They’re back

When I looked out my window early this morning, the ground was completely covered with a new skiff of ice crystal snow.

As I watched, I could hear the faint calling of some Canada geese as they flew low over our house in the direction of the hayfield well beyond the barn. As they banked quickly and dropped out of sight, I could tell by their social gabbling that they were beginning to feed on the new spring grasses that had sprung up during the week of warm days previous.

As I sat there pondering what I could possibly do to fill out my day, the voice on the radio yammered that the weather was going to remain cloudy and perhaps the sun would shine in the latter part of the day. That statement led me to believe that it would be warm enough for me to buzz around the yard on Jenny, my jitney, and talk to the animals.

This is a fun thing for me, as the animals seem to enjoy my daily visit as much as I do. Sage, our recently acquired riding horse, though somehow having shaken loose her halter, came trotting to stick her head over the fence so I could pat her nose and rub her neck. She often nickers a greeting to me as I cross the yard.

On the other hand, Larry and Dolly, the pair of llamas who share the same paddock, walk around in quiet contentment with their heads held high and their banana ears pointed forward or, on occasion, laid back, dependent on their mood. They stroll around with an air of sophistication that can’t be explained in words. They are quiet, quite tame, and well trained to the point that they never tighten their lead. It is not at all unlike tiptoeing through the tulips with a helium-filled balloon on a string. You never hear their footsteps.

The three mother Berkshire hogs, who shelled out with a total of 25 young late last summer, were removed from their outdoor paddock and placed each in her own pen in the barn. They were reluctant to go inside, but it was great that with coaxing, persistence prevailed and within 24 hours, all three gave birth, and presented us with 21 more little porkers to watch grow up. That’s bacon in the makin’, no pun intended. Though their mums, Betty, Wilma and Darrel, each come over to me to have their ears rubbed, it will be a week or so before these cute little creatures will leave the heat lamps to come over to greet me.

In the meantime, the construction of our new henhouse is going well. The frame is almost completed and is being constructed on the extended undercarriage of a hay wagon. This being so, we will be able to pull it to different locations each week, or each day if need be, allowing our laying hens to have fresh new pastures on which to range wild and free.

And yes! Perhaps I should mention that our two Great Pyrenees puppies, Bonnie and Bell, close to 50 pounds now in weight, have been trained to walk, without tugging, on a leash and are now left to run and play off-leash with Foxy in the large, well-fenced pasture field where they and the Boer goats will spend the spring, summer and fall. They are being specifically trained as animal guard dogs, not house pets. What big, beautiful gentle creatures they have turned out to be!

Take care, ’cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins