Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nonverbal communication

Chester, my donkey, is a very friendly guy. He is also extremely persistent. He has spent the last three weeks trying to convince three very haughty llamas that he should be their new friend.

While he has made some progress, it has been pretty slow going. The llamas are not quick to add a new member to their tight knit group. There have been many disagreements, shall we say, along the way. Since Dolly is the mama to the other two llamas and the self-designated leader of the trio, these interactions are mostly between her and Chester and rarely involve the other two.

They generally go something like this...

Dolly will come to the barn gate and ask to come in. She thinks she's really hungry and needs some grain. Please note her ears. They are upright and pointed forward. I've come to learn that this is a llama's at-ease, curious, and non-threatened position:

Chester approaches the barn gate certain that Dolly would like to include him in whatever she is doing. Please note the courteous distance he is trying to maintain from her and the lack of direct eye contact. This is his way of being non-aggressive and non-threatening. Dolly begs to differ and immediately flattens her ears in warning:

Chester, mistakenly thinking he was able to slip in unnoticed, lifts an ear of friendliness:

Recognizing that Chester may not have gotten the "flattened-ear" message, she quickly informs him of her intention to spit in his face. Note Dolly's pursed lips. This helps her to propel her spittle with uncanny accuracy:

The spitting is quite a nasty business and doesn't really solve anything. Please note again the ears. Dolly is still peeved and Chester now has his feelings hurt. Neither, however, budges:

At this point, you can almost hear Dolly's sigh of exasperation. "Will this guy not get the hint?". Look at Chester. He totally gets the hint. But he's still thinking the jaunty ear thing is going to work with her:

Nope. It never does. Poor Chester:

The other morning, Chester had clearly had enough of camelids and wanted some human companionship. As I was mucking out the stalls, he found that I had not latched the gate to the barn behind me. He's very smart:

In he walked, to the llamas' amazement. They couldn't believe their big brown eyes and started to follow him:

He then turned around and shut the gate right in their faces:

They haughtily turned tail and showed him their butts. He didn't care. He was in the barn and they weren't:

Who needs words?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gentle Thanksgiving

4 dozen chocolate chip cookies:

1 sesame sweet loaf:

24 oatmeal buttermilk chocolate chip mini muffins:

and 1 glazed banana spice loaf:

had my kitchen looking like this at 10:00pm on Friday night:

But it was all for a really good cause. I packaged them up:

And brought them here:

For the visitors attending the annual Gentle Thanksgiving event at the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary:

This annual event celebrates the lives of the nearly 200 hundred formerly abused and neglected farm animals that now have a permanent home at the Lighthouse Farm, free from fear of starvation, abandonment or lack vet care:

It's a wonderful day for families to visit and feed their favorite animals:

There's somebody for every person of every size:

Even Roy, the massive steer, loves getting some love:

J.R., the donkey, certainly isn't shy about expressing his needs:

And Duncan, the pig, always appreciates a pumpkin gift:

If you think sheep are standoffish, you should meet the sheep of Lighthouse Farm. They will trot up to you for petting and scratches. This guy felt personally responsible for greeting visitors as they came through the gate:

Have you ever seen a 40 year old donkey? This is Poppa:

Poppa has lived on the farm for a long time. That's his friend, Oyte, the mini donkey in the background:

Pretty boy, Taj, the turkey, wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!:

The Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary is definitely a place to see, if you ever find yourself in northwest Oregon and feel like communing with animals for a day:

Click HERE if you'd like to see more pictures of these beautiful animals from last year's Gentle Thanksgiving event (when it was actually sunny!!).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Seen around here

Going through my pictures of the last couple weeks, I've found an interesting assortment that I'd like to share. I don't necessarily have a long story to share about each one - sometimes I only have a short caption - but every picture below, for one reason or another, makes me smile, laugh out loud, or cringe a little bit. Who wouldn't want to look at pictures that have the potential to do all that?!

Let's begin: disgusting. And it happens all the time around here:

If everyone around you is getting sick and you, yourself, are starting to to feel more than a little paranoid about catching something, I can tell you that it totally helps to make up a pretend health drink that you firmly believe has the super powers to fight off all the hyper-potent (I made that word up) germs trying to nab you. This is mine. I drink it every day:

I love to get packages in the mail. Penny from Back to Basic Living sent me four starts from her horseradish plant. I love the thought of planting things from friends' gardens:

Did I mention that when I got the llamas, they came with medication and shots that I had to give them for 5 days? Yup. And I did it, by myself. Haltered 'em, dosed 'em with the drench gun, and injected Toni with vitamin K (FYI: a llama's skin is very tough):

Moving on to chickens...I understand occasionally needing to deal with a nest-box sleeper, but three of them at once? Sheesh:

(giggle, giggle) Marcee and Roxy, goin' for a ride. They love the wind in their faces (and their hair):

Chopstick lessons. Everyone knows how to use them now:

An assortment of textures, as seen in the donkey pasture:

Roloff Farm isn't far from us. I did a drive-by for my out-of-towner (anyone familiar with "Little People, Big World"?):

Must be 4:00pm. Can you see them? Everyone's waiting up at the barn:

In this picture, they're trying to tell you that I never feed them:

Dolly, here, is politely urging Chester to mind his manners:

Here is Marcee's husband pushing a wheelbarrow full of llama poop. You have to love a man who does this with a smile on his face :-):

These are the random things (cordless screwdriver, electric fence tester, 2 wrenches and a packaged mouse trap) that my husband will leave on the dining room table. This sort of thing drives me NUTS:

There is so much going on in this picture, I don't know where to look first. I love a multi-purpose building, don't you?:

And then, finally, I wonder, why does Marcee always smile so nicely while I always make the goofiest faces that I later regret? If you have any insight on this, please let me know: