News

Read all about the goings on at the farm during 2020. Learn about our new verification with the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries! Meet some new personalities, find out about Herbie our special needs sheep, get a preview of our 2021 calendar, and bid a sad farewell to some of our beloved animals. [read newsletter – PDF]

This time of year is the toughest.  It’s the time of year we have the animals’ annual checkups with our numerous veterinarians (for our rabbits and small mammals, for our dogs and cats, and for our large farm animals).  We are stocking the barn with winter hay – and the animals are eating considerably more, since it’s cold out. And, though not very fun, it’s also the time of year we have to pay all our insurance policies and our accountants.

Of course, the most direct way you can help us is with a financial donation.  We accept checks, credit card via paypal, or Venmo!

WISHLISTS!

Our mailing address: 

Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

 

Other ways to help!

 

Ebay for Charity

Do you sell on eBay? Did you know you can sell items to help benefit the farm?

Do you shop on Amazon? Just put in our name and go to smile.amazon.com whenever you shop and we will receive a percentage from them!

 

2021 calendar2021 calendar

The 2021 Star Gazing Calendars are here – order yours while supplies last!

Each month features a gorgeous photo of our animals (by photographer Kathe Powell).  This is a 12-month calendar, 17″x 11″, and is in full color. with the last four months of 2020 in summary.  The calendar includes holidays, and the full, new, and crescent moons.

You can purchase the calendar at the farm or at one of our events, or order online.  All proceeds of sales of the calendar go directly to help care for our animals.

The cost is $15 per calendar (or $17 with shipping for 1-5 copies).  If you want to order more than 5 copies, please email us to arrange for a bulk shipping rate.

You can pay via check or via credit card/paypal, below.
Address for checks:  Star Gazing Farm, PO Box 162, Boyds, MD 20841

Note: if you have a complicated order (e.g., you want calendars sent to other folks or you want to order multiples, please email Anne at info@stargazingfarm.org and she can send you an invoice for actual shipping costs).

Pick up at Farm: (no shipping cost) $15 each




Ship to you: $15 each plus $2 shipping




Sneak peek inside!

2021 calendar2021 calendar

 

 

manuelHaving travelled and lived in other countries where the boundaries between city and rural living blur consistently, I rather liked, at first, the notion that urban and suburban dwellers in the US might be allowed to start keeping chickens.   For much of my life I was a city person, and so on a trip to Haiti and waking up in the heart of Port-au-Prince to the sound of a rooster crowing, I thought – of course, this is marvelous.  Pigs and goats wandered the streets, and the mixture of life, if not entirely sanitary, was colorful.  That is, of course, an entirely first-world way of looking at it.  The truth is that in countries like Haiti, keeping animals is survival.  I don’t know if they have zoning commissions in Haiti, but I sincerely doubt that HOAs have imposed their fascistic controls onto the quite poverty-stricken residents, to whom painting your house bright blue or orange is a creative statement, not one of rebellion against the requisite ecru.

In Cairo, Egypt, it wasn’t uncommon to see donkeys, camels, and even sheep walking along the city streets.  Mind you, the donkeys and camels were working animals, and the sheep were headed to less glorious fates in restaurants.  My landlord kept rabbits on the roof of our apartment building – also for food. But the jumble of lives did not disturb.

In Italy dogs accompany their owners into restaurants, shops, and onto trains.  I don’t think there is a “pet fee”.  Buses in Mexico often have livestock hitching a ride.

So when did America become such an anti-animal place?  Oh, we love our pets.  Everything-pet is a billion dollar industry in the United States.  People will spend thousands of dollars on specialized veterinary care.  But regulations for the presence of pets in polite society are strict.  “Only service animals allowed.”  “No pets.”  “Pet fee for hotel stay, $30 and no animals over 40 pounds.”   The message:  keep your pets to yourself.

Then we have the meat-eating population, about 90%; for the most part they buy their meat wrapped in plastic, sold in large supermarkets.  Many have never seen a cow or a pig or a chicken up close.  Meat is a commodity; where is it cheapest?  Back in early 2020 at the beginning of the Coronavirus epic people freaked out when there were limits in stores on how much meat one could purchase at a time.  Costco didn’t have chicken for several months after the initial hoarding rush.  I did hear that folks started trying to seek out farmers directly – well now, there is a start to connecting.

A quick aside:  about 30 years ago I was working in suburban Virginia.  Across the street from my office complex was a small Middle-Eastern store.  I went there from time to time to pick up exotic spices and pita bread.  One day the owner had just opened the large walk-in refrigerator.  Hanging from a hook was an entire lamb, skinned.  I gasped and turned away.  He asked me, I think condescendingly, “don’t you eat meat, young lady?”  I replied, “well yes, I do” (for I did at that time).  “Then you ought to know where your meat is coming from.”  He was right.  I was one of those disconnected meat eaters, shocked at the sight of a hoof, a naked eye, a skinned body.  Of dripping blood.  Of the reality that hanging there is someone who was alive before; someone that was going to be chopped up into pieces and that someone else was going to eat.  I lived at the time in a basement apartment in the city. I had no connections to farms. I’m not sure I’d ever been on a farm.  So I was clueless.  Utterly uneducated in the ways of ‘eating animals’.  I mention this incident because I think it ties into the whole separateness in which we live in this country.

“But there is a really dark side to this backyard chicken keeping business: roosters.”

This is why I was happy when I learned that folks would be allowed to start keeping chickens.  Hooray, people would learn about real animal smells, they would collect eggs, clean poop – become more connected.  They would go to feed stores!  They’d meet farmers!   Maybe when they visited my farm they would not be upset at the sight of manure, at the natural smells animals produce. Maybe these chickens would be an entrée for them into appreciating farms. Maybe it would make them think more about what they eat and where it comes from.  Maybe they’d stop and consider their options – for there are so many, besides eating the beasts who are shrink-wrapped in plastic with bar-codes for your shopping convenience.

I don’t know if any of this has happened.  I’d like to think it has.

But there is a really dark side to this backyard chicken keeping business: roosters.  Many people opt to buy “sex-linked” chickens – hybrid chickens who have been bred to have distinctive marks as chicks, thus allowing the breeder to select only females to ship off.  But wait – statistically, 50% of chickens hatched, anywhere, are going to be boys.  Right?  So what happens to these sex-linked chickens who are unlucky enough to be male?   I’m pretty sure this is not discussed in polite company or around family dinner tables.  When people put in their online orders for chicks to come through the US postal services, they expect them to be girls.  And then they end up with a rooster or three.  What to do?

Any farmer would say to them, “put them in the pot.”  Farmers are practical and have learned to just deal.  Your run of the mill HOA official is going to say, “get rid of them immediately.”  The suburban chicken keeper laments, “but I raised Fluffy from a baby – now what do I do?”  What do they do?  They call farm animal sanctuaries.

So here are animals who have been brought into the world with the hopes they would not be who they turn out to be.  They are raised, loved, and then must be disposed of.  It’s a hell of a bad proposition.  And it brings to the fore the reality of animal husbandry that farmers have to deal with – on your behalf – daily.   “Fluffies” are a luxury.  But the real farmers don’t get called.  We do.

In fact, we are bombarded by texts, calls, facebook messages, desperate emails, “please please take Fluffy.  We’ll pay for his care, we’ll come to visit, we love him so much.”  These requests come in every week, sometimes every day.  I don’t know one single sanctuary who does not get them.  And they make us feel bad.  Really bad.  Sometimes the cumulative effect is to make one want to just lie down in a dark room and never answer the phone again.  Because here we are – the purported last refuge, the only thing preventing Fluffy from being someone’s dinner or being euthanized at the animal shelter.   But we can’t.  We already have roosters.  Lots of them.  Lots and lots of them.  And while roosters can learn to get along, it’s a balance and bringing even one more in can upset the balance, resulting in fighting and bloodshed.  Besides which, if we were to accept every ‘oopsie rooster’ we get asked to take, we’d have hundreds of them.  How is this fair to anyone?

I don’t know what happens to these poor birds. I do know some of them end up at animal control, because we get those calls, too.  I know there are some chicken-specific sanctuaries that can take some in.  Sometimes you might find a farmer or two who will take a nice rooster, but most farmers will have one rooster to every dozen or so hens.  The statistics don’t look good for those boys.

