Thank you for visiting the Life at Ravenheart Blog. Ravenheart Farms is located near Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada (about 4 hours from Saskatoon, 3 hours from Regina, and less than an our from the growing city of Yorkton, SK).

Friday, May 15, 2015

Horse Crazy!

Some of my best thoughts and ideas come to me while I'm out "mucking" around the barn. A somewhat mindless, yet necessary daily activity, like doing dishes, once I get into it, I find myself musing, relaxing, and enjoying myself. I call it "manure meditation". It is part and parcel of my horse crazy obsession. 

My thoughts this morning were about what makes some of us "horse crazy". Horse crazy people out there will know what I'm referring to. Where does that term even come from? Googling "horse crazy" I naturally found lots of information about the famous Crazy Horse, who, according to Wikipedia was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota. He took up arms against the U.S. Federal government to fight against encroachments on the territories and way of life of the Lakota people, including leading a war party to victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876. According to PBS, Crazy Horse was recognized among his own people as a visionary leader committed to preserving the traditions and values of the Lakota way of life.

I enjoyed reading about Crazy Horse and his "fierce determination to preserve his people's traditional way of life" (from the PBS documentary you can find at the link here;
 http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/a_c/crazyhorse.htm). I admire his courage and fortitude.

I feel that without something in our lives that we feel passionate about, enthusiastic, or engaged with, we are more apt to feel lost and empty. During my darker moments I am aware and deeply grateful for my horses who depend on me for their daily care and attention and always move me into a lighter, happier place. As per Google's definition of enthusiasm, "an intense and eager enjoyment and interest."

I couldn't find any reference to where the term "horse crazy" came from. It is an interesting term to me. Where else is a similar term used? I don't hear people referring to someone as being "boat crazy","golf crazy", or car crazy, yet we know there are people out there that fit these descriptions and more.

As a lifetime "horse crazy" person, I can tell you that it can be an obsession, hopefully a healthy one!  "Obsess: preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent". (source: Google). And those last few words "to a troubling extent", lol! What horse crazy person hasn't been known to spend their last dime on horse feed or equipment, read every book about horse care, neglect loved ones, spend all of their "free" time with their horses, and talk non-stop about horses to their horsey friends, or anyone who feigns interest?

I prefer the Google definition of crazy as "extremely enthusiastic". And, like Crazy Horse who was dedicated and bravely passionate about standing strong for his people and way of life, crazy, in my mind, is really about caring deeply about something or someone. 

I'm keenly interested in why we develop interests and what inspires the range of interests, hobbies, career choices, lifestyle, and sports to name a few. I've always loved animals, horses and dogs in particular, as long as I can remember. I distinctly remember being called "horse crazy". A drive in the country with my grandfather would suddenly prompt a "stop Grandpa, there's a horse!" And he would stop of course, and out we'd get to say hello. 

I believe that this kind of obsession is mostly a good thing. I think about friends and family who love gardening, quilting,art, cooking, writing, photography, hiking, sustainable living and many other activities. I am fascinated by the resources and economic creation inspired by our personal interests such as products, equipment, magazines, blogs, and clubs. Come to think of it, our world's economy thrives on much of what we purchase or contribute to our passions, interests, or crazy obsessions.

For everyone I know who would never consider shoveling horse manure as a fun and meaningful activity, I know there are that many more out there who totally get the many benefits of a "manure meditation".

Our lives are enriched by our hobbies & interests. They help keep us active, busy, engaged, connected, and productive. They can provide relief from our darkest moments, sadness, and pain. Whether you find peace in your garden, a hike in the forest, a round of golf, or with the stroke of your paint brush, may you know that a little bit of crazy is a good thing!

Photo by Saskia Dockrill
In one end and out the other! Endless!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Gift of Change

I recently reviewed a book called Brainstorm, Harnessing the Power of Productive Obsessions by Eric Maisel, PhD and Ann Maisel. Chapter 5 is titled Making the Ordinary Extraordinary, and Chapter 12 is called Early Daze. I deeply resonated with this book as it relates to what I will call my "Sacred Obsession" with the creation of Ravenheart Farms.

I would describe this Sacred Obsession as an inspired journey of the heart. Following is the first paragraph of Brainstorm. "In this book I'm going to describe a wonderful habit of mind that's available to you right now. When you get into the habit of biting more fully into your own ideas, stirring up brainstorms, and productively obsessing, you feel more alive and become more creative".

I can fully relate to this description when I think about my journey with Ravenheart. And I call it a "sacred obsession" because of the love, friendship and healing that Ravenheart has inpsired, for myself, the land, the circle of friends and family that have supported the vision with love and encouragement, the Wwoofers/helpers/volunteers whose dedication, hard work and friendship have helped to create and maintain the vision, and the many guests and workshop participants who have found their hearts here.

As the pelicans fly overhead with their grace and beauty, I think about the decision to move on and let this place go, knowing that it is waiting to inspire the dreams and vision of another.

We are being called to another place, another dream. It is time for Melva and I to create a place together. Although we have talked for many hours about how we might continue to develop and expand on this land, we have come to realize that it is important to purchase something together, that fills us both with new dreams and visions, and meets each of our needs for our businesses and way of life.

