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We have started taking the goat children for “walks.” They got so wrapped around me the first day that Adrian said, “Mama, they think you’re a maypole!” Trapped in a tangle of colorful leashes, I reminded him of the maypole at his school’s Mayfaire celebration.

Like puppies, they get their legs wrapped around the leash and the leashes wrapped around each other. But they’re already getting the idea and enjoying an occasional change of scenery. They’re nibbling curiously at cedar and Douglas fir branches, tasting sword ferns, sampling salmonberry bushes, and delicately eating grass one blade at a time.

We don’t get far on these walks. Right now, the point is mainly to get them used to feeling the tug when they reach the end of the leash and to let them browse a bit. Unlike farm animals that survive mainly on grass–such as cows, sheep, and horses–goats eat a variety of plants, including bushes and trees. They are much adored for the enthusiasm with which they eat invasive plants such as blackberries, and for their ability to clear brush.


                                         Photo by Chris Pollard

Thirteen moons is a reference to the natural cycle of time. For every trip the Earth makes around the sun, the moon makes thirteen trips around the Earth. Thus “13 Moons” represents the wholeness of the natural world and its seasonal rhythms.

Indigenous peoples marked time by the moon for millennia and had wonderful names for them, including: Moon When the Geese Lay Eggs (Cheyenne), Little Moon of Deer Horns Dropping Off (Kiowa), Moon When Buffalo Cows Drop Their Calves (Sioux), Corn Popping Moon (Winnebago), Moon When Birds Fly South (Cree). Shoulder to Shoulder Around the Fire Moon (Wishram), and Moon When the Trees Crack Because of the Cold (Lakota).

The Gregorian calendar that we follow today was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII on February 24, 1582 by papal bull. The Gregorian calendar reformed the Julian calendar, which, in turn, reformed the Roman calendar. I believe these calendars come between us and nature. They separate us from the natural rhythms of the earth and keep us from looking to the sky to find our bearings in space and time. There is a movement afoot to reform the calendar and synchronize it to our lunar, solar, and galactic reference points. Check out the Flash animations on this page, and a 13-moon calendar will make perfect sense.

The name “13 Moons Farm” affirms our connection to the Earth and its place in the universe. It acknowledges the natural rhythms that affect our everyday lives. If I could figure out a way to live every day of my life by a 13 moon calendar, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I wish we all could

My friend Renate and I watched in amazement as our drake mated with a chicken yesterday. He had been chasing chickens around, but they had always managed to escape by flying up to a window box where they were out of the drake’s reach. I didn’t think much of it until I saw the drake grab a chicken by the feathers on the back of her neck. It was then that I realized he had romantic intentions, but I never thought he’d succeed.

When he had had is thrill, he fell to the ground in a heap, as he always does, and then took a refreshing post-coital splash in the pond.

The duck, who was laying an egg at the time, looked on peacefully.

“Doesn’t the duck mind that he’s a philanderer?” Renate said.

“Well, they’re not like us. The rooster has 12 chickens to choose from.”

“Is she going to lay bigger eggs, now?” she said, referring to the chicken.

“No,” I said, knowing that ducks and chickens may go through the motions, but nothing will ever come of it.

A quick search of the internet reveals that ours is not the first barnyard in which this has happened.

Oh my. The things you learn on a farm.