On my way to the City of Brotherly Love!

The horse I drove in Philly, Tom, who came to retire here on the farm with a acute lymphedema. We could write a book on the experience of caring for Tom and a lot of the book would be the close relationship I had to him. He was one of my greatest teachers and inspirations for so much of what I do today. Here we are standing in front of the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia. Tom left this world in 2010 loved and admired and held closely in countless hearts in the city and on the farm.

I am going back to work in the National Park in Philadelphia. I can hardly believe it, it is a dream come true in many ways. It has now become a reality. The time has come for me to explore ways to take care of myself while  keeping my commitment to the horses here on the farm. I intend on always doing what I can to facilitate a connection to the work horses and here on the farm we accomplish that in an extraordinary way and I am so proud of it all. I will build my new life all around it, with the farm at the center, for the rest of my life, god willing.

Tom and I in a picture found on Lonely Planet. This carriage would later come to be on the farm thanks to a generous donation from Jeff Polep of Polep Distribution. These days we keep it safely undercover in storage until it  can have the repairs and restoration it needs in order to be fully functional for many more years to come. The famous #4 has even been in feature movies!

 

#4 helping the Blue Star horses and Paul and I  do our  job of bringing Santa and Mrs. Clause to their appt in Chicopee of giving presents to the homeless. This awesome carriage came from 76 Carriage Co. BIG supporters of our work and close friends and colleagues these days.

Driving a carriage in Philadelphia is deeply personal. My years driving in Philadelphia were some of the best of my life and the reasons are simple. For the first time in my life every fiber of my being was joyfully present. I loved going out in different kinds of weather, through all kinds of seasons and holidays, through time and endless founding stories of our how our unique and important democracy came to life and how this great country came to be what it is.

Zoe and Tom in Philly in 2007. My daughter Zoe grew up around the work horses always helping  them in some way. These days she continues to be a big part of our work at Blue Star, the working horses are permanent friends alongside her, she doesn’t want or need to live without them. Zoe is studying massage and permaculture and we are sure she will design a life of independence and goodness and we are sure there will be a work horse  or two or more involved.

While I was working in Philly I felt wrapped up in stories that mattered, that changed the world and shaped who we have become. It is all there in Philadelphia, from the early Swede, Swiss and Dutch settlers (of whom my family was a part of as religiously persecuted Mennonite) to Chief Tamanend of the Lenape Indians to the arrival of William Penn to the secret meetings of our founding fathers at Carpenters Hall.

76 Carriage Co. carriage in front of Independence Hall.
Bud the horse, the reason we created Blue Star, former 76 Carriage Co. Philadelphia carriage horse and master teacher of life. Some of us believe Blue Star is Bud’s dream for his own kind, it sure feels like it! Bud lived out his retirement with us and left the earth in 2012.

I can’t wait to be there again, walking along those streets telling the stories of the lives that came before and buildings that housed it all. All of that history, drama, epic rising and falls, our American story. I wasn’t a patriotic person until I did that job and now I find I am deeply patriotic and proud to be American, proud to be born on this land and proud to be woven into the fabric of who we are, all of us. Who we were with horses throughout time is also recorded there and having a horse as a working partner while traveling through time and history is incomparable. I imagine I will have lots of blogs related to my experiences to come.

My friend Shane recently told me that the boldest thing to do right now in the world is to love yourself, love, love, love…….this is my way of deeply loving myself and for the first time in a long time has given me a new burst of life, something that I am grateful for. There is nothing like remembering where you come from to help direct where you are going.

Bud like so many great equines throughout history inspired a greatness in those of us that knew him. He lives on at Blue Star in the history and in the spirit shared here. We were all lucky to have known him. A former amish youngster bought at an auction who went on to have an epic life in an epic National Park where he worked happily for over a decade. Bud hated retirement, but he adjusted and in doing so taught us that the needs of these working partners are indeed unique and special and worthy of a home of their own.

There is an awesome crew on the farm who all have the drive, commitment and energy to continue to lay the foundation of what is important work to us all. I do not have to be on the farm all the time anymore, there are others that can look after it as I have done for over seven years now, with love and gratitude and openness to face the future with horses at their sides, where they belong.  Alot of what I do these days only requires that I can get on-line and I can do that from virtually anywhere.

 

Please join us as we venture into this new journey for the farm and those that call it home. The many retired, disabled and homeless work horses. Help us celebrate and include them again into our communities, where they belong.

Join the Herd!

 

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