We’ve got two animals on the farm that aren’t doing so well.
Eddie the sheepdog is showing his age. He has a hard time getting up, and his back legs are really weak. He barks for no reason, constantly, making us think he’s senile. He’ll growl and bite when you try to help him up, and he’s having some digestive issues. Eddie’s about 13 years old. I think we could best describe him as a grumpy old man, but the lovable kind.
Bill the Percheron draft horse isn’t doing well either. He has had tumors for a few years now, and in the past week or so he’s started acting strangely. He lies down a lot, which he never does. He doesn’t eat his grain, and he even had some convulsions last night. Today, he seemed to be off in his own world when I went to visit him. I’m guessing he’s about 18 years old, and there’s not really anything we can do for him except make him comforatble and let him spend time with the other horses. His teammate Vinny lives in the pen with him, and Annabelle and Isabelle are right next door. Yesterday, I went to visit him and they were out to pasture. It was a beautiful view of Bill lying on the hill, the sun setting through the old maple tree on the horizon. I didnt’ have my camera, but I’ll never forget how pretty it was. Here are some other pictures of Bill.
Bill’s on the left
Bill’s in the middle (1999)
While I’m hoping that both Eddie and Bill will make full recoveries, I know that’s unlikely. Growing up on the farm, I learned that death is a part of life. While I’ll certainly miss these animals when they’re gone, I take comfort knowing that they had long, happy lives here with us. We love them, and they love us back.
We took Annabelle and her baby out to the pasture for the first time today, in an area that was partitioned off from the other animals. We stayed with them for a few hours, to make sure they were comfortable, and to visit with anyone who stopped by to see the new horse.
After a little getting used to, the filly decided to run around the pen, nurse, and check out her new surroundings. Annabelle got right to grazing.
It was all so exciting, and we could tell she was getting tired. But she didn’t want to go to sleep! (Do you see gold bug?)
Finally, she couldn’t stay awake any longer and drifted off to sleep. Annabelle stopped grazing and stood over her baby as she slept. It was so sweet.
Little girl, you’ve had a busy day.
Majestic, like mom
Will you be my friend?
Barn swallow Mommy
It’s a girl! When my dad went up to feed Annabelle this morning, he spotted extra little legs under the fence. Annabelle had given birth overnight, cleaned the baby, buried the afterbirth, and both of them are happy and healthy. I woke up this morning to a call from my mom that the baby had arrived! Needless to say, I grabbed my camera and jumped in the car to see her.
She’s a spotted draft, just like her dad.
I can’t quite imagine how she ever fit in Annabelle’s belly.
Duke wanted to go in the pen, but it’s best if he stays away for now.
We were surprised by how clean both of them were. Annabelle is proving to be a great mom. She’s protective but will allow us to go in the pen and even briefly pet the filly. Her fur is so soft!
So, it’s time for us to think of a name. Options so far include Emma, Isabelle, Belle, and Bella. We want their names to go together nicely.
Annabelle seems to know that we won’t hurt her baby, but we still want to give them quiet time alone.
Annabelle and her baby will move out to a separate pen by the farm market in a few days. Until then, they have some privacy.
Don’t forget to visit Horse Tales for other posts about horses!
Annabelle’s former owner, Jen, was so nice to send us this picture of Annabelle’s sister and her new foal. What a nice preview!
Annabelle had another visit from the vet last week. He said the foal is getting big, and will probably arrive in June, ahead of schedule.
I’d love to hear about everyone else’s animals!
…pregnant work horse. An update on Annabelle!
Annabelle’s been doing well adjusting to her new home. She doesn’t like to be contained in her barn and prefers to be outdoors. You can tell that she’s frustrated when bad weather keeps her inside because she paces around the barn, constantly looking at the door.
The vet came to check on Annabelle last week, and he confirmed that she is pregnant. I was really impressed with how she stood still during the exam, munching away on grain. The vet felt the foal’s head and said that he/she is in the right position, has plenty of amniotic fluid, and is big! With a mom that stands at 18 hands and an even bigger dad, we’re sure this baby Shire will be a big one.
It was interesting to hear the vet’s prediction about the birth. He said that with Annabelle’s history as an experienced mom, she’ll prefer to give birth in privacy and we’ll probably find her with the foal one morning this summer. While he couldn’t pinpoint a due date, he said he’d be surprised if she hasn’t had the foal by July.
As far as eating goes, Annabelle is eating as much as you would expect a pregnant work horse to eat. She loves to eat grain and has identified my dad as the grain man, which means she loves him, too. She knows I bring her treats in the form of carrots, apples and pears, and she will head over to look for food as soon as she sees me. As soon as the treat is gone, she goes right back to eating grass. She grazes all day long, pausing occasionally to look around and listen to different noises like cars, dogs and birds.
Today when I visited her, Annabelle was eating grass constantly, so the only pictures I could take were of her eating. I followed her around for a while, taking pictures. When I said “Bye, bye Annabelle!” and turned to walk away, she looked up and followed me. Even though I know she was just making sure I wasn’t leaving without feeding her all the treats, I was touched that she came over to say “Bye” to me.
On this first day of March, I’ve been running around trying to get everything done before the big snow storm moves in this afternoon. I’ve heard we’re supposed to get about a foot of snow, maybe more, but of course I’m skeptical. It seems tomorrow may be another snow day, but as for today, I’ve completed everything I need to do. I stopped by to see Annabelle, assuming that I may not make it to the farm tomorrow if the weather is too bad. We’ll see, as I am looking forward to taking her pictures in a white blanket of snow.
For my stroll today, I decided to take pictures of Annabelle in her barn, using the natural light streaming in through the boards. I was pleased with the outcome of some of the photos, but Annabelle didn’t seem to be in the mood for posing today and the result was many blurry shots. Still, I think she looks rather majestic in the shots below.
To see everyone else’s strolls today, visit the Quiet Country House.