The community that has been created around Ravenheart Farms will have a deep and lasting memory, and although the connections will change somewhat, they will never be lost. I am so grateful for a chance to live this dream of passionate obsession, for the community of beautiful friendships and connections, and for the ability to let it this all go with love, and embrace the new.

I was joking tonight with a long-time friend about how I must have the most "strike-throughs" in her address book of all her friends. Really, if I think about how many times I have moved in my life, I wonder how "stable" I really am. And yet, here I am in the midst of another major life change, and I am feeling really grounded and settled. I am grateful for my ability "gift of change", also the title of a book I recently read by a favourite author, Marianne Williamson.

It is so peaceful here in the country. With trees surrounding the land, a small forest on each side of the yard, and no major roadways, traffic, or lights, it is truly a sanctuary of nature. Well, until Polly and the new dog (Laci, the dog that stayed with the farm) dog start fighting with each other, and I start yelling for them to stop!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In Service to the Horses

In Service to the Horses
Normally, as I haul heavy bags of feed from the vehicle to the barn in a plastic sleigh, especially in winter when I can’t get my vehicle as close to the barn as I’d like due to the snow, I laugh at the idea of me pulling the heavy load while the horses look on over the fence. I find myself saying to them, “hey, why don’t you gals get over here and help me”, or “what’s wrong with this picture?” Today I had 3 heavy bags of horse feed, along with a large bag of cat food. I took the sleigh to the garage and hefted the bags out of the trunk of the car. That went pretty well. I then tried to haul the very heavy sleigh up and over a small step from the garage to the driveway. As I heaved on the rope, it broke, and I flew backwards, landing softly in a big snow bank, thankfully, and laughing as the dogs came running back to check on me after hearing the scuffle. After repairing the rope I began the haul up the long driveway to the barn yard. Yes, in hind sight it would have made much more sense to make a couple of trips! Nevertheless, as I was pulling the heavy load, I found myself feeling much appreciation for how the horses have been in service to us for thousands and thousands of years. I thought about the many ways they made life easier for us and for all the things we could never have done without them; the heavy loads they have pulled, the many miles they travelled with riders, or pulling wagons and carriages, the harsh weather conditions they have endured, and for many, the unkind treatment, neglect, indifference, and pain they have experienced at the hands of humans. I felt my heart open, and I began to thank the horses as I pulled my load. I thanked them for all they have done to make our lives easier, for the fun and adventure they provide for us, for the joy they bring, for all they have endured, for their hard work, patience, determination, for their losses, and their willingness. The horses watched me as I pulled the load, and began to jump and play in obvious anticipation of the treat bowls they knew were coming shortly. I told them that I felt blessed to be in service to them now, and that I would always do my best to provide for them, in a way that is as natural and comfortable for them as I can. I thanked them for being patient and gentle with me over the years as I’ve learned to care and provide for them, for the many mistakes I’ve made along the way, and for the lessons they have taught me. I honoured them for their service and the service of their ancestors. I apologized for all we have taken from them; their wild spaces, their freedom, their babies, their family members, their herd mates. I apologized for the ways we have trained them, using pain, fear, power, control, intimidation, and harsh equipment. Then I thanked them again for helping us “wake up” to a new way of being with horses, for the many ways they continue to be in service, in coaching and therapy, sport, pleasure, work, and as our beloved companions. I promised them that I would continue to learn, to be better at caring for them, to treat them with respect and appreciation, to ask permission, to pay attention, to honour their needs, to offer them choices, to share what I learn with others, and to support in any way I can, the many courageous people out there who are caring for horses in desperate situations, nurturing and rehabilitating these beautiful animals, while discovering their own hearts are healing too. I got close to the barn but wasn’t able to pull the sleigh up over a snowbank, and didn’t want to risk breaking the rope again, so I brought the feed bins, which thankfully are on wheels, out to the sleigh. Then, the hardest part for me is always lifting the bags out of the sleigh on the ground and hoisting them into the bins. I asked the horses for their service once again and said “please help me find the strength to lift these bags up and into the bins”. Sure enough I managed each bag with relative ease! I truly appreciate horse power! Carol Marriott www.ravenheartfarms.com Jan.-29-14

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"My name is Sandra, I’m from Germany and I like ice cream… :-)

I spent 5 weeks at Ravenheart and would like to give you a short description about this place. Ravenheart is more than just a farm. Those who get the chance to spend a few weeks at Ravenheart understand what I mean. It takes only a few days and you feel as a part of the “big farm family”.
Ravenheart is for me like a little cosmos – discovered from Carol is it a place who is changing and developing every day by Carol, her friends and the visitors from all over the world.
In addition to daily chores you have the possibility to co-create Ravenheart with your ideas, creativity and vision and be a part of this little cosmos. So you find at Ravenheart tracks from all over the world which illustrate the openness and hospitality you will get from Carol and her friends.
My time at Ravenheart has shown me not only that I really love “dirt-playing” farm work or playing with power tools, I learned more about myself and above all I’ve met great people.

Not that someone may come to the idea that staying at Ravenheart is more like a nice holiday trip…it’s hard work of course, but for the work you don’t get only accommodation and meals…you get the opportunity to spend time on a magic place with special people! And I heard stories from people they have seen little leprechauns… ;-)

The decision to work at Ravenheart is a life changing experience - at least this was it for me."