Tag Archives: animal sanctuary volunteer

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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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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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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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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

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

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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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Rabbit, Rabbit

I learned a few weeks back that rabbits LOVE donuts! Because of that adventure, I’ve become friendly with a few standoffish ones who live in an enclosure with a few doves. Due to the snow and the fact that one of the bunnies is black, my camera got really confused with the lighting and I love the results.

Here’s half of the super cute pair and it’s also a way to show perspective on what it actually looked like at the moment.

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This is his friend…

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Even he’s smirking at the interesting lighting!

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Happy New Year, everyone!

May 2013 be everything that you wish it to be.

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Pandy, my love

I absolutely adore Pandy who takes her senior citizenship and turns it upside-down with a ton of spunk. She’s always been one to chase a pine cone around no matter who is throwing it, but she’s not the most affectionate dog. So, I’ve been working on that aspect of her personality a bunch. I always make sure to pet her before our game of pine cones and she’s gotten pretty used to it. About a month ago, Deb was feeding the roosters grapes which was HILARIOUS because they’d rush over and snatch them up, yelling all the way and then stagger off in a random direction (roosters look ridiculous when they run). I noticed that Pandy was looking pretty bummed that she wasn’t getting any. She tried darting forward to get one but the roosters squawked her out of the way and snagged them. Then she’d stand there with a dejected look on her face. Deb gave me a handful, saying, “I don’t think she likes them but let’s see” and it turns out that she loves them! That story has nothing to do with affection, I just like it. Back on track, my newest thing is to pull her in for long hugs and she’s gotten into them. She even leans into me and patiently waits for me to finish and then runs off in hot pursuit of a pine cone. Once she’s focused on the game, however, there’s no getting close to her, but those hugs are GREAT beforehand!

This week, with all the snow, finding pine cones was challenging. She found the tiniest one that I’ve ever seen and we played for a while. I went off to give treats to Levi and Rango (who I’ve yet to introduce you to. What is WRONG with me? Rango introduction coming soon…) and she followed. She managed to unearth (or un-snow, if you will, wahn-wahn-wahn) a HUGE stick and she went even more nuts over it than she does over the pine cones (I think I’m setting a world record for the use of the words “pine cones” in this post)! She even waited patiently for me to continue our game when I went to visit some bunnies. (I’m standing inside their enclosure.)

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Here’s a video of her with the stick. Right in the middle, Levi makes a funny nose and distracts all of us, but Pandy’s attention is only diverted for a second and then it’s game back on!

Pandy rarely looks at the camera or stays still for a second, so I was thrilled when I got this photo.

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Prettiest girl! Oh, Pandy, I love you so much!

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Summer to Winter

Somehow I moved right past fall and into winter without writing a real post. For the most part, it’s the sounds that change the most for me. While summer is filled with the buzzing of bugs and heavy air, fall creeps in silently leaving behind the noisy insects (I do miss the dragonflies, of course) and I’m able to focus on the quiet munching sounds that my friends in the barn make. I could sit in that barn listening forever.

Very little changes with the animals themselves. They go about their business and days must feel pretty similar to them. I tend to my chores and relish the time that I spend with them. I spend a great deal of time cuddling with Gully, who’s back to his affectionate self, his super huggy, head butting, best goat friend of mine self.

One thing that’s new and really exciting for me is that my relationship with Athena has really developed. I’ve looked back in posts and realized that the recent stories about her are stuck in my brain and not on the blog yet. Where to begin? Well, first off, after Athena finishes eating, she sits on the ground. I started to use this time as an opportunity to give her head rubs which she immediately HATED but was unable to jump up and run away from me and then a second later LOVED because they feel awesome. Who doesn’t love head scratches? Not Athena! So, every time I’d do this, it would terrify her at first until she remembered that she likes the feeling and she’d close her eyes and lean into them. So that’s pretty huge news on the Athena front and I could stop right there and be perfectly happy, but it gets even better! Treats have become a new line of communication for us, allowing her to interact with me on her own terms. I’ve always given them to her but used to just break them up and add them to her bowl. One time, I put one in front of her nose and she sniffed cautiously and took a bite. Interesting. We continued that dance for a while until recently when she became bold about asking for them. She’d lift her head with sniffs to see if I had one in my hand and if I did, she’d make it clear that she’d like one. Today, however, she walked right up to me, almost cornering me against the barn door and ate the treat with such oomph that my finger actually touched her teeth. Twice! Unbelievable! Perhaps soon she’ll let me pet her while she’s standing up…

Yesterday was the first real snowfall of winter here and the snow had finished its journey to the ground by the time I woke up this morning but everything was still covered in fluffy powder. Best of both worlds when tromping out to the farm. I brought my camera along since it’s been dark by the time I’ve gotten there for the last month and here are some of the images that I captured.

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One of the many entrances to the enchanting world.

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Part of the snowy landscape.

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One of the rabbit houses, glowing with lights.

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Beautiful Athena basking in the sun.

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Spirit begged for the treats in my pocket and started to eat snow off of the gate to distract me from his real motive.

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After I wouldn’t give into his request though, he stole some from the back of the tractor!

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The mallards have been much calmer, as of late, but still pretty awesome.

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Little Miss Zoey, who has gotten super fat lately, squishing herself under the fence to see me.

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Levi acts like a dog so he gets to wear a doggie coat!

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And last, but certainly not least, these two guys are perched on the fence like this every time I leave now. They wait until all of the animals have gone into their barns and cozy places and they get hunker down.

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Filed under athena, behavior, bunnies, cats, dogs, ducks, geese, gulliver, horses, lunar, photography, roosters, sheep, spirit, winslow farm

Thankful

This holiday season, I am especially thankful for Winslow Farm. (I am, of course, thankful for my friends, family, cats and my wonderful husband as well!) But spending time with the wonderful animals each week centers me and fills me with peace. I simply can’t imagine my life without these friends.

Liam is thankful for Winslow Farm, too.

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