Vanishing Landscapes – Red Horse Ranch, Fennville

Yesterday I had the privilege of feeding my horse friends at Red Horse Ranch. I volunteer there one evening a week so that I can be close to the horses and give them equine Reiki when the timing works.

Red on white snow falling USE

Red Horse Ranch in a raging but beautiful February snowstorm.

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It was so cold that I didn’t share Reiki the horses but I was able to spend a bit of time photographing the farmstead. Documenting old places, especially vanishing landscapes is an old love of mine. I have been doing this for more than 50 years now. Recording these old-style covered bridges, barns, factories, one-room schoolhouses, train stations, old neighborhood stores and more, these vintage structures draw me in and do not let me  go.

Inside barn looking out

The view from inside the “big barn” looking out.

While I once documented them in black and white film, I now use a digital camera to capture their beauty and create photo essays using computer software. The equipment is certainly different but the creative process is much the same.

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Chipped paint, weather wood and snow flakes on the chicken coop.

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There is just something about photographing barn red paint against white snow.


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The chicken coop in the landscape.

The cold simply vanishes when I am immersed in my craft with the camera in hand and my mind in sync. Photographs jump out at me in the tiniest of details from the barn latch to the blue-gray eyes of the barn cat.

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The barn cat carefully watches me giving Reiki healing to J.B.

When I stood in the barn and look at the hay mound filled with bales of hay I am suddenly transported back to my grandparents Yankee Bank Barn on the Prairie Rhonde, in Schoolcraft, MI. For a moment I was teleported back my childhood and I was standing in the sunbeam watching the straw pieces floating down and around me. For a moment I smelled that unique odor of fresh baled hay. I haven’t thought of that day in years. Isn’t that interesting how a place, and a moment, can trigger a fifty-year-old memory?

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The hayloft and tack center.

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A picturesque vignette of vintage wheelbarrow and chair.

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B.J. eating her dinner before her Reiki treatment.

These vanishing landscapes call to me and sing a song of a story of a slowly dying time. My grandparent’s barn is gone now but the good memories remain. 

Small House Homesteaders and Photographer, Donna

Sharing Reiki Healing with my Equine Friend Juniper

I haven’t shared on this blog yet that I am a Reiki master and use this ancient healing work in my own life and the life of my family, companion dog Sassy, granddaughter and friends.

My special interest in equine Reiki has brought me many opportunities to work with horse companions as well as the eight special horses who work with in conjunction with humans in psychological and emotional healing at The Sundance Center at Red Horse Ranch in Fennville, MI.

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Best buddies, BJ (on the left) and Juniper (On the right)

I am certified to work with humans by my teacher, Sharon Dee, of Spiritual Healing having certified for Reiki 1, 2, and 3. I am also certified to share equine Reiki after studying and certificating with horsewoman and Reiki master, Lisa Frey of Flying Horse Ranch Energyworks.

I believe that we are all spiritual beings, humans and animals alike. It has been my greatest discovery to connect with a horse’s spirit and encourage them in their life.

Reiki for those of you who are not familiar Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by a “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

Red barn side, horse, blue sky nice

The barn at Red Horse Ranch

My friend Juniper had been sick with a very serious equine disease that almost took her life. She spent a week in Michigan States Equine Animal Hospital in isolation receiving antibiotics and fluids. It was touch and go and many in our community were all praying for her and sending her long distance healing energy.  I personally send her healing energy morning and night when I did my own daily Reiki practice. Luckily our dear Juniper survived and came home last weekend.

I was invited to come and give her more healing Reiki energy the day after she returned home, which I happily accepted. I’ve worked with Juniper before and I have discovered that she is the kind of a horse who knows just where she wants and needs her Reiki. Most of the time she wants Reiki in her flank and left side belly section, though as she relaxes and goes into what I call “The Reiki Zone” she will allow me to touch her elsewhere too. I know this because she positions herself directly to my hand and presses her sides into me and pushes. She tells me where and how to send the energy in no uncertain terms, and I have learned to listen.

Farmhouse garage ad flowers

The farmhouse at Red Horse Ranch

As the Reiki flows through her system her eyes close, she relaxes and receives the healing energy. As she pushes her flanks towards me, her belly growls and churns in response. She receives my healing touch for as long as I will give it or until her buddy BJ leaves the stall next door. And BJ always come comes over close to Juniper and shares in the flow of energy as well.

I knew Junipers healing session was done when she yawned, chewed and released a huge breath, kind of like a dog sighing. We enjoyed our session for some 45 minutes and both left feeling energized, content and happy again.

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A lovely fall vignette on the ranch…in the color red of course!

I feel blessed to be able to work with you Juniper and your herd on Red Horse Ranch. Be well my friend!

Donne, Reiki Master on The Small House Homestead