Monday, November 26, 2012

Missing the barn

The snow has arrived. It's an odd feeling these days. I haven't been trekking down to the barns to do chores, I am just too BIG!

I miss the smell of the barn, and the livestock. I wonder if they miss me - and if they will remember me when I finally return.

I only have 4 more weeks to go, but I so swollen that I will be leaving work early.
Another odd ending. I haven't been away from work for more that 2 weeks in over 25 years. It will feel like an odd extended vacation I am sure! So many changes.

And one important new beginning.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Oh my poor feet

My feet are puffy. They now resemble bread loaves. Queer puffy bread loaves. It's awful. I can't wear shoes and have resorted to wearing crocs to work. Hardly a fashion statement! Especially with a business suit. But it's either that or slippers, I am not sure which is worse.

By end of day my feet are so swollen that I am quite certain they could burst - silly idea right? Impossible you say? I am not so sure!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A mmmoomarvellous Halloween

Halloween was days away, and I couldn't find a costume. I was becoming frantic as we has decided to attend a party.

What to go as to a Halloween party when you are 7 months pregnant? I am not the confident type who is willing to sport some daring skimpy midriff showing costume. My bump wasn't feeling that confident.

I felt like such a heifer - hormones I know but I have been feeling enormous these days.

Then it hit me! If I feel like a cow...

It was good for a laugh - and good for my soul to embrace my new shape!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Finding a use for old things

I think it's the pregnancy, but I am definitely more addicted to Pintrest than usual. Some would say I am "nesting".

Regardless, it has led to some fantastic projects finally getting done. I have replaced a number of the window coverings in the house, and am finally putting to use many of the amazing auction finds that I have been collecting.

I have a wonderful old trunk, and have been scratching my head with what to do with it. It's too far gone in terms of refurbishment - but then I saw a painted trunk on Pintrest.  I hadn't thought to paint it!

I posted this photo to my instagram, so apologies for the bad photo quality - but I think it came out quite good!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Back to the bare bones

Over six months ago our kitchen flooded. After our initial panic, we remembered that we had insurance - and we contacted them immediately.

Well to say it's been a lengthy process is an understatement.

The basement room which was damaged was repaired in under two months time. However, it has taken over six months for the kitchen work to begin. I jokingly asked the contractor if the kitchen would be done by the time my child was born - he sheepishly said "I hope so". 

I hope so? Oh dear.

So right now the entire contents of my kitchen are packed up and stacked throughout the house. Our home is only 1200 square feet, and it's amazing how much stuff can be jammed into a kitchen.  If you were to enter our home right now, you may believe that you have stumbled across some serious hoarders. Every inch of space is covered in bins and boxes.  I have committed to myself that not all of this "stuff" will be returning to the kitchen. Do I really need that many wine glasses? Or three entire sets of tupperware? It will be an opportune time to downsize and declutter.

In the meantime, our kitchen has been stripped to the bare bones. The original wood flooring, and the tar paper walls.  To some it looks shocking, to me - it looks like progress.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Good omens

Being over 40 and pregnant can be a nerve wracking time. Sometimes it's best to simply ignore those folks who tell you horror stories "just so that you are informed" - and instead to keep thinking positively.
Today on my way into the doctors office for my ultrasound, I had a lovely omen that things will be just fine.
The sun was peeking through a crack in the roofline, and made a heart shaped sunbeam on the wall. It was fleeting, but powerful.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wee bump

I had always wanted to be one of those pregnant women with a perfect bump, sporting stick thin arms and legs unaffected by hormones.

Instead I appear to resemble one of those ancient goddess figures, round and soft with plenty of curves.

I am embracing this new me - although there are days I miss my waist. I confess I worry about rekindling a relationship with my waist after the baby is born, but I am trying not to stress about it. Instead I am marveling at the life growing within me.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Where Farmers Meet!

The Social Side of the Outdoor Farm Show

Once a year, farmers from across the globe make the trek to Woodstock Ontario to participate in Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show.  The show offers "one stop shopping" for farmers and highlights the most innovative and technologically advanced agricultural products and services available. For those who went, it was well worth the visit.

With approximately 50 acres of exhibit space, and over 700 acres, it’s a lot to cover in one day so comfortable walking shoes are an absolute must!

 An exciting trend this year is the increased use of social media with not only the show exhibitors, but with the many folks who came out to enjoy the show.

