March 1st - Week in Review
We welcomed two more beautiful souls to the sanctuary this past weekend, a California Red sheep named Fanta (who we nicknamed Fanty) and a Blackbelly Barbados sheep named Havarti (who we renamed Hava).
First their backstory...A few weeks ago Barbara Jamison, the director of Puget Sound Goat Rescue (PSGR), emailed me and asked if we could take in two sheep they saved from an auction. We’ve have adopted quite a few goats from PSGR over the years, so they know us well. Puget Sound Goat Rescue saves so many goats and sheep each year, and they are a wonderful rescue. (Check them out at www.pugetsoundgoatrescue.org)
A couple of months ago they were able to save these two tiny sheep from near death at an auction where they were being sold for meat. Both are under a year old, and had so much life left to live. Sarah Klapstein, a resident of PSGR, baby goat caregiver extraordinaire, and their Social Media Manager, detailed their horrific conditions on their Instagram page:
’‘Fanta was in a pen packed full of sheep & goats and was found one morning with her head pinned between 2 pieces of the metal pen and had been like that for awhile. She was staggering around, dazed and in obvious pain... Harvarti was temporarily blind from an eye infection and was starving, and is going to likely lose one eye despite the fact that we started treatment right away. She was so neglected and her immune system was so run down, the infection took a much harder toll on her.”
Barbara and Sarah felt these sheep wouldn’t have survived long had they not been saved, so they got them out of there ASAP. After taking them in and working hard to get them healthy, it was time to find them a forever home. With their past, and one of them now permanently blind in one eye, they wanted to make sure they went somewhere safe. Barbara contacted us and asked if we would be interested in taking them in, and said she felt our sanctuary was the perfect place for them. We said we’d be happy to give them a loving home!
Fanty and Hava are really beautiful, both of them. They are of course skittish and a little weary of us right now, but we know over time we’ll earn their trust. Check out their adorable pics below.
So that was the biggest happening here this week. In other happenings, we continued to get to know our new goats, Maizy and Ollie, and our new alpacas, Red Rose, Tina, and Summer (who are by far the loudest hummers our of all our alpacas. Like a trio of singers!)
We also moved gentle giant Wesley over to our chill herd. He wasn’t being bullied in his former herd, but he wasn’t really forming any strong bonds either, and seemed to just spend most of his day solo. So we figured we’d try him out in with our smaller goats and laid back sheep, and he seems to be loving it. He now lounges with them all under their favorite tree, and they have all taken quite a liking to him, even though he is about five times their size.
We contacted some concrete companies this week to get quotes on putting cement pads under the fence line feeders. We think it will help cut down the soggy mess they make there, and will also help keep hooves in good shape because it will be a rougher surface to stand on while eating. We have what seems like a zillion other projects in the queue, so I think it may turn out to be a busy Spring. On that note, we may start to look at having volunteers here and there, so if you are local to Bend, and may be interested in volunteering, be sure to drop a line. Our contact info can be found on the menu bar above.
Lastly, we got another submission for our art wall this week - a beautiful alpaca painting by Violet, age 10. If your child (or you) would like to create art inspired by our animals too and send it to us we’d love to see it! Click on the Art option in the menu bar above for more info on how to submit your art.
Have a wonderful week everyone!
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
February 1st - Week in Review
I felt like this week’s theme was mud, mud, and more mud. The temps have been fluctuating quite a bit, with snow one day and then warm temps the next, making for quite wet pastures. Sometimes it feels like instead of four seasons we just have two - dry or wet. 😊 I can’t complain too much though because I know our wet weather is nothing compared to what a lot of our friends in the PNW sanctuary community deal with. We are east of the Cascade mountains, and considered high desert, so we have a drier climate. My hat’s off to sanctuaries that deal with tons of rain, freezing temps, or loads of snow, on a regular basis. That’s no easy task for them!
To combat some of the puddles building, I used the tractor to move some wood chips to the pastures. Being surrounded by so many trees means we occasionally have trees that need to come down because they are dead. When this happens we keep the wood chips to use for wet spots. It’s a nice temporary fix for wet ground, but we’ve been thinking about longer term solutions for in front of the feeders to combat the mud and/or wet hay that accumulates. We scrape the ground each week with the tractor, but that just makes it muddier at times. Some longer term options we are thinking about include putting down stall mats, or gravel, or creating a cement pad. Any of those seem like good options, so it may just come down to cost.
In other news, it’s been so fun watching the cats run around the barn and entertain themselves. They are so happy! Sometimes it looks like the musical Cats is happening in the barn, with cats running to and fro (pretty sure I’ve never used that word in writing), and leaping and climbing. I may just need to bust out a karaoke version of “Memories” one of these nights. The Broadway musical version though, not the creepy movie version. 🙂
I got some gorgeous photos of the barn set against the night skies today. We spent several hours trimming hoofs and left the barn after the sun had set. I always think it is so peaceful walking back to the house on starry nights. Same goes for when the sun is setting. Always so peaceful. Unless there are coyotes howling. I’m only partially kidding on that though, because even with them howling it’s still quite beautiful. Some people are beach people, others are mountain people. Me? I’ll take forests and trees any day. Mix that with farm animals and free ranging kids and I’m all set!
On a less glamorous note, I posted a photo below of a snippet of how we clean the chicken coop. We chose to use sand after a few years of trial and error. We first used pine needles, then the deep litter method, before settling on sand. We find it keeps the coop smelling better and it’s easier to clean. Each week we do a deep clean of the coop, taking a scooper and essentially scooping up any pieces of chicken poop, wet sand, and feathers. We then put it into a sifter and sift it, letting the clean sand fall through to reuse. Like mining for gold if gold was chicken poop. We also take a big ol’ shovel and scoop out all the poop from under the nesting boxes twice a week, and then lay down agricultural lime because it deodorizes the coop, is an insect repellant, and is safe for the chickens. (Btw...if you chose to use lime in your coop, be sure it’s the agricultural type and not hydrated lime which is extremely dangerous for humans and animals.)
Be sure to check out next week’s blog post for updates on the art wall. I had to move it from the barn to our Art Shed (it was a little dusty in the barn and some goats were wanting to snack on the paper). I have to say we like it so much better in the Art Shed. We hold art and education classes for kids in that spot, and I’m so excited for visitors to see the display of all the great drawings of our animals that have been submitted so far! (If your child hasn’t submitted a drawing but would still like to contribute, click on the ART in the menu above for more info.) I’ll post some photos and include them in our blog post next week.
We hope you had a good week, and leave you with these words for thought:
“How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand.
Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it.
Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul." ― Frances Hodgson Burnett
Four Roots Ranch & Animal Sanctuary