All Beings (Philosophy Part III)

A small pig with mud on its nose standing against a fence


The Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Naht Hanh wrote “Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” All beings. Within the overarching philosophy of Nye Hill Farm, we have aspired to provide sanctuary for arthritic and asthmatic horses. An unwanted mule. Abandoned and disfigured pigs. Relinquished goats. Sheep who outlived their 4-H projects or their aging owners’ health. Llamas who simply needed a new home. A pair of oxen that no longer fit their owner’s plans and a young Holstein cow no longer necessary to help wean horses. All beings.

All of the animals here have names. A drift of four American Guinea Hogs originally slated for commercial breeding and slaughter now saunter about as sisters Flopsie and Fionna with their brothers Flatts and Scruggs. Today they share their large, clean, passively solar heated shelter with Cheyanne, an enormous Hampshire Sow who outgrew her owner’s interest. Perhaps the most apropos name belongs to one of four pigs rescued from an abandoned farm in a nearby town. Arriving with a badly mutilated ear which eventually fell off, this pig required surgery to close the open wound and a regimen of antibiotics to stave off infection. Today, “Vincent” lives happily alongside his three fellow survivors, also in a large, clean, passively solar heated shelter.

All of the animals here have safe, secure, clean shelter, healthy food and clean water. All of them. When we offered to adopt seven goats of some thirty or so relinquished to the Massachusetts S.P.C.A., that agency required a “home visit” to confirm we were a suitable placement. Shortly after her arrival, the woman conducting the visit looked around and asked “Could you also take four pot belly pigs we took in last week?” When they arrived, one was in such bad condition an old timer suggested putting him down. Today, “Wilbur” seems the happiest, and is the funniest, animal on the farm, and that includes the human kind.

While here to live out healthy, peaceful lives, all of the animals play an integral role in Nye Hill’s commitment to certified organic farming. Proscribed from using synthetic fertilizers, we aren’t just mucking out shelters, run-ins and stalls, we are gathering the natural fertilizers that help us restore and maintain the fertility of our orchards and fields.

We are but stewards of Nye Hill Farm, and providing sanctuary to animals in need of loving care is part of that stewardship, a part we take as seriously as the keeping of our bees and hens, the nurturing of our fruit trees and blueberry bushes, the cultivation of our fields, the tending to our gardens which attract and support the pollinators upon which we all depend. We are a working farm that aspires to see all beings with eyes of compassion. All beings.