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).

Monday, December 8, 2008


When is the last time you really looked at a Snowflake? For me it was today. I had just returned to my Jeep after picking up my mail at the post office in Humboldt, and was about to open the door when I was suddenly drawn to tiny white snowflakes on the black door handle. Maybe my unconscious mind kicked in, knowing that Melva, Editor of WHOLifE Journal is including an article in the upcoming issue about snowflakes and she had mentioned this to me, and sent some pictures from her photographer friend, Richard Walters. Maybe I experienced a true "in the moment" moment. Maybe I was blessed. I stood there captivated and gazing at my doorhandle, until I thought that people might really wonder what was up with me. What I saw in that moment was breathtaking and magical. Tiny, exquisite, perfectly beautiful, sparkling little miracles. Each one unique and different. Can you imagine? I have always heard that every snowflake that falls is different, but I have never stopped to contemplate this until today.

Wilson Bentley once wrote, "The farm folks up in this North Country dread the winter, but I was always supremely happy, from the day of the first snowfall--which usually came in November--until the last one, which sometimes came as late as May." For the "Snowflake Man," snow was a lifelong lesson in the way nature's beauty arises from a delicate balance of law and chaos, fixity and change.--Chet RaymoThe Old Farmer's Almanac-Guide to Watching the Weather.

See more about Wilson Bentley at: http://www.linda-goodman.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/002678.html

I invite you to take a few moments, in the sparkling light of a winter's afternoon, to venture outside and wonder at the beauty of snowflakes, just like Wilson Bentley did, take some photos, and share them with friends, and enjoy the article and photos about snowflakes in the January/February issue of WHOLifE Journal.

Happy winter!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Finding love at Ravenheart

I look up from my computer as a flash of white and black run by along the lilac hedge on the far side of the front lawn. It is the Ravenheart dogs, Polly and Charlie, joyfully playing a game of tug with a stick, followed closely behind by Bianca and Chris walking arm in arm. I watch for a few moments as they stop to tend to the beautiful trough of flowers they surprised me with for my birthday a few weeks ago. Watching this scene unfold fills me with love and much gratitude for all of my blessings.

Chris and Bianca arrived here in April, Bianca, a "Wwoofer" from Wwoof Canada (Willing Workers on Organic Farms
http://www.wwoof.ca/canada/homecanada.html , and Chris from Good Work Canada (http://www.goodworkcanada.ca/). Bianca had come to Canada from Japan where she had spent the past 6 months teaching English and learning about Japanese culture and language and Chris arrived from his home in Germany. Both are from Germany but have travelled extensively. Chris and I had already arranged for his arrival in April when I received a call from Bianca who was staying with a friend in Saskatoon while looking for a Canadian Wwoofing experience. I had room for two people and could certainly use the help. The timing was perfect! I arranged to pick her up at the airport the same day that Chris was arriving from Germany.

It is now July and we have become like family (yes, with the sometimes challenging dynamics of community living) and beyond that, Bianca and Chris, total strangers on that evening in April, have found love at Ravenheart!

I am grateful to be a link in their journey to each other. I am grateful and so appreciative of the care, respect and loving attention they extend to the Ravenheart companion animals, and to all the wild creatures...even the owls (still not sure what kind) that screech late into the night. I am grateful for all that they contribute to Ravenheart and my vision, and for the joy that I am filled with when I see them enjoying a walk in the evening after a full days work, surrounded by a prairie sky in brilliant colours of pink, red and orange. They will stay until September and then return to Germany to build their lives together, which I am most certain will involve much more travelling adventures!

May their Highest visions be fulfilled!

In love and gratitude,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Abundance, generosity and the wonders of spring!

I sit at my desk in front of a large picture window looking out into the expanse of prairie landscape and open sky. Out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of a small sparrow landing on a young reddish tree (I think it's an ornamental crab???) and suddenly I am fully in the moment, savouring the beauty of the vibrant spring colours. And oh, the many colours of green at this time of year! After a bit of rain and lots of sun, the lawn is lush and green. The trees are wearing their fresh new leaves, a colour of green that is almost irridescent. The lilac hedge a deeper green, and I could go on and on to describe every possible shade of green imaginable. The bird varieties are plentiful and I wish I could identify all of them, but just in the last few minutes I have seen Starlings, Barn Swallows (making their nests on the house and ignoring the HUGE barn!!!), Chickadees, American Goldfinch, crows, sparrows and of course, pigeons. Butterflies flit back and forth and the drone of a large bumblebee comes and goes.

