Friday, July 19, 2013

Gift Pony

Sometimes absolutely wonderful things can happen to you on the most ordinary of days, by the most ordinary means. You might fall in love with your taxi driver, or find an old postcard wedged within the pages of a book, tickling you with the memory of a very funny college moment…or someone may call your telephone one morning, and you may hear the voice of a friend telling you that he wants to give you a pony.
Ponies are the kind of thing that are best as surprises, best given, rather than bought. Somehow I’ve always coupled the idea of a pony with the idea of unexpected delight…just as I’ve always thought of bon fires in tandem with heart-to-heart conversations…

When you and your four year old and your seven year old are given a pony, you suddenly experience the kind of joy that removes you from time…a pony ride is like Narnia. You go there, and time outside of your experience seems to sort of stop. The first time you plop a 4 year old onto the back of a tubby little pony, and you watch her clutch his mane, and you take the lead rope and with a kiss or a cluck, or a “walk up” you meander along the driveway, down the garden paths, and around the lawn, you will look back and behold a sight that caused the word rapture ever to be invented. You will see an enraptured, beaming, face so bright and seraphic that you will turn away, lest it burn your retinas, or steal away your very breath.

Today our gift pony leaped in front of the sickle bar mower as Shane and our two fjords began to mow the hay field’s second cutting. He sliced his front two legs so badly that they were nearly severed off just above the hoof. When Shane numbly put him down, the question of burial became a tough one, as we had just returned from a trip to MN to retrieve the last of our fencing, and left our shovel there…It was decided that we would have to arrange a funeral pyre. We had turned the fjords out in the front paddock, near the driveway, and the bon-fire was lit just feet away. From the house, looking down at the fire, which devoured the remains of our little brown pony, the grazing figure of marta, lit all ghost-like by the flames seemed as a shadow spirit of the little equine.

Campfires, Bon-Fires, woodstove fires, fires in the fireplace…they all seem to pull thoughts from men…standing before this one the thoughts become so loud as to leap into spoken words and wonderings…like: “Why is farming such a punishing enterprise? How is it that you make one mistake, one oversight, and nine times out of ten you pay for it, through the teeth, often for  months or years to come. One gate unlatched. One animal un-penned. Two animals penned together too early, one crop cut one day too late, one crop cut too early, all resulting in huge loss. Death. Injury. Loss of money. Loss of respect. Loss of crop.
I have no answer for this, except to say, that it seems that every wonderful worth-while thing to do in life seems fraught with some kind of constant risk or danger…falling in love, climbing a mountain, giving birth, walking a tightrope, believing in God. Somehow in each of these pursuits, accepted vulnerability ends in triumph and glory...or maybe just the butterflies -in- the- stomach thrill of being alive.



  1. May you and your family always experience the comforting presence of our Blessed Lord through every trial.

  2. "Little Flower Farms" What a cute name ----- and what a cute picture of a little innocent lamb on your advertisement in the Twin Cities Co-Ops. Just how do you slaughter these precious innocent animals? Can you put that in your advertisement?

  3. Hi Anonymous. Yes we can put our slaughter practices in our ads!
    That's a great idea for the future, because a lot of our meat customers are ex-vegetarians who choose us because of our humane methods.
    We only do on farm slaughter so as to minimize anxiety on the part of the animal (And the rest of the herd or flock.) Our butcher comes to the farm, and we hold the 5 month old lamb gently waiting till it is calm. We thank it for it's life and sacrifice. Then we stun it with a sudden and unexpected blow to the head. Only after it is stunned do we slit it's throat and bleed it out. With our hogs we give it the finest meal of it's life (sometimes wine, sometimes chocolate cake....) and as it is eating we shoot it in the forehead to stun it. Then we quickly slit the throat.
    We perform our own broiler chicken processing. The chickens necks are broken quickly, after being held peacefully in our arms till calm.
    Animals are a sustainable piece of the puzzle when growing veggies, grains, and grasses. They provide a sustainable source of fertilizer as an alternative to fossil fuel mining that is required to process synthetics. They also manage grassland effectively, creating a beautiful landscape, and eradicating invasive species.
    Like you, we care deeply for animals....and are in a constant state of gratitude for them.