I have been blessed throughout my life with great friends.  In my early adulthood; I was elated to find that my family and I all had/have, true and close friendships filled with love and silliness.

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When I widen my focus I see many life long connections with amazing people.

I had the great fortune to meet and marry my best friend.  A partner to create this chaotic homestead with.

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I have felt the sting of fakery and venomous relationships.  I learned from these experience; and make my current decisions with the benefit of this knowledge.  As I look back on my life this far; my greatest friends have been of the furry, feathered or scaly verity.

Like the friendships of my very early childhood, I find these connections with critters to be some of my most valued.  The ones I learned the most important lessons from.  Relationships between the species require; kindness, truth, patience and empathy.

They are based on authentic consistent action- on what you do and not what you say.  I like that.

Now a days, I rarely if ever feel the need to seek interaction outside of our little family and the homestead.  This could be a result of spending most waking hours at work- talking with MANY, MANY people.  Often these people become good friends over time and trial.

Dynamics between inhabitants of the homestead are always interesting.  Some are indifferent; like the ducks and the chickens.  Some are contentious; like rooster relations.

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And some require physical boundaries in-order to avoid death; like that between the husky and anything with feathers.  The other two dogs have no such restrictions.

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The dogs and sheep however can share a common fence and often race each other back and forth.

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One of the funnest friendships on the property is the one between the Freeloaders and the sheep.  The Freeloaders consist of two random chickens who choose (I’m not kidding) to cross the road from our neighbor’s last spring and live outside the fences in our yard.  They scavenge what they can from the other animals, hence the title “Freeloaders.”  The two redheads were joined mid-spring by a rooster my husband brought home. (Don’t ask, he didn’t :). )

The Freeloaders and the late Fredrick decided by summer that they were sheep too.  They even follow each other into the back woods as a group.  It is firkin hilarious when I call the sheep and they come running with three chickens in tow.

After ‘morning free range grazing’ the five of them inevitably show up at the sliding glass door begging for feed.

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The view from the inside goes something like this:

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They are blurry because Isis is watching them all from right behind my heals, just waiting for a chance to squeeze out and CHASE EVERYTHING!  I decided to have some fun with this prompt and directly stage a shot depicting the different types of friendships that take place in our little space.

I placed one of the Freeloaders on Lulu’s back and Voilà!

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“Friends”

It even has the sheep attack boogie board 🙂

No one seemed to mind the arrangement very much.  Except for Isis who still insists she only “wants out for a second just to say “hi”and she will come right back, honest…”

Another day, all of us waiting for spring.  I hope it comes soon because this is getting a little ridiculous and none of my friends seem opposed to my shenanigans.

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