Category Archives: waterford

Willow, the new pig on the farm, is as adorable as her name!

Willow, the adorable new pig at Winslow Farm was found on the side of 495 as a piglet. She probably fell off a truck and was destined to be a pig meant for consumption. This would have meant she would have lived in horrible conditions as she waited for slaughter. Willow’s been living at the Animal League Shelter in Dedham while they looked for her owner (who never came forward) and then a potential adopter. She’s about six or seven months now and is about a quarter size that’s she’s going to be when she’s grown. She’s going to be bigger than Waterford who weighs about 800 pounds!

She is super friendly. I went into her pen and she immediately came up to me. She made the cutest snortiest noises that you can hear here. And she spent the entire time looking for food, most of which was spent with her nose firmly attached to the ground chomping away at whatever she could dig up. She also jumps up like a dog (which I discouraged but also found out after it means that she’s trying to mount me, so that was interesting).

Here she is. What a beauty! (I can’t believe how big she’s going to be!)

willow-the-cute-pig

It was hard to get a clear shot of her since she spent the entire time I was with her rooting around for food. Look at that pretty smile!

willow-the-pig-profile

I think she was checking out Waterford here. The plan is for them to be best buddies. In the spring, Deb hopes to knock the wall down that separates them. They’re already getting friendly with each other (and yes, she’s spayed and he’s neutered.)

willow-the-inquisitive-pig

And because she spent the entire time looking for food, it’s only fitting to have a photo of her with her snout buried deep in a feed bucket.

willow-the-pig-eating-dinner

What a precious face!

willow-adorable-pig

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From the Farm ~ PIGGIES!!!!

Waterford!

If you missed his video, check it out!

Opie!

More on this lovely girl here and I will post a video of her snoring under the mentioned blanket soon.

Napolean!

This guy has been stealing my heart for a while.

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Whimsical Winslow – Waterford!

Watty snorts his way through the day!

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Filed under humor, piggies, videos, waterford, winslow farm

Wow, how time flies!

I can’t believe that my last post was on November 21st! It feels like 14 million things have happened since then. Although, realistically, it’s kind of amazing to me how consistent it is there each week. My duties pretty much stay the same, with an added blanket or an extra scoop of grain mixed in. Gulliver continues to be one of the most amazing beings I can imagine and cuddling with him is excellent every single time. That’s really no excuse not to write though, so I’m going to sit here eating gummy bears and try to fill in lost time.

One Monday, I spent a while walking around the corral with Lunar, my arm slung over her back. I’m not sure how adequately I can describe how cool that was.

The pheasant has continued to plague me. He is such a jerk! On the same day as the walk with Lunar, he made the mistake of trying to attack me with her at my side. She stomped after him with such force, neighing loudly, that it even scared me! Score!

A few weeks ago, I went down to the barn to collect Gulliver and there is a maze of gates to get through on the way back. He was so impatient that he didn’t wait for me to open one of the gates all the way and he got stuck. It took a while to stop laughing before I could free him.

Opie, the little piggy who spends most of her time snoring under a blanket, was out and about while on my way to collect Gulliver. I squatted down to say hello to her. She had food all over her snout and she kindly shared some with my knee. It was just about one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. I scratched her head for a while and then continued on my mission.

Right about when the cold weather was kicking in for the season, I was given the task again to put on the horse coats. A little out of practice, Spirit’s snort of derision after I finally got his on said it all. Oh well, practice makes perfect, right?

Another day, I walked passed the regular gaggle of roosters (you thought I’d say “geese”, didn’t you? Nope. They just wait until I’m walking through and try to eat my coat). Standing among them was one of the peacocks. I don’t know why it was such a “wow” moment for me but it caught me off guard. There he was, going about his business, just hanging out, and yet he’s fluorescent blue. So normal and out of place at the same time. Majestic. I thought, “Yup. I get to spend time at a place where walking by a peacock is just a regular Monday. Awesome.”

Recently, Spirit and Cloud (the mule) have fallen in love. Hard core – don’t ever leave me – I’ll just scream on the top of my lungs until I see you again – love. When one of the kids brings Spirit up to the barn, blood curdling cries of anguish can be heard down by the lower barn as Cloud pierces the air with her mournful song. And no matter how much food and comfort I try to give him, Spirit yells at me for a solid five minutes in between bites of his dinner. Cloud has even been known to use her powers by breaking down fences to get to him. Now that’s Love.

Speaking of love, here are some videos of my friends being awesome:

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Filed under alpacas, athena, goats, gulliver, horses, humor, pheasant, piggies, roosters, videos, waterford, winslow farm

A month and a half was practically forever!

