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A Whinny from Afar...

Last week, our aging draft horse Babe came down with colic.   As I waited with her for the vet to come, I heard something I’d never heard before in all my years at the farm.  From the distance, 4 or 5 times, I heard a faint whinny from another horse.  This surprised me, as the nearest horses are probably three quarters of a mile away as the crow flies.


In retrospect, I believe that the other horse knew that Babe was in distress, and was calling out to her.


Over time, I’ve thought a lot about how the parts within our farm are connected, including the relationships between the different animals here.  It never occurred to me, though, that Babe had a friend off of the farm.  They’d surely never met muzzle to muzzle, but, of course, they must know of each other’s presence, and, the other horse must have known how ill she was.


This got me thinking in new ways about how our farm is connected with the surrounding farms.  There are the obvious relationships: the flow of Kinnickkinnick Creek through the landscape, farmers talking across the fence, travelling of bees and other winged friends.  What other ways are the farms connected?  Did the surrounding oaks know when ours, struck by lightning 20 years ago, finally fell last summer?  Does our soil sense how degraded the neighbor’s land is?  Is every birthing and dying cry witnessed off the farm?


I like the image of farms standing vigil for each other.  And, I’m glad to report (though Babe’s friend surely already knows this), that Babe recovered and is healthy once again.