So what now?  Those nice ideas about city and suburban folk getting closer to the land have backfired.   Is the answer to petition to allow roosters in the neighborhoods?  Well, I think so – a rooster crowing is a nicer sound than a barking dog, and dog barking is perfectly allowable in communities.  But it won’t happen.  It would be just too OBVIOUS that agriculture has invaded the pristine subdivisions.  That isn’t why people live there.

I have no solutions to this problem.  But I wish to ask those people who keep backyard chickens to do two things.  First: be prepared for a rooster.  Think in advance what you will do, and make arrangements.  If you do not like the options available to you in this eventuality, then do not keep chickens; roosters will happen.  Second, be kind to others.  Know that your need to rid yourself of the unwanted crowing rooster puts a terrible strain on shelter and sanctuary workers.

It hurts us to say no.

 

“There are only so many times you can say no.”
― Bert McCoy

 

Gruff and BubbaThe other day one of our volunteers was being mobbed by an unruly group of large ruminants. A few bystanders were trying to help her get into her truck without incident.  We were all having a great deal of trouble.  Well — upon further investigation, we found she had made the grave mistake of keeping cookies in her pockets.  COOKIES: no wonder.  She hurriedly and perhaps somewhat desperately tossed the cookies over the hood of the truck to me, took off down the driveway, and I, literally left holding the bag, made a beeline for the front door, buffeted from side to side by goat bodies, just barely making it to safety while still keeping my shoes on.  Cookies are an excellent but powerful tool and must be used with extreme discretion.

Dinner is a completely different story.  I, not being all that interested in eating grain and oats, cannot with any honesty say if dinner is less interesting than Mrs. Pastures’ cookies.  One can, however, conduct a scientific experiment.  Shake a bag of cookies and the entire farm’s population (e.g. several thousand pounds of hooved creatures) will instantly appear at the back door.  On the other hand, organizing everyone at dinner time to go to their appointed eating spots is often like putting the wrong end of two magnets together.

Mostly the goats go where they are supposed to, primarily because they will follow anything that looks like it has food  in it.  Dee Dee Donkey will bray right in my face (primarily to protest that her meal is late, AS ALWAYS) and then head into her little paddock. Salvo the horse will often walk right into his stall.  He knows the deal.  But there are some rogue characters – and surprisingly they are sheep.  I just want to let it be known that the next person who tells me sheep are stupid will be assigned to do evening feedings here.

In order for you to understand what goes on with these sheep, we’ll need to talk about Thomas – as in Thomas you hear about in church.  Or not.  He wasn’t, I suppose, compared to the other apostles, a truly major character.   In fact, you never really hear much about good old Thomas (whose real name was Didymus, but I think you all would agree that Thomas is easier to pronounce).  Thomas seemed to be doing a walkabout when Jesus appeared after His resurrection and so Thomas missed all the action.  I can relate.  I always seem to be meandering about, either literally or mentally and if I’m meant to be somewhere, I’m nearly always late. So I kind of like this guy, Thomas.

Thomas wasn’t quite with the program and so wasn’t there when Jesus came back after his death.  Thomas thought that was really pretty unlikely stuff, and needed proof.  He was like, “dudes, seeing is believing.”  Poor Thomas.  People might  think he’s sub-par because he would not give his faith without question. I think he is, however, the most real of the apostles because it’s so easy to understand his confusion.

Alas, my sheep, those creatures so lauded in Christianity as being sweet and innocent, are, in reality,  untrusting, unbelieving, rude skeptics.  They need proof.  Every day – not just once in a while but EVERY DAY – we have the same conversation.
Farmer: “It’s dinner time.”
Sheep: “Yep.”
Farmer: “Well, you need to go in here so that I close the gate and serve you your food.”
Sheep: “Where’s the food.”
Farmer: “It’s inside.  I’m bringing it now.”
Sheep: “I don’t see any food. I’m not getting locked in someplace when there is no food.”
Farmer: “Trust me, there is food.”
Sheep: “Last time you told me that, the vet showed up.”
Farmer: “That was two months ago.”
Sheep: “Whatever.”
Awkward silence.
Sheep: “WELL? Why don’t you bring the food before you ask me to go get ready to eat?  If the food isn’t ready, then I’m not ready to eat.” (mumbles under breath something vaguely profane)
Farmer: “I can’t bring it till you are in the pen.”
Sheep: “I really don’t see what your problem is.  Show me the food.”

There is more, much along the same lines. It’s very tiresome.  But annoyance all goes away when I see the joy in their eyes upon spotting the magical bucket full of yummy, warm grain. Holy Moly, they make a beeline and by golly, they KNOW that There Is Dinner.

Take it from the sheep: eating is believing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2020 Star Gazing Calendars will be available as of November 25!  You can place an advance order today!

Each month features a gorgeous photo of our animals (by photographer Kathe Powell).  This is a 12-month calendar, 17″x 11″, and is in full color. with the last four months of 2019 in summary.  The calendar includes holidays, and the full, new, and crescent moons.

You can purchase the calendar at the farm or at one of our events, or order online.  All proceeds of sales of the calendar go directly to help care for our animals.

The cost is $15 per calendar (or $16.50 with shipping for 1-5 copies, $3.00 shipping for 5 or more copies).

You can pay via check or via credit card/paypal, below.
Address for checks:  Star Gazing Farm, PO Box 162, Boyds, MD 20841

Note: if you have a complicated order (e.g., you want calendars sent to other folks or you want to order multiples, please email Anne at info@stargazingfarm.org and she can send you an invoice for actual shipping costs).

Pick up at Farm: (no shipping cost) $15 each




Ship to you: $15 each plus $1.50 shipping




Sneak peek inside!

 

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Ruth

December 1, 2020

Dear Santa Claus,

My name is Ruth.  I was named after a very famous and intelligent lady.  Oh now, you know who I mean! I hope to do her name proud.  I am, in fact, a very intelligent rabbit.  However I fell on hard times just a little while ago.  I found myself out on the street with nowhere to go.  Most peculiar.  You don’t often see white rabbits taking walks, especially by themselves.  Well wouldn’t you know it, someone came along and said, “Ruth! What are you doing out here?  Let me get you to a good place.”  That was indeed very fortunate.

This is my very first letter ever to you, Santa, but the other bunnies told me all about how this goes and that I can ask you for anything at all, my heart’s desire!  Please send me a boyfriend.  OK, never mind that for now; boyfriends are too much trouble and I’m doing just fine on my own, thank you very much.

Let’s start simple: I love love love these treats.  They are called slims but let me tell you, they are not slimming.  False advertising, if you ask me.  But still – they are so delicious.  In fact, everyone in here in the bunny room loves them. You could send more than one packet. We eat them pretty fast.

Next, I don’t mean to complain, but come on folks – the litter boxes they have here have been chewed on.  By other rabbits.  Eww.  And they are all square – no imagination at all was put into designing those boxes.   I’d like this elegant corner box so I can do my business and then have more space in my condo.

Now, I’ll tell you what I really want (besides a boyfriend – maybe) but it’s a project.  I’d like to be able to run and play outside in the grass.  But they tell me it has to be very secure.  Maybe they even need to make a hole in the side of the house.  And then build something so the hawks can’t get me.  I’m going to think about the architectural plans and I’ll send them on under separate cover.  That would be most efficient, wouldn’t you agree?

Finally,  I have never been sponsored since I’m so new here.  It would be lovely to have a sponsor all to myself.

Santa, don’t forget to wear your mask – those elves can’t be trusted not to go to parties behind your back, don’t you know?   Thank you for reading my letter!

With deepest respect,

Ruth the Rabbit

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Ernie

December 2, 2020

Hey ho Santa,

Ernie here to get you up to speed on goings on here at the farm.  I’m doing great, and there is a new goat in town named Falkor. He can fly!  He’s so baaad and we love him (mostly).  Leo’s gotten a little fat (shhh) and Jenny is still with us at 15, but retired now to the old folks paddock.

Now let’s talk business! I need a new collar.  Mine is looking tired and old and it’s lost its shape and, well, um, it smells bad.   I’m kinda into the supporting the little guy thing this year, and I found a fine shop that sells these single-layer bamboo collars – bamboo is really comfortable for us goats.  We don’t like that fake polyester stuff.  Bamboo is also tasty to eat, but that is another story for another day.  I’ll let you choose the color, but I need a size Large.

