Category Archives: horses

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

I’ll gladly give up an hour of sleep if it means spending more time with my buddies

What a joy it was this week to be there as late as 6:15 and it was still light out! I love spring so much. No more snow storms, please! I’ve already broken the top off of two plastic shovels at home since I haven’t gotten it into my head that you can’t step on the top of them.

I spent most of the time enjoying the great weather and hanging out with the animals. Dan, an amazing kid who’s essentially Deb’s number two, witnessed Athena rush me for treats. “Wow, she really comes right up to you,” he commented. I was proud of both Athena and myself at that moment.

Here are my favorite photographs of the day:

The always elegant Spirit

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Delilah looking super innocent perched on a fence post.

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And this snorty snout belongs to Miss Willow!

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I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Don’t forget to follow on me on Twitter (twitter.com/mindingtheminis) if you’d like to experience Winslow with me on Sunday afternoons.

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Filed under cats, horses, piggies, spirit, willow, winslow farm

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

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

Farmtastic! ~Snippets of the Week~

Where to begin?

Cubby was waiting to go inside when I arrived at the farm. He only has one eye now and the remaining one sees very little, but he plugs along. Such a little trooper!

“Who opens gates? Amateurs.”

Lunar, hamming it up at the fence!

“Uh, we’re waiting!”

Gully takes a scratching break.

Messy, messy girl!

Traffic jam…

I know they look like regular roosters, but these guys are about a foot long. Their INCREDIBLY LOUD voices certainly make up for their pint size, though.

“Yes, I am a gentleman. Why do you ask?”

Look for my post later in the week that’s all about the baby!

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Filed under alpacas, athena, cats, dogs, goats, gulliver, horses, humor, lunar, photography, roosters, sheep, winslow farm

From the Farm!

Spirit says, “Hay!”

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Filed under horses, humor, photography, winslow farm

Less bugs, more love

Monday on the farm was lovely. The temperature was a bit on the colder side but sunny enough that it made up for it and there weren’t any mosquitos. A few weeks ago, during that week of incredibly warm weather, the mosquitos were buzzing around and without bugspray, I ended up staying for a shorter period of time. Similarly, if it’s too cold, I tend to jet pretty quickly, as well.

This week, I lingered. When I arrived, Lunar and Spirit were hanging out with Stormy and Cloud in the upper pen. I really like when they’re up there already because it means that I get to spend a few minutes petting them instead of diving right into the feeding. In between head scratches, Lunar hauled off and chased the pheasant away as I cheered her on. If I were fast enough, I would have caught it on my camera. It’s an awesome sight watching this huge animal stomping after a small bird, who is actively fleeing in terror. I’d feel bad for him, except he continues to stalk and try to attack me. Get him, Lunar!!!

After my snugglefest with Gully…

I passed the girls. Indifferent as always!

Watched these bunnies for a while. Pretty sure it’s a mating dance. So cute.

Then I heard this especially vocal duck. He sat there yelling at another duck across the way. I missed the part where he splashed his little feet in the puddle, but couldn’t resist posting his loud calls. (One of these days, I’m going to remember to film horizontally!)

Aaaaaand then he ran over. Watch carefully as his squat little body makes it all the way around. While the actual reunion was blocked, his journey makes the video worthwhile.

In the meantime, this goose was busy bathing.

I rounded off my visit with some doggy time. I love how focused she gets! “Throw it now, please,” said Pandy.

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Filed under alpacas, behavior, bunnies, dogs, ducks, geese, goats, gulliver, horses, humor, lunar, photography, winslow farm

Horses and fashion!

I attended my first fashion photo shoot (ever) at work on Tuesday and spent much of the time hanging out with the two featured horses and their great owners. These two ladies answered SO many questions that I had about horses, horseback riding and their own experiences. I really appreciated their insights and how willing they were to part with the info. If you read this, Nancy and Jill, thank you for teaching me so much!

I meant to bring my Nikon with me but wasn’t sure how the day would play out so I didn’t. Next time I definitely will. But I have to say how happy I am with the quality of my iPhone, and it’s not even the newest generation. These boys, Chester and Cowboy, helped a great deal by standing still. They could teach the other animals in my life a thing or two about that!

