Animals on "Slavic Heritage Farm"
One of the things that we are very grateful for living on the farm is the fact that we don't have to go to the petting zoo. Because we've got one right here!
The house was not ready for us to move into when we found the homestead back in 2010, but the barn was ready to accept inhabitants right away. After being vacant for 15 years or so it couldn't stand the silence anymore . So it seemed to us! And we didn't want to be "ready" and didn't want to wait until we establish ourselves first, like most of the "go back to land" magazines suggest. We just simply couldn't wait!
Within the first year on the farm we acquired first a boar goat (think meat), then a doe (think milk), then a cow (think more milk, cream and all that comes with it), then picked up a few goat kids and lambs and bottle fed them, then chickens for meat and, of course, farm fresh eggs. So, almost instantly, the barn became a fun place to go and visit with our fourlegged friends.
We appreciate the fact that our animals make us go outside, even when we don’t feel like it! But then, we always feel like it. Even when it is subarctic freeze creeping upon us. Fresh air daily is the trick to avoid that "cabin fever", dreaded by most who live in the cold climates.
So, let us introduce our barn gang:
"How many can you catch?"
Does: Sheeba, a Nubian goat, Vera, Charlotte, and Bella, Toggenburg goats. They are two years old. We keep them for delicious milk and grazing the land. But mostly for the amazing companionship and fun times.
Buck: Esteban, a two year old Nubian goat. We need him for the only thing he knows how to do the best! You guess the rest.
Wether: Clover, the most affectionate little goat who would not want you to stop scratching him under his chin.
Goat kids: Surprise, Ariel and Dream. They are the kids of the most amazing mamas, so we are hoping they’ll pass on good genes when their turn comes.
The rest of the gang.
Sheep: Cloud, Esmeralda and Snow White. They are a cross between Suffolk (meat) and Rambouillet (fine wool) breeds. We keep them for wool, of course, grazing the land and meat.
Cow : heifer Harriett is our hope for fresh cream and butter. We’ll have wait for another year for that! Her Mama, cow Bamby, didn't make it after calving. So, Harriet is an orphan that we had to bottle feed as well.
Chickens and ducks live separately in the coop and only come to live in the barn for the winter. So they are kind of drifters.
“Kot Barsik” , a kitty we picked up to keep our mice population at bay.
Our two bunnies: Buster and Bean. They were named after our favorite comedians, Buster Keaton and Mr. Bean, who have made us laugh when we so needed it. We keep Buster and Bean for their amazing digestive system. Here we mean the compost we make from their waste and, also, nitrogen rich “pee tea” that they provide for our seedlings (who knew that such a lovable pet could be so useful!).
And then we needed a babysitter. So we got a puppy. A black lab named Sherman. He doesn’t live in the barn, but he keeps us company every time we go to do the chores. He likes to visit with the barn family and adds a lot of joy when he is around. He is not a puppy anymore and he does an excellent job keeping an eye on our young farming crew.
Well, Ferda, a parakeet, would get upset if we haven’t mentioned him. He lives with us in the house and sings us a lot of loud songs, even when we don’t want to hear them! But he insists.