The following post is an archive of our GoFundMe campaign which began in 2020.
Sorry for the long time without any farm news – I don’t know how often I started writing this update and then life brought something else along that needed immediate attention and whatever I was writing about was soon outdated. Sometimes life just has its own pace.
First of all we would like to wish all of you a happy New Year 2024. Let’s hope it’s a really goat one.
Thank you for a great season 2023. Thank you to everyone who visited the farm, for sharing our passion for the animals, for all your interest in their life and our work, for spending time with them, for every smile and kind word – especially on the not so good or stressful days – and for all your continuous support. Each season (and honestly each day) at the farm is different, and while every year comes with its own challenges, overall I’m happy to say that 2023 was a fairly good season and we are all looking forward to the next one.
But now let us take a look back onto last year, it is quite difficult to select just a few situations to sum up all of 2023.
January had brought a very sudden and heartbreaking incident as we had to say goodbye to a very special farm resident: our big pig Maple. It still hurts to remember that day and the days that followed this tremendous loss. Maple had a great life here at the farm and his last winter was happy and cozy. For his sake I’m glad that his passing was very sudden and didn’t involve long suffering. He had just started to lose control of his back legs which he couldn’t feel and since there were no treatment options, we soon took his final stroll over the rainbow bridge. But he left us behind with a loss we couldn’t prepare for and the absence of his big and unique personality left a very big hole in our hearts. His presence will always be felt at the farm – even after he is gone.
Since life and the farm always keep going on, by the middle of February we adopted 3 little pig girls who have made their forever home in Maple’s barn. They are slowly developing their personalities, and they make us smile and help to fill part of the hole of Maple’s passing. It’s their turn now to live, eat, grow, play, snuggle and explore in our piggy area and we are excited to accompany them on this way.
In the spring we had a lot to do to prepare for the season’s opening in March. The team was ready to get going, built up with great new co-workers – all to be trained up during the season. Everything got cleaned, brushed and swept, tidied up and repainted and put into place for the new season. We were really excited to open up the gates again. Spring break went well and we were impatiently waiting to welcome our first baby goats of the year. Our goat Moon is an experienced mom and it hit us very unexpectedly when she, after a slow and long labour, delivered a stillborn boy. There are these days when we simply don’t understand why things happen – when you try your best and you still feel it’s not enough. When we saw Moon grief for her baby boy – it just left us feeling helpless. But once again, the animals showed us how strong and resilient they are, that they take life head on to make the best of it and what a mother’s love can overcome. Most of you already know this story, so to cut it short: When Moon’s sister Venus went into labour and delivered 2 healthy babies, Moon adopted the tiny baby girl – her niece Solaris – as her own baby and loved her from then on with all her heart.
This season has been shaped by our volunteers returning to work with us at the farm – this includes some of our experienced volunteers and many new faces. They all brought so much additional energy, curiosity, colour, personality and enthusiasm to the farm and our workday. Our volunteers do a great and very much appreciated job in helping us take care of the animals and working alongside us with the public – they are such an important part of the farm. A big THANK YOU to all our wonderful volunteers – you all do so much in shaping the farm and making it this vibrant, fun place full of life. In August we held our annual volunteer appreciation event again and we got to spend a really awesome day with our volunteers. It was great to see all the glowing eyes and happy smiles in volunteers and staff alike.
This summer our two momma goats, Goldilocks and Diamond, both needed vet assistance to welcome their babies into this world. This brings me to another important part of this year – and it holds true for every year: We are so lucky to be working together with a great team of vets and especially our large animal vets go above and beyond to provide medical care for our animals. Whenever we ourselves are at the end of our knowledge and need professional vet assistance our vets are there to help – even be it at 3 in the morning or on a Sunday at lunch – they come and do their best. I can not put into words how much this means to us and how many animals they have saved. There are not enough vets on the island and especially large animal vets are in high demand. Our vets work crazy hours, make the trip down to Victoria to see our animals, provide emergency treatment no matter the time, follow up with labs and do the research, share their knowledge with us and teach us new skills, have the time and patience for all our questions and always have an open ear and an encouraging word for us. I know we often call on them in the worst situations and despite their expert knowledge the outcome is not always what we wish for, but they always do their best and I truly value their professional expertise, honest answers in any circumstance and dedication towards animal care and vet treatment. They are true heroes and lifesavers – this year especially Dr. Jackie and Dr. Peter helping Goldilocks and Diamond to a happy end. Thank you!
After a buzzling great summer we transitioned into a quiet fall season making plans for the team to work with the animals through the winter. Some of our goats went to their new forever homes: we are really happy that we have found great homes for Diamond and Goldilocks where they can settle down and live together with their kids.
After Thanksgiving everyone here got really busy getting the farm, staff and animals ready for the winter season. We were super excited to welcome our new billy “Beau” to the farm. He arrived soon after the farm closed and moved into a newly cleaned out barn where he is now welcoming ladies’ visit once in a while – and in between he shares his “man cave” with Mr. Pink. Beau is a little gentleman with great manners and very friendly – but of course like all the billies very stinky.
One big renovation this fall was the installation of a heat pump in our budgie and finch aviary. This project was completed within a few days followed by cleanup and rearranging of roosts and feeding/ water stations for the birds and we all feel that so far it’s been very successful. The building holds the temperature very well – of course the ultimate test is now the next several days with the cold spur to come. But we are all optimistic that this will keep the birds (and for the next few days also our guinea pigs) warm and cozy.
This brings me to the end of our year – of course LOTS more has happened including that our little girl Rosie had a very difficult time during the second half of 2023, but this will be a story for the next update (to follow very soon).
Wishing you all the best for 2024.
Take care, stay warm and cozy during the cold days to come,