Category Archives: goats

Best Buddies?

Today when I went in for my weekly lovefest, I found Niko in Gulliver’s pen. I pet her for a while as Gully finished eating and then he turned around to face us. Niko was on my lap and Gully reached down and took a bite of her hair. As she cried out in pain, I said, “No, Gulliver! We don’t chew on our friends!”

For a while we sat there and I doled out the pets to both of them. I took a few flash photos and Gully protested by jumping off of the landing and stood outside the pen staring at me. Was I ever happy when he came back over (with significant pleading on my part, of course) and leaned his head back in the mix.

Oh, Mondays, how I love you.

Flash!

“No, thank you.”

PS ~ Sometimes Gully makes purring noises. I know, right?

2 Comments

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

Gulliver fell asleep while I pet him today.

It was awesome.

He also put his head on my lap and later he tucked it into my shoulder. Both these actions were new, too. The way he usually cuddles is by leaning into my hand and resting his forehead on my arm.

But really, it all goes back to that final nod of his head, sending him into a short but happy slumber.

1 Comment

Filed under goats, gulliver, winslow farm

Rain, rain, rain.

The last two weeks have been all about rain. I’ve spent much of the time dashing around from barn to barn, waiting for the drops to stop and hiding out in the big barn. Since there’s not much to say about the rain, here are a few pics.

Sudden downpour…

that lasts forever…

All the animals are driven inside. Most are far enough away from the rain. Not Miss Athena, though.

Little Bailey, sopping wet.

Captain Oblivious chomps away at his hay.

And just as quickly, the storm is gone.

Back to the grind.

Buddies!

Kitty in a box!

Leave a comment

Filed under athena, cats, goats, gulliver, horses, sheep, spirit, winslow farm

New Friends!

I just started a job at a nursery where they have a handful of ponies that were rescued. I know, perfect job, right? Don’t worry, I’ll still be going to Winslow every week. As I adjust from waking up whenever I feel like it to being at work AT 7:30am, I’ve been passed out drooling by 9pm for a little over a week. As I adjust, I’ll be able to write these on time. Until then, double posts it is!

Taking it a step farther, I’m going to rely on my pictures to catch you up:

I love that birds can sleep standing up. I love even more that these geese all hunkered down for a nap together.

I also enjoyed that this emu went back to sleep while I fussed around him getting camera angles. And it never ceases to fascinate me how these giant birds fold into themselves like this. It’s just so bizarre!

Look at this beautiful girl! I took this while Little Miss Peahen was on a date with the albino peacock. They walked around their yard in circles while cooing at each other. Adorable.

My, what great hooves you have, Gully!

Athena keeps topping herself in the great photo department. “Don’t you just LOVE my manicure??”

Aside from the fact that having tons of cats around is awesome to begin with, I love that I meet new ones all the time. This is Me Lord (I know, right? Great name!). He seeks me out every week now and accompanies me on all sorts of visits. Ultimate affectionate spewing from this cat here!

And THIS is Bailey. She lives in the barn and was pretty shy at the beginning. Once she gave me her seal of approval, she revealed how cuddly she is. And what awesome markings! It’s a bit hard to tell from the picture, but her face is split right down the middle of her nose. One side is calico and the other half is solid black, minus the stark white whiskers that spring out of her face.

Oh, how I love this girl.

Speaking of the felines, I discovered this hut for the cats this week. It is located right in the middle of everything! (Insert snarky comment about my awesome powers of observation.)

~

And now a couple of introductions:

Here is a gaggle of the geese at the nursery. They are usually in a giant penned in area that I can’t see from inside – disappointing! – but that morning, they were out and about among the flowers. “HONK!”

I’d like for you to meet Bear.

He is one of the ponies at the nursery and we took to each other immediately. On my first visit, all of the ponies came forward to say hello (and “I’d like some food, please.”) which was a wonderful start. For animals who clearly had a rough time before they ended up at the nursery, as evidenced immediately by their lack of body fat and brittle mane hair, it felt great that they all sniffed my hand. Three let me pet their heads, one allowed me to scratch his rear, and one wouldn’t let me make contact at all.

Over the next few posts, I will introduce them fully, but now, a bit more about Bear. This incredibly soft guy (most of the ponies have amazingly soft almost angora-ish hair – I’d go as far as to say fur) stood apart from all of them. Not only did he like being pet, but he allowed me to put my forehead on his. He allowed neck hugs. He even stared into my eyes. Our connection was immediate and every time I’ve visited him since, he’s just as affectionate. Lunar does not stare into my eyes even though I know how much she loves me, so having Bear just gaze and gaze at me is a whole new level of connecting. Instant love.

