Today is James' 14th birthday - it's hard to believe. While he will get some more blog coverage when we host his party, I will say that he is very good with children and animals. (And he is our dead animal picker-upper - a very important role on a farm! When someone comes to the house and announces that there is a dead chicken, James just heads for the plastic bags.)
James is featured here with our new dog - a two year old collie, named Fiona. You may remember that I went the guard donkey route to avoid getting a 4th dog, but when JD returned the borrowed horse trailer to our friends that needed to re-home Fiona to a farm, he kind of fell for her. The irony hasn't escaped me that it was the day after I bought the donkey! I have fallen for her this week that we took her on "trial" as well; she is a really sweet dog that is excellent with the kids, the other dogs, the cats, the goats and even the chickens. She lived with sheep before us, so she takes her farm patrolling pretty seriously.
She is very frightened of the camera (the only thing I have seen her afraid of...). I can't get a good picture, because she tucks her tail between her legs and slinks off when she sees it. So, I snapped this one before she awoke.
While I'm chatting animals - remember the litter of the four feral kitties I rescued? I re-homed three that are all doing well. The 4th was so mean that I didn't even try. Elijah named him Sher Khan after the mean tiger on The Jungle Book. Once we released him in the barn (he actually turned out to be a her, but I refuse to change my habit of thinking she's a he), I was pretty sure no one would ever pet him again. Boy was I wrong, James continued to call him and pet him a few times a day and he tamed into a really sweet kitty. Then one day, he showed up in the screened in porch and hasn't left in a few weeks. He likes to be with the people. I guess I'm going to have to buy him some little igloo bed because he is NOT moving in the house come winter.
He is served food with a view on the railing where the dogs can't snack on it.
Lastly, I will tell my baby goat story. The long story in short form is that Leia was never even pregnant; she just got fat from her pregnancy diet that we started her on after the breeding. It was plenty disappointing, and rather embarrassing when so many people were waiting for the baby goats to make their appearance. The obvious thing to do would be to re-breed her, but my goat source moved to the mid-west. There doesn't appear to be any other Nigerian goat farms that breed to outside goats, so I don't have much choice but to purchase my own stud goat. I have not completely decided which goat I will purchase (their prices vary a lot on paperwork). Either goat I decide is just a baby now, but will grow into a stinky stud goat soon enough. I am purchasing from a farm in MO and the goat will make the trip to VA in about a week. His name is not yet decided since we have a split about continuing with the Star Wars theme amongst our goats. (Thank goodness we didn't have to name Fiona! We are still battling the donkey Jake vs. Chewy nonsense).