Thursday, December 8, 2016

Unity Farm Journal - Second Week of December 2016

Every night, Kathy and I sit by the fire and debrief on the events of the day.    What rescue animals did we take on?  What new projects need to be started? Is there new infrastructure required?  Were their notable events at Unity Farm and Unity Farm Sanctuary? On our to do list, have we addressed the needs of all living things?

This week we agreed to take on 3 goats - Charlie (black alpine), Billy (white alpine) and Napoli (black pygmy cross), three wethered (gelded) males.  We do not have a lot of history on them, (not even their ages) since they came from an unfortunate situation where they weren't receiving proper care.   Charlie and Billy are very affectionate.   Napoli is a bit shy but with time will trust us.    They’ll arrive at the Sanctuary next week.

There has been a heart breaking abuse situation with 1400 animals at a farm in Westport, MA  and we stand ready to take on some of the rehabilitation tasks, even if it is just fostering.   We never intended to host cows at the Unity Farm Sanctuary but given the rescue need, we’re evaluating the requirements of bovine habitats.

We had our first snow of season this week and the pigs are not happy with cold feet.    Hazel and Tofu, who lived alone before coming to Unity Farm, have developed a mutual tolerance for each other and sleep together for warmth.    Lunchbox, our newest pig, is friendly and outgoing but Hazel still has not accepted him into the herd.   We’ve put a panel heater in his temporary housing (a large doghouse) and he’s staying comfortable through the snow and ice.   The family of the young Yorkshire pig we're assisting will visit next weekend and we'll determine together if our farm can help.

I’m heading to Israel this afternoon as part of the governor’s delegation which means Kathy will manage the farm for the next few days.   As I was leaving, we got a call about additional goats to rescue (before they are eaten).    Kathy may take the Ford Transit van to Southern Massachusetts to pick them up.   I’m sure the drive home will be interesting.  Let’s hope her passengers cooperate.  

This week we traded in our 2012 Prius C for a 2016 Ford 150 Truck.  I know that sounds like a very strange swap, but our needs have changed.   Pulling a trailer full of horses, cows, llamas, goats, or donkeys doesn’t work so well with a Prius.   The Farm and Sanctuary will have the Transit van for small animals and food pickup/delivery, a truck and trailer for hauling large animals, and my wife’s Prius V for transporting people.    It’s a good balance.

This weekend we’ll have temperatures in the 20’s and all our surface water will freeze, so we’ve put out all our bucket heaters and electric waterer bases.   We now begin 8 weeks of bitter cold that will challenge every creature on the farm.   We’ll keep them well fed/hydrated, put out extra bedding material and close each building in the evening to minimize wind/moisture.    We’ll do our chores in parkas and thick gloves.   As a farmer, you cannot fear the cold and dark mornings, you must accept the responsibility of serving the living things that depend on you.   That’s what gets us out of bed every morning!

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