What had the most impact on me, though, was when I mistakenly moved my arm abruptly, a few visits in, and he literally jumped backwards. I had no idea that he had a history of abuse. While devastated about his past, I was overjoyed that he’d trusted me from the start. With a bit of coaxing, he came back to the fence for more hugs and I have been careful since that moment about keeping my animation in check.

Every day, I spend half of my lunch break with the ponies (and Jeffrey the goat!). I discovered on my second or third visit that they LOVE dandelions, so on most days, I pick a bunch on my way to see them. I think they are all fantastic munchkins and am enjoying learning about each of them, but Bear certainly made a beeline into my heart.

Leave a comment

Filed under athena, cats, emus, geese, goats, gulliver, horses, niko, peacocks, sheep, 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.

~ ~ ~

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

~ ~ ~

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…

~ ~ ~

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

Leave a comment

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.

1 Comment

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

First day of spring calls for snow?

Well, it didn’t dampen my spirits at the farm. I went about my duties in the barn and as I was about to leave, I saw that Gulliver was sitting in his pen. While I usually find him lounging in the big barn, I’ve never seen him lie down after a meal. And even though I’d already given him extra hugs time when I picked him up earlier, I decided it was in my best interest to sit down on the dirty floor. Sure, there were Gulliver pellets and dirty hay scattered about but I’m almost positive that I didn’t sit on any… And then I gave him the most giant hugs ever! Full body smooshes! He showed his appreciation by burping the whole time. I’m not sure I can possibly explain how happy this made me. When my legs were sufficiently asleep, I finally dragged myself off the ground. He stayed seated until Niko coughed and he hopped up looking worried. Cute AND caring. What a guy!

On my way to visit the turkey, I stopped off at the water pump to rinse my hands of Gulliver dirt. While rinsing, a pheasant popped up in front of me. This beautifully feathered guy had been restricted to a very large cage because he’d attacked a few people with his sharp talons and pointy beak. He’s been out on good behavior for about a month but I’ve never come into contact with him. It turns out that he likes me. A lot. He’s super friendly and he didn’t once try to maim me with either set of weapons.

And then I was off to the bird house. While the turkey courted me, clucked at me, and received pets, I watched a bored duck wander around the room. Around and around he went until he walked up to a black rooster and bit him on the butt. The rooster reacted by shrieking in surprise. I’m sure my raucous laughter ruffled a few feathers but I couldn’t help it. Hilarious!

This sheep was checking out the scene in the cat house while I was in it.

Followed this guy in slow circles for three minutes to get a picture of his sad wings.

This is Cotton. He says, “hi!!”

This is the friendly pheasant. Look at that plumage!

Love, love, love.

1 Comment

Filed under cats, geese, goats, gulliver, humor, pheasant, photography, sheep, turkey, winslow farm

The bittersweet fusion of rain and sun

After having such a wonderful afternoon at the farm, I was deeply saddened to come home and find out that one of my good friends, Chance, had been put to sleep. I battled with feeling the joy I’d just experienced at Winslow and the devastation of losing a loved one. Grief is never an easy process and memories of frolicking with Chance will continue to weave their way into my world. My new memories at the farm intertwined with those emotions and while I am mourning the loss of a great being, I can appreciate my other companions as well.

I started out the afternoon giving Lunar bear hugs and kissing her on her soft cheeks. Kissing her fuzzy face is a new step for me and a lovely one. It’s an adrenaline rush to wrap my arms around her, so different than with a smaller animal. She responded with lots of headbutts. When she does that, I really have to brace myself. I’m pretty sure that I will end up in the mud at some point, but I still take every opportunity I can to shower her with love.

I think I mentioned that I am responsible for feeding the lovely alpacas now. YAY!!! Nothing exciting to report on them. They still won’t let me near but just spending extra time with them is good enough for me.

Another wonderful addition to my time was my pit-stop in the bird house. I walked in and spotted the turkey and he sort of started on the other side of the room, a bit of a bump and feather movement. I slowly approached him and squatted a few feet away. Very slowly, he side-stepped his way toward me until he was close enough to pet. I reached out my hand and he kind of tilted his body into it. Then he started making tiny noises of what I am assuming was joy. Last week, when I was petting him, I used extremely tentative strokes, barely touching his feathers. This time, I leaned into them more and pet him for longer. I even pet his bumpy little head while he continued to coo. I can’t wait to see him again.

