Saturday, November 6, 2010

True Home

Anny Scoones
Touchwood Editions

I love this series - Anny Scoones lives near my home, and I visit often to buy eggs from her heritage chickens and ducks. Duck eggs make the most delicious omelettes.

This is the third in her series about life at Glamorgan, a heritage farm where she raises heritage breeds of chickens and ducks, goats and horses, geese and turkeys. She loves pigs passionately. Two great Gloucester Old Spot sows named Mabel and Matilda each weigh more than seven hundred pounds. The breed is considered extinct in Canada, and she loves to show them off the the Saanichton Fair in the fall.

Many stray and rescued animals come to live - cats and dogs came to live out their days in peace. Bee was an old cat who came from a rescue organization. Anny said, "I'll take an old cat." Older cats never get adopted. The girl who was a volunteer said, "This is Honey Bee. She was found half alive in the gutter downtown. Nobody wants her, and she's ancient - she should live out her final days at a peaceful home. Take her home to die." Winnie was an elegant feral calico rescued from the crazy cat place where the old woman had lived alone with fifty cats Norman was found by a cat rescue society in a back alley in a seedy party of town.

Some come as gifts. Jasmine and Ju-Jube are two of Jake, the Drake's, five immaculate wives - the others are Jemima, Jewel, and Jessica. Jake is afraid of water so is usually filthy. He only ever put his head in the water and never bathed.

I laughed when I read about her joining a yoga class. She had a stiff, sore neck from a fall on the ice during the previous winter. Her pig veterinarian recommended yoga - "she looked fit and calm and healthy - the mayor did yoga, she was my divorce lawyer  years ago." And she resisted the whole idea.

the whole idea of having to wear skin-tight pants, which show every lump on your thighs plus a pot-bellied midsection; having to go barefoot, which shows all the thick deformed toenails, overlapping, calloused toes and bunions, and having to lie down on a rubber mat that other people have probably perspired on - the whole thing mad me rather cynical. But I thought if it helped my stiff neck, I'd give it a shot.

I was completely self-conscious. The whole thing for me was totally embarrassing. I lay on my sticky rubber mat in my tight pants, and listened to the instructor. She told us to close our eyes and 'observe our breath' and to forget all thoughts. Lying on my back was killing my neck.

Finallly came some silence, and I realized that silence with people is really uncomfortable to me, but silence in the woods, or silence with my dear old sows or with my cabbages gives me bliss and serenity, a deep contentment. She read a short quote from a Buddhist teacher whose name is Thich Nhat Hanh. He talked about Home and how true home is now. This moment is what is important. This moment is our true home.

That's why I decided to call my third and final book about Glamorgan Farm True Home.

Anny read from this latest book last month at a local cafe. She said this will be the last book about the farm. There are other books to come, and I look forward to whatever comes next.