All God's Critters gotta place... (part one)
One of the best things about doing life out here is all the animals we share this land with. We get to observe and enjoy the abundant wildlife - from tiny toad babies in the spring, to nesting blue birds, brave coyotes and precocious flying squirrels. There are the expected daily interactions with our sweet cattle, the honey bees, our beloved horses, chatty chickens and geese, and our loyal dogs and cats - but we have also had some very unexpected visitors. Often these furry surprises find a way into our hearts and end up staying to live the good life. A few quick stories of some of our favorite wanderers over the years.
Scout the Wonder Dog -
During an afternoon walk down the lane, we were greeted by a very skinny and quite forlorn spotted pup. We can only assume that he was dumped nearby and found his way to our gate. He decided the moment he saw us that we were his new home and never looked back. So up the lane we returned with our mail and a new best friend. Though a bit of a busy body with exceptionally selective hearing, Scout has remained one of our most loyal and steadfast companions. He is down for any and every adventure and can often be seen doing zoomies around the farm with his best friend Major the white German Shepherd.
*Scout is never far from this guy's side
*Loves to pose for the camera as long as treats follow
Dandelion the Bottle Baby -
This past calving season, we noticed one of our sillier cows was being a VERY distracted mother - enough so that it required us to step in. After giving momma several chances to take interest in feeding her baby, it was determined this little girl was going downhill fast. We carried her up to the barn and ran to the store to grab some milk replacer. Unsure of whether or not she had gotten any colostrum, we tried to stay cautiously optimistic about her future. Safe in a warm stall, we named her Dandelion after Daniel, who found her in the field. But her good luck didn't stop there...
Next we rang our neighbor and dairy farmer Johnny for advice on nursing a newborn calf. But as it happened he had a cow whose milk he couldn't sell - and he was going to just have to throw away. So from a short distance that cow became Dandelion's guardian angel / surrogate momma / meal train. Every morning and every evening, we would go over to Johnny's and pick up a huge bottle of fresh warm milk - and with all that amazing nutrition, Dandelion thrived and is back out with the herd today as a pretty little yearling. Bottle feeding a baby is a lot of work, but it truly was magical.
*During a evening bottle feeding
*Dandelion and one of her big sisters
The Case of the Confused Quail -
One evening, as we did our daily egg collect from the henhouse, we noticed some drama unfolding beyond the normal chicken gossip. Inside the chicken coop was a small quail, running around and being chased by the chickens. We quickly went in and scooped her up! What from a distance looks like a rather plain brown little bird, is nothing of the sort when you really look. Up close, her feathers had intricate patterns and were simply beautiful. Though she wanted to be a chicken, we knew the ladies would probably not accept her. We fed her and set her free near some boulders and trees.
We have since learned that our neighbor raises quail and she must have recognized that the coop meant food and shelter. We've also had additional quail come by for a visit. It never gets old holding them in our hands and getting to see their delicate beauty up close.
*Sweet Quail # 1