Farm Life

Rooster don't take no mess!

rooster attackDo you ever have one of those days where you try to do something nice (such as give someone food and water) and that someone (in this case a rooster) attacks your face and puts their enormous spur completely through your top lip? Today was one of those days. This creature punched me so hard, my face instantly went numb and all I saw was blood spurting from the general direction of my head. I couldn’t tell where I’d been hit or how bad because I had no feeling in my face. I held my handkerchief up to my face and kept working until I could find a mirror to survey the damage. It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought so that was good. It looks like my jaw is starting to bruise and swell though.

Boy, were they in a quandary at the Emergent Care center. I went there for a tetanus shot and they’d never seen the victim of a vicious rooster attack before…until now that is. They weren’t sure whether to give me antibiotics, stitch me up, glue me up or leave it open. They have a specific protocol for cat, dog, and even pig bites but no such guidance for rooster feet. I opted to leave the puncture open because I have no desire to seal an infection in. It should heal up nicely and until then I get to wear this super snazzy bandage (reminds me of the one Nelly used to wear on his cheek…so badass). Maybe I should put one on the other side of my lip for a little stache action? I’ll save that idea for a special occasion. It can be considered my formal wear.

In other news, Hannah was optimistically looking for Lambert all morning. She stood outside the main barn and called out for him for a few hours. You could hear her calls echo throughout the entire valley. This is common practice for her. She always panics when Lambert disappears and begins to frantically call for him until he comes back. Today was bittersweet though. It broke all of our hearts to watch reality sink for her. Later on, I found her lying alone in a dark goat pen, avoiding the one she shared with Lambert. She’s never one to go off on her own like that. At closing time, it was a struggle to get her in the stall and food bribes didn’t even work their usual magic. At one point she attempted to sleep with the broiler chickens instead but she wisely changed her mind. We’re doing what we can to find her another companion to dote on but so far we haven’t found a good match. I have hope that we can end this story on a high note though.

Farm Life

My life on the farm

Farm chore list.
These are my duties for the day. By “sheaths” she means clean horse penis. Yup, I had to take a photo of that. This is my life and I’m actually enjoying it! What does that say about my mental health? Don’t answer that!

Welcome to the freezing arctic tundra of New York! Good gracious, it’s cold!

It’s been a little while since I checked in but I have a decent excuse…I hope. I’ve actually been itching to write every day for the last few weeks but I wanted to overhaul my blog before I went ahead and posted anything else. I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about switching up the blogs without losing readers so I needed some time to ponder the best course of action. Yesterday, I was able to combine my two blogs and hopefully those that may have been lost in the shuffle will somehow find their way back.

Regardless, I need to catch you up. On Monday, I finished my second full week of work at the animal sanctuary. So far, so good, but man do I hurt. It’s physically painful and there are some moments when I can’t help but wonder if I’m strong enough to efficiently do my job. All of my co-workers say that I’m doing great but I have my doubts. However, the pluses definitely, by far, outweigh the minuses. I work outside (which is usually great except for working in 2 degree temps which I did today), I have no desk or office, I’m never sitting, I can cancel my gym membership, I usually only work with three other people, all of my co-workers are absolutely wonderful, I hang out with animals all day, there’s no drama, the days go by fast, I know what’s expected of me, a professional chef cooks the staff vegan meals on a semi-regular basis, I get cruelty-free eggs and wool, and it’s straightforward, uncomplicated work. It’s everything I’ve always wanted so I can’t complain. Not one bit. In fact, I’ve never felt happier. And yes, in my spare time, I’ve been doing a lot of sewing, quilting, and overall tinkering. I’m so much more productive and imaginative when my livelihood doesn’t depend on what I’m creating. It’s really taken the pressure off and I have a feeling that my crafts will flourish because of it.

Here are some farm photos for you to enjoy:

Mr. Tumnus and the rest of the goats.
The goats specialize in unzipping my coat and eating my clipboard.