Thanks to Bianca and Chris from Germany, our Wwoofers (Worldwide Opportunities On Organic Farms), many important projects have been and are being completed, much to my deep appreciation. The furry and hairy ones here at Ravenheart love all the extra attention too! Thanks also to Elizabeth, a friend who is staying here for a while. We all love that her favourite pastime is cooking! Here is a list of just a few things that they have contributed to Ravenheart.

  • Beautifully groomed horses

  • Clean paddocks and shelter

  • Clean barn

  • Beautiful garden space hand dug and planted with a variety of fruit and vegetables

  • Ravenheart sign painted and installed on roadway

  • Rock gardens freshly tilled and weeded

  • Stairs and entrance built to barn loft

  • Many, many, many repairs to this and that

  • Rock fire circle completed

  • Firewood stack created

  • A variety of new shrubs and perennials planted

  • Did I mention the abundance of delicious, nutritious, and "slow food" meals? Chris and Elizabeth are both fabulous cooks (Blessed are Bianca, Wes, Melva and I :}!)

  • Round pen completed

  • Large north pasture fence completed

  • Piles and piles of rocks picked and stacked

  • Paths and trails groomed and maintained

  • the list goes on and on...the tasks too numerous to capture all here

Thank you Chris, Bianca and Elizabeth. You bring love, spirit, energy, creativity, dedication and hardwork to Ravenheart. I appreciate your willingness, encouragement, the spirit of cooperation you demonstrate to everyone who visits here, and especially the love, care and respect you give to our companion animals, the wildlife and natural environment.

I admit I have fallen in love with Saskatchewan. The vast and varied landscape beholds many exquisite gems. The open spaces provide such a sense of freedom. The people are friendly, honest, hard-working and loyal. The air is fresh and clean. Nature abounds. Lakes, trees, rolling hills, lush marshes brimming with an abundance of water fowl and other wildlife, fresh, locally grown and organic food (a 100 mile diet is easy here), arts, culture, music, holistic health and recreation are found in the smallest of villages like St. Brieux, Meacham, St. Louis, Quill Lake and many others. Melva and I just discovered a most exceptional natural retreat called Torch Valley Country Retreats (http://www.torchvalleycountryretreats.com/). Our intent was to stay two nights and move on to discover other wonders of Saskatchewan, but we couldn't leave! We stayed in Cabin #3, the newest of three custom designed, authentic and original log cabins, this one constructed from logs salvaged after a forest fire blazed through part of the 2000 acres of land a few years ago. Cozy and comfortable with many natural features and a focus on sustainable living, yet fully furnished with all the amenities for a luxurious stay. Miles of inviting moss coverered trails, gazebos along the river bank, wildflowers, fiddleheads, mushrooms, birds, wild life, deep forest, marshes, ponds, and so much more still to discover. And for wintery or rainy days, there are bookshelves lined with classic novels, local poetry, naturalists, and artists, classic videos and DVD's. We will be back Jean and George! Thank you for your hospitality and the incredible effort you are making in the conservation of Saskatchewan's natural habitat.

At 6:15pm the horses and dogs are fed. Polly and Charlie are laying in the cool of the evening shade, tired from a full day of bone chewing and roaming the land, along with keeping up to Chris and Bianca as they move from chore to chore. (They really do get to relax here as well - kinda of a working vacation).

May you be at Peace. May your Hearts remain open. May you discover the Spirit of your True Nature. May you be Healed. May you be a Source of Healing for all Beings.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wake up...and smell the horses...

Twas a lovely spring morning
the 12th day of April
We responded to the call
of the Ravenheart stable.

I jumped in my car
a bit after seven
to head north on Highway 20
a wee bit of heaven.

The marsh at Port Hyman
was well worth a stop
to see geese and gulls
and the golden eye duck.

Also worth mention
as I was cruising along
was the beautiful sound
of the meadowlark song.

He ignored the "Danger,
High Pressure" sign
he used as a perch
along the fence line.

His golden breast
reflected such beauty
that my soul said a prayer
out of love and duty.

Thousands of snow geese,
the Canada too,
filled up the sky or rested
on field or by slough.

I arrived at the farm a little bit late
but, with open arms, Carol met me at the gate.

I was greeted inside
by Holly, Catlin and Terry;
beautiful souls
no need to be wary.