There are thousands of farmers who use Twitter to connect, and this year’s show was no exception.  Many Twitter users used the show as an opportunity to connect with others in “real life”, and to finally put a smile to a name.  The hashtag #cofs2012 was created, to allow Twitter uses to follow conversations on Twitter and find out real time updates during the show.

Exhibitors got in on the action as well. Many of them used Twitter to announce free giveaways or to draw folks to their booth with interactive contests. Others used Facebook to share photos and stories from farmers around the globe.

 Many farmers now consider their smartphone to be an important agricultural tool, and it was evident at the show that technology firms are taking note.  From livestock management systems, to agricultural calculators the smartphone has become a personal computer on the go.

In a way, the Outdoor Farm Show is the aggies version of the CNE – a sign that summer is coming to an end and fall is at hand.  Harvests are in full swing, and for many farmers it was a chance to connect and learn more about the advancements in agriculture.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Auction finds

I love country auctions. You can find the most unique items. Check out my new guardian sheep :) they came as a pair and I think they look magnificent in the garden!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Our own wee lamb!

Thinking back, I did feel rather sympathetic for the ewes this year.  I watched them struggle to deliver their lambs, and felt such a kinship to them.

Imagine our suprise to find out that we are expecting a "wee lamb" of our own!  It appears that all of that estrogen in the barn this spring managed to get things moving in the ovaries department, and so in January of 2013 we will be new parents.

I am still in a state of denial. I went for the ultrasound and said to the technician "are you sure that's me?"  I have been told that once I begin to feel the signs of life it will all feel much more real.

Until then I am suffering with horrible heartburn and indigestion.   I suppose I should be thankful as I didn't have any nausea or morning sickness, in a way I got off easy.

If any other farm wives have advice for me on what to avoid, or things I need to think about in terms of the farm chores I welcome the advice!

Introducing the "Farm Kid".

Taking the plunge

We have realized that we are going to need more sheep. Starting with 21 was a terrific way for us to determine if we actually like sheep farming, and if we have a knack for it.

It seems we do, we successfully delivered lambs and didn't have to bottle feed a single one. (Thanks to my dear sweet firemans patience in teaching new lambs to suckle!)

In order to actually begin making money as a farm, we will need to increase our numbers to about 150. The trouble is that Rideau Arcott sheep are hard to come by. 

 My thinking initially was that finding ewes can't be that hard right?

Boy was I wrong. It was like collecting rare baseball cards. 12 from this person. 7 from this person.

At this rate it will be years before we reach 150!

So far, we have managed to secure another 55, which will bring us to just over 80 including our new ewe lambs from our own flock.  Not nearly close enough, so we will continue to search for ewes!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tiny Biting Fire Breathing Dragons

I am convinced they are not simply mosquitos.  The size of the bite, the way they arrive in droves like tiny armies...they appear to be well organized militia.

I have tried all sorts of repellants, and since I hate using deet I have become creative. After some research, it seems that they hate the Lantana plant. So I have now begun searching for them in earnest.

I managed to find one at Home Depot, but it was the last one available. (Seems I am not the only person who has been doing my research!) Who wouldn't like a lovely flowering plant that serves a dual purpose?

I tried rubbing the leaves of the plant on my arms last night as I was out in the garden.

It was quite effective. I would say only the calvary got through, the foot soldiers appeared to stay away.

I think I may have found my new summer repellant!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I might have to build an ark...

I got the call about 5pm on my drive home.

"Hi Honey, there has been a bit of a flood in the house, it looks like the kitchen tap broke and flooded"

Me: Well, there are towels in the laundry room to mop it up.

"um. I don't think towels will do it. You will see when you get here"

Well, what a mess. Our house was completely flooded, the basement below was destroyed, the kitchen cabinets were swollen shut (I shuddered to think about the rice and flour inside. Ewww)
the floor had buckled...

We called our insurance.

Thank goodness we paid that little bit extra for "replacement" cost on our policy which means that we can replace all of the damaged furniture in the basement.

I am trying to find a silver lining in all of this. We were almost finished the bathroom and I was so excited to finally get my home "back to normal".   It seems that the universe had other plans, and so here I am in the midst of chaos again.

The insurance company has said that they will redo the kitchen, and the basement. It will likely take 6-8 months to complete. After I got over the shock, I realized that a new kitchen is a blessing. So yes it does mean months of living out of boxes, and mess in the house - but in the end it will all be terrific.

And if that doesn't pan out...I will just build an ark and live with it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Lamb Dish

I do so like a challenge.