The other major highlight of the day was Gulliver. After our petting session last week, I wasn’t sure what to expect from him. When we’re in the barn, he usually watches me from his pen while he waits for his food. Other than that he’s pretty self-contained and focused on eating. Most of the time, he won’t even turn around if I enter his pen. (A bit of “Maybe if I ignore her, she’ll go away”?) I noticed, however, that he was watching me a lot this week. I nonchalantly went over, chatting quietly and slipped an arm over the door. I started scratching his head without facing him and felt him lean into my hand. I started focusing my attention directly at him and he continued to offer his head to me and even started gazing up at me. At one point, I got distracted by Athena who was right behind me being beautiful and Gulliver chewed a bit on my elbow to regain my attention. He even licked my elbow once! The way he tilted his head to the side and leaned into the petting reminded me of a cat or a dog. In all honesty, I was surprised (and, of course, delighted) by that behavior. And he never stepped away to let me know he was done.

Whereas last week, I wasn’t sure if he was just putting up with me or if he actually liked me, there’s no question in my mind now. While I appreciate all of the relationships with animals that I am lucky enough to be a part of, there is an extra bit of gratification that comes with winning an animal over. I welcome Gulliver into that club.

Well, hello there, lady!

Karlina!

This time, he wasn’t just watching me because he thought I was a weirdo!

Handsome (blurry) man!

Leave a comment

Filed under alpacas, athena, dogs, goats, gulliver, horses, lunar, mourning, photography, turkey, winslow farm

The Coop

Yesterday, the barn was flooded, so Deb took over caring for them. I spent a bit of time with Lunar before I headed over to the big barn. I’d be heading from there to “the safe side” (I still have no idea what exactly that means, but I’ll get to who lives there in a second).

I spent a few minutes with Gulliver since he was in the big barn. Because of the flooding, he would have a sleepover there as well! I can only imagine how excited his goat buddies would be about that! Usually when I look for him to bring him up to the barn, I find him sitting on a ledge in the back. He was there on Monday as usual so I took another few minutes to hang out face to face. His reaction of “oh no” was emphasized by shoving his head against the wall. Never one to give up easily, I petted him and spoke softly to him for a while. Eventually, his head came back forward. I went for his ears though (I love, love, LOVE ears!) and he, like most of the animals, rejected that notion. This time he shoved his head into the corner, but I petted him some more and he came around again soon. One of the great kids who works there (one of my original trainers, in fact) came in and said, “I’ve never seen him being so affectionate.” Sweet!!

I went over to “the safe side” and met another young trainer. This section is where Athena hangs out with the sheep and roosters during the day. What I didn’t realize is that a small “building” that I walk by each time actually houses a bunch of different birds. I walked in and was immediately overwhelmed with excitement which I had to stamp down quickly because birds are really sensitive creatures. And if you’ve read my posts on Clementine and Noella, you already know how much birds fascinate me. If you haven’t, please let me elaborate: I LOVE BIRDS!!!!

In this dwelling live a whole mess of roosters/hens, ducks, the peacocks (who apparently live there and not with the donkeys), a peahen (so cute!), a golden pheasant (who looks like a parrot and a regular pheasant), a few doves (who peck if you try to pet them, I was told), a silky white bantam (really fluffy white rooster), and then there is the turkey.

He stayed far away as I walked around examining the room and birds alike. And then I realized that somewhere along the way, I seemed to have picked up a shadow. Sure, it was about four feet away and round and white but a distinct one nonetheless. I tested my theory by continuing to do rounds and wherever I stopped, he stopped, several feet away, looking at me out of the corner of his eyes. Instantly and completely in love with him I fell. And the best part? He let me pet him. The first time, he lurched a few steps away. I waited. He moved back. And the petting resumed.

Lots of photos from this week’s visit!

A little blurry, but she’s a beauty no matter what.

Spirit in the ice.

I used the “twilight portrait” setting on Gulliver to see what it would look like. Not what I expected but still pretty cool. Also, please imagine him putting his completely flat face against the wall…

Commence “birds”!

This is a blurry photo of the silky shite bantam. He couldn’t stop pecking for a clear shot.