Out in the corral
the horses were grazing
ready to greet us:
Sugar, Lacey, Brownie, Raven

Sugar's charming and sweet,
Lacey and Brownie a bit shy,
Raven stood a long way off
avoiding our eye.

Back in the house
we poured out our souls;
shared with each other
some of our goals.

We were joined by an author
through the pages of her book
comparing horse and human energy
was well worth a look.

In our high-top rubber boots
we went back to the corral.
We schmucked through the muck
to rejoin our new pals.

And I would be remiss
if I didn't mention
the smell of horse manure;
but is caused us no tension.

It was part of the experience;
a natural fragrance.
Nature's way of neutralizing
our human arrogance.

It opened the way
for communication
with one of God's great beasts
we would feel deep-down elation.

I don't know about the others
but Brownie said to me
through Carol's interpretation,
Let it go and let it be.

Brownie sensed in me
a great tension in my body.
perhaps, my dear, she said
You need to stop being so haughty.

You're not fooling anyone
certainly not me.
Just be yourself - let go, let God
and then you will see...

That life can be quite easy
we've all got one purpose:
to love and revere life
in our wordly circus.

Not just people and their cultures
but meadowlarks and horses,
mosquitoes, wasps and turtles,
dandelions and marshes.

Embrace them all with love and joy
and when you're feeling pain
seek the opportunity
the Universe knows you can gain.

For it's in your darkest hour
or when you've hit abysmal bottom
that the true love seed is planted
to see you through from spring to autumn.

The seed of love like all seeds we know
patiently awaits the right time to grow.

So have patience my friends,
myself included,
though at times our life seems
so dark and excluded.

As we learn to accept
fear and doubt as fodder
for growth of our spirit
firmly joined to mother/father.

We can rise above
what came before
and thank Mom and Dad
for their love, and more.

And always remember
pain and sorrow are a boost-up
from those wasteland spaces
Aussies call the whup-whup!

Don't fear the pain
embrace it with love
know the Universe supports you
as firmly as a glove.

Phew - that was heavy -
but now my load feels lighter.
Thanks Carol for offering space & time
my way seems so much brighter!

By M. Hunter
(Horses, Spirit and Play April 2008)

Monday, March 24, 2008

"The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives." Native American saying

Water. A precious gift and so often taken for granted. We are so blessed in this part of the world. We turn on a tap and water flows. Prior to living in the country, I rarely gave much thought to water. Yes, I did my best to conserve it, shorter showers, not leaving it running when brushing my teeth and doing dishes etc. I respected, appreciated, and was grateful for water when I lived in the city. Yet, I am much more aware of the sweet gift of water these days. Pure, clean, fresh and abundant water! Ravenheart is blessed with a wonderful well. Testing the water resulted in clean, safe drinking water, both from the kitchen tap and the horse hydrant. A front-load washer and reminding guests that "if it's yellow, let it mellow, and if it's brown, flush it down" are some ways we conserve. Protecting the ground water is a priority. No chemicals are used on the garden or lawn. Care is taken in maintaing the well and septic system. Softeners, iron removers, reverse osmosis, all new to me but now part of daily living as I perform my daily visit to the "basement" to check on the "systems".

So, yesterday when I went to the horse hydrant to fill a bucket for Spirit and no water flowed, I was shocked. What could be wrong. Panic set in quickly, as this is the main hydrant I use to fill the horse trough. With some research on the web I learn that a "frost-free hydrant" can freeze if the handle is left open slightly, no allowing all the water to drain down below frost level, or that filling small buckets instead of the large trough, can also cause it to freeze up. Since Spirit arrived (see earlier post), I have been hauling buckets to him, as he is in a separate paddock where there is no heated horse trough. I learn that filling one or two buckets, 3 or 4 times daily, can cause a problem. I learn that I could have just scooped buckets of water from the main horse trough and then filled it up, using way more water, which I guess is better. Oh, how I yearn for Spring!

The plumber will arrive this evening to check it out. I trust it will be an easy fix. In the meantime, I will be hauling buckets from the house. It is snowing today, so shovels full of white, fluffy snow is finding its way into the heated trough. Today I even appreciate the snow!

As I write this, I am listening to CBC Radio Saskatchewan on water. "Should it be a human right?" "Should everyone be on a water meter?" These are important things to ponder. All humans have the right to water. I am willing to share the water at Ravenheart. Maybe someday it won't be my choice to make. In the meantime, I will honour and appreciate the precious gift of water. A neighbour just up the road has drilled for water and found none, so they haul it in. This is a reality for many farmers and rural residents.