Santa, I’m going to tell you something you can’t pass on to anyone. Ok?  So some of the guys on the farm, they think that they can just mess with anything they feel like.  No boundaries, you got me? So they jump on things and chew on whatever they might find.  Me, I’m pretty particular about eating a healthy diet. But so here’s the deal:  someone, or maybe a few someones (and I ain’t naming names) have made a project of the tractor seat.  So this is what happens:  a human hops on the tractor to drive it, maybe to bring us some hay, maybe to move manure around, maybe just for fun, and suddenly they shout something I can’t repeat here and their bum is all soaking wet.  Why?  Because SOMEONE chewed on the seat so that the foam padding is exposed.  It’s pretty bad.  Kinda like a nylon that has a run in it – once you start … not that I know anything about nylons.  So yeah, when it rains, the humans get loud about their wet bums.   So we need a new seat.  (To the humans:  you’re welcome.)  Oh, hey, if you plan to bring us one, make sure to let us know since we can only use one seat.

Look here, I ain’t gonna ask for no treats this time.  Not speaking for myself here, but some of us goats have kind of a weight problem.  But if you want to bring us something fresh like apples or lettuce or kale, that’d be cool.

Hey, you KNOW I just love sponsors.  They come and brush me and let me rub my head all over their nice clothes (sign of goatly luv).  I’m so friendly I could go for a car ride with them and I wouldn’t even chew on the seats.  So that about wraps it up.  Say hey ho to the reindeer for me.

Ciao,

Ernie

 

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Dear Santa,

My name is George.  I found my path to happiness through the officers at the Prince Georges County Animal Shelter who called Star Gazing Farm and said “hey, we have this fabulous pig here.  You need to come on over!”

As you can see, I have a funny face.  My tongue never really goes back into my mouth and my teeth stick out.  I’m a shy gentleman of a pig, and all these qualities combined made Farmer Anne declare, “George, you really need to come home with me!”

I was pretty badly mistreated before, so you have to be really still and gentle if you want to scratch my belly. I am learning to trust people though, little by little.  You know, I’m a pig so I love to eat!  Well, guess what – at this farm the pigs and dogs get their food cooked up fresh.  In a pot.  On the stove.  In the house.  What do you think about that!?  They use fresh ingredients, and so we always need those (George’s Favorite Stew recipe is below).  But we can also use canned goods – my absolute favorite is pumpkin.  I just love pumpkin – fresh pumpkin, frozen pumpkin, whole and sliced pumpkin, and canned pumpkin.  It’s easy to eat because it’s pureed and soft.  I did some research because I’m a little bit nerdy that way, and this one seems to be the best deal: https://tinyurl.com/pumpkin-for-george but this one also is not too bad price-wise:  https://tinyurl.com/pumpkin-for-george-2

There are two supplements that would be good for me and my friends Hazel and Waldo:  the first has Vitamin B and helps with nervousness (and I am still sometimes a bit nervous):  https://healthypigs.com/product/pig-b-calm/  The second is for our skin.  Just like people, our skin tends to get dry in the winter time and this powder can help!  https://tinyurl.com/skin-supplement-for-george

Now, Santa, there is just one more thing: we pigs don’t really care much if we drink water out of a fresh bowl or a mud puddle (sad, but true). But in wintertime it’s especially important for us to drink and so sometimes we just tip over the bigger buckets.  That makes a mess and if it’s cold it turns to ice, and then the humans say bad words and the sheep roll their eyes at us. If we had a few non-tip bowls just for us piggies I think everyone would get along better.  I think this one would work (96 oz sounds right to my calculations): https://tinyurl.com/dog-bowl-for-george

But this one would be also so handy when the weather is cold: https://tinyurl.com/heated-dog-bowl-for-george

Finally, there is the matter of a sponsorship.  This is a new concept to me. It means that someone can pay a bit of money to help with my food and care, and they get a primo glossy photo of me plus my biography PLUS a real certificate of sponsorship, PLUS they can come and see me some time.

I’m so glad I got the opportunity to write you – in my many years on earth, I never was even told there was a Santa.  How nice to know that there is and that you actually read our letters.  http://www.stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

My best regards,

George

GEORGE’S FAVORITE STEW

Wash and slice the following:

5-6 large sweet potatoes
zucchini or any kind of squash
1/4 pumpkin
3 beets

Cook these in boiling water for about 30-40 minutes.

Add in: peas and green beans (fresh, frozen, or last choice – canned)
A nice pasta: my favorite is Orzo, but the little macaroni pasta is ok, or barley (good for wintertime)

Cook for another 15 minutes and let cool before serving.

Makes approximately 15 servings.

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Mamie

My dear, dear Santa!

How how how are you?  Oh my goodness, I’ve been such a busy dog this year.  I’m what you call a “perpetual motion dog”.  I was slowed down but only for a little while when I had surgery.  They took a big nasty thing out of my liver.  I woke up and said, “OK now, let’s go!”  I was very disappointed that I had to have a ‘rest time’.  Who needs rest when there is life to live and chickens to be chased!

On a serious note, Santa, sometimes I think and worry about my little babies, all those babies they made me have in the cage, over and over.  I dont’ know where any of them live now.  I loved them and was such a good mama – then they took them away from me and made me go and have more babies all over again.  I don’t have babies anymore.  Now I try to lick everyone just like I did my pupppies and am surprised when they say, “Mamie, no licks!”  No is not in my vocabulary.  And licking is life!

Which brings me to my duty, as a loving dog, to ask for a few presents that will help my own mama not lose her mind. Here is the first one:  We need a new trash can.   Our kitchen is small, so we need a narrow one.  You see, I am sooo attracted to the trash.  (You could maybe compare this to people who have to hide the chocolates so that someone in the house doesn’t eat them all …. I am a very self aware dog.)  If I think there might be anything at all that is useful to a dog like me, I spill the whole thing and go through it very thoroughly.  This one would fit and I’m pretty sure it would be Mamie-proof.   https://tinyurl.com/trash-can-for-mamie

If I can brag just a bit, I’m really smart.  I’ve already applied to DoggieMensa.  I have figured out all but one of the baby gates that prevent me from going into rooms I’m not supposed to be in.  So my next gift is one I don’t want, but my mum said we have to have.  And I really want to please my mum.  She has one on her office door and by golly, I think it might be dog-proof.  So we kind of need two of them. https://tinyurl.com/baby-gate-for-mamie

Sigh.  It’s so hard trying to be good.  OK, since I’m doing true confessions of a Cattle Dog here, I need to tell you that I just hate it when anyone talks on the phone.  I start to yip and yell and scream and then I tip over the trash, and then I run into the rooms with the doggie gates I can open, and generally I make such a ruckus that they finally get off the phone.  Told you, I’m smart.  There is only ONE thing that will stop me – and that’s a truly fine bone. I love this kind:  it’s huge and takes me a really long time to work on it.  https://tinyurl.com/big-bone-for-mamie  Sometimes I haul my bones up into my mum’s bed.  She said she isn’t really impressed with that.  I’ll try really hard to not do that if you send me one!  I will try!

Santa, I would love a sponsor, too.  I’m really cute and once you get to know me, you just want to spend all your time with me.  I’ll be so nice to my sponsor.  I will!  http://www.stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

Got to run now, lots of things to do on this farm!

Bye bye,

Mamie

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Bubba

Kind sir,

Lt. Bubba Skinner at your service.  I don’t believe I’ve made your acquaintance before, but I’m mighty pleased to do so now.

Let me just say that on the whole this is quite a satisfactory place for me to have ended up.  I came from t’other side of the county, and I do not believe that my fate was going to be a happy one, to put it mildly.  I was a young fella and something on the wild side, if you know what I mean.  So when I heard folks talking about roasted lamb I jumped the fence and ran, and just kept on running.  It’s no small miracle that anyone ever caught me, but caught me they did and brought me to safety.

I’m no longer wild, but when it’s supper time I do make a good run for it – I still have the old spunk at least when it comes to chow!

