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December 2, 2022: Life and Death on the Farm

I think about such things more when darkness descends. We are now getting less than six hours of daylight a day. The window of time for me to get things done in town and at home is closing in on me.

Ranger isn’t doing very well. He’s gotten thinner, and this morning he just stood around in the mares’ shelter while I tended to the horses. A contrast, Sassy bounded around, happily; to her, life is just one big adventure. I remember when Rover and Ranger were young, Rover was a bit on the slow side, but Ranger was all over

Ryder shortly after we found her

the place. I think that he’s lived as long as he has because he was so athletic when he was young.

Ranger is not yet ready to (as they say) toss in the towel, but I don’t think that he’s going to make it to spring if the temperatures drop. If he does, he’ll again be able to graze on fresh grass and brush. This is what I’d want for him. He’s not getting hospice, but he is getting palliative care.

All the animals we’ve had that have died on our property (three dogs, three goats, a half-dozen chickens) have been old or older. In all cases, as they’ve aged, I’ve wondered if we have been doing them a service, in extending their life by making them comfortable and tending to their specific needs.

I mean, is living longer the best option? Maybe life is better after you die.

Most definitely, suffering is out. I don’t think that we prolonged suffering in any of the above instances, no, we did not do this.

It’s said that you’ll know when its time for an animal to go. However, our own wishes, that is for the animal to stick around, often supersede their wishes, which is to depart post haste. It is a gamble because they can’t tell us directly what they’re thinking.

So tonight, I will make Ranger a mash and put a blanket on him, even though it’s not that cold. This will make me feel better and absolve me of guilt should he pass on.

Next to go after Ranger most likely is going to be Ryder; although she has a few years left. She has cataracts and is not as animated a canine as is Shadow.

One by one, the animals here make that final walk down the driveway and, I think, meet up with the others. And I think that the animals that are still around say good-bye and watch them go.

And so, some might wonder, are we going to get any more animals? Chickens, yes. Goats, yes if we breed Swamp Thing. Dogs (we say) no, Horses (we say no). I’d go and get another gelding, but we now have three horses and a three horse trailer. So no one will get left behind when we do our spring/summer 2023 trek.

Dark times prompt dark thoughts. So it goes.

Next: 332. 12/3/22: This morning

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