I offer this prayer...

We return thanks to our mother, the earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs,
which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters,
the beans and squashes,
which give us life.
We return thanks to the wind,
which, moving the air
has banished diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in whom is embodied all goodness,
and who directs all things for the good of his children.
Source: Earth Prayers from Around the World - IROQUOIS PRAYER (adapted)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Welcome to Spirit!

Small in size but big in attitude! Spirit is the newest herd member at Ravenheart. This story reminds me of visiting a country market in the Laurentians (Quebec) on a field trip when I was in grade school. You could buy anything at this market, including baby goats for a dollar! If not for the bus driver who stopped me from boarding the bus, I would have arrived home (in town) with a baby goat in my arms. Not only did we live in the city, but my Dad had a definite aversion to goats...due to being chased by one as a youngster. Now that I live on a "farm", the billboard at the local mall is a risky place for me. In January I saw an ad for a sleigh...and a few days later it arrived in my yard, delivered by the artisan who I called "just to check it out." A couple of weeks ago I just happened to notice an ad that said "miniature horse for sale." No pictures or description, just those little pull-off tabs with the phone numbers...and one found it's way into my pocket. It couldn't hurt to call could it??? "Oh, he's a stallion. And he's the only horse we have, so he's all alone! And the kids aren't really interested anymore? We're asking $299, but we're open to offers"!!! Ok, I thought, we'll just go and see him. Melva came along. "Oh, she say's, I can help buy him." "He's so cute!" "And so fat!" (something to do with a hay bale bigger than him). So, the research started immediately with questions such as: What are the risks/benefits in gelding a 10 year old stallion? How can we safely and successfully introduce him to the herd and will they accept him, be afraid of him, bully him? Where will we keep him until he is gelded and fully recovered? Will he willingly load in the horse trailer? How will he react to the mares and how will they react to him? Will it be mayhem? What in the world are we thinking???

Well, I'm glad to report that overall things are going smoothly so far. A young neighbour and experienced horse woman, Amanda (Equine Massage and Chiropractic) offered to pick him up with her horse trailer. She calmly lead him around the yard, taking him back and forth to the trailer so he could check it out in a relaxed way. Amanda then laid out a handful of oats, and he stepped right on. Doors were closed and all was quiet on the trip home, thankfully just a short 1/2 hour drive. Upon arriving at Ravenheart, he stepped off the trailer calmly and all was well till he got sight of the horses. Then it was all Amanda could do to hold on to him. Thank goodness he's a mini. Once in the paddock there was plenty of snorting and whinnying and chaos, but thanks to a good electric fence, all took place without harm to anyone. He spent the first few days running back and forth along the fence if Raven and the mares got out of sight of his paddock. The vet is coming soon to geld him. After much research, I trust that things will go smoothly and he will recover easily and quickly, and in a few weeks be able to join the herd and enjoy the gentle company of Raven, Sugar, Lacey and Brownie, along with his new role in the Equine-Assisted Learning team at Ravenheart Farms.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

For the Love of Horses

For the Love of Horses

“You took me to adventure and to love. We two have shared great joy and great sorrow. And now I stand at the gate of the paddock watching you run in an ecstasy of freedom, knowing you will return to stand quietly, loyally, beside me.” Pam Brown, Author

The horses are calling. A powerful transformation is taking place all over the globe. Our way of being with horses is evolving to higher ground and the horses are leading the way. This is profoundly evident by a Google of phrases such as equine assisted learning (EAL/EAP), spirit of horses, healing with horses, way of the horse, One with the Herd, the Tao of Equus, and Path of the Horse, which is just a few examples resulting in a vast array of websites and articles linking to this powerful and emerging way of being with horses. Amongst these sites are thousands of heart-felt testimonials from people who have been deeply moved and inspired through experiencing horses in this way.

Horses symbolize a magical balance of peace, power, beauty, and grace. Merely the sight of a horse galloping playfully across an open field or grazing peacefully in a pasture is enthralling. We are captivated by their power and elegance, and respectful or downright intimidated by their immense size. As long as we have inhabited the earth, humans have treasured horses for their exquisite beauty and have profited from their generosity of spirit, strength, versatility and power.