Now, it’s not in my nature to go asking folks for favors.  You see, I’m a gentleman and don’t want to go putting anyone out for anything.  But I was told it would be impolite of me to not send you some gentle suggestions.  Naturally, I will make sure that this benefits the whole community.  My first suggestion is a new and nicer feed bowl than what we have now. Here are two places this nice bowl could be had: https://tinyurl.com/big-bowl-for-bubba and   https://tinyurl.com/bowl-for-bubba    Let me paint you a picture:  standing at the gate are half a dozen extraordinarily rude ruffians – goats, I should say.  We all go into the pen at the same time and eat out of a variety of bowls.  But there is quite a scramble and, well, I really would like to have a bowl I could put my name on.  This would also be much easier to clean than the ones we have now.

Something we all like – the sheep, the goats, the cows, even the horses – is the Himalayan pink salt lick.  It has such good minerals in it and it’s just delicious.  https://tinyurl.com/salt-for-bubba

Really, Santa, the only other thing I truly want and so do all the animals, is for the walkway up to and around the barn to be re-gravelled.  It gets muddy when it rains, and that’s not good for our hooves.  I know my boss is looking into it, but we sure would love it if someone knew of a place that might donate either stone dust or filtered millings.  We’re going to need about 8 dump truck loads and that’s a lot of stone!

I’m a modest sort, as I’ve already said, but I truly would be tickled to death if someone wanted to sponsor me.  http://www.stargazingfarm.org/sponsor I don’t rightly know if I’ve had a sponsor in a while.

Dear sir, it’s been charming conversing with you and I do trust you will extend my sincere greetings to your wife and elves.

Yours respectfully,

Lt. Bubba Skinner, III

16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

 

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Petey

Well hello Santa!

It’s me again, Peter Martin Davidson but all my friends call me Petey.  I wrote you last year and I was going to let Carmen write, but she is blind and she said it would look neater if I did it.  So even if I’m the one you’re talking with, I’m supposed to be the cow ambassador for this year.  Oh, she said it would be ok if someone wanted to sponsor her or Brandy instead of me.

As you might know, I’m a bit of a naughty boy.  (I’m only called Peter Martin when my mom is cross with me.)  I like to jump around, and rear and buck and sometimes take out fences.  It’s because I’m a teenager.  That’s what I hear people saying anyhow.  All I know is that I’m full of beans!  I’m a Brown Swiss cow and I was rescued when my mama refused to let me drink her milk and then they said I was going to go to “Freezer Camp”.  I don’t like being cold so I didn’t think that sounded like a good idea.

Santa, I am the crazy lovingest cow ever ever.  But sometimes the volunteers have to run to open and close the gates because I love to chase them.  Some of our gates have wheels on them and that makes them go whoooosh and open and close so easily.  But some of them don’t and I hear volunteers huffing and puffing as they try to work the gates and that huffing and puffing makes me think I ought to run after them and make a game out of it.   I never hurt them.  I stop about 6 inches short and snort in their faces.   Ha ha! I say, fooled you!  They are usually not amused.  Anyhow, this is a problem that is easily solved!  I did some comparison shopping and found this very fine price for a wheel gate:  https://tinyurl.com/gate-wheels-for-petey

Next is something that is a practical gift but nonetheless important.  We cows sometimes get intestinal worms.  Oh don’t worry, it’s not gross like you think of creepy crawlies.  They are very normal for cows and other grazing animals.  But we periodically need to get medicine for them so they don’t make us sick.  I like this stuff because it tastes like alfalfa and not like medicine!  https://tinyurl.com/dewormer-for-Petey

Last of all is a Big Ask.  We cows eat a lot.  I mean, we pretty much eat all day and sometimes all night.  We get those huge round bales that weigh between 600 and 800 pounds.  How do I know this, you ask?  Because I love to play with them and toss them around with my head and I can tell you exactly how much each bale weighs.  It’s a very useful talent.  Well, someone (really,truly, it wasn’t me) managed to bust the bars on our very old hay bale holder so right now we have a sort of temporary, not so great, tied-together-with-baling twine hay bale holder.  It looks dumb and it doesn’t work very well.  Brandy likes to knock it over.   The type that works super well for us can’t be delivered, but it can be bought locally!  Yes!  At the Frederick Sheepman’s supply!  It’s so cool because as we eat the hay, the panels can be pushed in so that we don’t waste the hay (and so the goats can’t get in there and poop all over everything.  They really poop a lot, let me tell you, Santa.  Anyhow, this is where it can be ordered:  https://tinyurl.com/hay-bale-feeder-for-petey  We could pick it up because we have a very cool pickup truck!  I love pickup trucks! I know it’s super expensive, but maybe if a few of the elves got together you could pool your funds and get us one?  It would mean a lot of savings for the farm because we wouldn’t waste our hay anymore.

And, now… you guessed it!  I need a sponsor (or three).  I have unlimited sandy-tongued kisses to give to each and every person who is into cow kisses.  Here is where you can sponsor me:  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

Oh Santa,  they said I’m not allowed to go to the mall so I wish you could come to the farm.  I really want to sit in your lap and have my picture taken with you.  Anyhow, kisses and hugs from your Petey boy.

Peter Martin Davidson, Carmen, and Brandy – cows at Star Gazing Farm
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

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Roger and Rudy

Santa santa, (Santa santa)!

It’s me, Roger.
(And me, Rudy!)

We are two little guinea pigs who found our way to this lovely farm.
(I like the dried carrots).
Shhh, Rudy, we have to introduce ourselves first.

Santa Claus, I’m new here. You see, I was just a wee little lad and some very bad (very bad) person put me out on the street.  I was near the library.  Thank goodness.  People who read are ever so much nicer than those who don’t. (Wait, Roger – you can read?) Shh. Rudy.  Some little children found me and brought me to their house.  The nice people advertised everywhere “Found Guinea Pig”.  But no one called.  I knew who they were, but I didn’t want to go back there so I didn’t tell the family anything. I put out the Guinea Pig Home Locating Radar and sure enough — Farmer Anne saw the post and said, “well hello Roger!  We can take you to our place.”

(Can I talk now?)
Yes, OK Rudy.

(I was rescued too, but I’m too old now to remember my story.  I forget a lot of things these days.  Roger helps me out because he’s a lot younger.  It’s important to keep young folks around you all the time!  Anyhow, then this bad thing called COVID happened and a boy came home to where I lived because he had to be safe, but he started sneezing and sniffling and getting sick.  So I had to find a new place – and here I am!)

Rudy, my story is more interesting than yours.
(Oh Roger, you always want to take the spotlight).

Anyhow, Santa, we are here today to ask you for some presents.  We really love these dried carrots. https://tinyurl.com/dried-carrots-for-roger-rudy
(I’m the one who introduced you to them, Roger).
Shh, Rudy.

Next is a very practical thing. It’s a well known fact (No it’s not, Roger!) -shhh Rudy – that guinea pigs aren’t very good at being litter trained.  So to keep our space extra extra clean, we get fresh pee pads every day.  They make us feel good.  We like to poop everywhere but we also like to be clean  https://tinyurl.com/pee-pads-for-roger-rudy
(That’s true, Roger, I’m a very clean guinea pig)
No you’re not, you’re a slob.
(Oh Roger, not in front of the children)

We had a nice carrier, but Ruth the rabbit chewed on it (it’s all her fault!) and so now we need a new one.  We really like the orange color because we are orange, too.  In case we need to travel incognito, it will provide excellent camouflage.  https://tinyurl.com/carrier-for-roger-rudy  (Roger, you’re the one who doesn’t want to be recognized.  I told you, just get sunglasses.)
Shhh, Rudy.

Well, aside from that, Santa, we love all kinds of treats.  You can decide what to send and surprise us!  There are tons of great treats at chewy.com for guinea pigs.
(I like treats more so you can send them directly to me.)

Now, Santa, we have never been sponsored before.  You can sponsor me (or me, sponsor me me me!) here:  http://www.stargazingfarm.org/sponsor.

I love writing letters.  I might write more to you during the year (Roger, don’t bother the man, he is so busy).  Thank you for reading this letter from the two of us and ho ho ho to you!

Love,

Roger and RUDY
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

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Brewster

Greetings Santa Claus!

