Friday, January 18, 2013


In October I was delighted to spend a week farm-sitting for Katherine Dunn at her Apifera Farm.  To experience the beauty of fall in Yamhill County Oregon while caring for a menagerie of characters including sheep, goats, donkeys, cats, dogs, chickens, geese and a horse was for me the opportunity of a lifetime.  I enjoyed every moment of my time there (despite the peculiar odors the dogs produced after eating pumpkins), while I dispensed hay and grain and a multitude of hugs and kisses to all and hoped to have the opportunity to return and farm-sit again.

So, of course, when Katherine asked me to sit last weekend, I leapt at the chance.  I said hello to all my old friends and greeted with joy Katherine’s two newest additions to the farm, Tasha Teats Tudor and her paramour Rudy, both beautiful senior goats who had found their forever home.  But this time, things were to be a bit different.  The weather turned cold the first day and dropped to the teens that night.  I got up early the next morning to pass out feed and make sure everyone had survived thechilling temperatures and initially, everyone seemed okay…

Until I reached Tasha and Rudy who I had left snuggled in their stall.  To my alarm, Tasha was lying on her side (not good for goats) and gasping.  I pulled her small body up close in my arms to warm and revive her, but Tasha had other things on her mind.  I pleaded and begged her to come back and told her how much she was loved and how Rudy would miss her, but Tasha simply laid her head down in my arms and let me know she was ready to pass.  Today was her time to find her place in goat heaven where her pain would disappear and she would kick up her heels in unending green pastures.  

With Rudy watching over us, I held her for hours, watching her breathing slow and her eyes slowly lose focus on this world.  Itold her it was okay leave us and find her way over.  I asked her to say a hello to my dogs and cats who crossed over before her and to my son’s father, who I know is sitting in the shade of a slow moving river, with a line in the water and a beer in his hand.  And with a gasp and a tremor, she passed and was no more.  I laid her gently in the hay and said a prayer for her and shed tears for her passing.  Her passing was a spiritual experience that touched my soul and I feel privileged to have eased her from this world.  In helping her find her way, I was able to face my own mortality and will fear it no more.  Such are the gifts our animals bring us.

As the sun set on that day, the fog cleared and the waning light turned wispy clouds silver  in the darkening sky.  I could see Tasha waving to us from far above.  Her angel wings not. yet big enough to support her, she was drifting to heaven on the back of a shining feather one of the chickens had provided for this solemn, but joyous, celebration.  Farewell, Tasha!  Thank you for the love and wisdom you left behind in this world.  

Apifera Farm is the home to many rescued farm animals that are elderly and/or disabled.  They live their days free to roam the barnyard and are given daily doses of love by Katherine and all who visit.  Please visit her websites at to learn more and consider a donation to help out with the feed and care of the animals.