We were told that the most recent sheep association meeting was going to be themed around lamb dishes, and we were asked to bring our favorite lamb dish.  The trouble is, I don't really know how to cook lamb yet. I suppose I could have searched the internet for an amazing dish to make, but my talents don't really fit into the "hot foods" category.

So I made a lamb dish with a twist!  

They were a hit.

What's your favorite lamb dish?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Feathered Fuzzy Faces

Well, the wee ones have arrived! The chicks and baby muscovies arrived today. They are so cute at this stage, and really focused on eating it seems. 

So for your pure enjoyment, baby photos!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Newbies in the Business

Someone asked me the other day how long I had been "lambing".  I had a good giggle.  I looked him straight in the eye  and said "about 9 days now". 

If it weren't for the overwhelming support and kindness of other shepherds, and the power of YouTube videos (which we have used on many occasions in the barn at 3am!) we wouldn't have a clue what we are doing.

Somehow, we are managing. And these lovely wee ones remind us daily that we are succeeding as farmers!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Red Light District

Well, it's been a mad dash to the finish but I think we are almost done the new chick house. The chicks arrive next week, so it couldn't be a moment too soon.  My dear sweet fireman did an amazing job of designing this, right down to finding the two big picture windows at a farm auction! The tin room is recycled from a barn he is tearing down for another farmer, and most of the wood also came from that old barn.  It is truly an effort to reuse and recycle.

I have the pens set up inside and the heat lamps are ready to go. It's so nice and clean in there right now...I know it won't stay that way for long! LOL!

I affectionately call it the "red light district".

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A much trimmer looking Donkey

Spring for many of us is a time to shed some unwanted pounds, and so I look to Dobbie as my inspiration. Since his arrival, as a portly equine - he has really shed some unwanted pounds!

A combination of diet and exercise was the key.  I know, I know, we all wish for some magic pill or formula to make the weight fall off quickly, but I am afraid that as Dobbie has shown us - it's a long slow haul.

He has some additional weight to lose, but I am confident that romping in the pasture this summer will be the key to successfully shedding that last stubborn bit of weight.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Two wee ones are born

I heard him quietly slip out of bed, and knew instantly he had heard something on the baby monitor. With my head still in dreamland, I wasn't entirely sure if the noises I was hearing were real - or simply an extension of the dream I still had one foot in.

I shook myself away - willing my eyes to open. It was 4AM.

He told me he was going down to the barns to check, and I lay in the dark waiting for the signal that all was good and I could return to dreamland. But then the text came through.

"Just a head. Bring the lambing kit"

It amazed me that I managed to get dressed so quickly and down to the barns so fast, lugging essentials in the dark.  My feet know the way, and so I simply followed, mindful that in the dark things can trick the mind.  Was that rock there yesterday?

I arrived to find him sitting with the ewe, speaking calmly to her.  I gloved up and ensured my headlamp was working.  One of the things we forgot to plan for was lambing in the dark - lights for the barn area are still on the "to do" list.

I wasn't sure I could do it, I was afraid to hurt her - but seeing that small head so lifelessly hanging there and knowing that if I didn't find two legs to go along with it death would be imminent - I gloved up and plunged my hand in.   And then I closed my eyes and allowed my fingers to see.  I could feel the small shoulders, and the right leg was slightly bent. With a little wiggling, I managed to pull it forward.  The other leg was pointing the wrong way, and flat against the body of the lamb. As I opened my eyes to asses the situation, I felt her contract, and as I pulled my gloved hand out the lamb came along with it in one giant whoosh!

We cleaned it's wee face, and I heard it gasp as the first breath of air entered it's tiny lungs.

We smiled as I cleared away the goo and encouraged the ewe to clean it. Within seconds the second lamb arrived, completely unassisted.

As I looked over at my dear sweet fireman, and smiled I realized that despite our fears - we could do this.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Silo Hen House

Some folks have expressed an interest in seeing more photos of the silo hen house. The story behind this particular hen house is one of recycling old buildings. Or in this case, recycling an old grain silo! When we moved into the farm, there was an old wooden grain silo attached to the barn. It stunk of mice poop, and needed a good whitewash.

So we set to work to convert it to a chicken coop. We white washed the interior, and added a an exterior run area which we filled with sand. We used 1x1inch screening on the exterior as we find it's the only thing that keeps the raccoons out.

It has full electrical to keep the waterers heated in the cold winter months, and to add lighting in the darkest days of winter. We still have to shingle the roof this spring, and I have a fabulous weather vane to add to the top. But here it is in all it's glory.

