We have been here at Green Hope Farm for over thirty years. From the first, the animals led us. Even the day I first walked onto the land, there were hawks circling, a praying mantis at eye level and a porcupine leading me into the field. The animals knew where we were going from the first, and always their plans came as a complete surprise to me.
Flower Essences for animals? I did not see it coming until it was a done deal.
It was as if one day I was making Flower Essences for friends, household animal companions and family and the next I needed to have Flower Essences at the ready for the groups of animals that were showing up at our door to “pick up their drops.”
These visits from so many animals in the early days of the farm were the Incredible Journey redux. In these versions of the tale, many groups of animals hiked over mountains from distant towns to settle down in our gardens and wait patiently for us to give them Flower Essences.
After a bit, we knew the drill whenever a new animal friend arrived. We would go out with whatever Essences we were prompted to give the visitor then watch him or her slurp down the Flower Essences from our hand or from a water bowl before curling up for a nap somewhere in the gardens.
Once when an animal communicator was visiting, she offered to do the doling out of Flower Essences. Presto! A crowd of 8 or 10 dogs appeared from nowhere and gathered around her. I had never seen ANY of the dogs before. And we don’t live in a populated area! These dogs had trotted in from afar.
Which of course made us grateful for dog tags, because we often had to call people to tell them that their dogs were at the farm. We always waited until the animals had gotten their Essences before calling their people. Some dogs came from towns twenty or thirty miles away. Their people often said that the dogs had never wandered off before. All these surprise visits were a wonderful adventure for us too!
I hadn’t expected to share Flower Essences with any other two or four footed friends than the ones who lived here. Before we built our Flower Essence building, a friend peeked in our pantry where I stored all the Flower Essences I’d made. The shelves were wall to wall Flower Essences with almost no room for food. She remarked that she was sure a lot of folks were coming for these Essences. I laughed in disbelief when she said this, but how right she was. And a lot of those folks had four legs!
To recall a childhood story of a synchronicity: when I was ten, my best friend, Lynn, and I organized a pet show in the field next to our grammar school. What we knew about pet shows could have fit on the head of a pin, but quite unexpectedly, a lot of people came with their dogs and cats all groomed and fluffed. We gave everyone ribbons, but somehow we had $10 left over when the show was done. I don’t remember how we got the $10, but I do remember what we did with it. We sent it to PROJECT HOPE which was a medical ship than moored off ports in Africa and took care of local people. I find this an oddly resonant story since later the Angels of this property would tell me the name of the farm was Green Hope Farm.
A new Project Hope!
Anyways, eventually I realized it made sense to make some custom mixes for all these visiting animals and the animals whose people had begun to call for refills. Our first mixes for the animals were Animal Emergency Care and Flee Free.
I’ve told the story before how one day I had an animal communicator on the phone asking me to make a collection for the animals and I said, “We’re kind of busy here. It’s not like we are sitting around eating bonbons.” When I got off the phone, a “random” visitor to the farm came into the office with a box of chocolates. So hmmmmm. We WERE actually eating bonbons.
Then I said aloud to the Angels and Elementals, “If you want me to make this collection, you need to send me more help.” The phone rang and the person on the other end said, “My Angels just told me to call and tell you I’d like to come work at the farm.” That was Kathy, and she came and helped us launch the Animal Wellness Collection with her wonderful connection with the animals.
Well, you get the picture. The animals and I are connected by a metaphorical leash, but the animals walk me not visa versa.
Now we work with animals all over the planet with a particular focus on rescue animals. It is not an exaggeration to say we have sent Flower Essences to millions of animals.
I am BEYOND grateful for this. I always loved animals, but the longer I am part of this precious work with them, the more I love them, the more I am in awe of them and the more grateful I am that I have an opportunity to serve them every day.
Just this week I heard someone say that animals are pure soul. Yes. Exactly.
In recent years, animal beloveds have led me to new ways to live as well as new Flower Essences to share. About two years ago, my daughter, Lizzie, asked me to sit down with Sheba, my canine beloved, and watch the movie ‘What the Health’.
This movie changed my life. Until I watched ‘What the Health’, I did not know the damage us eating animals is doing to our global climate. Nor did I really understand how the vast number of animals are raised and slaughtered. My own experiences had been so small scale and death adverse. Jim called my chicken operation of the 80’s and ‘90s the Chicken Retirement Home and with reason. I never laid a hand on a chicken except to pet it. Nor had I understood the damage that eating animals was doing to my body. I sat in stunned silence after watching the film wondering why on earth I ate animals when I spent my days trying to preserve their health and welfare? The night I watched ‘What the Health’ with Sheba at my side, something shifted in me. I was done with eating all animal products.
There was nothing righteous about my decision or really anything but messy mess. After all, I ate animals for 60 years. So I don’t bring to the current dialog about this topic anything but a lot of compassion for everyone- and regret that I didn’t make this shift earlier- But I didn’t.
If you read my Thanksgiving blog last year, you’ll know that the year after I watched this film was an incendiary time in our family kitchen. Let’s just say the response to me going plant based was mixed to say the least. I tried to get people to watch ‘What the Health’ or some of the 8,000 you tube videos I later found on the topic, but I also tried to just let people be where they were. That first Thanksgiving, we managed to sit down and eat our lentil loaf and Turducken with sausage stuffing in peace and harmony.
Mercifully, as I persisted in this plant based path, everyone began to think it was fun to be creative within the food parameters of their kooky mother/wife/friend. I was so relieved, because it was hard to cook two dinners for every gathering. By this year’s Thanksgiving most of the rest of the family had gone plant based too, and those who were not graciously went along with the homemade plant based Indian meal we created.
One thing that continued to gnaw at me after I made the switch to plant based eating was the Green Hope Farm cookbook. I created this book in an effort to celebrate our diverse community, but when all was said and done, it was still a book exhorting people to eat animals. After much soul searching, I recently decided not to offer the cookbook for sale anymore. That is why you won’t find them anywhere on the website any longer. We are using our remaining copies to decorate packages with Alli’s marvelous art.
The animals have taught me just about everything I know about love, and I want to thank them with every act I make, not just some of them. It feels like a relief to be here. Like awaking from a groggy sleep. I appreciate the animals’ patience in waking me up so gently but persistently on this journey.
A number of you ask if the animals are still coming to the farm. Yes, they are, but now it is mostly wild animals. I guess the region’s domesticated animals get their people to order from us online.
Last week a bobcat spent the day about twenty feet from our kitchen window. We see or hear owls almost every night. It wouldn’t be a trip to the compost pile if beloved Sheba didn’t bark at the local opossum. The deer that survived the hunting season are in the gardens each morning along with the birds and squirrels.
Every animal comes with a message. I try to listen closely and throw my preconceived ideas about everything out the window so I can hear better. Sometimes I wonder if more animals are coming to the farm because their habitats have been disrupted by local logging or if it reflects the truth that this farm is, at long last, a safe sanctuary for all animals. I don’t know the answer to this, but I am grateful for every visitor. And grateful to every way the animals have brought love and meaning and healing to my life. I can’t begin to thank them enough.