Anarchist Farm

by Jane Doe

Anarchist Farm

"The addition of wild animals in the form of Forest Defenders is both hilarious and inspiring. I highly recommend it." — Judi Bari

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Free Sample Chapter
Chapter 1
        Margaret is still very sick," the golden retriever
announced to the concerned gathering of animals outside
the kitchen door. Despair and frustration rippled through
the crowd. None of them knew of a time before Margaret.
She had always been there, feeding them, caring for them
when they were hurt, milking them, organizing them,
putting them to bed at night. They trusted Margaret and
more, they depended on her.
        "Who will feed us?" asked the chickens.
        "I need to be milked." Rosy was right; her udders
looked ready to explode.
        "The barn is a mess. It needs cleaning out." The
mule had gotten used to clean straw in his stall.
        "When will Margaret be well again, Goldie?"
        The retriever sighed and shook her head. "Margaret
is very old. No one knows how old, and she doesn't seem
to be getting better. I don't know what we can do." She
sat down on the back stoop to wait. All the other animals
stood or sat or lay around the yard under the empty
clothesline and waited, too.
        There had been a time, a few remembered, when
Margaret's husband had been alive and the farm had been
a busier place. Ed had made big plans for the future,
always planting some new exotic crop and trying out the
newest theory on pest control. He had brought Juanita and
Carlos all the way from a far off land.
        The llamas were still at the farm, but Ed had been
dead for years. Margaret ran the place herself after
that, putting her whole heart into it. The plans were of
a more modest scale, now, but the wonderful orchard had
matured, the meadows reseeded themselves for summertime
grazing and she had planted a large garden by the kitchen
door. The animals could see the garden looked desperate
for water in the summer sun.
        "The plants will die if someone doesn't water them,"
said a young sow named Susie, "and then what will we
        "I'm really hungry," complained a kid.
        "Do you like milk? asked Rosy.
        "Yes, I do!" answered the kid, and Rosy beckoned him
to her bulging udder.
        "I don't think that's proper, do you, Goldie?" an
indignant goose asked the dog.
        "Why ask Goldie? It's my udder and unless you have
a better idea it seems proper enough to me." The kid was
doing his best to nurse from the cow's teat, although he
had been weaned for some time.
        "Whatever works," Goldie said. "These are desperate
        "We're hungry too," the chicks were chirping, "but
we don't like milk."
        "I know," said the hen, "but we must wait for
Margaret to get well and feed us."
        Goldie looked at the hungry chicks and she knew
waiting for Margaret was not a good plan. "I don't think
we can wait for Margaret anymore. She is too sick. We can
help her by doing some of her chores for her. She will be
happy if we do. It will be a burden off her mind. We all
know where our food is kept, I think we should feed
        It was a radical idea, but one they were just hungry
enough to try. The hen took her chicks to the hen house
and slowly opened the bin of cracked corn. Her whole life
she had known of its existence, but had never dared to
look inside. It was almost full and the plate Margaret
always used to scoop out breakfast for her lay on top.
Penny took the plate in her wing and dug it deep into the
grain. The other animals gathered around and watched
Penny do the unthinkable. The hen carried the plate of
corn into the yard and sprinkled it out in front of her
chicks. They fought to gobble it up. With a smile on her
beak and the plate waving in the air she turned to the
others and squawked, "We can do it!"
        All the animals raced to where their food was kept.
Oats and hay and corn: everyone ate their fill and it
tasted extra sweet that day. Everyone was careful to put
everything back just the way Margaret always kept it. "I
hope she isn't mad at us for feeding ourselves," said
Rosy, feeling much better after being milked and fed.
        "Of course, she won't be mad," assured Goldie, who
knew Margaret best, since she was allowed in the house.
"She will be glad you did this for her, to help run the
        Susie, the sow, having finished her mash, looked
again at the thirsty garden. "I'll water the garden for
Margaret," she announced.
        "I don't know, Susie," said the goose. "Margaret
doesn't let us into the garden." It was true, the garden
was fenced to keep the animals out.
        "Margaret doesn't want the garden to die, she would
be happy if I watered it. Don't you think so Goldie?"
Susie turned to the dog, now the Margaret expert.
        Goldie thought it over. Margaret didn't let the
animals in the garden but there would soon be no garden
if they did not water it. "Susie, Margaret would be happy
for you to water the garden." The dog had spoken.
        Soon everyone thought of something to do for
Margaret. The mule swept the barn for Margaret. The pigs
picked the apples for Margaret. The ducks even ate the
worms for Margaret. All the animals spread themselves
around the farm to perform chores, some necessary, some
not so necessary, to help poor old Margaret.
        Days and weeks passed as Margaret lay in bed getting
sicker and sicker. Goldie brought her food from the
garden and orchard. Margaret smiled and patted her golden
fur. As Margaret got weaker, the farm got stronger. The
animals found they knew the farm routines and even
improved on them. Together they brought in the harvest
and stored it away for winter for Margaret. They planted
the garden with winter vegetables and even pruned the
roses for Margaret.
        Through the winter the animals made plans for
spring, what they would plant in the meadows, what the
kitchen garden would be like, maybe they could build an
addition to the barn, to help Margaret, of course.
        With spring almost there and the sun warming the
land again, Margaret died. For Goldie the loss was a
personal one. She had been at Margaret's bedside at her
last moments and had nursed her all these past months.
Margaret had been her friend. But for the others,
Margaret's passing was abstract. They had never known her
as Goldie had and yet Margaret's death loomed over the
farm like a vulture. Margaret's illness had been a
rallying point. It had driven all the animals to try and
do things they never thought they could. The farm was
alive as never before and now Margaret was dead. How
could they help Margaret now?
        Margaret was buried on the north side of the house,
next to Ed, under the oak tree. The animals paraded
slowly around the graves, weeping for their beloved
Margaret. Tales were told of Margaret's kindness and love
for all animals. Goldie told them Margaret would always
be with them in spirit since she lay buried right there
on the farm. They could continue to do things for
Margaret because it would help her dream of a wonderful
farm be a reality. The animals loved Margaret even more
now that she was dead. They begged Goldie to tell them
more about Margaret and the dog felt truly moved.
        "I will tell you what I heard Margaret say many
times, it was her guiding rule." Goldie closed her eyes
and repeated from memory. "Always treat others as you
would wish to be treated." The animals soaked it in.
Goldie's rule became the motto of the Circle H farm.