 

The albino peacock with one of the other peacocks and a couple of roosters behind him. With all the mud on the floor, I am amazed that he’s so clean!

 

Outside, a gathering. A gaggle, if you will.

 

And last, but not least at all, my new turkey friend.

 

1 Comment

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

Lunar’s Day

I had my first scare at the farm today. A few minutes into meal time, Lunar started coughing. Big chokey coughs. I’ve seen my share of cats and dogs eat too quickly and bring it back up (unfortunately, I’ve also seen many of them eat it back up as well), so I waited her out. I figured that since she’s a big animal, the process might take longer. After about five minutes, I went to tell Deb. She told me that it’s called “choke” and although scary to watch, there’s nothing to be done about it. [“Choke” is typically caused by horses eating too quickly which causes partially chewed food to clump together and stick to the esophagus. And then the horse coughs excessively to try and dislodge it.]

I went back and (this is going to get gross for some for a bit here, apologies), she’d started vomiting out her nose. I let this go on for a bit longer and went in search of Deb again, who said that it’s part of it and it’ll pass. So I went back to poor Lunar who was standing stock still with her head close to the ground gagging; liquid dripping from her nose.

Nobody likes to throw up. And usually, it happens and it’s done and the sweat starts to recede and the chills fade. But here she was doing it every minute or so. I felt awful for her. I tried to get her to drink a bit of water but she’d just stand there. And then a bit later she’d either nose-vomit or gag through a hacking cough again. Her head, usually held up high and proud, remained level with her body in a defeated stance.

I know that when I don’t feel well, a soothing hand on my back helps. Since her back was covered by a coat, I started long strokes down her neck. She responded by moving to face me and head-butting me for more. I focused on her neck and her forehead, the spot right under the tuft of hair in the front. I’d pet and scratch away. And she’d let me know that she wanted me to continue by pushing her head into me. I grabbed some tissues and cleaned her nose periodically. I stood by her as she worked through the spells, petting her as much as I could. And it was arctic out today, like way closer to zero than 32-two pairs of pants and five layers-frigid. The tips of my fingers were frozen and as I stood there, I had a moment of “I have to get inside” and then I looked at Lunar, all sad and yucky feeling, and I stopped feeling the cold. We stood together for at least a half hour, alternating between her fits and my caresses. And while I know feeling good was a far off place for her at the moment, I am confident that I got her that much closer to better by offering a loving hand and soothing words.

I learned a few things tonight.

One) Horses shed a lot. My black coat is white.

Two) Horses can’t vomit so when something needs to come back up, it exits through the nose, which, really, is just the worst way possible for something to make its way out again.

Three) Big giant animals appreciate comforting just as much as we do when they’re sick.

“Choke” is a serious condition and can end a horse’s life. One at Winslow had to be put down after she got a potato lodged in her throat. Deb believes that the reason Lunar was given to her was because of the condition, which the owners clearly did not inform her of when they brought her. It gives me comfort that she’s somewhere where it will be handled with care when it happens and not looked at as a defect or a hassle or a reason to give up on her. She’s safe from that now.

Highlights From Today:

Walking behind Gulliver, whose jacket had come undone, and watching him awkwardly try to kick the strap loose or back up his leg while it stayed firm. Thinking that it would be an easy fix and then watching Deb chase him around his pen trying to put it back on. Hilarious.

Pandy and Wizard were waiting with bubbling anticipation for Mom (Deb) to come back but both still gave me super excited greetings when I climbed over the fence instead. Looking back at Wizard’s black pug silhouette on the white snow as he sat watching her was also noteworthy.

Watching a black duck take a ferocious bath in a huge (FREEZING!) water bucket.

Spirit decided that instead of going into his pen, even though Lunar had just gone into hers, he would stand right behind me and bury his head in my hat.

Putting a bunch of hay on Delilah to cover her completely. I wasn’t sure that she was actually still under there when I took the picture, as it was a good amount of time later, until I opened a can of cat food and she rushed out, looking part scarecrow.

Watching the alpacas play the most delightful game of tag. Here are some grainy pics to show off just how lovely and interesting looking they are.

And of course, I wish that Lunar did not have to have the day she did or that she ever has to suffer through it again, but I am glad that I was there to comfort her and that she wanted me to. Here is her beautiful sad face.

4 Comments

Filed under behavior, cats, dogs, ducks, goats, horses, lunar, photography, sheep, winslow farm