It takes me longer than most to adjust to new schedules and somehow the blog slipped away. And once a few weeks passed, it started feeling overwhelming. Rest assured though, I still went to Winslow every week. Goal going forward with a new job: No neglecting Minding the Minis!

Yes, you read “new job” right. It turns out that the nursery business, in addition to being seasonal, is greatly affected by the weather and current economy. So, even though I would have been laid off  for a few months each year (had NO idea), having a bad summer means letting go of extra hands like me. While I’m sad to leave the animals behind, my job was so focused elsewhere that I only had a few moments with them each day. Now I can visit the nursery just to feed them. Score!

Being at Winslow, as always, has been an oasis from the rest of the world for me. Lots of little moments have been lost in my writing absence but I will have lots of pictures to share…once I sift through the virtual pile.

In the meantime, here’s an anecdote from last week. I’ve talked about Waterford, the 450 pound pig, many times. Over the past month, I’ve started getting him into his pen by myself. For some reason, he’s been following me easily in without the aid of food. I sing-song to him and he gets up and trots after me, or in a few rare cases, he’s just seen me and off he went. Whenever I regale Deb with these small adventures, she’s always surprised at him and then follows up with warnings.

Feeling cocky, I went for another notch on my success belt on Monday and he completely ignored me. After singing his name, he followed me to the pen and then realized I had no food. He braked that big giant body, turned around and walked away. Hmmm. After a brief barn visit, I emerged with a scoop of hay pellets and he followed me once more. He went in but didn’t leave enough room for me to easily put the grain into his bucket.

So I nudged him.

He nudged back.

He does this very quickly, accompanies it with a snarl, a bite and jams his tusk in really hard.

While thinking, “oh. Ow!“, I quickly threw the food in and closed the gate. I can officially report that when he gets pissed, he means business and he acts on it fast. Much faster than his laissez faire attitude lets on. And he delivered the blow to my knee cap. While it broke skin, it didn’t bleed, but it was in ridiculous pain that night.

When I told Deb about it our adventure, her response was, “No one ever believes me.” Oh, I definitely believed her but really needed to experience it for myself in order to not want to experience it again.

I still love his big floppy ears though!

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Filed under behavior, piggies, waterford, winslow farm

Beautiful Day!

Compared to the ruckus last week, this visit was pretty low key. The pheasant was scarce, although I did notice two teenagers running after him and asked if they knew the bird they were chasing. “Yes, it’s the one from the bird house.” He is the one that I’ve mentioned who looks like a brightly colored parrot with a long pheasant tail. “Um, no. This is the one who lives over on this side in the cage with “attack bird” on it. Stop chasing him.” Suprisingly, I didn’t see him again for the day. Not going to lie in saying that I didn’t mind at all.

This was the first time Athena sat down in my presence. Either she was tired or she’s trusting me more. I choose Door Number Two.

It also gave me a chance to see her pretty eyes from the side.

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A mountain goat!!! (Bah dah bum.)

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While looking for Waterford to see if he wanted some of the hay I’d brought him, I took my first peek at the inside of his little house. Obviously, a photo can’t encompass how cute he is while he snores, so I’ll let your imagination do the work. Picture, if you will, his giant ears happily flapping about, a surprisingly agile snout that’s up and down and side to side and up and down, all the while erupting with snorty goodness. I seriously contemplated lying down for a nap with him, but his chompy tendencies stopped me. Maybe next time…

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Every week, at least one of the alpacas takes a giant dirt bath and I LOVE it!

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Filed under alpacas, athena, goats, humor, pheasant, photography, piggies, sheep, waterford, winslow farm

Another beautiful day on the farm

I have mostly photos to share today. The only big thing that happened off camera was that Lunar was super agitated about food. She even went after Niko! Watching this giant animal chasing a small cat certainly was an experience.

I was greeted this week by Wizard the wonderful pug. He’s not usually outside of Deb’s house when I’m there so it was really nice to spend a few minutes with him. And how adorable is his blue sweater??

While cleaning the back corral, I looked over and saw Waterford basking in the sunlight in his pen. All throughout the winter, once he finished eating, he went right back into his little house. It was nice not only to see him outside but also to see the smile on his sleeping face.

I snuck up on him trying not to wake him but it turns out that I probably could have banged pots by his head and he wouldn’t have stirred.

This is Edwin. He followed me around all afternoon and was so affectionate. He climbed in with the alpacas after me and they were very curious about him. They kept trying to sniff him, but he kept running away. Later, another cat friend named Maddy joined us but even though all Edwin wanted was to be best friends with him, Maddy started stalking him and trying to take swipes.

Edwin appreciating the sunshine.

