01.19.11

Cora and Jax

Posted in Animal Stories at 8:08 pm by Administrator

Last summer Phil and I lost our two beloved dogs, Honey and Harley.  Honey, always the wanderer no matter what we did to protect her, ran in front of a car.  Harley, our old faithful companion, died of a broken heart 10 days later.  We were devestated.  They had brought so much love and joy into our lives.  To have them both die so close together made the grief almost unbearable.  We didn’t think we’d ever want dogs again.

However, living on a farm without dogs is difficult.  All sorts of critters began moving in to threaten our birds and livestock.  First it was wild pigs rooting up the community garden.  Then it was coyotes breaking into the chicken pen and killing a turkey, 4 guineas, and several chickens.  With nothing around to protect them – to bark and keep them safe – our animals were in danger.

After much soul searching, we decided to adopt a dog from ARK, our local animal rescue folks. We agreed we wouldn’t get as attached this time.  The dog would be a working dog, not a pet. I got on their website and searched through all the dogs they had for adoption.  I was about to give up when up popped the cutest picture of two puppies, brother and sister, who had been dumped at a local greenbox.  Part Boarder Collie and part Black Lab, they seemed perfect for farm life.

Cora and Jax came to visit on a hot August afternoon.  At 3 1/2 months old, they were all feet – big feet – and tongues.  They immediately took to Phil and whined when he secured them in a fenced area and walked away to get water.  They wiggled all over when he came back.  It was obvious that they felt at home.  We agreed to adopt them after we returned from vacation.  While we were gone, they were neutered and spayed and received their puppy shots.

In mid-September, Cora and Jax came home to live with us.  It was love at first sight and all thoughts of not getting attached went out the window. What a pair they are!  Full of energy and puppy enthusiasm.  They have two speeds – full run or full sleep.  Cora, also known as Cora Belle because of her southern charm, is the alpha dog.  She pesters her brother constantly, pulling an ear or chewing  a foot if he’s asleep and she wants to play.  Jax, alias Trashman because he hauls stuff up to the back door to chew on, is more laid back.  His favorite activity, when he’s not chewing, is sleeping.

They’re 9 months old now.  They’re finally house broken.  The sleep through most nights.  Jax still chews on everything – shoes and socks are his favorites if he doesn’t have a bone around.  They follow Phil everywhere!  They ” help” him get his boots on in the morning, follow him on his daily rounds, chase the cats (who have learned to ignore them), chase each other, put up animals who’ve escaped their pens.  Our remaining guinea runs at them, daring them to chase it, then flies up into a tree.  If that bird had a tongue, it would be giving Cora and Jax the raspberry!  Yesterday, they discovered the wild ducks who use our pond this time of year.  They took off at a dead run and dove into the pond after the ducks.  Neither had ever been in the water before.  Jax quickly came back to shore.  Cora swam all the way across.  It was a cold day and the pond had recently had ice on it.  Neither seemed to care.  At Phil’s whistle, they came bounding up to the house, eyes shining.  We could almost hear them saying,  “Dad, there are strange birds on the pond and we chased them!  Aren’t you proud of us?” as they shook the icy water all over us!  Cora and Jax will never replace Honey and Harley, but they are bringing a great deal of love and joy into our lives!  They already have a special place in our hearts and our lives.

01.07.11

Baby Miracle

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:27 am by Administrator

We’ve had our barbado sheep, Bonnie and Clyde, for almost two years.  We bought them when they were babies from some friends.  We’ve watched as Clyde’s matured into a fine looking adult ram, complete with curled horns and “lion’s” mane.  But we began to think that  he was sterile.  Several times we thought that just maybe Bonnie was pregnant, but no baby ever arrived.  About two weeks ago we realized that Bonnie was milking up!  Every morning we expected to see a baby or two – or – gulp – even three – at her side.  She teased us for a week, through bitter cold and wet weather.  Phil built her a little hut and put a heat lamp in it.  One of the other sheep, Lucky, checked it out by licking the heat lamp.  He decided that wasn’t such a good idea!  Two days after Christmas, my daughter Suzie and her family came for a visit.  The morning after they arrived, Suzie and her boys Caleb and Logan, walked up to the pasture to see how Bonnie was doing.  A few minutes later, Caleb burst into the house yelling, “Grandma. Grandma!  The baby’s here!  The baby’s here!  It’s a miracle!”  My grandson Caleb, now 11, has Ausperger’s, a high functioning form of Autism.  He’s never much been interested in farm animals, so his excitement at seeing a new baby sheep right after it was born is, in itself, a miracle.  In his honor, we’ve named Bonnie’s baby “Miracle.”  And, in many respects, that’s exactly what she is!  Oh, and Bonnie has never used the little hut Phil built.  She, like most Barbadoes, prefers to sleep outside.  If it’s cold, she wraps herself around her baby and keeps her warm