Oh, the lessons I have learned from my animals. Perhaps it's because I spend so much time just observing them, but it seems that every day they teach me something new.
One thing that is apparent is that there is a group mentality with animals, and they seem to take their cues from each other. For example, sheep, when with other sheep, will behave like sheep. Sheep, who live with overly-friendly pigs will behave a little more like pigs.
This has become evident over the past several weeks, since our sweet white sheep, Hope, passed.
It took a few days, but Faith inserted herself right into the center of our pig family - and now spends all of her time in the company of Ginger and MaryAnn.
When Faith lived with Hope, both sheep were very shy. Until this year, they rarely let anyone near them. I could occasionally touch them, but those instances were brief and usually ended with both sheep running for the safety of their houses.
Since her adoption by the pigs, though, Faith has become much more friendly... even to the point of coming to me when I beckon to her.
Yesterday I was out in the pasture for a visit. Right on cue, MaryAnn came to me and flopped down on her side. And naturally, Moll cat came running from the barn.
Ginger also joined our little group, followed by Faith. Faith walked right up to us and allowed me to scratch her behind the ears.
Then, she said hello to Moll cat...
and sniffed MaryAnn, to make sure that she was ok.
When Moll jumped back up on MaryAnn's back,
Faith walked over to observe this interaction with curiosity.
She then proceeded around the group and back to me for more attention.
It was a magical moment... pigs, cats, sheep, human.... enjoying each other's company with no anxiety or mistrust. These are the moments that make each day so special - quiet moments filled with trust and affection.
There's one thing that is certain: animals are honest. They are capable of learning from our behavior - as we are capable of learning from theirs! They quite often leave me awestruck.
And so... today we say goodbye to November. Tomorrow December arrives, followed by Winter (although it sort of feels like Winter arrived a few weeks ago with snow!) We have lots of holiday shenanigans to share with you over the coming weeks.