Category Archives: gulliver

I haven’t written in two months, so get ready for some photos!

My job is so busy and so wonderful but coming home at night to write has fallen away from me, I’m sad to report. My last post was about sweet Pandy’s passing and I still feel a pang for her each time I visit the farm.

I miss her so.

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It’s all part of the bittersweet moments that make up being part of a rescue or having any animal in your life, really. The probability that you will experience their death is always there. So, take all the moments that you can with them.

Here are some photos of other friends at the farm that I’ve taken while my has sat waiting.

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Athena was shorn along with the rest of the sheep at the beginning of May. Her face wasn’t entirely done so as she’s gotten more comfortable with me touching her (I’ve gotten to where I can pet her without needing to give her treats! Full body pets!), I’ve pulled off what I could. I happen to really like the look though, so mostly I just go for the pieces that are really loose.

And if you don’t like it, this is what Athena thinks of you!

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The alpacas were shorn in the middle of June. This was actually a somewhat scary situation because there aren’t a lot of people willing to shear alpacas. It’s a dangerous undertaking for both the animals and the people involved, so unless the animals belong to the shearer, many won’t undertake the risk. Deb sent out pleas nationwide and finally someone came forward to do it. (Thank you!) Alpacas need to be shorn each summer so that they don’t overheat, which they can do very easily and it can be fatal. So, while they remained furry, we kept a special eye on them for signs of distress. I was thrilled to arrive a few weeks ago and see them sans fur!

First up, Pisca and Karolina. I especially love the patch of white that runs down Karolina’s back legs.

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Ms. Noelle!

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A cat nap is pretty glorious…

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…any way you look at it!

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Niko is going to have eye surgery soon and I am very happy about that. I haven’t posted about her in a long time, but she’s one of the cats who lives in Mooney’s barn (the name of the barn where Spirit, Lunar, Athena and Gully live) and she’s as sweet as ever, even when in terrible pain.

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Willow and Spirit becoming friends!

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There is a new structure near the big barn that was built for the goats. They’re kind of terrified of it though so it’s rare to actually see a goat on it. One afternoon, while feeding treats to Mervin at the end of my visit, I decided that he and I should go on an adventure.

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Here he is checking out the structure. “I don’t think so…”

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His opinion stayed on the “no, thank you” track until I pulled the treats back out.  And climb it we did! He discovered that there was tasty hay on the top, too. He even climbed around on the lower levels and followed me back up for a second trip.

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My plan, when it’s not a million degrees out, is to do this with a bunch of goats.

Last week, my friends came to the farm so I spent time all over the farm with them. I haven’t seen my turkey love in forever! He was just as affectionate as always and I plan to get into the bird house again soon.

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Noelle, mid-bite!

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I haven’t seen the donkeys in forever. Jezebel is such a beauty and has the sweetest disposition. And she’s soooo soft.

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They got to meet Gully and that’s always the greatest experience ever. (For me. He’s actually pretty standoffish with strangers.) Oh, Gully, my Gull. I love you endlessly.

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And since it’s July, there are tons and tons of dragonflies around, so I’ll end this catch-up post with another one of my favorite creatures on this earth.

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Have a happy week!

Follow me on Twitter (@mindingtheminis) or Instagram (mindingtheminis) if you want to see live tweets from the farm on Sunday afternoons!

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Filed under alpacas, athena, cats, dragonflies, goats, gulliver, horses, niko, pandy, piggies, sheep, turkey, willow, winslow farm

Gully, the goat, is a crafty one!

Gully is all about breaking out of his pen when I bring hay through to put over into Spirit’s area. This week, however, I was a bit behind on getting his food prepared (made even longer by the fact that I took photos of this) and he decided to go right to the food source.

“Oh, hey there!”

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“Soon the grain will be mine!”

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“Almost there…”

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“SUCCESS!!!!”

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Don’t forget to join Gully and me on the farm on Sunday afternoons (@mindingtheminis). Have a great week!

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Buckets of snow were dumped on the farm and I spent time with friends I haven’t seen in a while.

There was a huge snow storm here in Mass a couple of weekends back. I arrived at the farm early to talk to Deb and found it filled with volunteers shoveling paths through the thick white blanket that enshrouded the property. By that time, the snow had stopped falling but multiple feet had gathered and they’d just gotten power back. Since the shovels were all taken, I explored for a while. With it being the middle of winter, I kind of have tunnel vision when I’m there these days. I haven’t been to the main barn in over a month! It was nice to catch up with Liam, Jackson and the rest of the goats.

