Updated: Mar 14, 2019
It's been about a year since we started our fb page for the farm and I keep finding myself having another one of those days when I question what are we doing wrong, what we should do differently, or if it was the right thing to have done at all... but then I remember just how much we love it and do it all over again the next day.
We are an ordinary family with four great kids and an amazing set of grandparents. We started with a happy 'little' farm and some crazy adventures such as the time we brought home sheep through town in the back of our SUV; took a sick goat to the vet at 11pm one Sunday for surgery that we helped perform; dug post holes that filled with frogs we rescued; had to lose a goat only to then lose his mother two weeks later, we're sure was from a broken heart; nursed a chicken, who lost both feet from frostbite, back to health and years of happiness; and many more. We decided to put a name on it so we could share our journey, more adventures, and our love of it, and perhaps add a few more animals who were in dire need of a good home.
We've made some great friends and received a bit of support but what we really have done is taken in lots and lots of special little lives who we adore, each for being who they are, the journeys they've been through and the future they now have. They brighten our lives more than we can explain. They always make us feel better when the world gets us down. We try hard to provide the best for them and for our kids. We've had far more requests to take animals than I ever expected to happen. I've often had to say 'no' or 'not now'. I knew it would happen, just not so fast or for the reasons why, but it's heartbreaking to have to say no so often.
What we don't have is a great catch or an exceptional story. We aren't out of the ordinary but not normal either; our farm isn't like other farms; we don't turn a profit; we go to work to fund the farm and regular necessities of life. We know the idea of our farm isn't for everyone. We don't eat like other people; we don't participate in the events most people consider 'normal' because our view of the world is not in supporting the abuse of the animals we also consider our friends (don't even get me started on the BBQ's in support of rescuing animals idea). We try not to complain often and try not to ask for too much. From the outside, we look like we are managing just fine so we likely don't need any help, I guess. In the last year we have slowly (or rather quickly depending on your perspecticals) added more than 25 animals to our farm, some have come for a visit and left, some have sadly passed away, and others have stayed to live out their years here. Not one of our animals has a sponsor. They don't get many outside visitors but they are loved and cared for.
We spend our weekends and our weeknights working around the farm for them, sports for the kids, and being a family. We love it but it's busy. Things like the garden are most definitely a choice we make but it also helps feed the whole herd of us. All of the requests to stores to help out even a little have been denied, met with strange looks, or put off. It doesn't seem fair that food goes to waste rather than to those who will put up with the blemishes but I don't do well with the no's. They often eat at me for days and tend to make me not want to ask anymore. I'm a people pleaser and I can't help but worry about what others think. We are honest but quiet and really aren't so great at putting it all out there. Something we are trying to work on.
What we have gotten, though, are the things that matter most...
... an amazing volunteer who shows up to do the crappy jobs and make friends with the horses; a neighbour who will collect any and all produce treats she can get her hands on and brings them to feed to the animals, often several times a week; another neighbour who shares posts, has helped clean our barn before her own and collects blankets, towels and fabric from all over for us; neighbours who show their support and give advice even if they think we are a tad nuts for what we do;
... friends who's kids I hope are learning to love animals just a little more; friends who are asking for advice on how to incorporate more veggie foods into their lives; family who's 10 year old son has decided to come visit us on the farm this summer rather than go to Disney World; a fellow animal friend who has invited me into her world and who helps whenever she can; friends who give up a day of the weekend to come help out to the farm, other animal/pig people like us online who I never would have met if it weren't for our little page; a friend of a friend who donated her time to come up with an adorable logo;
... the vets who share kindness, give up their weekends in emergencies or have more animals under their care because of us; the horse woman who took a chance on us with her found pigs; the company owner who is willing to throw a little extra bedding our way; people who come for a visit and spend a little longer than expected because they recognize the happiness in our old barn; the old friend who took my Dad's FrogHollow t-shirt off his back and wore it happily; my kids who talk about the farm with excitement and fondness to their friends and teachers; the local who works tirelessly to fill a void for cats and still gives support to us;
... the horses who are looking happy and healthy; the goats who have new friends after having none; the pigs who weren't wanted and now know love; the sheep who were loved but just couldn't stay where they where; the disabled rabbit who wouldn't be here if we didn't see the joy; the baby pigs who we never imagined but adore all the same;
.... my hubby who feeds in the morning, works all day and does it all over again at night; my son who is catching on and learning the ropes and beginning to do it on his own; my Dad who still climbs up in the hay wagon to move straw and hay bales with us; my Mom who often gets the kiddos who don't want to do any work, all so we can have the farm and save animals.
This is all true and there are likely many more stories that warmed my heart over the last year that I've missed and people who's generosity we've not shown enough apprication for. When I look back on the bright spots throughout the year it makes me want to continue to meet amazing people, share more compassion to the animals we share the earth with, and hopefully have the abiltity to help save even just a few more from an uncertain fate.
Most days I try to keep our posts happy and show the cute faces of the farm, with a little ranting and some silly stories thrown in, but remember behind all of those little faces is a story and lots of work and a ton of love to keep it all moving ahead. We sometimes just need to remind ourselves not what we are missing but how much we have gained through our amazing journey that isn't always as easy as it may appear.
With much love,
the FrogHollow family