Who can resist this face?

Have I mentioned Gulliver before? No?

True love.

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Filed under cats, dogs, goats, gulliver, horses, photography, piggies, waterford, winslow farm

It keeps getting better!

Being away from the farm for a week was treacherous, so my excitement had doubled – impossible, I know! – by the time I got there on Monday. I visited some bunnies and the swan and made my way to the corral. Waterford was hanging out so I waited around for Deb and watched as he chowed down on a tree stump. He was excited to see me and between bites we had a great chat with lots of snorts and head scratches.

Niko spotted me from the barn and made her way across the snow. Eager for hugs, she hopped onto my shoulder perch and purred like a crazy person. Pandy appeared out of nowhere, running and wagging her tail. We played a great game of pine cone. One of the roosters even walked right up to me and hung out!

But after my time spent caring for a sick Lunar two weeks ago, I’d have to say that the most exciting part was when she spotted me from the barn and came over and planted her head over the fence. She nuzzled against me and stayed close by. I took the opportunity to hug her as often as possible. We’ve definitely bonded and it feels pretty amazing.

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Here are the best shots from the afternoon. One of these days, I’m going to get there early with the Nikon, which will spare us all from the slightly fuzzy shots that my Cybershot produces when I don’t use a flash.  Animals + Flash = Not so much. Also if you’d like to see a picture enlarged, just click on it (and then click back, it doesn’t open a new window).

And we’re back…

Niko’s face! See how she squints? She’s undergone multiple eye surgeries and continues to be a super, super friendly cat. She’s the cutest!!

By the time I pulled out my camera, Lunar had scared off Waterford. Which struck me as odd since he is super crazy – in the way I like best, of course, but still, I figured he’d nod at her and keep going. Nope. So instead, I took a shot of the poor tree stump that he went to town on. The trail of red pulp goes far and wide outside the borders of this picture and he certainly was the happiest piggy ever while annihilating the wood.

This is the now-friendly rooster with whom every encounter thus far has consisted of me waving and saying hello and him completely ignoring me. Unless I walked by him on a path. In those cases, he’d jet the other way.

The friendship grows. They’re still learning about each other and that always has its ups and downs, but they seem fond of each other; a great start.

Look at her beautiful smile!!! Still no progress with petting Lovely Athena, but I’ll never give up.

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I’ve mentioned my fascination with the alpacas before and it continues to grow. While getting the barn prepared for dinner, I looked out the door and all three beauties were silently standing there, peering around. Just as quietly, they walked off. They are such gentle hushed animals. Aside from hearing their hooves while leaping about, I’ve heard very little from them. And when they do softly utter a call, it is a surreal alien cry. My mouth actually gaped open when I overheard one of them talking to a sibling. They’re like cartoon characters! Fluffy bodies with HUGE eyes, great, great ears, and spectacular sound effects.  I cannot get enough of them!!!

I left everyone in the barn contentedly munching away and headed over to visit the sweet herd in their corral. This was the first time I’d entered the gate. A brand new barn was built in honor of their arrival and it’s really nice inside: sawdust on the floor, mangers to the side and it smells awesome! Fresh wood scent is always a treat. They have room to play inside the fence and their house looks out on the pond behind the farm. It’s beyond idyllic.

They were huddled outside, eying me, but not in a panicked way and I did not attempt to pet them. Like many of the residents at Winslow, these three had a traumatic past and I want them to be comfortable with me before I try to make contact. It’s something I do with every animal I meet and time lines on this vary.  After spending some time with them, I don’t doubt that they like me as their body language was friendly. Not fleeing was also a good sign, and they had the room to do so. I attempted a few steps closer and they moved a few steps away. So they’re not ready. It’s this same instinct – not to rush up, not to speak loudly, not to reach out, not to repeat attempts in the same visit – that guides me with Athena. If she didn’t trust me at all, she’d never enter the barn or sniff my hand with her nose touching me. But she also senses when I’m reaching out to pet her and moves away from my hand. I will gently continue trying each week and wait for her to respond. The same goes for any timid animal. In their own time, perhaps the alpacas will come around like Delilah did. Or perhaps I will just love them from afar. Either way works for me.

I hope you enjoy their precious faces as much as I do.

Look at those eyes! And those EARS! Even the sawdust look is complementary.

I absolutely think alpacas are one of the coolest breeds of anything I’ve ever seen, including all the amazing species found on nature shows and up close during my personal adventures.

Group shot! Smiling for the camera!

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Filed under alpacas, athena, behavior, cats, dogs, horses, lunar, niko, photography, piggies, roosters, sheep, spirit, swan, waterford, winslow farm