Sorry, Jackson!! I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@mindingtheminis) for live tweets from the farm on Sunday afternoons.
Category Archives: goats
I realize that it’s been practically forever since I’ve posted and that the recent ones are all about the sadness in losing friends. I’m sad to report that this one isn’t much different as I found out yesterday that my little friend, Apricot, passed away. She’d been in poor health for quite some time and had fought through it by continuing to be as sweet as pie. I’ll miss her little under-bite. She was always moving around a lot so I have only one photo of her to share that I can find right now. But if I locate an under-bite pic, I’ll post it.
You’ll be missed, sweet sweet girl.
And I’m going to try to start writing regularly again. I love love love my job but it keeps me busy. I always get to the farm to visit my friends though and will try to bring those adventures back to the page. I’m still live-tweeting/gramming while there, so please follow me on twitter (@mindingtheminis) or Instagram (@mindingtheminis).
I hope that everyone has a wonderful week. Hug your two-legged and four-legged friends close.
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.
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.
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!
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.
A cat nap is pretty glorious…
…any way you look at it!
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.
Willow and Spirit becoming friends!
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.
Here he is checking out the structure. “I don’t think so…”
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.
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.
I haven’t seen the donkeys in forever. Jezebel is such a beauty and has the sweetest disposition. And she’s soooo soft.
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.
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.
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!
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!”
“Soon the grain will be mine!”
Don’t forget to join Gully and me on the farm on Sunday afternoons (@mindingtheminis). Have a great week!
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.
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??)
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!)
These guys were busy chowing down on the snow.
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.
And then it was time to head to my barn.
No words, just beauty. (above and below)
Not to be outdone, Athena wanted to show off her pretty eyes (and to be the final image of the post!).
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.
Here’s Athena ignoring me…
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!!
Last Sunday, I spent quite a lot of my time at the big barn since I never really get to it. Two goats in particular made an impression. The first was a sweet boy named Liam who met me while I was taking pictures of his friends inside the barn. He rounded the corner and came to a halt in the goat in front of him so as not to run into me. I reached out a welcoming hand and he backed up. When I turned away, he tried to walk past me but there wasn’t enough room to get by without making contact, so he stopped. He stood frozen, hoping that he was invisible, I’m sure. The rest of his friends ambled around, sniffing me, disregarding me, going about their business. But Liam stayed stock still and stared at me.
Much later, I went back to the barn and sat outside. All of the animals had been fed and many were coming back out. One goat started to dance with me the way that Gulliver did when our friendship began. The butt bump sort of a “hey, there buddy, just checking you out, no big deal” kind of a welcome. I started patting his head and we became quick friends. The difference in petting him verses other goats was that he had giant horns. He liked to dig them into my back (in a friendly way! A goat massage, if you will). Somewhat awkward but certainly worth putting up with in exchange for everything else. His name is Jackson.
And these are his beautiful horns.
While we were hanging out, Liam quietly walked over and set up camp a few feet away from us, just watching the scene. No contact was made but I’m hoping for some in the future. As my circle of friends grows at the farm, my heart swells to include them.
Levi is in love!!!!