Sunday, March 07, 2010


Cole's Sharing Garden

The snow is melting more and more every day. There are patches of the lawn showing through around the base of the big poplar trees. The ring of the pond is becoming more and more visible. The driveway is once again, in spots, showing that there is indeed gravel somewhere under there. The warmth of the sun is working its magic on the world around us. The earth below the snow is starting to show.

And with this magic, comes the peeking out of the recently dug earth. The mound of fresh dirt raised where Ole' Man Cole was put to rest is also becoming visible. Just like the horse himself, poking out to insure we remember that he is here. Still here with us.

We've done a lot of talking and reminiscing about Cole recently. He has taken up residence in the hearts of all of us and it helps us all heal to remember him together. In our rememberings of him, ideas have taken shape. Ideas that will show everyone who passes and all who visit that we love that horse. We honor that horse. And we miss that horse.

Read on . . . and join us in celebrating the horse that was Ole' Man Cole.

From Pam W.:


Cole was a wonderful horse who loved and enjoyed everyone who visited THE FARM. He enjoyed the attention that he received and was very patient with people and gentle with the children. One young lady impressed me because she cared so much for him that she would chew up apples for him so that he could enjoy the special treat.

He impressed everyone who met him and I was no exception. I first met him when I attended a couple of Open Barn Days back in 2007. I was so impressed with everything that I saw as well as the dedication of the volunteers. I thought that it was so remarkable what Sandy (then an unknown to me) had created here at Refuge Farms. I decided that I wanted to be a part of it and that has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

When I met Cole the first time, I was of course impressed with his age and how good he looked for such an “Old Man”. Next, I remember that he was always right in the thick of things. He would always push himself in so as to be the first in line to check things out and of course to see if there were going to be treats. More than once he would check out my pockets, and if there were carrot or apples in them, he would use his lips to let me know that he wanted what was in the pockets (they would be in baggies, but he knew). Of course, he was always a gentleman about it.

It seemed like he was the “head honcho” of The Herd. When horses were shifted about, Cole would still pretty much be the “boss”. He was also very much a “ladies man” and would flirt with all the girls, but his true love was “Miss Bette”, now our very gracious “Elizabeth”.

I love the fact that he was always so curious, or nosey, about everything that was going on like he was afraid of missing something. He love checking out the people that visited and would check their pockets out as well (probably hoping that they had something good to eat.) When we had guests or groups come to visit, he always made sure that everything was okay and safe for his “Herd”. It also gave him the first chance to say “hello” and to get any treats that might be available from someone’s hand. He always loved his treats.

I do not believe that Cole knew that he was “so old” for a horse. He kept up with what each of the horses were doing and what was going on all around him. He would “visit” with all the guests, and would not miss a thing that they were doing either. A good thing for us humans to remember as we age: stay active, don’t slow down, stay aware of what is going on around you.

As Cole’s health developed problems, it amazed me how he could just accept, adapt, and keep on going. Another lesson he left for us humans. As Sandy would find things and ways to help him continue with a quality of life, he would just go with the flow and knew that everything was done to help him. He was very, very intelligent.

Since he loved to eat so much and have treats like carrots and apples, I would peel, dice, and soft cook them so that he could “gum” them and feel like he was eating normally. As time went by I would also mash them a bit as well, but they tasted just as good. A treat is a treat!

Another lesson he left us was the pleasure of touch. He loved to be brushed and touched, have his mane and tail combed out. All living things need attention and gentle caring in order to stay healthy and happy. They know that they are beautiful when they are brushed and shiny and no tangles. We see the change in the horses that we groom.

Cole seemed to know if I was in an up or down mood. When in a down mood, he would be much pushier than usual so I would pay more attention to him than to myself and the mood I was in. If it did not work, he would then head butt me to get my attention so that I “let it go”. It would work!!!! Animals are so attuned to us and are very good at letting us know what is really important. Them!!!!!!!!!! I loved the way that he would just push his way in to be the center of attention and make us laugh and feel good.

I treasure the time that I had knowing Cole. He was so unique, sensitive and caring for all of us and the young people that came to visit. I love all of the animals at THE FARM as if they were my own. From them I have learned the art of forgiveness and love. Knowing what they have gone through, but are still able to forgive, love, and trust again, those humans that love and care for them

Every moment that I spend at THE FARM is very special, no matter what I am doing. I feel very privileged to be a part of such a wonderful and healing place. To be able to help in some small way, the healing that goes on here at THE FARM, that is what it is all about. My awareness for this began with OLE' MAN COLE but continues to grow as each animal needs something from us. I am glad that I can give back, even just a little to these animals, whether bold like COLE or more on the timid side. I miss this “guy” but am so grateful for the memories of him and the smiles that come when I think about him and the things that he would do for attention (he really was good at head butting if he thought he was not getting enough attention) and the joy that brought to all of us.


I am so honored to be a part of this group of people that are so deeply committed to this very special place and all the love and caring that takes place here for both animals and humans.

From Colleen B.:

With Cole crossing over the winter, that gives us a new Memory Bed to create this year. And 40 years is a lot to pay tribute to, so we want to “do it up right”, as they say!

Sandy recently mentioned to a few of us that for Ole' Man Cole’s Memory Bed she was thinking a vegetable garden might be appropriate. The more we talked on it, the more we were convinced that yes, that is what we should do! What better way to pay tribute to him than with a big, colorful, busy vegetable patch right in the center of the lawn?

We’ll plant his favorites - carrots and beets - because after all, Elizabeth, Miss April and Laddee and everyone else will enjoy those, too! We’ll have his water bucket (bird bath) there, too. And we can plant tomatoes and peppers and onions (oh, my!) so we can make the seasonal salsa to sell at the Applebee’s breakfast bake sale!

But let’s not forget the humans, too! We can enjoy lettuce, peas and beans, and watermelon, too! Can you imagine Cole’s garden just bursting at the seams come mid August?

While we’re discussing Cole, let’s not forget about all the others who have passed on before . . . Frances Andrew, Jimmer, and Bonita . . . Lady the Dog. They all have Memory Beds that need some new gardeners to bring them to life again! So on that note, let’s get our official Refuge Farms Garden Club started!

From Jeanne D.:

The Gardens at Refuge Farms are a beautiful tribute to those, both large and small, who have crossed before. So much time and energy have been put into the Memory Beds, but sadly, some of them are becoming a bit crowded, and some have yet to be established. That's where the 'Garden Club' comes into play.

The "Official" Refuge Farms Garden Club is an elite group!! The only way you can be a part of this incredible group is by showing up and offering your hearts, your hands, your feet, your gardening knowledge, or your desire to learn. There are so many projects we would love to accomplish this year!

Cole's Sharing Garden is one we want to start on as soon as possible because we all know how much work it is to plan, plant, tend, and harvest a fruit and vegetable garden.

We would also like to clean up the other Memory Beds on THE FARM - not just weeding the weeds, but thinning out some of the overgrown plants, and maybe, just maybe, placing markers in the Beds so that everyone knows just who is resting where.

There are so many great things we can accomplish in the Gardens at THE FARM! Won’t you join us?

For more information and to join in the celebration of Cole's Sharing Garden, see the bulletin board entitled "The Refuge Farms Garden Club". Come and join us!

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?