Cows and vehicles

cows

Chickens
The roosters orchestrate the perfect single-file assembly line for health checks & glove heists.

farm injuries

And I know you’ve seen the following photo of Lambert laying an egg, but I just wanted to report that Lambert died today. We are all very, very sad, especially his lady-love Hannah. We’re not sure why he died. It was all extremely sudden seeing as though he was a mere, seemingly healthy, 1.5 years old. He’s going to Cornell tomorrow for a necropsy, which will hopefully tell us more. He was a part of the beloved Goon Squad which roams the farm wreaking glorious havoc. He was a wonderful character and will be missed by all. We brought his body back to the farm to let the rest of the Goon Squad and Hannah say goodbye. They each lined up to sniff him and pay their respects. Each one walked away with their heads hanging and wandered off for a little alone time. Hannah didn’t know what to think and seemed reluctant to approach him. To date, she has outlived three partners so she is, sadly, no stranger to loss. RIP Lambert.

sheep

Farm Life

Some animal goofs

I need to start taking more photos of the goofballs that I work with at the farm. All of the animals have so much personality and many are allowed to roam free around the barnyard during the day. This means that they’re constantly underfoot and being naughty, but I enjoy every moment. For the record, let me just say that I’ve forgotten how crazy and awesome goats are! They’re sooooo mischievous. If they weren’t so darn cute they’d be completely loathsome!

sensa the goat
This is Sensa, who, with the rest of The Goon Squad jumps into the back of my truck as soon as I pull up to the barn. They’ll eat everything and anything that isn’t tied down. They’re so naughty…and strong. Once they have their mind and stomaches set on something it’s almost impossible to tear them away from it.
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This is my beloved Stencil, the ringleader of The Goon Squad. He’s looking….looking for trouble! He and Arthur went through my car and proceeded to eat my lunch when my back was turned.
cows
Here are a few of the cows I care for. The one on the far right is Helen. She’s an old lady and blind to boot, however, her taste buds work just fine. She get’s a little overzealous when it comes to food and will knock anyone over who stands in the way of fresh hay. Who could blame her though? Hay is apparently very delicious (not as much as mushy bananas though).
turkeys
Here are some of the turkeys. I’m not sure they’re loving the weather but they hang with us just the same. They’re sweet and friendly and will happily chat with you about any and all things.
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And the sheep laid and egg…or so it seems. I had to get a photo of Lambert and the stray egg. What perfect placement and timing.
tired farm worker
There’s nothing quite like a hay facial! Geeze, just looking at this person makes me tired. This is what I look like at the end of the day…and then I stop at the gas station…and then to the grocery store…yup, I pretty much go out looking like this. And yes, I am very ripe. I’m not sure this look is going to get me a husband (or a date for that matter) anytime soon. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Farm Life

My first day on the farm

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I get a stipend for warm clothes. So I did a little shopping...at the tractor supply store.

Today was the first day at my new job. You are reading the blog of Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s newest animal caregiver. The job entails animal husbandry three days a week and performing animal health checks the other two days. Yes, I finally get to revisit my veterinary technology roots! I’m rusty at the medical stuff, that’s for sure, but I’m a natural at caregiving so hopefully I’ll do great.

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My extremely affectionate goat friend.

On my way to work today, a radio program was interviewing people who had to brave the cold for their jobs. One rancher in South Dakota called in because he was outside with his herd of 500 cattle, breaking ice in the water troughs. It was -40 degrees! The radio dj basically commented on how terribly sad it was that a cow had to endure -40 temperatures just to be eaten in the end. It’s not a great life. Heck, it’s not even a good one.

Now here I am, it’s almost midnight and I’m absolutely physically exhaused. Yet, I’m worrying about the animals I tucked in before I left for the day. The temperatures are going to be below zero tonight. They have nothing but plywood, plastic sheeting, maybe a little insulation and some straw to protect them. There’s no furnace blowing warm air on them. I can only hope that the straw I put in their pens is enough to make them comfortable. At times like this, I can’t imagine taking their place. I would not last the night.

