Tag Archives: winslow farm

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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Mrs. Turtle

I’d like to introduce you to my sweet friend.

Mrs. Turtle lost her leg after being hit by a car (before she came to Winslow). She gets along just fine without it and is a super loud purrer and extremely affectionate. I make sure to visit with her every week and most of the time she finds me before I can seek her out. Ah, friendship.

What a pretty lady!

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Weddings and such!

Who knew that weddings are so time consuming (and FUN!!)? I guess everyone. But I didn’t realize how exhausted I’d be. Plus, by the time our wedding had arrived (this past Saturday), I’d started going to Connecticut for half of each week. So sitting in front of my computer and going through the photos from the farm became a daunting task, especially considering the fact that the computer had eighty other tasks that needed to be addressed at that moment! Rest assured that I only missed a few visits and one of them was while I was on our honeymoon (that’s acceptable, right?).

Over the last month Gulliver has been acting very strange. Whereas he once would put his head in my lap, he’d started leaning away from my pets and a few times he even ran away from me. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to say that this was heartbreaking, but I will anyway because of how devastating it felt. My once affectionate friend was acting as though he didn’t even like me anymore. Although I’d have wonderful moments with other animals on the farm each trip, I’d leave with a deep sense of longing coursing through me. I hoped more than anything that he would return to me.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to one of the great kids who volunteers there and she mentioned that Gulliver had been bullied a lot by a newer goat name Timateao. As we were talking about him, the bully beat on a few goats nearby. He was pretty brutal and it was clear that the goats were scared of him. Due to the tight spaces on the farm, there was no way to separate him though so the goal was to monitor and correct his behavior whenever possible.

After our conversation, I went back to Gully and changed my tactics. Instead of forcing pets on him (a problem we all know I have), I sat nearby instead and didn’t attempt to touch him at all. I spoke softly and let him know how much I loved him. He ate his food, accepted treats and didn’t make any other contact with me. Hard to take, but it’s about his recovery, not my feelings.

On my most recent visit, I used the same approach and he surprised me by leaning into me. I reached out to pet him and he tilted his head to receive it. Although he wouldn’t put his head in my lap, he stayed nearby and it started feeling like my Gully might be on the mend. I don’t know how he’ll be when I go back on Monday, but I’m looking forward to giving him hugs again at some point. And I’ll patiently wait until it happens.

And I promise to get back on posting regularly!!!

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Ribbit!

Look who I found hanging out in Lunar’s stall!

Don’t worry, Lunar wasn’t there yet.

The little guy didn’t even try to hop away from me! I almost put him in my pocket and brought him home. I think that our cats would have had a differing opinion than mine to love him forever, though…

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RIP, Little Friend

My dear little bunny friend, known to some as Curtis and others as Kyle, passed away from heat stroke last week. I will miss his tiny bunny kisses.

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Dragonflies everywhere!!!

Dragonflies are all over the farm right now. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to have significant experiences with a couple of them. While many have been flying very close to me, none were bold enough to let me get up close until a curious one landed on the fence last week and wasn’t scared when I walked up to it. I noticed that it had one back wing that was slightly crumpled. It didn’t seem to affect its flight though. It sat on the fence and stared at me and even let me put my face right up to it, so I got a great look at its old man mouth and huge eyes. It didn’t fly off until after I was distracted by and returned to Gully.

See how the wing is bent?

Look at its little open mouth!


Yesterday, however, I made even more progress with the local dragonfly population! This particular one had a very bright green head and a blue body. It happily danced and flitted about, landing on the fence and flinging itself away again. I’d try to approach and off it would go, only to land a few feet away. I patiently danced with it until, at last, it stayed and peered at me. I slowly reached out my hand and got it close enough so that my extended index finger was right in front of its face. Expecting the big launch, I was super excited when it stayed instead. I moved my finger a tiny bit closer and the dragonfly reached its two front legs out and grasped the tip of my finger!  I stayed like that for a few seconds and then very cautiously, I gave it a tiny nudge. And if it hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t have believed it: it climbed up onto my finger!! I stood like that for as long as I could stand it and then slowly turned my finger around and brought my hand so that it was about a foot from my face. I stared into that dragonfly’s shiny reflective eyes (different than those of the ones on the one from the week before), perfectly content. I milked it for as long as possible and then the dragonfly resumed its flight. I went to get my camera in the hopes that I’d be able to capture it on my hand again but all I could get were a few shots from a few feet away.

At least you can see the special dragonfly that became my friend!

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Whimsical Winslow – Summer’s Here!

What 90 degree weather?

Athena Beans! And she’s letting me pet her back and her fuzzy head. She’s SO soft!!!

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Whimsical Winslow – Xena!

Not the smartest…

But she’s definitely cute!

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Bunny Bunny Bunny!

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!

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