This is Chester, contemplating the world outside his window as he patiently waited his turn. I watched as his hair was braided and he was so good while being poked and prodded. The photo doesn’t show off the work, but it was intricate.

Aaaaaand here he is grabbing a snack.

His cutie face! He was the busiest of the two horses, so I didn’t have as much of an opportunity to take photos of him as I did of his friend Cowboy. I took this after his modeling duties were finished and he was much more interested in asking for more carrots at this point than sitting still for a photo, but there’s no denying how handsome he is!

And this is Cowboy! He sat in the barn looking out at Chester, wondering why he wasn’t getting any carrots (to be honest, Chester was only getting to look at the carrots too, so he was probably thinking the same thing).

Time for your closeup, Cowboy!

The muscle definition on these gorgeous horses was intense and impressive. And they were so tall. I felt like the miniest-me standing next to them.

I can’t wait until the next photo shoot. I hope my new friends will be there!

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Filed under horses, photography

Treats!!!

I brought horse treats with me to the barn today. They’re called Uncle Jimmy’s Squeezy Buns! How cute is THAT?

Lunar wanted them so much that she was kicking the door and stretching her neck as far over as she possibly could. Gully, Athena, Spirit and she all got some in their food. I made sure that Lunar’s were soaked with her grain, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her this impatient about getting her dinner. She LOVED them when I (finally!) gave them to her. Gully gobbled them down, Athena ate some and saved some for later and I have no idea about Spirit, since he was cranky. But all in all, it was a success. I am going to bring them treats every week and am so excited about it! Ahhh, the little things.

Later, I was chatting on the phone and Gully decided I wasn’t paying enough attention to him, so he bit my hand! And then he pulled my hair! Really hard!! Thanks a lot, dude. :p

Can’t wait until next week!

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Filed under athena, goats, gulliver, horses, humor, lunar, sheep, winslow farm

Lesson Learned

On a typical day, one of the kids brings Spirit and Lunar up to the barn and I either help get them into the barn or they bring them all the way to their pens. No matter what though, Gulliver and Athena do not get their food before the horses have arrived. Today, everyone was super busy around the farm and Gulliver and Athena were waiting for me. After a while, I realized that the horses probably weren’t coming any time soon, so I fed my waiting buddies. They were just standing there staring at me, after all.

Once I gave them their grain, I realized that the doors to the barn wouldn’t shut all the way due to frost heaves. I discovered this when the alpaca ladies came around looking to steal Athena’s food. Outwitting them, I put up an impromptu gate made of a rake and a broom that formed an “x” across the remaining opening. They recognized this as a “do not enter” sign and gave up easily.

Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me until too late that I’d left Athena defenseless against Spirit and Lunar, who’d soon be coming. Even more unfortunate, because she was in a hurry, the girl who brought them up let them run through the gate and shut it behind them. This left the task of getting them into the barn a solo project. I’ve mentioned before that both Spirit and Lunar, although they react differently, are food aggressive. I panicked and tried to close the doors more, which only made a tighter hole for them to get into. It was one they could definitely enter but without the room to turn around properly could not as easily exit. I did my best to get them out of the space but when one would vacate, the other would enter. Poor Athena was trapped in a corner with no escape. Rest assured, they didn’t touch her.

My outcome wasn’t as lucky. After I finally got Spirit out of the space, I tried to shoe him on to get him to go around the barn by tapping his butt with my hand. He countered by tapping my ribs with his back leg. Yes, I am totally fine. It was only a warning kick that barely made contact. But it reminded me, immediately, just how small I am compared to him and just how much I take that for granted. I was very lucky that he didn’t kick me for real.

Somehow, without touching either of them, I managed to get first Lunar and, once she was locked up tight, Spirit, to go by Athena through the barn. Neither of them stopped again for her food which felt miraculous.

I don’t know if Gulliver could tell that I was upset, but he was extra cuddly with me tonight. I left the farm happy and ready for next week, a serious lesson under my belt.

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Filed under alpacas, athena, behavior, goats, gulliver, horses, lunar, sheep, winslow farm