Chapter 2

Much later, on a different farm, far across the forest...

        His brain raced as fast as his heart; if only his
legs would catch up! He hit the ground running with all
the energy of terror, the dogs inches behind him as he
tore across the muddy pasture. Clots of mud flew from his
feet into their slobbery mouths. "What should I do? The
farm is fenced. I'm trapped," he thought.
        Suddenly in a puddle he slid on his side through the
mud, slamming into the wooden fencepost. A bit stunned,
he scrambled to his feet and took off down the side of
the pasture, tracing the fence line.
        "Boy, that was close! I can't believe they didn't
catch me." He glanced quickly behind.
        The dobermans seemed to have backed off a bit, but
were still barking and snarling as loudly as before. He
came to the corner, took a ninety-degree turn along the
hedgerow, and then suddenly remembered: "There's a hole
in the hedge. I was going to assign a work crew tomorrow.
I hope I can find it."
        He slowed down his pace to search for the hole.
Strangely, the dogs slowed also. "There it is, I hope I
can make it through." The hole, probably made by a small
animal, perhaps a rabbit, would be a tight fit. Squeezing
his front half into the hole, his bottom half got stuck.
The dogs skidded to a halt and stood facing the plugged
hole in the hedge. They chuckled sarcastically as one
gave the curly white tale a sharp bite, which proved to
be just the inspiration the pig needed to shoot through
the hedgerow.
        Popping through the hole, the renewed adrenalin from
the dog bite sent the pig flying through the neighbor's
cornfield and deep into the woods beyond. Only a stumble
on a tree root brought him to a halt. Hiding behind a
bush he peered out to see he was not being followed.
        He sat beneath a pine tree to catch his breath and
examine his bitten tail. It hurt, but was not too bad.
        "That dog could easily have bitten it off." He felt
lucky, but why? Then it came to him. "The dogs were
following orders. They were to chase me off but not kill
me. Of course, how could they kill me in front of all the
other animals. They love me, I'm their leader. Even now
they are probably searching for me to bring me home." But
no one appeared within view. Then the pig had a turn of
thought. Things had changed on the farm. In the beginning
he had felt love and support from the other animals, but
now? He spent less time with sheep and cows and chickens.
He was always with the other pigs. "And now the pigs have
turned on me, and the other animals don't care enough to
stop them. After all I've done on their behalf."
        He leaned back against the rough bark, a tear
rolling down his cheek, as he remembered the old times.
The revolution, ah, that had been glorious. He had been
a hero, with a medal to prove it. Running that greedy
farmer off the land and turning the farm over to the
animals to run for the benefit of all, now that had been
a wonderful achievement. The pig smiled as he thought of
the parades he had led and of the stirring speeches he
had made to the grateful animals, in the early days after
the revolution.
        As a pig he had been more naturally inclined to
leadership than, say, sheep or ducks. Was it his fault
that it turned out that not all pigs were kind and just?
His eyes narrowed as he thought of the pig who had
trained the doberman pups into the vicious killers who
just minutes ago had run him off his own farm. The farm
where he had been born and lived his whole life. In fact,
the farm was his whole life; making plans for the farm,
organizing the animals, inspiring everyone through tough
times... "And this is the thanks I get," he moped as he
rubbed his sore tail.
        The memory of his former power and unforseen fall
from grace caused an empty ache in the pit of his
stomach. Or perhaps he was just hungry.
        The pig looked around. Trees. Never in his life had
he set foot off the farm. Now he had no food, no friends,
no place to sleep and no plan. The last was the most
frightening of all. He always had a plan. But now it was
getting dark in an unfamiliar wood and he sat all alone
with no plan.
        He picked up a stick and set to work. From the
bushes a dozen eyes watched a muddy white pig with a
stick scratching strange lines in the dirt:
        Plan for Survival in the Woods.
        1.       Find Food.
                A. Apples or other fruit if possible.