Friday, March 9, 2012

It's almost time...

As winter draws to a close (like how I said that so optimistically?) we get closer to lambing time.  I say that as the winter wind howls around the house trying to tear the siding off, and the snow is falling steadily.  It appears I am ever the optimist!

Our ewes are so big they are ready to deliver at any time now, and I am half concerned that I will miss the inaugural lamb, and half afraid that it will arrive and require assistance.

I think "will all of my reading be enough? will the hours watching YouTube videos be enough? will the advice of experienced farmers carry me through?"

More importantly "Will this snow stop so I can check on the lambs more easily in the barn?"

A smiling ewe

Monday, March 5, 2012

Flowers vs.Socks

He always folds my clothes and puts my socks away. It's such an odd thing really, I am such a neat freak, but baskets of laundry elude me.

Oh sure, I can wash it, and dry it and fold it into baskets. I even take the baskets to our bedroom. Where they sit...for days. Ok, who am I kidding. Weeks.

Most times the clothes are worn directly from the basket. I clean around them, and vow to make time to put them away.

And so, my dear sweet fireman rescues me. He patiently puts the clothes away, and while sometimes he puts them in odd places (yoga pants do not go with dress suit pants, but I can understand the thinking) at least he puts them away.

Then for a few days, the baskets sit empty until I start the cycle again.

He never complains, and I often wonder what he thinks as he pairs my endless pile of socks, matching each one with great patience.

I can cook, I can bake, I can clean. But I can't put away laundry. Perhaps he is thinking that it's one thing he can deal with. Regardless, I love a drawer full of clean matching socks.

Some girls want flowers, but me? I want a man who folds laundry and puts it away.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Warm Toes and Wellingtons

Like many other nights, we went out to get the mail. It was one of those cold damp winter nights, and the snow was just starting to fall creating a slushy drive.  We don't have mail delivery to the end of our driveway, as the road is too steep for Canada Post.  Instead, we drive to the end of the road where our mailbox sits with it's comrades.

I sat huddled in the car, nursing my oncoming cold while my dear sweet  fireman braved the weather and went to get the contents of our mailbox.

He came back sporting what looked like a magazine, so I was quite excited.  And then, with a flourish he produced a package.

Like a child at Christmas I became very intrigued. Who was it from? What did it contain? It was addressed to the sheep farmers, and I giggled as I opened it wondering what could be inside.

The most gorgeous socks! A gift from Auntie Bonnie in Vancouver.  Two pairs slid from the envelope - a his and hers in rich colours.  We both sat in awe of the love that poured out of the envelope along with the socks.  There is something so wonderful about a homemade gift.  I was so incredibly touched by this surprise.  In my mind, I pictured her choosing the yarn for us, and smiling as she made us matching pairs.

We arrived home and tried them on. Then, like two 5 year olds, we danced around the house kicking up our heels and singing "I love my new socks! Thank you Auntie Bonnie!" There was something so wonderfully fun about these new striped socks!

Her card said that they would keep our toes warm as we lambed for the first time. I don't think she realized that they also managed to make our hearts warm as well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pass it Forward

Well @cookswithtofu has inspired me to do an act of kindness. @idahogayle admired my burlap lampshade, and since I have a whole lot of burlap I offered to mail her some. I will pop it into the post this weekend.

I challenge each of you dear readers, to do one kind thing this week for no reason other than the great feeling it provides to that cavity in the centre of your chest.

Monday, February 20, 2012

TV or Social Media?

I am often asked why I prefer social media to television, and I think I have finally determined the answer. Social media is a dialogue. It is the connecting of people, the sharing of stories, the discussion of ideas, the arguments that arise from those ideas, and ultimately - the ability to expand your everyday network.

Television on the other hand is more of a monologue. You sit, you watch, and your mind becomes numb. You don't need to think, or be two steps ahead of it. There is no need to be witty, or kind. No need to rationalize your point of view, or perhaps consider the point of view of others. There is no opportunity to ask questions. It is a one way dialogue.

I suppose a book is a one way dialogue as well, but at least with a book my mind has the opportunity to imagine pictures, to think about concepts, and perhaps to understand new ideas.  It's been several years since I last tuned in to TV, and I really don't miss it.  My only exception is Ellen, which I watch clips of on YouTube.  Who can resist the opportunity for a good cry?