Here’s shy Liam smiling for the camera.

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Gully was still in the barn and had taken up residence in a feeding trough! (Seriously, who could not be in love with this guy??)

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Levi was still in the barn too and decided that he’d had enough of this “on the ground” sort of stuff so he ventured into the rafters. (Look at his cute little coat!)

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These guys were busy chowing down on the snow.

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Rude!

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And Cloud decided that it was high time he rolled around in the snow! I was the only surprised one, apparently. Everyone else was business as usual.

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And then it was time to head to my barn.

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No words, just beauty. (above and below)

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Not to be outdone, Athena wanted to show off her pretty eyes (and to be the final image of the post!).

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Filed under athena, goats, gulliver, horses, lunar, photography, roosters, spirit, winslow farm

Not every week starts out as wonderfully as the last one

I know we all have days where everything wrong seems to pile on top of everything else that’s wrong. My visit this week started out like that. I was an hour late since we drove back from Connecticut, I didn’t have enough time to take photos, I was really hoping that the poop would be scooped but nope and it was frozen, Gully would not go into his pen, I almost stepped on Neko, all the water buckets were frozen so I had to stab through the ice with a carving knife and Lunar’s bucket was filled with dirt along with the frozen water. *sigh* All of these would have been fine on their own, but add them up together and I was one frustrated character.

But it all went smoothly after that. Gully gave me lots of hugs, Athena approached me for many treats, Spirit was a gentleman when I put on his coat and Howie was happy to see me at the end of the night in the cat house. Plus the roosters didn’t block my exit this time.

Here’s some perspective on where they usually sit and the stairs that they were blocking last time.

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I’m not sure if any of you are on Twitter, but I’ve started live tweeting from the farm each week. Just a few photos each time, so it nothing overwhelming and it’s a lot of fun to do. I hope you’ll join me on Twitter on Sunday afternoons. Here are the photos I tweeted from this last visit.

Here’s Zoey munching away on Gully’s hay. What a weirdo cutie!

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I caught this rooster trying to break into the barn. I’d never seen him before and was kind of worried that he was the one who used to sit on Athena’s back and peck at her while she ate. So, I didn’t let him in, just to be safe.

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Apparently, he’s smarter than I realized though since he figured out how to get in around the back. Because he left Athena alone, I let him stay. He just stayed roosted next to the grain room assessing the scene.

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And then there’s Gully. Always Gully. Even cute with hay on his face.

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I hope that everyone has a wonderful week!

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A little help goes a long way, especially when discussing the merits of being a wheelbarrow

This weekend, I had a helper who was visiting the farm. His dad was building a new structure for the pig, Willow, who’s going to be coming next week. YAY!!! (Brief side note: a few weeks ago I was told about this incoming girl and the young volunteer said that her name was Mia but we would have to become used to the name Willow. I’d be lying if I said that Willow isn’t my favorite movie of all time. So, for me, that won’t be a problem. When I asked him if he’d heard of the movie, he said no. Sigh.) Back to this last visit, the boy was bored  and ended up in my coral so I let him help out a bit, doing things like sweeping Athena’s area of the barn. I said that I had to scoop the poop and he asked if he could help. “Why, yes! Yes, you can!” He’s 10 and this is what he had to say about the life of a wheelbarrow. “I feel bad for wheelbarrows.” “How come?” “Well, it’s just that – I know they aren’t alive – they get stuck with carrying around all this heavy poop.” I absolutely loved his interjection and that comment made my day.

You know what else made my day? My friends.

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Here’s Athena ignoring me…

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But then she showed me her beautiful face. I told my little buddy all of their stories and he was fascinated that Athena was able to survive on the median of a highway for two years. “What did she eat?” “Whatever she could find, I guess.” He was very impressed when she walked up to me in search of treats.

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I told him all about how Lunar and Spirit (who didn’t want his photo taken this week) are food aggressive and that the noises that Spirit made while eating were to let Lunar know that it’s his food and she’d better stay away. Fortunately for everyone, they were both in their pens.

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A rare shot of the three of them like this. Usually, Lunar’s already eating when Gully and Athena are let into the coral, but everyone was already together when I arrived. I’ve become much more confident about getting the horses into their pens but usually it’s just the two horses to contend with. Tensions are a bit higher when the littler folk is around and could be trampled, but Spirit behaved very nicely for me and Lunar was fine with entering the pen without her food.

