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

The littlest moments that haunt me are the hardest to let go

I went out to my car this morning and as I was brushing off the  snow, I heard a bird call in the sky. Looking up, I saw a lone Canadian goose flying high. With each downbeat of his or her wings, the bird let out a panicked honk. Over and over again, I listened to this bird as it passed by me. An overwhelming sense of anguish stayed with me long after it was even a speck anymore. Unsettling sadness filled me. What happened to its family? Was it injured at some point and they had to go on ahead and now healed, it’s trying to catch up? What other scenario might lead to a goose frantically looking for what it had lost? Calling out in hopes of a response.

The hardest part of moments like this is accepting that I can’t do anything. That I can’t fix it. That I can’t comfort this bird who is in obvious distress. I’ll never know if it worked out. If the lost family was found. And that’s really tough on me. I know I’m not the only one out there whose eyes well up thinking about situations like this. Who cries about a lost little goose trying to find its way. Who feels helpless. I’m not alone in contemplating a story like this long after others have forgotten it. Or in being someone who even notices it in the first place. Knowing that doesn’t make it easier to let go though.

So, I’ll just sit here and try to think happy thoughts about the goose and hope for the best.

Safe travels, little buddy. I hope that you find them.

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Filed under behavior, geese

You wanted another video of Willow, right??

Here you go!!!

I can’t get enough of this girl!

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Filed under piggies, willow, winslow farm

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!)

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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!

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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.)

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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.

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What a precious face!

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Filed under piggies, waterford, willow, winslow farm

Here’s a sneak peak at the new piggie, Willow!!!!

She is SO sweet!!! I will have photos and a story up soon, but in the meantime, I give you this!

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Filed under piggies, winslow farm

Not every week starts out as wonderfully as the last one

I know we all have days where everything wrong seems to pile on top of everything else that’s wrong. My visit this week started out like that. I was an hour late since we drove back from Connecticut, I didn’t have enough time to take photos, I was really hoping that the poop would be scooped but nope and it was frozen, Gully would not go into his pen, I almost stepped on Neko, all the water buckets were frozen so I had to stab through the ice with a carving knife and Lunar’s bucket was filled with dirt along with the frozen water. *sigh* All of these would have been fine on their own, but add them up together and I was one frustrated character.

But it all went smoothly after that. Gully gave me lots of hugs, Athena approached me for many treats, Spirit was a gentleman when I put on his coat and Howie was happy to see me at the end of the night in the cat house. Plus the roosters didn’t block my exit this time.

Here’s some perspective on where they usually sit and the stairs that they were blocking last time.

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I’m not sure if any of you are on Twitter, but I’ve started live tweeting from the farm each week. Just a few photos each time, so it nothing overwhelming and it’s a lot of fun to do. I hope you’ll join me on Twitter on Sunday afternoons. Here are the photos I tweeted from this last visit.

Here’s Zoey munching away on Gully’s hay. What a weirdo cutie!

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I caught this rooster trying to break into the barn. I’d never seen him before and was kind of worried that he was the one who used to sit on Athena’s back and peck at her while she ate. So, I didn’t let him in, just to be safe.

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Apparently, he’s smarter than I realized though since he figured out how to get in around the back. Because he left Athena alone, I let him stay. He just stayed roosted next to the grain room assessing the scene.

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And then there’s Gully. Always Gully. Even cute with hay on his face.

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I hope that everyone has a wonderful week!

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Filed under gulliver, roosters, winslow farm

Reader Appreciation Award!

This is a great day! I was given the Reader Appreciation Award by Elle!reader-appreciation-award

Thank you!! Check out her wonderful blog  at elleturner4.wordpress.com.

The Reader Appreciation Award Rules:

1. Link back to the person who nominated you. Ta-da! (see above)

2. Attach the icon to your site. Will do!

3. Answer the attached questions. Coming up…

4. Nominate 6 bloggers who you feel deserve this award. See below!

Onto the questions. Good luck getting one word answers out of me!

1. What is your favorite color?
purple, Purple, PURPLE!

2. What is your favorite animal?
This is like picking your favorite child or pet. I love all the animals! But hedgehogs ? Monkeys? Slow lorises? Sloths??

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?
Darjeeling,  flavored seltzer water & diet dr. pepper cherry (yay for those new soda machines that have a bazillion choices for flavors!)

4. What is your favorite number?
The complicated answer is 711 when it rhymes with Devon. The practical answer is 12.

5. What is your favorite day of the week?
Sunday. It’s Winslow Farm day!

6. What is your favorite flower?
Hen and Chicks, Little Mouse Ears Hosta (wait, was the question what’s your favorite plant?), I love all sorts of flowers, especially purple ones!

7. What is your passion?
Try and limit me on this question! Singing, writing, photography, caring for and about animals, animal rescue, meowing at my cats, and lots of other things.

8. Do you watch television?
I do. Through DVR and Netflix, though. I like lots of shows but I think that everyone should watch Community so that it stays on the air forever.

9. Who is your favorite author?
Ellen Emerson White, Anne Patchett and Jenny Lawson

10. Do you like 80′s movies?
Heathers is fanTAStic! And Willow isn’t what you think of as an “80’s movie” but it is by far my favorite movie EVER and was made in ’88.

11. How do you like your eggs?
Scrambled, over hard, hard-boiled, deviled. Now I want some eggs…

12. When did you discover blogging?
I guess my first real awareness was when Dave Barry had his blog through the Miami Herald. On my other blog, which I started writing in 2004, I kind of copied his format of linking to funny articles and commenting on them (it’s morphed a lot since then). I started writing Minding the Minis so that I could tell stories and share photos of the animals that I hung out with through the pet sitting business that I owned back in Connecticut.

13. Why do you like to blog?
I like sharing my experiences with other people. “Meeting” people with similar interests is also great! The blogging community is wonderful.

As for my nominations, these bloggers have been supportive about my blog through “likes” and comments and I appreciate it! I hope you’ll have as much fun with this award as I have! (And there is NO pressure to do it.)

http://crazytraintotinkytown.com

http://greenhornphotos.com

http://m5son.wordpress.com

http://findingourwaynow.com

http://tristadigiuseppi.wordpress.com

http://kloomer.blogspot.com

Enjoy their blogs!

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A little help goes a long way, especially when discussing the merits of being a wheelbarrow

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.

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Here’s Athena ignoring me…

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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.

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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.

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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!

Roosters

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.

Apricot

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Filed under athena, goats, gulliver, lunar, roosters, spirit, winslow farm

Muddy boots, horsey pals and treats galore! Winslow’s got it all!

This week was muddy and grey at the farm, so I left my camera at home. I always have my iPhone on me, so I’m sharing my visit through that lens.

Boots

Beautiful Lunar! Not a huge fan of sitting still for the camera, though.

Lunar

As I mentioned recently, Athena has become super treat motivated. She’s so focused on them that every time I left the food area with grain or hay, she stopped eating and walked up to me sniffing whatever was in my hands. Once she figured out that they weren’t tastier snacks, she backed off. She was super excited when I finally gave her some.

Also I’ve been petting her more and more while she’s sitting down. This isn’t news but something interesting happened this last time. While massaging her back, I played around with pressure and every once in a while, she sucked in a short breath and looked really alert. I talked to her soothingly, backed off and she relaxed again. I did it a couple of times to see if it would happen again and it did. She seemed to tense up in an way that I can only think of as biologically associated with her prey/predator instinct. Fascinating. She’s becoming more comfortable with me petting her head and back, but scratching her ears is still what she likes the most.

Here she is sniffing me out for treats. Loving this girl so much!

Athena

Gully has a much more subtle way of asking for treats.

Gully

I couldn’t decide which photo was cuter, so I’m posting both of them. Ahh, I love this goat so much!!

Gully More

Can’t wait to see all of them next week!

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Filed under athena, behavior, gulliver, lunar, winslow farm

A new furry friend!

Meet Cookie!

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I’d never met him before Sunday. Never even seen him in fact, but Deb said that he’s been there for a while. He popped out of the woodwork while I was hanging out with Pandy and hung out with me (he was pretty hissy at her) for a while. I’ve never seen a cat willing to roll around in the snow so I was happy that I caught this little guy on tape doing just that.

I also discovered quickly that he’s the type to be SUPER affectionate and then give you a hearty swipe to let you know who’s in charge. So, we kept our friendship at arm’s length. I’m always happy when I make new kitty friends at the farm and Cookie was no exception.

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Filed under cats, photography, videos, winslow farm