Brewster the rooster here.  First time caller.  So glad to speak with you directly. We chickens sometimes get kind of short shrift on the attention scale.  Everyone likes the sheep, and the goats, and the cows, and the horses … but the chickens?  Who cares! It’s always “ooh look how soft and fluffy that one is,”, and “ooh, such big ears,” and “ooh, look, he’s smiling!”  Yeah, well, what about us!  We chickens aren’t fluffy (but we are soft if you’d just take the time to hang out with us).  We have super super small ears right against our heads, but there IS a very cute fluff on them.  And we not only smile, we SING all day long!  So I’m here to represent the chicken contingent and demand some attention!

Now that that’s out of the way … here’s my brief story: I was way out in the western part of the state all by myself.  I got lost.  There was no one around except squirrels and bears.  I didn’t like the bears, but the squirrels befriended me.  In fact, three of them (Larry, Curly, and Mo) have made their way here and hang out with me all day long (more about them in a bit).  Well, wouldn’t you know it! A couple found me and exclaimed, “why Brewster!  What are you doing out here all by yourself?”  I was so surprised that they knew my name, I stopped right there in my tracks and that is when they scooped me up and brought me to this farm.

Santa, most of the time we chickens can do pretty well with the cold as long as we’re out of the wind, but sometimes we need a bit of help when the temps go really low.  This heat lamp is really safe and will keep us cozy on the bad nights:  https://tinyurl.com/heat-lamp-for-brewster

This time of year the bugs are few and far between.  We really like bugs and they have great nutrition for us, and while you humans (and even your elves) might say, “ewwwww” we find them oh so tasty:  https://tinyurl.com/bugs-for-brewster

OK, now I’ve got a problem. A squirrel problem.  I mean, they’re my friends but Gallo and our four hens complain to me non-stop about them because they are eating our food.  Honestly, they have something unpleasant to say about it every day.  I’m caught between my two friend groups and it’s totally stressing me out.  But I put my brain to work and I figured out the problem:  if I can give the squirrels squirrel food then they won’t need to eat our chicken food.  This is what Larry told me they like the BEST!  https://tinyurl.com/peanuts-for-brewsters-squirrel

Finally Santa, I’ve never been sponsored.  I’m a super friendly rooster and I’ll be glad to make friends with anyone who wants to sponsor me!  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

Santa, it’s been so cool chatting with you, and thanks for your time!

Brewster the rooster
Star Gazing Farm
16760  Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

PS Did you know we have an amazon wishlist?  Yes indeedie, take a look here:  https://tinyurl.com/star-gazing-farm-wish-list2020

 

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Senna

Oh my dear Mr. Claus,

They say age is just a number.  Do you agree?  I am pretty sure you are even older than me (I’m 23 – that is super old for an alpaca!).  I’d like to know your secret, though, as to how you stay so nice and fat.  I eat and eat and eat just as much as my old lady jaws can chew, but I still stay the same weight.  Some humans think being slender is fashionable but I think fat is MUCH better!

I’m sorry I’ve held up the train here with letter writing.  I don’t move as fast as I used to, so it’s taken me a while to write this all down – I know there is a line of noisy animals behind me waiting their turn so I will try to be efficient with my missive.

Santa, since the “Basement Days” when my niece and my sister and I were locked in the bottom of a dark barn, life has cheered up so much, even despite the goats.  When you get to be my age, you just shake my head at a bunch of rowdy goats running around and destroying things.  Good for them, I think, that is youth!   Sometimes they bother me but mostly they respect my elder status.

I appreciate the sunshine, the good company of Marguerite and Jean-Claude and Angel (my favorite sheep).  I look forward to my meals and I love the compliments people pay me.  And no one has said, at least yet, “wow, you look good for your age.”   I’d appreciate it if you would hold off on that sort of ‘compliment’ until I’m 30, if I make it that far.

Now Santa, this does not mean I am not vain!  Marguerite and Jean-Claude and I get monthly shots of a medicine called dectomax to help protect us from the meningeal worm, a very bad thing that can hurt alpacas.  When we get our shots, sometimes Miss Anne trims my hair.  But I think she would do a much nicer job if she had these rounded scissors:  https://tinyurl.com/scissors-for-senna  I like the round look better than the square look, wouldn’t you agree?

One of the things that happens as we alpacas age is that our immune system is not as strong as before.  We are prone to these annoying microscopic mites that chew the hair on our legs.  The good news is that there is a treatment!  I could use some more of this to spray on my legs:  https://tinyurl.com/frontline-for-senna

To boost my immune system and help me with digesting my food better, there is this wonderful herb.  I already use the “Mama Llama” herb and it is very nice and smells lovely.  This herb would help my tummy, too:  http://alpacasallnaturale.com/soothe_my_tummy.htm

It’s important for us, as we get older, to take better care of ourselves, wouldn’t you agreem Mr. Santa Claus?  Now I don’t mean to be bossy, but might I suggest that you lay off the cookies for a while?  Why don’t you bring a nice tupperware with you on your rides, box up the cookies, and take them home to your elves.  They always have looked a bit pekid to me.  I’m sure Mrs. Claus would appreciate one or two as well (you’re welcome, ma’am).

Please send a sponsorship my way this year, Santa.  I can’t remember the last time I had one.  Then again, I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last night.  Anyhow, a sponsor would be so extremely lovely.  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

In closing this letter, I wish to express my appreciation for all the years you have been bringing presents to animals.  I know the children love you, but we love you in a different way – you actually notice us and understand that animals also need some “ho ho ho” in their lives.

Your loving,

Senna the Alpaca
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

 

 

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Salvo

Howdy Santa,

Your faithful horse Salvo here with Bruno butting in, as usual (Howdy Santa, Bruno at your servicio, señor!). Been kind of a tough year for me.  I know I’m an older horse and all, but I was completely sound and then one day I wasn’t – I was sort of tipping to one side.  They treated me with the nastiest tasting medicine but it didn’t help (that goes to prove my point that you should never go to the doctor unless you want to get sick).  Now I just walk a little sideways but otherwise I’m doing well and I get excellent chow twice a day.
(It’s SO unfair.  He gets big bowls of sweet grain and alfalfa and I get a handful.)
Bruno – that’s because you’re fat.
(Am not, all quarterhorses are “robust”)
I’m not going to argue about this again.

Santa, it’s coming on winter and the snow season.  I have a very thick fur coat because I have Cushings disease.  I’m on medicine for that but it doesn’t taste like anything. They hide it in my feed and they think I don’t know, but I can’t taste it. Even with my thick coat and Bruno’s extra layers of adipose (adi-what?) – Bruno, you failed Biology so why don’t you let me do the talking – we do need coats when it snows and sleets and is very windy and cold.  We have one weatherbeeta that fits both of us, but the other coat we have is kind of tight so it rubs on our shoulders.  We like the weatherbeeta blankets because they have pleats in the shoulder and they are waterproof.  We both take a size 72 and I kind of like the black one here: https://tinyurl.com/blanket-for-salvo  I think I’d look very dapper and would be admitted to all the best horse clubs  (I’m the one who always talked about the horse clubs where they serve us martinis.  Why are you so bossy, Salvo?) Bruno, you are too wild to attend any of those civilized events. (HUMPH, speak for yourself, cowboy.)

Right now we have to share one horse halter.  Oh, there are others but they are old and cracked and uncomfortable nylon.  We love the ones lined with fleece because they are so comfy and when we are being groomed or having our hooves trimmed, we pretend it’s a spa day.  I like the black or the turquoise colors.  No hot pink for this boy, please!  https://tinyurl.com/comfy-halter-for-salvo

Now, let me tell you a little something about the nature of lead ropes, Santa.  You maybe are familiar with the problem of socks and ball point pens and scissors?  They just have a way of walking off on their own.  Lead ropes, especially the good ones, are just like that too.  We have them and then one day, all we have is lousy old cotton one that is unraveling.  So we could definitely use another lead rope or 3.  You can choose the color – anything goes!  https://tinyurl.com/lead-ropes-for-salvo  (Hey Santa, Salvo likes lavender) Bruno, stop!  (Don’t let him fool you, he is a pastel guy all the way).  OMG, Bruno.

Finally, of course, we will ask for a sponsor maybe for each of us so we don’t have to fight with each other about it?  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

We love being brushed and having our manes combed, so maybe a sponsor would like to do that some time.  (I like my hair braided, personally). Yeah.  Well.  Anyhow, Mr. Santa Claus, it’s been right fine to be able to communicate with you about all this today.  Sometimes a horse has just got to say what’s on his mind.  Oh and Santa, make sure you get some of those fleece lined halters for your reindeer!  (Oh I agree with that one!)