A reawakened “horse whisperer” approach to training and relating to horses is rapidly gaining ground. For people with a love and passion for horses, this movement is deeply welcome. It is no longer acceptable to “break” a horse. Words commonly heard these days are “relationship, natural horsemanship, trust, understanding, harmony, communication, lead, allow, partnership”. The “old” ways of training horses through dominance, fear, control, and force are falling away and being replaced all over the world with relationship, respect, and understanding.

In addition, horses are enriching our lives through their ability to bring us joyfully into the present moment and provide us with opportunities for clarity, understanding and reflection through activities such as Equine Assisted Learning/Therapy (EAL & EAP), therapeutic riding and Hippotherapy. Therapists, counselors, healers, life coaches, corporate leaders and spiritual communities around the globe are enthusiastically embracing this magnificent and inspiring movement.

Horses evoke a myriad of emotions within us. Play, lightness of spirit, love, calmness, and reverence. They present us with opportunities to connect to the deepest part of our spirit and reconnect to our true selves. If you want to pause, open your heart, uncover incongruent or buried emotions, and recognize your inner gifts, spend time in the presence of a most magnificent spiritual teacher and healer – the horse.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sacred Journey with Denise Linn - Soul Coaching

Today I am beginning a 28 day Sacred Journey, accompanied by my friend Lynne. We are participating with Denise Linn and her Soul Coaching program. It is a free on-line fabulous program, so I invite you to visit her website, and consider joining us on this journey of self-discovery, spirit and creativity. http://www.deniselinn.com/index.htm

Here is my answer to one of the questions today: What do I want to do with the remainder of my life? Share it with my life partner. Create a Supportive Community here at Ravenheart Farms - a Teaching/Learning Community - an organic farm - supplying all the staples we need and enough to share. A safe and nurturing place for domestic, companion and wild animals. A place of Light and Healing and Growth. A place of Peace, Spirit and Creativity. A place of lively activity and quiet stillness, abundance, music and spiritual awakening. A safe haven. A power place - vibrant, energetic, healthy, peaceful, joyful, safe, beautiful and abundant.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Vision for Ravenheart

"Last night I was immersed in the energy of envisioning all that Ravenheart Farms can bring forth as a place of peace, connection to nature, the loving and healing company of animals, spiritual awakening and personal growth.

I believe in the statement "if you build it, they will come". I also believe that "if you dream it, you can do it" and I know that if I dream it, others do too, and believe that they will want to join in building it.

I invite all of you who reads this to share this vision for all that Ravenheart can provide you, your friends or anyone who you believe may benefit from spending some peaceful, quiet and reflective time at Ravenheart Farms. My bigger vision is to create a nature and sprititual sanctuary that will nurture the goodness of spirit, the beauty of nature and the divine connection that we share for the Highest Good of All.

A beautiful big old barn stands on the property.It needs lots of care and attention to restore it to its original magnificence. I can picture it fully restored, with the lower part beautifully designed to provide the best of care for the horses and Equine Assisted Learning and Growth, beautiful stalls, a feed room, equipment room, a warm and cozy place for the barn cats, bathroom facilities, and everything that will enhance the needs of the horses and people.

In the large upper loft, I envision a place where people can come to renew their spirits. A large community kitchen, an open area for drumming, workshops, circle, sacred ceremony, celebration, with the outer perimeter lined with cozy, simply furnished 10 x 10 rooms (with a design in the look of a horse stall), single beds or bunk beds, colourful handmade quilts, a desk, chair and lamp for writing and journalling, and overall a safe place for people to connect to their spirit, safety and healing.

The horses will not live in the barn, but a couple of lovely stalls will be available in case a horse is injured or sick. Horses are happiest and healthiest living outside, provided with good grazing and quality hay.

I have built fences, a round pen, furnished 4 guest rooms with cozy furniture and bedding, started the barn restoration, planted trees, created nature trails, held a couple of workshops including a most beautiful Primal Fire Retreat with Patrick Harbula (Living Purpose Institute and author of Magic Of The Soul) and Sweat Lodge Ceremony, and have welcomed many friends and family to enjoy this little prairie retreat.

There are many opportunities for creative projects. I invite artists, writers, healers, visionaries, sculptors, engineers, carpenters, organic gardeners, healers, mystics, seekers, teachers, and anyone who would like to participate in creating and building this vision. In return, I will provide room and board, access to a library filled with inspirational books and audio, organic food, the company of sweet and kind companion animals, friendship and lots of opportunity for meditation, quiet reflection, nature walks, and a listening ear.

Thank you for listening and holding this vision for Ravenheart Farms."

In Love and Light,