our Sweet Haven Family
Leonard is our two-year-old guardian dog. She takes her job as caretaker very seriously and does a great job of watching out for the cats and chickens and goats. She performs regular patrols of the acreage and alerts us to any suspicious animals, including coyote, possum, skunk, mink, vultures, hawks, and often, sparrows.
Rory (passed in june, 2019)
Rory was with us fourteen years. I still think of her as being with us, and talk to her every day. She made every house I’ve ever lived in a home, and I believe there will always be a special place in my heart for my Petey, that no other cat will quite fill.
Lilly (Nigerian dwarf/angora cross goat)
Miss Lilly has been with us for about a year and was being given away because she “didn’t get along with the other goats” on the farm where she lived. And her feet were bad. For many years, she lived with a donkey and was neglected, and the story was she has the temperament of a donkey. I connected with Lilly immediately and find her to be very sweet-tempered and gentle. Lilly’s exact age is unknown, but we believe she is an older girl, perhaps around 10 years old. (Goats can live to be 15-18 years.) With regular trimming, her hooves have improved and her limp is much better than when she came.
Plum Pudding, Gingersnap, Pumpkin Pie, Peach Pit, and Apricot Crumble
Named by Nettie (who has a sweet tooth, can you tell?), these brothers were discovered in the fall of 2018, on and around our acreage. We believe they were led away from a nearby farmstead by a mother cat. At the time, they were small, just at weaning age. We are unsure if they are actual siblings or from different litters, but they get along well and spend their days romping around and getting into mischief. At night, they are collected and shut in their “kitty coop,” where we know they’ll be safe. All the boys are neutered, because although there is nothing sweeter than a baby kitty, we believe the best thing for cats (and mice and birds) is population control.
the chickens formerly known as the bronte siblings are now Brownie (the black hen), Goldie (the Red hen), Abalonie (the Sussex with the lighter comb), and Fern (the Sussex with the darker comb)
Our hens have new names, christened by Nettie, of course, and since she spends so many hours talking to and petting them, and trying to coax them into becoming lap chickens, I think she’s earned that privilege. These hens have been with us a little more than a year and are older layers that someone was looking to unload. They came to us with a bad mite infestation and perhaps some other underlying health issues that took several months to resolve. They are healthy and happy now, and I love to look out and see them ranging about in the grass.
Peanut (Nigerian dwarf goat)
Miss Peanut is a diminutive former 4-H goat. She is the mother of a few sets of twins and was a milk goat for several years. When the rest of her herd was sold off and her human got ready to move away to college in late summer 2019, Peanut needed a new home. We brought Peanut to our little haven to be a companion to Elsa, hoping that her presence would take some of the pressure off of old Lilly, who really doesn’t want to play or compete with anyone anymore. Peanut and Elsa are settling into a nice relationship after a few days of battling. We hope they’ll be very good friends. And Lilly is enjoying her new life without Elsa joined to her (arthritic) hip. ;)
Elsa (nigerian dwarf goat)
Little Miss Elsa came to us as a companion to Lilly. The story was that they were friends, and Elsa just happened to be a sterile nanny, so like Lilly, of no use to the farm. You know the adage that “goats will eat anything?” Well, Elsa has taught us that is completely untrue. Elsa has very particular tastes and prefers apples and carrots but will turn her nose up at zucchini, peas, pears, and a host of other produce items. After her afternoon treat, she races around the pen and leaps and rebounds off the fence and generally makes her presence known, while Lilly tries to stay out of the way.
Bibi is our little wonder cat. She wandered onto my parent’s place seven or eight years ago, and at the time, seemed completely feral. It took many months of feeding her and talking to her from a distance, to get close enough to pet her. Slowly, she has become quite tame and enjoys being petted and held, but she remains very fearful of the indoors and hates to be shut in. We give her freedom to come and go, and last summer, she disappeared for a full two weeks. We thought we had lost her, but she returned seemingly unhurt and went on with her routine as though nothing had happened. She has adjusted (fairly graciously) to life with the kittens and she and Leonard sleep together at night.
Tru (miniature donkey)
Tru came to us from a nearby farm in spring of 2019. Her owners felt they didn’t have enough grazing pasture for her and had not been able to take care of her hooves, which had been left untrimmed for many years. She has been foundered, which is something that happens to donkeys when they are allowed too much food. Donkeys evolved on a very meager diet, and that typically means that pasture grazing is not good for them. We were able to find a farrier who reshaped her hooves and we will try to keep her at a healthy weight so that she can stay healthy and mobile. Tru loves giving and receiving hugs and her favorite treats are hackberry leaves.
new Hens, collectively known as the Goldden Girls, individual names coming when we can tell them apart!
Rescued in August, 2019. It seems that at the end of the summer, many people are looking to unload their layer hens that are getting older and laying less. (Which is basically any hen older than 2, and considering that chickens can live into their teens, that’s pretty young to be relegated to a stew pot.) These girls have a few issues which we are trying to work at treating. For now they have their own coop and share the barnyard and grass with our first flock. We hope by winter, their health issues will be resolved and the pecking order established.