Greetings to you Santa, and to your Missus,

Salvo the horse
(and Bruno the more handsome horse)
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

 

Bruno

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Freckles

Mr. Santie Claus,

My name is Freckles and I’m a bunny rabbit.  I’ve had a few homes here and there, but this is my final destination: last stop, everyone get out of the train! I have a very handsome boyfriend named Luc and together we live in a 3 story condo.  Whenever we are let out to play, we destroy the bunny room.  It’s such fun!  The reason I’ve had many homes, you ask?  Well … my theory is that most people aren’t equipped to deal with a self-assertive female.  That would be me.  If I don’t like something, I make it known, usually through a good solid bite. CHOMP.  Here I’m free to be the larger than life woman I always wanted to be, and my mate Luc accepts me as I am, inasmuch as  I am not, of course, a very good housekeeper.  Then again, he is French and you know they are awfully good at la romance.

Well now, Santie, I think I speak on behalf of all rabbits here that we are interested in having an outdoor play area.  We love digging around in the dirt and eating grass. But right now there isn’t a safe spot for us.  Mr. Dave can build lots of things, and I think he would put a hole in the wall for us to an outdoor pen:  I found this really neat bunny tunnel system (with a closing door and everything).  It’s called: Zippi Tunnel.  I think we only need the simple “Zippi Tunnel Single with Hutch to Run Connection Kit”: https://tinyurl.com/tunnel-system-for-freckles  I have been saving up my treats to pay Mr. Dave (I hope he likes the little alfalfa donuts) to construct a run for us – but this tunnel is the KEY!

Now then, I will confess that in Luc’s and my rampages around the bunny room we sort of had a fight with the broom.  The broom doesn’t look so hot anymore – but that’s what is going to happen when you tangle with an assertive female rabbit like me!  Humph.  Miss Julie and also the kids on the weekends do such a nice job of cleaning our space, but that broom has, honestly, seen better days.  I found this fantastic one that even matches the color of our walls!  https://tinyurl.com/broom-for-freckles

Now, if none of these gifts sound too exciting to you, how about one for organizing!  We have three different species in our bunny room: chinchillas, guinea pigs, and then of course, moi and all my rabbit friends.  Poor Farmer Anne, she has just made do with a bunch of higgledy-piggledy food storage containers and they are always migrating all over the place.  This one is so compact, and she could divide the top one into two so that there is a space for guinea pig food, a space for chinchilla food, and a space for rabbit food! Pretty neat, eh?  https://tinyurl.com/food-storage-for-freckles  And there is space on top for our treat containers!  And who said rabbits aren’t practical!

Santie, I want you to make sure that my Luc gets extra treats this year.  He has been so good to me and is such a loving rabbit.  I don’t honestly know how he puts up with me, but I surely do love him.  Maybe you can send a sponsor his way and mine:  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

I am awfully glad that I had this little time to chat with you.  I would love to snuggle on your lap one of these days (no biting, I promise!).

Love,

Freckles xxx000
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

Freckles

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Evelyn

Gracious Santa Claus,

What an honor to have an audience with you.  I’m so pleased that you are here again this year for our humble farm  Many people in the world have suffered this year, and it has been very sad. I’m what you might call an intuitive cat and I feel the pain of others.  Fortunately no one at my farm has gotten sick with the Big Virus, although goodness knows it seems that Farmer Anne is ferrying someone or other to the vet all the time (I know because I hear her grumbling to herself about “so this is what it’s like to be a soccer mom.” )  I myself have been diagnosed with a heart murmur – rather a significant one.  I am not worried yet; I have no symptoms but I have realized that I must do a lot of self care and to thoroughly enjoy each day.

Santa, for reasons I cannot explain, all the dogs love me except for Mamie. And I quite dislike her too.  She is noisy and raucous and impolite.  She never raises her paw to speak and sometimes – this is truly unbelievable to a lady cat like me – she actually lifts her leg and pees on the legs of the other dogs.  I know she came from the puppy mill and so wasn’t taught better, but I think it is intolerable behaviour.  Thus I elect not to come into the house very often.  I have so many hiding places up in the barn with all that warm hay, and I often cuddle up with the dogs whom I love – Milo and Nicole.  I have a delightful condo on the back porch where I have a constant supply of food and water and shelter.  But I’m thinking, for those cold nights, I’d love to have this self-warming kitty cat bed.   https://tinyurl.com/warming-bed-for-evelyn   I think it looks rather posh, don’t you?

Now Santa, I have been doing my research and it appears that cats with a heart murmur do well to have a high protein diet.  I have found in the past that I love the “instinct” cat food with the raw bits.  What if you were to send me JUST the raw bits that can be sprinkled on top of my food?   Tasty! https://tinyurl.com/mixers-for-evelyn

Clearly it is not the weather right now to be worried about shade from the sun – and I never worry about this.  I am a sun worshipper and you can find photographs of me posing on top of all sorts of trucks and cars and large hay bales, and on top of the roof.  Well, in the summer time I love to use the sunsails as a hammock.   My other friends like to be beneath them and I like to be on top snoozing or just surveying my property.  I think that the turquoise goes best with my coloring and eyes, wouldn’t  you agree?   https://tinyurl.com/sunsail-for-evelyn

Santa, I can be an elusive cat sometimes.  I’m a bit reclusive but if you find me in just the right humour, I love to be petted and have poetry read to me.  Would you please send me a book-loving sponsor?  Please tell them I’m most fond of the early 19th century poets.

For now Santa, I bid you adieu and Godspeed on your journeys,

Evelyn the cat
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

Evelyn

 

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Jean Claude

Mon cher monsieur Claus,

How completely merveilleux to finally be able to write to you.  The line has been long and quite impolite.  Happily I am so tall that I could see when my number was about to be called so I could do a last minute coif.  Ah, they all claim that I am vain and spend much too much time doing ma toilette (this means something quite different in French than you Americans would think) – but I am simply a very meticulous gentleman and wish to present myself to the world in my best and most handsome manner.

Eh bien, monsieur, life is so good for me here, but I do sometimes long for a female companion.  My dear Louisa departed us last year and I had a brief but ill-fated romance with a local llama girl, all of which left me feeling quite alone and sorry for myself.  La Marguerite, the young alpaca, will gladly keep my company when it is convenient to her, but there is no, how do you say – chemistry between us.  However, we do eat together and that brings me to my first request of you: we camelids require a different kind of mineral than do the sheep or goats.  We have been doing a few zoom meetings with our fellow alpacas and llamas and they have said this particular mineral is tasty and will help our health:  https://goldenblendfeeds.com/masterplan-llama-minerals/  Hélas, they do not have an online ordering système, and so you must use the téléphone to request the package.  I believe the smaller one of 20 pounds will keep us quite well.

Monsieur,  I have thoroughly read all of the letters from my compatriots and have been completely baffled by the lack of requests for cookies.  I will say that my favorite treat is a baby carrot; however, these do not do well in the US postal service.  I also most dearly love Mrs. Pastures Cookies.  May I please find some in my stocking this year?  https://tinyurl.com/cookies-for-jc  You may know by now that I am quite savvy with le computer.  I have found a less expensive way to purchase these cookies, but they are, lamentably, out of stock.  I put the reference here for your convenience should they magically reappear on the shelves:  https://tinyurl.com/cheaper-cookies-for-jc

Monsieur Claus,  I have been told that my eyebrows need some attention so I must excuse myself to attend to the miroir.  But please know that I am delighted and content to have had this time with you, and I trust that you shall find me a suitable sponsor who can completely appreciate my elegance and continental charm.  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

A bientôt et grosse bises,

Jean-Claude
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

 

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falkor
Hail earthlings of the North Pole,

I am Falkor the Flying Goat.  I’m a newcomer to this farm, and I’m going to tell you this quite straight:  the goats here have become fat, lazy, complacent.  I have been shocked at the lack of destruction, the gates that still work, the shrubbery that has not been eaten, and most of all, the cars that have not been explored.  I’ve been working non stop on getting their motivation back up.  I’ll grant you, I’m still under a year old so I have all that young energy, but I think I’ve got at least Yuki and Vinnie with the program. Tony had made a very lame attempt at eating the pine tree planted in front of the house, but I dove right in there and stripped the bark off.  It was delicious.  Yuki has made a habit of trying to remove people’s license plates with her horns, but I say, just jump right onto the driver’s seat!  Explore!  Chew! People (except the portapotty cleaning guy who growled at me – and his truck was fun – it was so high I literally had to fly) seem to think it’s funny.  I just can’t  help myself – I love being in vehicles. Probably because the lady who saved me from being “culled” used to drive me around with her. We had such fun!

Well, Santa, you may have noticed that my twinkletoes are dainty and well kept.  But Oh My Goodness, you should see the boots of all the humans around here.  These bipeds just step in everything.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Mud, poop, old straw, snow (with who knows WHAT is under it).  They really are clods.  And THEN they go into the house.  I always wipe my hooves before going into the house, but even so it doesn’t matter because I usually fly around the room playing hide and seek with the clodhopper humans.  But I digress.  Santa, these humans need help and now. Their boot scraper is falling apart.  They need a really heavy duty one like this:  https://tinyurl.com/boot-scrapers-for-falkor  And speaking of feet, you should see how they slip and slide around on the snow.  It’s pathetic. They could use another pair or two of these to help give them grip in the bad weather (Size LARGE):  https://tinyurl.com/yak-tracks-for-falkor

Why am I asking for presents for humans?  It’s not out of altruism, believe me (how’s about that for an SAT word?)!  I need them fleet footed so they can run and play with me!  But OK, here is something that I would really like for myself: my very own collar.  But not just ANY collar.  I am named after a dragon (that’s why I know how to fly) so I’d like a size medium, Fire Breathing Dragon collar:  https://tinyurl.com/dragon-collar-for-falkor  I would be a total babe-magnet in that collar! The only downside is that then, when I go into the house and fly around, it will be easier for humans to catch me.  Sigh, the price of beauty.

Santa, please send me a sponsor, preferably one who doesn’t have big clunky feet and will run around with me.  But if they have big feet, at least make sure they have a cool car I can get in.  Thank you!  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

Yours always,

Falkor
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

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Herman and Pippa

Greetings and Salutations Mister Santa Claus!

We are Herman and Pippa, the sheep, the very American sheep.  (Yes, we are so American, we know all the slango very good).  We came from a farm where we were, how do you say, farmed for our wool.  It was not bad life. Eat grass, grow wool, get shaved.  No one ever suspected our true identities.  Was good.  Then bad day come – we learn we will go to butcher.  Butcher for us in old country is very bad word for sheep.  We think, this not fair!   We have waited for assignment for 14 years and still all we do is eat grass, grow wool, get shaved.  Not bad, but we had the top notch training – it is absurd.  We go to butcher when we are so smart?  No no.

Mister Santa Claus, we had very tough decision to make.  (I said never mind, Herman, assignment might be worse than butcher, maybe we give up.  But he said we must plan escape.).  We had to make, how do you call it, goo goo eyes at woman shearer who come to our farm.  She said, “oh no, Herman and Pippa, not the butcher!  You must come live with me.”  It worked.  We are very clever sheep, not?  (Herman, you made goo goo eyes, I just watched with disgust. Men are all the same! Pfui!)

I was very thin before.

We were very very thin.  It was simple matter to get sympathy.  Ha!  Easy job.  And not bad landing place.  Here we ate and ate and grew robust and bold and then one day … we said to farmer lady at the dinner time out of habit, “we are starving, starving, please help us Mister” and she looked at us with twinkle in eye and said this – I must quote directly because of big shock to me:  “Herman and Pippa, first of all, I am NOT a “mister” and second of all, you are not starving.  You are fat.  Moreover, I was trained as a linguist.  You no more speak American “slang” English than I have two noses.  I know your story – did you not realize I was your handler all along?”

This gave us big startle. We thought we were important sheeper cell.  And now what?  Big anticlimax.  We feel depressed and we are fat and sit around smoking cigars all day.  Finally the other day I dared to ask: “What about important mission?  Our training? Our deep intelligence?”  She said, “Herman and Pippa, your mission has now started, and it is not what you expected.  Here you must be yourselves.  You no longer need to hide who you are. You will not be leaping off of buildings.  You will not need encrypted technology or digital implants in your hooves.   Your mission is to change the hearts of humans.  That is far more difficult than leaping off a building or making a secret call from the back of the coat closet.”

We were silent for a moment and then did the old country dance and ate and drank more.  And that is our story, but Mister Santa Claus, I must now engage in American tradition to ask you for stuff for Christmas.  Here it goes:

First, we are older sheep and sometimes need a boost.  The vitamin B helps us when we are feeling a bit low energy.  Also good for tummy:  https://tinyurl.com/vit-b-for-herman-pippa

If you visit farm, you will see buckets are in bad shape.  We have white and black, and they are ok but colored buckets, pretty bright colors – used so much they are not nice.  We like the more bright buckets for our food, please: https://tinyurl.com/color-buckets-for-herman-pippa

And we like sponsors.  We need them!  We are so friendly, and of course it is our MISSION to teach people to love the sheep, to have long, deep conversations about meaning of life.  We are special sheep.  Please send sponsors  (we teach them our american slango!). Yes, ok Pippa.    http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

So much love and big hugs to you Mister Santa Claus,

Herman and Pippa
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

 

 

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Milo

Yes?  Did you call my name?  What for?  You said your name is Santa?  Hold on …. you’re not a regular at the farm, I think I’m going to have to bark at you. You want to what?  Give me something?  No man, I don’t need anything, now hurry on past. Seriously?  You’re going to hang around until I talk with you?  Now, see, this is why my job is so hard.  Constant interruptions.  Look at my face – is this not a serious face?  You bet it is.  I’m a serious dog with a serious  job and you want to talk with me about cookies and stockings?  Oh, you don’t?  All right then, look if we can negotiate something about this whole reindeer arriving in the middle of the night business and stop the UPS trucks – they are freakin non stop and I can hardly keep up – I might have to hire a deputy dog (don’t even talk with me about Nicole, she takes naps all day long).

So here’s the deal Santa.  Our vet came out a few weeks ago and did a full exam on everyone.  Jeez, was the mood bad at the farm that day.  Not that he’s not a nice guy, but all the poking and prodding – it’s embarrassing. Anyhow, he said even though I’m young and athletic (yesssss!) I should be taking the Dasuquin supplement every day for my joints.  So now we’re all on it: me, Nicole, Sam, and Jethro.  Mamie gets a pass.  She’s so spoiled, it’s a good thing she’s cute.  And Jethro has gotten SO FAT that now he needs the big dog stuff too.  We each need one pill a night so we go through it pretty fast.  https://tinyurl.com/dasuquin-for-milo

Here is something else that is business-related.  Some of my favorite people were here on the weekend doing all that hard work. I try to stay away – no way am I shoveling what those cows put out hour after hour.  Anyhow, I’m too busy chasing the UPS trucks.  But I heard my people saying “why can we never find a good pitchfork?  The pitchforks around here seem to just disappear.”  So I want to buy them one for Christmas.  Can you please put a note on it “love from Milo, your secret admirerer?”  https://tinyurl.com/pitchfork-for-milo

Look, I can’t promise a sponsor anything except a fleeting glance of my streaking through the field – unless they’re willing to come after dark and then I take appointments for belly rubs.  But sponsors are good – they give good energy and I’ve recently been getting into that whole Reiki thing so I need lots of energy.  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

Are we good?  Ok, you can see yourself out Santa.

Signed,

Milo
Anatolian Shepherd In Charge
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

Milo

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Carmen

My dear sweet Santa Claus,

I have been waiting and waiting in the line to write you.  It seems that the North Pole Mail System (NPMS) is very slow this year though, so there are many delays.  I am Carmen, and I am a blind cow.  In a previous letter to you Petey the Brown Swiss steer made up a story about how he needed to write on my behalf.  Petey is a great fan of fiction, I’m afraid.  I did not and do not need his help and he most certainly did not speak for me!  I have found my own resource to help me write this to you and so here I am!

