Not the smartest…
But she’s definitely cute!
I am in some serious love with the bunny who lives in the cat house. Over the past month, he’s gone from fleeing in terror when I get near to running over to see me when I arrive. He absolutely loves to be pet, too. I’ve never had a bunny and never knew any growing up so I’m not all that sure how to interact with them. Befriending goats was no big thing since they are big. But rabbits have little tiny frames and I’ve heard all sorts of sad stories about how fragile they are, so I’ve gone as slowly as I can with this little guy. We all know that’s means not very slowly at all but I’m trying really hard for me! And I always pet him very gently.
My favorite thing to do is stroke one finger down his nose. He sits there, blissfully, eyes closed, loving every second. I started putting my face near his to see what he’d do. With most animals, a looming face is not something they really want. My cats, for instance, get pretty nervous when I do this. Milo will freak out and start growling and the rest of my cats will at least turn their heads. I read a really awesome book called On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas that’s (obviously) aimed at interacting with dogs, but I’ve have noticed the behavior with many species. It’s a really quick read and I highly recommend it. One of the signals happens when a dog approches another head on. The other dog will turn his head to let the staring dog know that they are uncomfortable. The staring dog is acting in an aggressive way and the turning of the head helps to calm her down. (Watch your own animals when they greet each other. It’s fascinating!) So my big face coming directly at the face of an animal (big or small!) makes them feel unsure. Since I’m human and interact differently, it’s hard for me to break this habit. So most animals are greeted, in their heads, somewhat aggressively by me. And most of them respond by turning their heads. This little bunny, however, did not.
I put my face on his level and he hopped right up to it and sniffed my nose. And then he decided that wasn’t enough so he pressed his nose against mine! And then, he started licking my nose!!! His tiny face, whiskers twitching away, was shoved against mine. So awesome!
Levi loves the bunny as much as I do!
Such a sweetie!
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.
My personal schedule is changing a bit and, most likely, I will not be doing Monday afternoons on the farm anymore. So I am trying out Sunday afternoons instead. In terms of workforce, the weekends are very different than weekdays. Most Mondays have an average of six people helping out, but there were kids everywhere when I worked two Sundays ago. I think I counted 15 volunteers in all.
When Deb and I discussed the change in days and duties, it was clear that my role at the farm would be different. Instead of feeding and taking care of the small barn, I would start massaging those in need (I took an in-depth seminar on animal massage a few years ago) and make sure the residents are happy. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Pet my friends? Yes, please! Stop hauling around heavy buckets and wheelbarrows full of manure? Works for me! It’s a dream assignment. But I have to say that I felt kind of lost that first Sunday. I wandered around a lot. Did a lot of sitting. Don’t get me wrong, I loved hanging out with the animals. I even gave the bunny a little massage! But lacking specific responsibilities, I felt somewhat useless.
This past week, I went on Monday and went about my usual duties in the little barn. I felt like I’d accomplished something when I left. Deb even commented to me, “You seem like you’re in your element.” And she was right! I knew exactly what to do. I didn’t need to invent my tasks. And when everything was completed, the animals were fed and happy and the place was clean.
This next week might be my final Monday or maybe it’ll be the one after that. Regardless, in the near future, I will only have Sundays and it’s going to be different. Will I get used to it? Yes. Will I love it? I know I will! But just as I felt somewhat out of place when I first started volunteering on the farm and took on the responsibilities at the barn, it’s going to take time to adjust. I can guarantee one thing though. Every week, Gully will still be getting his hugs!
Isn’t Jezebel beautiful?
Lunar, checking out the foliage.
Friends for life.
I like that Pandy chose this spot to watch Deb.
The girls had their greatest greatest haircuts yet. A little New Wave? Perhaps a bit Tina Turner?
Nothing exciting to report about Levi, except that he’s still adorable. Look at that ear! He still hasn’t graduated out of the cat house…
I haven’t mentioned my turkey friend in FOREVER!!! I was stalking the peacocks this week (photos to come) and he tracked my movements from inside the bird house. I love that little guy so much.
Zoey, here, hitched a ride on my back while I took photos. She purred like a crazy person and head-butted me. Super distracting!
And then she took a well deserved nap on top of a pile of wool. It’s tough work being so cute!
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.
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.
I visited the kid this week, whose been named Levi, and he firmly entrenched himself in my heart after I decided to pick him up. Expecting him to squirm out of my arms, I was surprised when he just went kind of limp. I cradled him and he looked at me for a bit and tried to shove his nose up my nostril. Then he started chewing on my chin. Pure bliss! Levi was trying to nurse! He sat there contentedly nibbling away while gazing into my eyes. I am not rendered speechless very often but barely a squeak emanated from me.
Sure, it’s blurry, but I couldn’t help sharing his failed attempt at climbing up onto this ledge.
Look at those little legs!!! Those tiny knees!!!!
I heavily contemplated walking out of the barn and driving right on home with him. Unlike last time when I was kind of kidding, this week I almost did.