                B. Good fresh water source.
        2.       Find place to sleep.
                A. Must be safe.
                B. Warm and soft.
        The eyes moved closer and tried to decipher the
        3. Find
        The pig bent over even closer to the ground to see
his list in the failing light. After thinking for a
minute about #3 he decided to scratch it out. "Yes, 1 &
2 are the true essence of the plan," he announced
suddenly as he stood back to admire his work.
        The eyes jumped back to the bushes in something less
than silence.
        His back stiffened and his sore tail twitched as he
realized he was not alone.
        Mind racing, eyes open wide to peer through the
darkness, he croaked out hopefully: "Comrades?"
        There was a moment of silence, then sounds of a
scuffle and a muffled giggle.
        Every pig has an acute sense of smell. Even a pig as
distant from his true nature as this one could tell many
things by his nose. He could tell who this was not: pig,
cow, sheep, man, or dog. In fact, it smelled like no
animal he had smelled before. Since the scent was strong
and unknown to him, his mind began to spin out
        "What lives in the forest? Bears! Wolves! Tigers?
No, not here. Well, also deer and rabbits." Aloud he
said: "Are you rabbits?" The reply: more giggling. "Don't
be afraid, comrade rabbits, I won't hurt you."
        This seemed to really hit a funny bone. The laughter
grew more menacing as six adolescent raccoons tumbled out
of the bushes, surrounding the pig.
        The raccoons moved more quietly now, circling slowly
around the pig. Getting a grip on himself, the pig tried
a friendly tact. "Well, I guess I was wrong, I beg your
pardon, you're not rabbits but squirrels."
        "Squirrels!" One of the largest raccoons jumped at
him and at that range even in this dim light he could see
his mistake. "Who are you calling squirrels?"
        The pig sniffed the animal in front of him and still
couldn't identify him. "You're not bears, are you?" All
farm animals had heard of bears, but few had ever seen
one. Still, the stories of their fierceness and strength
were told at night in the barn to entertain and frighten
young piglets who might consider venturing outside the
farm boundaries.
        "Well, no, not exactly bears," admitted one raccoon.
"Where are you from, anyway?"
        "I'm from a farm over there, or ... maybe there." He
moved his pig leg around in an arch as he realized he had
no idea where he had come from. It is a wonderful farm
run completely by animals and I was their beloved leader,
until today when I was run off by a pack of vicious
        "Dobermans!" A shudder ran through the raccoon pack.
"We really hate dobermans. I'm called Riff Raff and we
are Raccoons." He spoke slowly so the pig would not
mistake them again. "This is Bandit, Rascal, Mischief,
Rags and Ripper. What's your name?"
        The pig began to answer "S..." before he caught
himself. He was a rebel fugitive now, hiding, on the run.
It would never do to give his real name. Besides, he had
always hated it. It had no dignity, no romance. And it
was no name for a rebel. He needed a name that would
inspire legend and command respect. He knew just the
name. He had always seen himself as ...
        "Pancho," he said, "the name is Pancho," and then
smacked the uplifted paw of Riff Raff with his foot.
"Pleased to meet you all."
        Pancho was not at all sure he was pleased to meet
them, for raccoons had a bad reputation among farm
animals. But since he had never actually met any raccoons
he decided to keep an open mind.
        "We were watching you scratch with the stick," said
        "Ah, yes," said Pancho. "I was making a plan." It
was quite dark now and the lines in the dirt were nearly
invisible to his eyes, but the raccoons seemed to have no
trouble seeing them. "Shall I read it to you?" He was
always pleased when he had a plan to explain.
        The raccoons huddled around the plan and stared at
the dirt, so close that they blocked the view even if
there had been enough light to see. No matter, Pancho
knew it by heart. "At the top it says þPlan for Survival
in the Woods.þ" There was a murmur, the raccoons were
impressed. "Then it says, þ#1. Find food, #2. Find place
to sleep,þ" he announced.
        A moment of silence followed, then Riff Raff asked,
"Is that all?"
        "Well, I left out some A's and B's, but yes, that's
