One of my sweet, sweet friends at the farm is sick.

Pandy-the-beautiful-border-collie

Dear Pandy has lymphatic cancer. Due to the cold weather, the dogs were often in Deb’s house during my visits and I chalked up not seeing her pretty face to this. A few Sundays ago, she bounded up to me, pine cone in mouth and we played a rousing game of fetch. She leaned into my hugs a bit harder and I figured that she just missed me as much as I missed her.

Right before I left, I was chatting with Deb about my excitement over seeing Pandy and she broke the news to me. The gentle dog had been on her deathbed for two weeks with a grim assessment. But then, all of a sudden, with a little help from Prednisone, her energy returned. Defying all odds, not only was she up and about, she was running around. Watching her closely (she was at my feet while I talked to Deb) I noticed that a change had definitely occurred in her. The extra hugs I thought I was imaging were in fact an actual response from her. Obviously, I don’t think she’s having conscious thoughts about a near death experience, but something has changed in her.

This last visit, I checked in with Deb and she said that during Pandy’s most recent appointment, the vet said the cancer had spread throughout her body. Her energy levels haven’t changed and Deb reported that she’d been active all day and was just resting at that point in the house, but that we all know that Pandy’s time is limited.

I went into the house to sit with her for a while. At first, Freedom tried to hog my time but even she sensed that she should hang back. Different cats kept trying to pile onto my lap and when I became distracted, Pandy reached out with her paw and touched my arm redirecting my attention. She’d never done anything like this before. I gave her lots of hugs and thought a lot about how much I love her. She smelled like the campfire, like the farm, like life.

I don’t know how much time I have left with this beautiful creature but I’ll cherish every moment that remains. If she wants to run after pinecones, that’s what we’ll do. If she wants hugs, they’re hers.

Pandy-pretty-border-collie

Hold your four-legged and two-legged friends a little closer this week.

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Athena, the shy sheep, continues to melt my heart, piece by piece.

My relationship with Athena has continued developing each week. Where there were baby steps for months on end, it seems to be progressing in leaps and bounds now. When passing through the gate into the corral, she used to bolt by me and now she walks right up to me instead. She even followed me out of the barn and over to the alpacas’ pen when I went to feed them! Like Gully did the other week, she’s started opening the grain room door with her nose to gain access to me (and my treats, of course!). All of these changes feel wonderful but I had an even more spectacular time with her this last visit.

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For the most part, I interact with her now by squatting down. The more time I spend face-to-face with her, the more responsive she is and the more confident she acts towards me. From this position, I gave her treats and kept moving my hand closer to my face with each one. She sniffed around looking for more and ended up touching her nose to my nose and didn’t back off. I had tears a few weeks ago when she nuzzled my hand and they were doubled when she pressed her fuzzy face to mine. Out of this world!

Confidence brimming over, I decided to push the limits again. This time I held the treat in one hand and while she ate it, I petted her with the other hand. The first few times, she backed off hastily. But almost as quickly, she started accepting my advances. Every time she let me pet her, I said, “good girl!” After a few minutes, I was able to pet her without giving her a treat. The pets grew from very brief to much longer ones as the time passed. She even leaned into the ear scratches like she does when she’s lying down! As our bond grows stronger, I am looking forward to even more from her.

To think, a few months ago, I couldn’t get this close without her running off and now look!

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Excuse the blurriness and as I show off how bold she’s gotten!

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Precious, precious girl. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “A face only everyone could love!”

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I hope everyone has a wonderful week and that the weather is beautiful for all of you! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@mindingtheminis) for live tweets from the farm on Sunday afternoons!

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Gully, the goat, is a crafty one!

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!”

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“Soon the grain will be mine!”

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“Almost there…”

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“SUCCESS!!!!”

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Don’t forget to join Gully and me on the farm on Sunday afternoons (@mindingtheminis). Have a great week!

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Filed under goats, gulliver, winslow farm

I’ll gladly give up an hour of sleep if it means spending more time with my buddies

What a joy it was this week to be there as late as 6:15 and it was still light out! I love spring so much. No more snow storms, please! I’ve already broken the top off of two plastic shovels at home since I haven’t gotten it into my head that you can’t step on the top of them.

I spent most of the time enjoying the great weather and hanging out with the animals. Dan, an amazing kid who’s essentially Deb’s number two, witnessed Athena rush me for treats. “Wow, she really comes right up to you,” he commented. I was proud of both Athena and myself at that moment.

Here are my favorite photographs of the day:

The always elegant Spirit

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Delilah looking super innocent perched on a fence post.

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And this snorty snout belongs to Miss Willow!

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I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Don’t forget to follow on me on Twitter (twitter.com/mindingtheminis) if you’d like to experience Winslow with me on Sunday afternoons.

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Filed under cats, horses, piggies, spirit, willow, winslow farm

Rainy days are short ones but they’re still sweet

The last two visits to the farm have been wet and grey, so my camera stayed warm and cozy at the house while I ventured out into the elements. On days like this, I’m mostly head down getting it all done. I still take time to have snuggles with Gully, I just spend a lot less time on the farm.

This last week, I went through my treats dance with Athena and squatted in front of her as she sniffed around. To my surprise, she actually nuzzled her nose into my hand looking for treats. For multiple seconds. Pushing her fuzzy nose around and around. It caught me so off guard that I sat there tearing up with joy. I stared into her face as she continued on, oblivious of how much the moment meant to me. This one definitely goes down in the records.

Here are some snapshots from my phone of the two weeks. There are so few because of the crazy weather. I can’t WAIT for Spring!!

Wet ponies wait for me to start preparing their dinner.

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I definitely wore the wrong boots this last week!

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Little fat psycho Delilah angling for cuddles. (I – and my shins! –  have learned my lesson in not reaching down to pet her even if she’s being super cute. And by shins I mean that if I step wrong, she’ll grab me. And by grab me, I mean, “OW!”)

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“Are you sure you won’t give me anymore treats??”

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And once again, beautiful Athena finishes off the post! I still can’t get over how much progress I’ve made with her.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@mindingtheminis) if you want live tweets and photos from the farm on Sunday afternoons.

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Filed under athena, lunar, winslow farm

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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Spirit-the-horse-in-a-snowy-field

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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!).

athena-the-sheep-beautiful-face

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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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You wanted another video of Willow, right??

Here you go!!!

I can’t get enough of this girl!

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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!

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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.)

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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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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