Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. #EIN# 82-2236486

All images

©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pino meet Paco, Paco meet Pino

No, you are not seeing double. Yes, we brought home two more animals. No, we are not crazy, nor have we gone over the deep end. We enjoy each animal and what they bring to our life and farm.

The consensus was, get a buddy of the Equus Asinus species for Pino Blangiforti. I thought the sheep would be companions enough for the little lad, but it appears I was naive in that thought. Would he have survived without a donkey mate? Yes. Would he be more content over the next 30 odd years of his life with a donkey mate? Yes. Donkeys get very lonely without a donkey mate, and cans tart to do some naughty little things out of boredom and depression. So, Paco arrived yesterday, along with the lovely little lady Pygmy goat you see here.

The Pygmy came with the name Tasmania Dirt Devil [all the former owner's goats were named after vacuum cleaners, a wonderful thing!] and they called her Taz. It's not that I don't like her name, but I just can't keep from calling her other things, like Bee Bee, or Meggie as in Nutmeg, or Ruthie [the name of a friend's Pygmy and I have that stuck in my head]. So where her name will fall, I do not know. I just know she is very cute, and when I went to look at Paco, I swooned over her - the owner was willing to trade a small sheep for her, as one of her Shetland sheep had lost its sheep companion. I immediately thought of our Little Rue, our bottle baby of last spring. Little Rue was never fully welcomed into the herd after being bottle fed. She held her own, but no one would snuggle up to her at nite, she was always a few paces behind all in the flock. I felt in a new group of animals Rue would bond with the only sheep, and perhaps it would be better for her in the long run. She can't be bred as she will always be too small, and there was no way I could butcher her for meat. So, we sent her off to her new home, and little Taz-Ruthie-Meggie-whatever now lives with the donkeys and rams. She is a pistol, not afraid of anything. Her little ears had their tips frozen off as the two-owners-ago had neglected to bring her in from their cold climate; they also lopped her horns off instead of taking the entire set off. And, she needs to lose some weight as she was allowed to eat grain from other animals dishes.

Bringing in new animals is always traumatic on farmer and herd. The balanced pecking order must be re-configured. The initial introductions can be ugly to watch, and yesterday's initial introduction of Pino and Paco did not go smoothly. Paco has not been gelded [the deed will occur, thankfully, on Monday] so this added to the unrest. Paco is a bit smaller than Pino, very docile, and gelded. He had been a trio of two other donkeys, and I knew he would bond with Pino fast. Pino on the other hand, saw one thing - another donkey to make love to. I won't go into graphic details, but let's just say yesterday was a bit of a bad John Holmes movie - 'farm porn' as Martyn refers to it. I let the two run in adjoining pastures at first, then put them together - which resulted in non-stop stud activity by Pino, and Paco kicking non-stop. Pino took it like a boxer. Just stayed standing, kept at it. It went on for 20 minutes or so, and I finally separated them for the nite. No scrapes or cuts on either, amazingly. This morning, I had all sorts of back up plans, but decided after a night of sleeping side by side in separate stalls, that Pino might have calmed somewhat. When I put them together, it took a about 10 minutes for the two to settle in more - Pino still has a one track mind, but they have worked it out. There has not been one lonely bray out of little Pino today - a sure sign of good things for him. I spent time with both of them, and our little many named Pygmy, brushing, comforting all with lots of grooming and reassuring songs and words.

So, yes, we let one friend go, and brought home two more. And it's all good.