Christmas it is always more peaceful around the Sanctuary.  With just a few  volunteers and staff each day, there is a quietness that blankets the lanes, fields and paddocks.  In the silence we can feel more in harmony with the other species who share the land.

My husband, David, was clearing away buckthorn (his arch enemy) from the sides of the fields the other day and as he worked, the red hawk that is never far away was gliding over the fields, looking for mice. When he looked down, David spotted signs of the two deer, a buck and a doe, who take refuge in the forests nearby.  For company they have the twelve or so wild turkeys that poke around in the undergrowth, muttering all the while and whose tracks in the fields signal their never-ending quest for left over grain and beans.

While David worked Hugo, our standard poodle, scurried around, sniffing and searching in particular for signs of the pale-coated coyote whose territory includes the Farms.  He or she is larger than Hugo. When he managed to give chase to the coyote one day our dog was left far behind. Of course, for both  running is instinctive but the coyote is much faster.  Better the squirrels and rabbits for Hugo to chase.  They play games with him, ones that always end with them climbing trees and burrowing into wood piles much to Hugo’s exasperation.

So far this winter, David has not seen the red fox who was around much of the summer.  We are quite sure that it was the fox who stole the geese eggs this season.  By the third week of  June there were the original four pair of Canada geese who had come to nest, but no goslings. The fox was spotted here and there all summer but now  David wonders whether it met its match in the muskrat and family who frequent the pond and marsh at West Ridge. In any case, the muskrats have built a lodge in the main marsh where they are sure to be hibernating, sleeping away from the cold.

While all of these lives are being lived in the fields, marshes and forests, the equines chew on their hay and straw for the much of the time.  Bright skies draw them outside, no matter how cold the day, and every now and then games of chase provoke the inimitable sounds of hooves crunching in the snow.  These flurries of action are short-lived, though; better to stand very still and soak up the sunshine.

From this complicated, uncomplicated place we send you our best wishes for a New Year filled with peace, good health and the beauty of the natural world.

Sandra Pady, Founder

2 thoughts on “WINTERTIME”

  1. Sandra, what a beautiful picture you ‘paint’ of this special spot.
    Arthur and I wish you andnDavid and very happy and healthy new year.

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