autistic child? What a wonderful experience for the recipients of such a visit.

To get involved in pet therapy, please refer to some of the links below. There are national and local organizations. You could even become affiliated with a therapy organization. You may also wish to visit this http://thekitchensgarden.wordpress.com/ beautiful blog; she visits with her dog Ton-Ton, and soon a precious lamb named Minty.

Also check out: http://www.wunsapanafarm.com/ Her therapy dogs have been registered/certified with Therapy Dogs International (www.tdi-dog.org). She says, “Wouldn’t trade this life of sharing my animals – dogs, llamas, donkeys, goats… for anything.” (Lots more under the Therapy Animals category in her sidebar.)

I just had to take a moment to add this to the post: It was a reply from Katrina of Dakota Ridge Farm, she says; “As far as pet therapy goes, we’ve been doing that for over 20 years and the smiles on the visitors faces as they pet the llamas and horses are worth more to me than words can say. I still get tears when I remember the day a blind girl wanted to know what a llama looked like, so I took her hand and traced the llamas profile, this girl was so happy, will never forget this day. ” As I read her comment I had tears trickling down my face. She is such a beautiful person with so much love to share. I just thought you would want to know!

http://affluent.net/sara/

http://www.akc.org/akctherapydog/organizations.cfm

The Delta Society (www.deltasociety.org)
“Improving human health through service and therapy animals.”
Angel On A Leash (angelonaleash.org)
Therapy charity of the Westminster Kennel Club

Is your animal appropriate for animal therapy ?
Does your animal enjoy interacting with and being touched by people?
Is your animal confident in new environments?
Is your animal calm around other animals?
Is your animal vaccinated ?
Does your dog reliably respond to basic obedience cues (“sit”, “down”, and “stay”)?
Is your dog/animal polite? (does not rush at, jump on, bark at, growl at, snap at, or kick at others)?
Important characteristics of a therapy animal are that they are confident, reliable, predictable, and controllable. A therapy animal should be very social.


“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Anatole France


Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to. Alfred A. Montapert


Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
Albert Einstein


“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
― James Herriot

If you are interested in further information or if you are just curious, perhaps you work somewhere that could benefit from a beautiful animal visit…check out this site.
ASPCA Animal Assisted Therapy Programs
AAT.department@aspca.org
or your local shelter or human society

Be Well,
Jess

Hope is sweet-minded and sweet-eyed….


Hope. It draws pictures; it weaves fancies; it fills the future with delight. Our perceptions are always colored by what we hope, what we fear, what we love. We do the best we can. I did the best I could.
Here on our farm we have been faced with choices; life and death choices on a few occasions within a week. These kinds of choices are never easy, never to be taken lightly. What is best? For the animal? For you? For society? Questions and answers to be weighed heavily with love. With hope. With faith. Am I doing the right thing? right for whom? Does the decision have to be the right one for everyone?
These questions in life; these types of decisions…the answers can only be found deep in your heart,your soul really. you dig deep, sleep on it, then dig some more.
Lost in oblivion, dark and silent and complete, I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom. When left with a sense of despair- perhaps you have your answer. There is no hope. Not now. Not for them. It is time to let them go,to me, to hold on…would be holding on for me; for reasons purely selfish. Loss of quality of life, end suffering was our answer. The right answer some would say, wrong others with argue. to those who disagree with decisions made in moments of despair; I say, “You can’t lose hope when it’s hopeless. You gotta hope more, then put your fingers in your ears and go: “Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!” I Hope and I pray they found peace. freedom from pain, freedom from torment. You see,beginnings can be scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. So Live! As we live, we learn, you’ll have your heart broken and you’ll break others’ hearts. You’ll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you’ll cry because time is flying by. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you’ll never be hurt. Love freely. love completely. Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. you just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.

I told myself; after days of agonizing contemplation don’t be afraid to make a choice… everyone will have their opinion of what is right, what is wrong…there is no “one size fits all: answer. Jessica, do your best with what you have been given.” I hope I did.


Enjoy the present, each moment as it comes, because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart, where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again.


If you have a dream, live it. If you have a hope, chase it.


It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose
it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been
missing until it arrives.


Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go,
be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and
one chance to do all the things you want to do.


The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best
of everything they just make the most of everything that comes
along their way


Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss…


walk with friends.


We see hope in children….


…love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like no one is watching.


When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.


In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away
- shing xiong

Rest peacefully; Riley and Sweet Phantom. You are loved, always.

Be well,
Jessica

Earth’s saddest day and gladdest day were just three days apart….


The spirit of easter is all about Hope, Love and Joyfull living. Happy Easter!

In memory of Thomas Kinkade...

On this Easter Sunday…. Forgive someone. Tell someone you love them. Let your light shine.

May the angels protect you,
may the sadness forget you,
may goodness surround you,
and may the Lord always bless you.

Happy Easter!!!
Jess