My two border collies have diametrically opposing personalities. Ivy is purebred; nobody knows who Molly's father might be. Ivy is vigilant in protecting the farm from predators and Molly could care less; Ivy doesn't really like staying indoors too long because she likes to hang out where she can keep an eye on the chicken coop, goat barn, and Darcy's house, but Molly wants to wallow indoors as much as she can. Ivy helps herd the goats into the barn and will even herd chickens very gently back into the coop; Molly chases and bites goats and kills chickens. However, Ivy is a giant, ravenous glutton and Molly is a very dainty eater and won't even take scraps from my hand, whereas Ivy could easily take a finger along with her treat. Ivy is very serious about her food. That is why I was so amazed at her behavior last Tuesday. I was getting ready to go to work in the A.M. and left the car door open as I was doing some last-minute chores. Ivy jumped in and firmly ensconced herself in the front seat. Usually, she is right with me when I am feeding the donkeys and goats and chickens, but she stayed in the car. "Boy, you are really determined to go with me to work, aren't you?" Then I gave the dogs their food and went back into the house for something thinking, "That will get Ivy out of the car for sure! When I got back, Molly had finished her food and was starting on Ivy's bowl, which has never even come close to happening before. Ivy wouldn't budge--I was incredulous and totally convinced that she NEEDED to come with me to work that day. What a character! Each of those dogs needs their alone time with their Darcy sometimes.
Before Thanksgiving, a little bantam rooster lost his mother and three sisters, who disappeared without a trace to my great sorrow. One day, he nested under his mother next to his sisters, and the next day he was alone in a strange, cold world with big chickens who picked on him. I rescued him and set up a cage indoors. He made such a pet of me, that he would stand on my knee or shoulder and groom his feathers, or nestle into my neck and make little contented chirps and coos. He is so imprinted on me, he really needs a lot of attention. He has been indoors all winter so far (what's wrong--lots of people have indoor caged birds! I kept him clean!) One sunny day last weekend I put him in a temporary outdoor cage where I thought he would love scratching in the dirt and finding little seeds and bugs. He freaked! He was so upset when I left him, so I came back and sat in the cage with him until he calmed down and finally started scratching and picking like chickens do. He was so funny, though. He's such a spoiled indoor boy, that after each peck in the dirt, he would wipe his beak on the nearest clean straw.
Looks like I got enough hay for the winter. We're making it through alright. I adore feeding animals. They are always so grateful for their food, even when it is the same thing day after day. It's so cute feeding the goats hay and they munch so happily and greedily, looking up at me so gratefully. Such happy babies! What if I had to eat beans everyday, there's no way I would be grateful for my food.
We have made it past the shortest day of the year and are on the home stretch to Spring--Yay! It looks like I bought enough hay and everybody is nice and fat and healthy. I just love the work I am doing on my little hobby farm. In the past, I have had major anxieties about all of the work I have. I work a full-time job in Boise; commute two hours a day; cook real foods to eat because I hate the taste and expense of prepared, convenience foods; feed and water the goats, burros, chickens, cats and dogs and clean up after them; keep my housework in reasonable shape; spin and handcraft the goats' hair into scarves and hats to sell at fiber fairs; and plan my garden. When you list it out like that, it sounds very scary and tiring. But I love doing it! I love visiting my animals and checking how they are. I love keeping my hands busy with knitting, spinning and crocheting. I absolutely adore that I produce my own yarn from scratch and most of the vegetables I eat around the year are grown in my own garden. I have tons of interests and more ideas all the time about new craft projects I want to try.