pretty much it." Pancho was the quiet one now, thinking
perhaps he had left out some important survival points.
A #3 jumped to mind: Avoid Raccoons.
        Finally Rags, after sniffing the entire plan and
smearing most of it, stated "I don't get it."
        "You don't get it? What part are you having trouble
understanding?" said the pig in his patronizing voice. He
had spent much time explaining complex plans to animals
of lesser intellect. Surely raccoons would fall into this
        Rags did not care for Pancho's tone. "I don't get,"
he said emphatically, "why you would waste your time
scratching `Find Food' in the dirt. If you want to find
food, why don't you find food!" and with that he did a
little raccoon shuffle-step all over the plan. The other
raccoons found this quite amusing. Amid laughter and
playful shoves Bandit said, "Let's get out of here."
        "Wait," cried Pancho, "where are you going?"
        The raccoons all turned to face the pig. With a
glance at each other for timing they yelled "To Find
Food" and they were gone. It took only a heartbeat for
Pancho to know what to do. In the dark his eyes were
almost useless, but the smell of six raccoons was hard to
miss. Plus, the laughing and shouting made their trail
easy to follow even for a farm pig. They were young and
moving fast. Pancho stumbled, crashed into a tree, ran
through a blackberry bramble picking up quite a few
stickers, and slipped into a brook while attempting to
imitate the raccoons' hopping from stone to stone. This
was more exercise than he was used to getting in a year.
What a day! What a night! Suddenly, he heard no more
laughter, no more joking or sounds of any kind. The
raccoons were moving slowly and silently as they
approached an old wooden fence. As they came out from the
cover of the trees the moonlight allowed shapes to form
in front of Pancho's eyes. "It's a farm!" he spurted out.
        "Sh-h-h-h," six heads turned to scold him. "If
you're coming, keep quiet."
        He nodded his head and they all slipped under the
        Riff Raff signaled him to keep his distance and
Pancho obliged. He hung back and watched the six small
figures glide through the pasture. As he moved near to
the barn his nose picked up a friendly odor: pigs. While
sniffing out the pig pen he caught sight of the raccoons
circling what appeared to be a large hen house. So the
rumors he had heard at the farm were true.
        At the pig pen Pancho saw several sows and piglets
sleeping in one corner. He sneaked under the gate and
tip-toed to the trough. Hurrah! Corn, and they had not
eaten it all. Pancho began to pig-out as only a true pig
could. He was trying to eat quietly and also to eat fast,
not an easy combination, especially for a pig. He
supposed this was stealing, technically, and so it was
wrong. But these sister pigs had eaten their fill and had
left this corn to help him in his rebel cause. "If they
were awake," he thought, "I'm sure they would be glad to
share with me, they would be proud to do it," and yet he
was careful not to waken them. The raccoons were not so
        At the hen house feathers were flying. The hens,
trapped by six hungry raccoons, screamed for help. The
terror in their voices made Pancho's blood chill. A
collie ran to the rescue, barking loud enough to wake the
whole farm. Lights went on in the farm house and the
half-dressed farmer raced out screaming and firing
buckshot from his shotgun. Pancho sank down in the soft
mud of the pig pen. Maybe he could stay here. He could
fit in with these pigs and start a new rebellion on this
farm eventually.
        The raccoons took off, chased by the dog and farmer,
with barking and gunshots ringing through the meadow.
        "Yes," he thought, "I'll stay right here." As he
turned around to look at his new home, for the first
time, he noticed a huge boar leaning against the barn.
Awakened by the ruckus, he had just noticed Pancho.
        "New plan," was all Pancho had time to think as he
ducked under the gate and took off running towards the
woods but away from the raccoons.
        Reaching the cover of trees, he slowed down. It was
too dark to run in the woods and he felt very tired. "I
must get deep enough into the woods to be safe," he
thought. "But how deep would that be and would that be
safer?" While he was thinking it out, he crawled into the
blackberry thicket. He fell asleep mumbling, "Got to make
a plan."