One of my tweeps @cookswithtofu often posted about dreamy cupcakes on Twitter. I would drool and comment on how lovely they were. Imagine my surprise when she suggested she drop some off at the farm as she would be in our area. I was astounded! Here was a total stranger, with a gift.  In return, I promised some farm fresh eggs and deal was struck. My dear sweet fireman (@myfordsucks) was home to receive the cupcakes. (Some of us poor sods have to work)  And he sent me this lovely photo of them.

YUM! I had my eye on that lemony one in the corner, and the double dark chocolate.  But then, several moments later, I received a second image.

He swore he saved me the lemon one - and true to his word he did! Thank you @cookswithtofu for your kindness, and for reaching out to connect with a stranger through social media. I hope we meet many more times. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bathroom Renos

Well, the drywall is roughed in, and the plumbing and electrical is roughed in. It doesn't look like much at this point, but this is where the magic starts to happen!

I have finally picked the floor tile, and the paint colour. Behr Pebblestone... appropriate really! The sink is a lovely burnished copper and should age well.  I am in love with the floor tiles, they are going to look fantastic with the barn board trim.

The granite counter is a grey tone, with flecks of warm brown which should work well with the oak cabinet and the sink.

Stay tuned to see how things fall together!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hop Hop Hop

As we venture down this agricultural path, it is becoming very apparent that my soft spot for animals conflicts with my omnivore tastes.  I suppose it has made me a very aware omnivore, one who not only wants to know where the food comes from - but how it was treated.

If I am going to eat meat, then I told myself that I would have to come to terms with death.  The meat birds last summer were my first experience with raising my own food, and it truly did make me appreciate the food on my table.  Putting your own sweat and effort into raising your food makes you appreciate it!  I also know that the birds enjoyed the freedom of the pasture, and were able to act like natural poultry - their existence while short was pleasant.

So I find myself wondering if I could make the jump into rabbits. (No pun intended..ok, well maybe - but that was just too easy!)  Raising chickens for the table is one thing, but rabbits...I have read that their meat is low fat, and high in protein. It is easily digestible and very good for you. People pasture rabbits much the way they do chickens, so the effort would be similar. 

Our chef friend is excited about the idea, but I am still researching. (That's my way of telling him that I am wrapping my head and heart around the idea!)

I worry that I will end up with a hutch full of bunnies, and won't have the heart to send them to market.

You know, it's funny. As a child when I heard this refrain I always envisioned the first pig skipping along to the grocers with a basket and a grocery list.  Funny how things change.

This little pig went to market
This little pig stayed at home
This little pig had roast beef
This little pig had none
And this little pig went wee wee wee! All the way home.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Reverse Chip Cookies

There are times when you want to appear like a culinary genius, but like me you are dashing from your day job to the barn to feed sheep. Okay, perhaps not quite like me - but you get the idea.  You need something quick, easy and wonderful to impress folks and have them believe you have been in the kitchen for ages.

This is my favorite cookie to make when pressed for time!

Cake Mix Cookies

1 box of double fudge cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
tsp of vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix it all together (it will be a bit thick and sticky!)  Throw in about a cup of white chocolate chips.  Drop by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet and cook for about 12 minutes.  You might have to grease your cookie sheet if it is older, I don't as I only use mine for cookies so they are in good shape. (Lord help the person that uses one of my "cookie" sheets for something else. lol!)

If you want them crisper, bake them a bit longer.

These freeze really well!

Monday, February 6, 2012

This is not what I meant...

When I suggested we get another washroom in the house!

I came home from work to find the toilet on the back porch, and the tub is in rough shape. Well...what was left of the tub.  My dear sweet fireman has finally begun our bathroom renovation. It's quite exciting to come home each day and see how far along he managed to get.  The black mold issue was not as bad as we thought it would be, it was primarily surface mold which we have treated.  Erring on the side of caution, we replaced the floors and any of the wall joists that looked "moldish".  The new copper water lines are in, and there is now a vent for the sink. No wonder the old one didn't drain that well!

We pick up the copper sink tomorrow, and our granite counter won't be in for another few weeks. So it looks like my "temporary" shower in the laundry room will be more permanent than I thought. Hopefully things get wrapped up before the sheep come!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Donkey hugs

It doesn't matter how tiresome your day was, there is nothing more uplifting than a donkey hug.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Dobby Update

I could swear his fat roll on his neck is smaller. It could be my imagination, perhaps I am simply adjusting to it - but I can now get one hand around it and I am quite certain that used to be impossible. Don't get me wrong, he is still a portly mister - but I do think that the walks and romps with Radar, along with the right diet are starting to have an effect.  We have also ensured that he has a mineral block, I did some reading and obesity in donkeys can often be a result of poor minerals.  Regardless, he has a ways to go, but Chubby Dobby and I are on our way to a leaner spring!  Truth be told, he is doing much better than I am. You would think all of the barn chores would burn up some calories.  I swear my neck roll got a few inches larger...

