In the wee hours of the morning, a filly was born to a rescued mare named Star. An Easter story of new life took place within the animal world.
A few months ago, Star came to live at Carolina Equine Rescue & Assistance in Wingate. She was eight months pregnant, had a heart condition, was hungry, malnourished and due to deliver in three months.
Darlene Kindle, who started the 14-acre retreat for neglected, abused and abandoned horses four years ago, took Star in, the way she takes in the other animals on the rolling hillside tucked a few miles off of U.S. 74. Horses graze through green fields scattered with buttercups. A hog named Bruno is so friendly he expects to sit in your lap. And a goat named George behaves like a dog.
"I have loved animals my whole life," Darlene said. "My dad did this to me. If it was hungry or homeless, we took it in."
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Darlene grew up in Erie, Penn. Her family tended to all kinds of animals including raccoons.
All types of animals roam freely on her farm. A sign calls the farm "gifted acres." Bruno, at 700-plus-pounds, shares a house with Matilda, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. Roosters crow nearby, while George the goat follows as we meander around the pasture. Dogs, cats, peacocks and a few caged birds add to the menagerie.
All of the horses have names. A blind, 30-year old horse is named Chestnut. There's Princess and Pumpkin and the list goes on.
"Each one has a story," Darlene said.
There is a vegetable garden and the chickens provide about a dozen eggs a day. Manure fertilizes the garden that is surrounded by a fence made of cedar twigs to keep George from getting in.
"My farm is the old way we used to live," Darlene said. "I am natural. These are working hands."
Some moms bring their kids to the farm to visit. The children play tug of war, jump rope, play with the animals and see what farm life is all about. Various groups provide volunteer support to the farm, where they clean the pastures, groom the 10 horses, weed and rake leaves. Funding for the nonprofit farm is provided through donations and "my husband's pockets," Darlene said.
A fundraising yard sale is slated for April 30, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The sale will be at the farm, 1107 Summerlin Dairy Road in Wingate. Visit their website: www.cero-inc.com for details.
For now, this Easter finds a filly named Jules gaining strength in her long, wobbly legs. While Star, Jule's mother, finds a new life on this farm where she can graze freely and run through fields.