These roosters have taken to huddling up together on the fence at the end of the night once it calms down. During this visit, they decided that they were going to sit right in front of the stairs I use to get out. So, I decided that a good deal of petting was in order. They decided that it wasn’t worth moving further down the fence so they just squawked a bunch in protest. I ended up exiting a different way. They are super soft!

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Whenever I leave now, I visit the cat house on the way out. I’ve been doing this for the past several months to visit Howie, who was Levi’s original friend when he came to the farm. He’s an old man, so I always stop in to give him a few treats and some pats on the head. I found Apricot in the house, as well, basking in the glow of the wood stove.

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Filed under athena, goats, gulliver, lunar, roosters, spirit, winslow farm

Muddy boots, horsey pals and treats galore! Winslow’s got it all!

This week was muddy and grey at the farm, so I left my camera at home. I always have my iPhone on me, so I’m sharing my visit through that lens.

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Beautiful Lunar! Not a huge fan of sitting still for the camera, though.

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As I mentioned recently, Athena has become super treat motivated. She’s so focused on them that every time I left the food area with grain or hay, she stopped eating and walked up to me sniffing whatever was in my hands. Once she figured out that they weren’t tastier snacks, she backed off. She was super excited when I finally gave her some.

Also I’ve been petting her more and more while she’s sitting down. This isn’t news but something interesting happened this last time. While massaging her back, I played around with pressure and every once in a while, she sucked in a short breath and looked really alert. I talked to her soothingly, backed off and she relaxed again. I did it a couple of times to see if it would happen again and it did. She seemed to tense up in an way that I can only think of as biologically associated with her prey/predator instinct. Fascinating. She’s becoming more comfortable with me petting her head and back, but scratching her ears is still what she likes the most.

Here she is sniffing me out for treats. Loving this girl so much!

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Gully has a much more subtle way of asking for treats.

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I couldn’t decide which photo was cuter, so I’m posting both of them. Ahh, I love this goat so much!!

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Can’t wait to see all of them next week!

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Filed under athena, behavior, gulliver, lunar, winslow farm

Summer to Winter

Somehow I moved right past fall and into winter without writing a real post. For the most part, it’s the sounds that change the most for me. While summer is filled with the buzzing of bugs and heavy air, fall creeps in silently leaving behind the noisy insects (I do miss the dragonflies, of course) and I’m able to focus on the quiet munching sounds that my friends in the barn make. I could sit in that barn listening forever.

Very little changes with the animals themselves. They go about their business and days must feel pretty similar to them. I tend to my chores and relish the time that I spend with them. I spend a great deal of time cuddling with Gully, who’s back to his affectionate self, his super huggy, head butting, best goat friend of mine self.

One thing that’s new and really exciting for me is that my relationship with Athena has really developed. I’ve looked back in posts and realized that the recent stories about her are stuck in my brain and not on the blog yet. Where to begin? Well, first off, after Athena finishes eating, she sits on the ground. I started to use this time as an opportunity to give her head rubs which she immediately HATED but was unable to jump up and run away from me and then a second later LOVED because they feel awesome. Who doesn’t love head scratches? Not Athena! So, every time I’d do this, it would terrify her at first until she remembered that she likes the feeling and she’d close her eyes and lean into them. So that’s pretty huge news on the Athena front and I could stop right there and be perfectly happy, but it gets even better! Treats have become a new line of communication for us, allowing her to interact with me on her own terms. I’ve always given them to her but used to just break them up and add them to her bowl. One time, I put one in front of her nose and she sniffed cautiously and took a bite. Interesting. We continued that dance for a while until recently when she became bold about asking for them. She’d lift her head with sniffs to see if I had one in my hand and if I did, she’d make it clear that she’d like one. Today, however, she walked right up to me, almost cornering me against the barn door and ate the treat with such oomph that my finger actually touched her teeth. Twice! Unbelievable! Perhaps soon she’ll let me pet her while she’s standing up…

Yesterday was the first real snowfall of winter here and the snow had finished its journey to the ground by the time I woke up this morning but everything was still covered in fluffy powder. Best of both worlds when tromping out to the farm. I brought my camera along since it’s been dark by the time I’ve gotten there for the last month and here are some of the images that I captured.

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One of the many entrances to the enchanting world.