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Barn cats are decidedly different than house cats. Now don't get me wrong, our barn cats are all spayed or neutered, and they receive regular vet care - but they are extremely independent.

They have no fear of the sheep, the donkeys or the dogs. They know where all of the best hidey holes are, and they have built incredible tunnel systems within the hay storage. It's not unusual to see a cat disappear into the base of the round bales, and appear moments later at the top, taking some secret short cut within. They know to hide deep in the hay on the coldest days, and they know to avoid chasing the ducks.

They know the routines and come running as they see me heading for the sheep barn. Each day as I head down to the barns to feed sheep and donkeys and chickens and ducks....I also have a can of cat food tucked into the recesses of my deep coverall pockets.  It's true they don't really need it, they are quite portly looking. But I argue that in the winter months a wee bit of wet food is enough to keep some much needed fat on their frames. There is plenty of time for them to slim down again in the summer months chasing butterflies.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fuzzy Faces

When I was about nine years old, I got to choose my wallpaper in our new suburban home. I chose a pattern made up of repeated horses.  It was mostly brown in colour and combined with my new tan carpeting, it made for a very brown room.  I insisted on a "horse' bedspread to complete the look.  Over the years I had collected china horses, and I recall turning my bedside cubby into a "stable" for them all.

My peers at the time were primarily interested in the Smurfs, or Charlie's Angels. I was smitten by horses. That summer I insisted on going to riding camp, where I got to learn to ride. I spent two summers at camp, and despite the fact that I didn't fit in well with the other girls - they were slim and all went to the same boarding school - I did fit in well with the horses.

Is it any wonder that years later I am smitten by donkeys? In a way, donkeys are the "poor man's horse", a beast of burden. I adore their long ears, and their intelligent eyes.

Today as I stood in the equestrian store, I felt much like I used to at horse camp. The misfit - who didn't quite fit in.  The sales girl asked if I required help, and I explained I was looking for vitamin supplements for an overweight donkey.  She sort of smiled a polite smile, and pointed me in the right direction. As I wandered the aisle I listened to her giggling with the other salesgirls - wondering if she was explaining that I was a donkey lady.

It's not that I don't adore horses, I do. It's just that donkeys are something truly special. They have a way of creeping into your heart with their fuzzy faces.

Perhaps, they are the ancestor of the great unicorn. After all, on a sunny day it's easy to imagine those long ears melding into one.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dear Dobby

He is a wee bit portly. In fact, the roll of fat along his neck has to go, or he will start to founder. But he is such a sweetie that I don't mind leading him about to give him a spot of exercise.

We have taken in an older gelding. He is about 6 years old, and his feet require attention - along with his waistline.  His previous owners fed him a diet high in pasture grasses and alfalfa...not ideal for donkeys. That's sort of like you and I eating a diet high in sugar.  It tends to cause waistline expansion!

The first few days he ran from us whenever we entered his stall area. He was terrified of the pitchfork, which leads us to wonder if it has been used to correct him in the past. We simply kept on entering his stall and established a routine. Working quietly and moving slowly so that he could get used to us.  We put him in with our Jack and the two of them get along like a house on fire. (No wonder, our Jack was so lonely he was happy to pen up with anyone!)  And the new fellow began to watch our Jack, nuzzling us for affection - and checking our pockets to see if we had apple slices or carrots.

It's been a week, and already he is settling in. He no longer runs from us, but now hesitantly approaches sniffing the air to see what we have. We are still working on the pitchfork. Sniff the pitchfork, get a piece of carrot. Touch the pitchfork, get a piece of apple. It's slow work, but we are teaching him that the pitchfork is nothing to be afraid of.

We have named him Dobby. I whispered to him today "not to worry Dobby, I have a few pounds to lose as well. We shall both shape up by spring".
That's Dobby peeking out from behind Radar

Saturday, January 7, 2012

They grow up so fast...

He is still only 11 months old, but he has grown into such a lovely dog. This is Murdzo, and looking at this photo I have realized his head is larger than mine.  He is such a big old lovable bear of a dog...well, if you know him. ;)