Fear & Wonder

A luna moth on a black backdrop.

It turned out to be a memorable fourth of July here on the farm, though not for quite the reasons we expected. Our hillside location means that we can usually see fireworks in all four directions, some barely bubbling above the horizon, while others burst in full bloom above the treetops. This year, they seemed bigger and brighter, falling out of the sky right above our heads. It was Keiran who first noticed that the billy goats had gotten scared, tangling themselves in the fence. Realizing that we should check on the milking herd in the back pasture, we walked back through the darkness, relaxed and laughing. It was only when we reached the girls’ enclosure that we sensed trouble: only two sets of eyes glowed back at us in the darkness. The other 28 goats had vanished. The next couple hours are seared into my brain, as we searched the dark hills, calling frantically, our headlamps sweeping the dark treeline, our hopes repeatedly raised and dashed by fireflies, glowing like distant goat’s eyes. Straining our ears, we listened for some indication of where the goats were, but all was quiet, and I wondered how far they had run, panic-stricken, through the darkened forest. The quiet was terrible, but the sudden eruption of yipping and barking from the local coyote pack was worse, for now the goats had gone beyond our protection… All our hard-working goat friends, cherished from birth, were suddenly vulnerable and undoubtedly scared. Standing in the dark with my own scared child at my side, I fully realized how much we relied on them, how our whole livelihood was built around them. They had to be out there, and yet there was no sound, no sight of them…

It was my daughter who finally spotted them, “Look at all the eyes behind Daddy’s tractor,” she said, and I ran to where I could see, and finally hear, as the goats jostled in a tightly packed group of moving bodies, following the tractor up the hill and into the barn, blessedly safe. After we had counted and re-counted, we shut the doors tightly behind us, finally ready for our own bed. The big barn light shone into the dark yard like a beacon of safety, and I noticed large wings flapping in the light. The flash of brilliant green beckoned us for a closer look: a luna moth! I had never seen one alive, and its glistening beauty returned a sense of wonder to the night. Its large furry form detached from the pool of light and flapped on heavy wings towards me, settling on my pants. For a long time it clung quietly, letting us admire the intricacies of its pattern, this amazing beauty on a simple moth. Wonder indeed, and fear, and all that nature entailed, wrapped into one memorable night on the farm.

See What's Happening At The Farm!

Subscribe to our farm newsletter to receive the latest stories, info & updates.

Thank you for supporting Pumpkin Vine Family Farm and subscribing to our newsletter!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Then you'll receive more exciting farm stories just like these delievered directly to your inbox!

Thank you for supporting Pumpkin Vine Family Farm and subscribing to our newsletter!