AN OVERDUE UPDATE
I am almost embarrassed that it has been so long since my last farm update (last November I think). Better late than never. Hard to know where to begin though. Check out on the latest photos I have posted in the Gallery.
We added a new housedog in March – as if we really needed another dog? This one was for DH. Her name is SASHA and she is a Landseer Newfoundland. What a devil she is. We are still working on potty training and she knows that when she goes (outside of course) she gets a treat. So she runs outside and squats for a second just so something dribbles out and she runs for her treat. She could keep this up all day!
Welcome to SIMON and PETER – two new Nigerian Dwarf goats that I just “had to have.” DH is about ready to move me to the barn with all the animals. But they are sooooooo cute. Especial Simon who is a runt. Both are about 8 weeks old. Right now, they are being acclimated in the “holding pen” where everyone can get a good whiff of them and they can get used to seeing the giants in the pasture (the cows that is).
We have two new chicks – had four but one drowned and the other just disappeared. I think it might have been a midnight snack for an owl or a snake. DH is attaching hardware cloth (rat wire) around the chicken area as I write this. No snake will be able to slither through. One hen is still setting so more may be on the way and I understand that the hens will continue to lay fertilized eggs for about two weeks so Roody will have offspring to carry on his name!
I do not think I formally introduced BRONISLAV to my farm fans. Bro is a Bosnian Tornjak Shepherd – closely related to the Anatolian Shepherd. I rescued him when he was 5 months old from Arizona knowing that Bongo did not have long to live. Bro is going to surpass Elka’s weight (140) if he has not already. I sure hope he stops growing soon! He collects balls of all kinds and his favorite plaything is Patti LaBelle – yes a cow. They chase each other and she sometimes plays keep away with his ball. You have to see it to believe it!
Finally, I do not think I formally introduced BATMAN and SMUDGE – beautiful offspring of our house cat MISS KITTY. This was definitely an unplanned pregnancy! In Virginia vets will not spay/neuter until an animal is at least 5 months old. When we got Miss Kitty we had no idea how old she was because she was so little and she has not grown that much. So we obviously messed up. Although Batman and Smudge look nothing like Miss Kitty (in fact I think they each have a different father!), they definitely have her personality. They LOVE to be kissed and hugged and rubbed. And they groom humans the same way they groom themselves or each other. Unique kitties indeed.
We said goodbye to BONGO in December – he fought a valiant battle against the bone cancer but the cancer won out. We miss him but I know he is running pain free with Bailey, Samson, Delilah, Winston, Beau, and Nevada. If you loook closely at the photo on the right, you will see that Bongo is giving one of his signature smiles to Jim.
We also just lost our beloved ROODY – I am not even sure that I introduced him to everyone. He was a Faverolle and the most beautiful rooster I had ever seen. Something got into the pen the other night and beat him up pretty bad. I tried to save him but could not. Chickens are like sheep - they often just give up. I ordered a new cockerel but he will not arrive until August and then of course he must grow up.
We finally had to set our first ram PEPPER free. He had been lame for a long time due to being “rammed” once too many times by his pasture mates. Animals have a way of letting you know when the time has come and we have an obligation as their caretakers to listen. Here is the last picture I took of him and Elka together. Elka was his guardian angel – never saw a guard dog so devoted to one of its charges – but she knew he had special needs.
I say this is an update, but old age prevents me from remembering if I even wrote about this before. ELKA has Degenerative Myelopathy, which is similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease in humans. There is no cure. She quickly lost the use of her back legs late Fall, but continues to drag herself all over the pasture. Her chest and front legs are like those of a prizefighter! This girl is in shape. It is hard to watch but she continues to do her job and maintains the same spirit she always had. Time is her enemy but only God knows how much time she has - so we appreciate her every single day. The picture on the left is the last one with her standng on 4 legs around November 2012.
REBEKAH continues to bring smiles to nursing home residents twice a week. She is an amazing animal. She does not even mind when I dress her up in stupid costumes!
SOLOMON has matured into quite the handsome Newf. Except for a small problem with his hair, (we’ve thought about gel or braiding it) – he is the picture of a perfect Newf. Goofy as ever, Solly is trying to be a good big brother to Sasha but she really tries his patience. It’s like having a shark attached to your leg all the time.
PATTI and ANNABELLE have a new suitor. His name is Gordon and he is a handsome Belted Galloway who lives about an hour from the farm. His references are clean – no jail time, no drug use, no gang involvement (well, I heard he likes hanging with the goats – but he’s not considered an insider to their club). I did hear that his mom was a real heifer and his dad chewed tobacco – but hey, we cannot choose our parents can we? The girls will meet their suitor in October or November. I originally thought to breed only Patti but then I have heard stories about what cows can do when separated from a pasture buddy – and we know they can jump fences – soooooo. Besides, they will have their babies at the same time and will be able to help each other through the difficulties of nursing, weaning, and instruction on proper cud chewing and harassment of the guard dogs. Expect the nursery to open next Fall.
No sheep breeding this year. I think I’m through with that. Looking forward to calves though/ The goats continut to be a hoot - here are a couple of pictures of them mugging for the camera.
Let’s see we have some serious birthdays this year – I turned 60; DH turns 70, and our very first cat ELIJAH Turns 19. I don’t know if I am more amazed that I am that old or that Elijah is as old as he is. I understand how he feels though.
I will make a concerted effort to be current in my blogs. As always, we welcome visitors to the farm so if you are in the area – please call and come by. I'll leave you with some great pictures of the farm in the one and only snow of the year.