Monday, November 22, 2010
I love animals, particularly farm animals. They all have such unique personalities. We get a couple of pigs in the spring, 1 for my daughter's 4-H auction animal with a backup that goes in our freezer, we have raised a couple bottle calves who are now out in pasture, we have the requisite chickens, ducks and rabbits, dogs and cats and usually get a couple of market lambs in the spring for 4-H. Hubby worked on a sheep ranch growing up and won't eat lamb and I have a mental block, but they are a fairly easy project animal.
At the local fair last summer, my daughter Lyndsey was awarded a 5 year old Suffolk ewe named Stacy by a outgoing 4-H'er. Her auction ewe, Two (she had Thing 1 and Thing 2) was purchased and then awarded back to her, so for the first time we are breeding our own large livestock. It will be a learning experience for all of us. A local sheep owner donated the use of her Suffolk/Hampshire cross ram, so hopefully both ewes are expecting and due in January. My 4-H'er paid $175 apiece for weaned market lambs, which is expensive when they are lucky to get $500 at auction.
Last year I was fortunate enought to be given a miniature horse. I love horses and had a pony that I shared with my sisters as a child, along with having numerous horses as an adult. The truth is, though I have no fear of them on the ground, once I'm up in the saddle, I get nervous and the horse picks up on that and the problems begin. It's silly to own a hay-burner that I don't ride, as it's just too expensive. So my mini is the perfect solution. She provides manure for the garden with a minimal amount of hay, protects the sheep and gives me my horse-fix. I was told she will pull a cart, so I have a dream of getting a mini-cart and harness and going for rides. Carts are expensive tho, and with being unemployed, it's a dream right now that will have to wait.
Animals give unconditional love (when treated with kindness and respect) and I love them... not just for the meat or the manure, but for their very nature!