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This is one sassy Lady Jane.

So I sit here in my warm bed, listening to the freezing wind whip through the trees, and I can’t help but reflect on what that dj said this morning. It’s a hard life being an animal and we sure as heck couldn’t do it. It’s saddens me to think that they are so much better than us in so many ways and yet we treat them with such disrespect. We treat them like food. Like meat. We are nowhere near as strong and resilient as they are. Being around them is humbling, to say the least, and I hope I never forget the lessons they teach.

Farm Life, Health, Wellness & Enjoyment

Tips for Surviving Turkey Lurkey Day

Happy turkey lurkey day! Today, I’m missing my family. For several years, my mother, brother, and I spent our Thanksgivings feeding pumpkin pies to rescued turkeys and enjoying a vegan potluck at Farm Sanctuary. These days, things aren’t as simple and it’s harder to get together but there’s always next year, right? …Maybe? However, all is certainly not lost! Tuna and I will be sharing an entire sheet pizza and watching the complete season 3 of Haven. It’s my absolute fave and I never get to watch it.

Now, I’m lucky enough to have a very small family and we’re all basically the best of friends. However, I know many of you have to deal with the exact opposite: a large family with some unpleasant characters. Because of this, you may be absolutely dreading your meal today and the holiday get-togethers to come. Well, that’s just plain sad. Let me offer you a few words of advice to get you through unscathed.

Sweet Pea Turkey Lurkey
Two friends critiquing my hair-do.

1. Be a realist: You’re relatives are never going to change so don’t go into this hoping that your words or actions will somehow turn them into someone who all of a sudden isn’t a jerk face. Like it or not, you’re going to have to meet them where they’re at and completely accept them for the jerk faces they are. In short, don’t expect a holiday miracle.

2.  Manage your expectations: A holiday get-together is no time to push for some kind of Oprah moment. Don’t go there hoping to confront your relative and then expect it to end in a group hug at the dinner table. There’s a time and place for confrontations and this isn’t one of them. Seriously, don’t invest your energy in trying to make that elusive holiday miracle happen. You have a better chance of being disowned.

3. Always take the high road: If you are unfortunate enough to have that passive aggressive relative who loves to pepper every conversation with remarks about your shortcomings, it’s perfectly okay to tell the person that their comment was hurtful and rude and just leave it at that. Since you just verbally checked their behavior in front of others, they will no doubt feel embarrassed and will strive to sink you down to their level by goading you into saying more or getting angry. Do not fall for this trick. Gracefully make the verbal check and swiftly move the conversation on before they have a chance to say anything else. Congratulations, you’ve maintained your dignity, stuck up for yourself, and just joined the ranks of Gandhi and King on the high road. You may have to do this several times but eventually that person will realize that if they want to make rude remarks, they will be embarrassed.

4. Avoid conflict: This goes without saying but please avoid all topics that could even remotely lead to an argument. If you are by nature a pot-stirrer, you’re probably thinking about your freedom of speech and how you should be allowed to bring up any subject you darn well please and how everyone is dying to hear your views on Obamacare and the state of the world today. However, please remember that the holidays are not all about you. Let me issue this challenge: avoid anything even remotely having to do with politics, depressing news, the state of the world, gossip, personal judgements, or anything resembling a criticism. This obviously includes the topics of conversation but also consider your TV channel/movie selection and the newspapers or magazines you may have lying around. These are all fodder for a potential conversation gone wrong. If you’re a pot-stirrer, a critical thinker, or are not one to easily reign in your opinion, let’s try either just being quiet and thoughtful (if this requires biting your tongue and sitting on your hands than please do so), asking others about how they’re doing, and/or focusing on something positive happening in your life or the world today. Yup, completely flip the switch for the greater good and comfort level of those around you. Be vigilant of the notion that the holidays are a festive occasion where we come together to feel better, not to walk away feeling worse.

Ling Ling Turkey Lurkey
Ling Ling and a feathered friend, both looking dapper.