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Part of the snowy landscape.

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One of the rabbit houses, glowing with lights.

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Beautiful Athena basking in the sun.

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Spirit begged for the treats in my pocket and started to eat snow off of the gate to distract me from his real motive.

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After I wouldn’t give into his request though, he stole some from the back of the tractor!

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The mallards have been much calmer, as of late, but still pretty awesome.

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Little Miss Zoey, who has gotten super fat lately, squishing herself under the fence to see me.

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Levi acts like a dog so he gets to wear a doggie coat!

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And last, but certainly not least, these two guys are perched on the fence like this every time I leave now. They wait until all of the animals have gone into their barns and cozy places and they get hunker down.

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Filed under athena, behavior, bunnies, cats, dogs, ducks, geese, gulliver, horses, lunar, photography, roosters, sheep, spirit, winslow farm

Weddings and such!

Who knew that weddings are so time consuming (and FUN!!)? I guess everyone. But I didn’t realize how exhausted I’d be. Plus, by the time our wedding had arrived (this past Saturday), I’d started going to Connecticut for half of each week. So sitting in front of my computer and going through the photos from the farm became a daunting task, especially considering the fact that the computer had eighty other tasks that needed to be addressed at that moment! Rest assured that I only missed a few visits and one of them was while I was on our honeymoon (that’s acceptable, right?).

Over the last month Gulliver has been acting very strange. Whereas he once would put his head in my lap, he’d started leaning away from my pets and a few times he even ran away from me. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to say that this was heartbreaking, but I will anyway because of how devastating it felt. My once affectionate friend was acting as though he didn’t even like me anymore. Although I’d have wonderful moments with other animals on the farm each trip, I’d leave with a deep sense of longing coursing through me. I hoped more than anything that he would return to me.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to one of the great kids who volunteers there and she mentioned that Gulliver had been bullied a lot by a newer goat name Timateao. As we were talking about him, the bully beat on a few goats nearby. He was pretty brutal and it was clear that the goats were scared of him. Due to the tight spaces on the farm, there was no way to separate him though so the goal was to monitor and correct his behavior whenever possible.

After our conversation, I went back to Gully and changed my tactics. Instead of forcing pets on him (a problem we all know I have), I sat nearby instead and didn’t attempt to touch him at all. I spoke softly and let him know how much I loved him. He ate his food, accepted treats and didn’t make any other contact with me. Hard to take, but it’s about his recovery, not my feelings.

On my most recent visit, I used the same approach and he surprised me by leaning into me. I reached out to pet him and he tilted his head to receive it. Although he wouldn’t put his head in my lap, he stayed nearby and it started feeling like my Gully might be on the mend. I don’t know how he’ll be when I go back on Monday, but I’m looking forward to giving him hugs again at some point. And I’ll patiently wait until it happens.

And I promise to get back on posting regularly!!!

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Gulliver’s play date

Last week, I noticed blood on Gully’s head. So after I’d fed him this time around, I checked it out:

I actually climbed up on the bench and took the shots standing over him. He was very confused.

I’ve never seen him playing with his friends so I was excited when I practically bumped into this grouping (they moved around a lot).

They were pretty subdued. I was expecting all sorts of head bashing but they were just hanging out, moving around in circles. They kind of seemed to be hugging each other!

But the fresh blood on Gully’s head (above) indicated that I must have missed the real action.

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Still the one

I think that Gully’s been feeling a bit left out since Levi came along, so I spent a bunch of extra time with him this week. (Shh, don’t tell him that I visited Levi in the cat house on my way out.) But to be fair, Levi is graduating out into the big boy pen next week and I won’t have the same “nowhere to run” access to him. He celebrated by bleating on the top of his little lungs for extended periods of time while standing on top of the stove. I held him one last time. Well, two last times, since he leapt from my arms on my first try. He’s already getting heavy. What a cutie…

Back to Gully!

I sat down with him and went to pet his head like I always do. He started bobbing and weaving to get away from my hand. This was so unlike him. I finally got close enough to check out the situation and saw that he was bleeding in the horn area. I, of course, got all panicky but it turns out that he’s just been spending his days head butting one of his buddies. I never said he was smart! In lieu of noggin scratches, I stroked his beard. He nodded off comically until his nose touched the bench, then he jerked back up. But he fell asleep!

You’ll always be number one in my book, Gully.

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Filed under goats, gulliver, humor, photography, winslow farm