I am so hopeful for 2013! I'm officially retired from OSU as of New Year's Day, and we have some pretty big changes happening at the nano-farm, too. The big ones are that we had our geothermal furnace installed and bought two "ponies" this month. The larger one (Samson) is a real pony; Rusty is a mini-horse. But we still refer to them as "the ponies." They're very sweet 8-year-old geldings, so they're teenagers, I guess. Samson is trained to pull a cart, and can also be ridden by a child. He neck reins. Rusty can be ridden, but only while being led. They're relatively young, so we hope someone can help us train Rusty to neck rein, as well. Ultimately, I'd like my twin granddaughters to have fun riding them (together) for a few years, after which we'll probably just enjoy riding in the cart.

     It's been interesting to see how alert the ponies are to activities in the neighboring pastures and fields. As you know, animals are constantly assessing their place in the environment, their physical condition, and what's going on in their surroundings. They instinctively notice us every time we come out of the house. Having a herd mentality, they watch for any sign of danger.

     When they were introduced to their new place, we let them explore the large paddock for the first few days. They went over to the fence that separated them from the steer in the smaller paddock. After a week of seeing each other on opposite sides of the fence, we opened the gate to let them interact.

    The ponies are completely bonded to each other. They've lived together for the past 6 years. It was interesting to see how Samson put himself between the smaller one and the steer for the first few days. The three of them have established a hierarchy now. The steer knows that he's not one of them, but he's OK just tagging along. Obviously, they can outrun him, and when they're playing, they don't allow him to join in the fun. (He has horns, after all!) But he's OK with that. He's just happy to have some company.

     Their interactions have reminded me that just as an animal assesses its condition and environment on a moment-to-moment basis, GINI (as an organic entity) must also assess its condition and any perceived changes. The GINI Board will meet again in January to consider our goals and objectives.

     At that meeting, we'll discuss and present ideas that we'd really like to see come to fruition. Of course, our success in accomplishing any of those ideas will be defined by the current status of the organization and our prospects of being a vibrant and active community in the region.

    "Vigor" is sometimes defined as having sufficient energy and enthusiasm to allow effort. GINI is blessed with wonderful resources...a great location, people who are actively engaged with the issues of our time, and a diverse setting. We are blessed to live in an area experiencing educational, technological, and spiritual growth. My prediction for 2013 is that GINI will tap the vigor of this region and make great strides in the coming year.

     Please join us, officially. We know you're spiritually with us, because you're reading this. But we need your active participation and we need to hear your voice! Come and talk with us on January 20th. (Check the events section.)

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