The relentless physical demands of mountain life with its long cold winters and isolation took their toll. This precipitated a move to an organic farm in the valley where Robert drove our four-up team of Shires on the land, in parades and offered carriage rides in the park.
“Ease your grip,” Robert’s words echoed.
Robert schooled me in the art of the teamster. That summer, I jumped at the chance to cut and bale hay with the draft horses. This was a meditation in the truest sense—demanding moment-to-moment mindfulness, coupled with relaxation. Faltering for a breath, or a blink of inattention could prove disastrous.
The weather in the valley was temperate, so we planted herbs and vegetables and opened Ffoselyg Parc Farm. The following year, we opened a nursery specializing in exotic ground covers, perennials and bamboo.
The horses flourished in their new home, where they grazed on organic grass and alfalfa. Our pair of ornery llamas accompanied us to the valley.
This motley twosome loved chasing visitors across the field, and if the guests were foolish enough to turn their backs, Bertrum and Bossley tried to mount them.
A gregarious and contented Goatee happily nuzzled anyone offering grain. And there were some new friends: Estonia, the Indian antelope, a Nilgai, who lavished me with kisses from her long, black sand-paper tongue, a miniature donkey, a miniature horse, two emus, a potbellied pig and a flock of chickens.