Dear Santa, I know that many animals have been asking you for very specific things.  But you see, I am an inveterate shopper.  Yes, I need to smell and feel and taste the things that I might buy.  I go through the entire store, and then I might make a short list, but then I have to smell and feel and taste those and compare them all, and then reconsider several times.  These shopping decisions take a great deal of discernment.  Sigh, Brandy told me that she will never shop with me again.  But one must be awfully sure of one’s purchase, don’t you think, Santa?  For this reason I’d very much like to ask you for a gift card from one of my favorite stores: Jeffers.  https://tinyurl.com/gift-card-for-carmen  You can choose any amount and really – I do need the time to browse their store so that I can get exactly what I like and need!  Isn’t Mrs. Claus the same?  I wonder what the shops are like on the North Pole…

Now my sweet Santa Claus, you may know that we have an army of beautiful people who come every day to pick up after us animals. We are every so lucky!  But sometimes I hear some little dramas going on.  Just quietly, sometimes if a volunteer takes the best wheelbarrow (the one with two wheels), then the other volunteers start to complain and try at the first opportunity to steal that wheelbarrow.  It’s rather stressful.  I am a Libra and I prefer peace and balance.  Perhaps you can send us another 2-wheeled wheelbarrow so there is no more strife here?  https://tinyurl.com/wheelbarrow-for-carmen  I do so want every one to get along.

I believe that a sponsor would do me very well.  Perhaps they could come and bring me my morning tea, and then give me a nice brushing and so on.  Mehitabel has a lady who comes all the time to brush her and offer her treats.  I feel awfully jealous of her, I must confess.  Then again, I’m rather glad I’m not a donkey, if you do know what I mean!  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

I’m so pleased that my turn finally came up to write to you, and you must utterly disregard anything that Petey has said to you.  He is a headstrong youth with no common sense whatsoever.  I do rather like him, though ….

With all my kindest regards,

Carmen the Hereford cow
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

Carmen and Petey

 

 

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JethroHello there Santa,

My name is Jefro (it’s really Jethro but I just had my teef done yesterday. They even pulled two of them!).  I’m an old dog.  Why, I’m so old I don’t even know my age.  Does that happen to you sometimes?  I mean, you’re old too and I’ll bet you even forget your birfday from time to time. Oh wow, when I was adopted at this farm I was kind of a mess.  I had been living on the lam in Kentucky and had lost most of my hair and most of my weight and I was a sad sight for sorry eyes.  But I’ve made up for lost time.  Now I have to go on a diet.  The very fought.

Jethro - before

Jethro – before

You can see a picture of me how I looked originally.  It’s a little embarrassing, but I’m proud at my quick recovery!

Today my mouf hurts a little so I’m sipping chicken brof.  It’s delicious. My mama cooks for me every day and it’s so wonderful and tasty to eat her home-cooked stews.  But sometimes I think just a bit of brof poured over my kibble would be good too.  Especially since my kindly vet said I need to lose some weight.  I argued wif him but it did no good.  Never argue wif your vet, folks.  This brof is good because it has no salt:   https://tinyurl.com/broth-for-Jethro

I also need to brush my teef a few times a week.  I guess I’ll need a toofbrush, then!  https://tinyurl.com/toothbrush-for-jethro

Santa, you and I know I really like to sleep on the sofa.  But when Sam gets up there, there is no room left.  I’d like to ask you for my own sofa but mama said positively no more furniture in this house.  Period.  (she actually said, “period”).   So I think this bed would be so good for my old bones: https://tinyurl.com/bed-for-jethro

I’m a good dog, Santa, and I’m sorry I bark at the llama and the pigs all the time.  They just look like they need to be barked at.  Especially the llama.  He is so self-satisfied.  He needs to eat some humble pie, Santa.  Let him wander the Kentucky woods for a few years and see how that does him.  Never mind, I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone.

Well now my teef feel better just talking with you here, Santa.  Last thing on my list is a sponsor!  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

Santa, does anyone ever sponsor your reindeer?  I was just wondering.  Fank you for being there for us dogs (and llamas…).

Respectfully yours,

Jefro (Jethro) the Catahoula Leopard Dog

P.S.  Did you know I’m on the FRONT of the 2021 calendar?  You can order it here!  http://www.stargazingfarm.org/2021-star-gazing-farm-wall-calendar/

My address is:
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

Jethro

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fatty

Santa, Santa, Santa, hummmm, humm de humm humm humm (that’s supposed to be “we wish you a merry Christmas”)!

As you know, dear Santa, I am a singing cat.  I just love to sing all day long.  If you pick me up I will turn up the volume.  If you give me food, I can do my special trick:  I can sing and eat at the same time.  I’m a cat ventriloquist.  I was a barn cat before, “Mice B Gone” was the name of my company, but I sold the firm before I moved here so that I could enjoy my retirement. I still like looking at rodents but, yawn, I am more interested now in the creative life.  Some might say I came here under false pretenses, but this is the problem:  people just don’t listen.  They jabber on and on in that intolerable human speak and think that they know better than us beasts.  I told them quite clearly when I arrived that I wished to be able to go indoors and outdoors, to sleep on soft chairs and softer laps, to enjoy the sun, and to watch the world go by – including rodents.  Santa, I know that you listen to the animals.  Could you please do something so that the humans learn to listen better to us, too?

I do love the sun, but this time of year it’s a bit chilly out there.  What about a window seat for a melodious cat, Santa?  We get lovely western sun in the afternoon and I would make quite an excellent window ornament sitting there in  my hammock:  https://tinyurl.com/window-seat-for-fatty

Now, Santa, I need to talk about a bit of a sensitive subject.  You probably know that as we age, we don’t always pay attention to the details of our grooming as much as we ought.  I find that I want to spend all my time composing music and the thought of doing those endless hours of licking my fur just makes me want to yawn with exhaustion.  But there is a downside to the artistic life:  I am a long-haired cat and I get these tangles in my fur.  The good news is that my audience is willing to do this for me, as I sing.  How marvelous.  Here is an excellent comb – it looks scary but it is perfect for a hirsute fellow like myself:  https://tinyurl.com/comb-for-fatty

Now, I’m a bit of a big boy, but I do love my treats – a few treats a day can’t hurt, right?  And I’ll be sure to share with the other felines.  Except Evelyn.  She hates me and hisses at me (she’s just jealous because I’m so handsome) – so she will have to ask for her own cotton pickin’ treats.  These look SO yummy and the price is right:  https://tinyurl.com/treats-for-fatty

I will close this letter with a familiar request – I know that there is much competition amongst the animals right now for sponsors, but may I just say that I am a truly superior cat to sponsor.  I do not run and hide when people come; in fact, you can always find me on the street corner singing my songs to the passersby and I welcome the attention!  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

Thank you so very much and now sing along with me!

We wish you a merry Christmas

Your friend,

Fatty the Cat
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

 

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May May

Santa Santa,

My name is May May.  I’m a good goose.  Santa, I’ve reformed this year. I was always going around the farm with the Bad Geese, bothering people when they drove up and making them afraid to get out of their cars.  I don’t know why I did it. I guess I just wanted the guy geese to like me.  But I know what it’s like to be frightened.  When I was young, I was swimming on a pond and a snapping turtle bit off half my left foot.  I was very lucky to be saved by a lady who nursed me back to health.

This year I made two new friends and they are much nicer friends:  Mother Goose and Wall-E.  They are kind and courteous to me and when the Bad Geese come into the feeding area, we go around the back together.  We have our own pool and hidey spots.  They don’t stay long because they have this ceaseless need to be out on the farm bothering someone.  I’ve even seen them try to bite Milo the dog.  No one messes with Milo.  They are a disgrace to the goose race.

Santa Santa, it is after Christmas already, but I heard that  Santa Santa Jr. was helping you out with post-season deliveries, so I’m hoping I can still ask for a few things.  What I want to ask for are important things for a goose.  Of course, you know I’m in love with the water.  But in winter things can get frozen.  I don’t mind swimming in freezing water, but if the water hydrant freezes up then things get really dicey.  We like to be able to remove our hoses when we’re done with them so they don’t facilitate the freezing of the hydrant (I’ll bet you didn’t know that geese had such a good vocabulary).  These work well:  https://tinyurl.com/hose-quick-release-for-maymay  I’m asking for the set of four because we have more than one hydrant and sometimes these things have a way of walking off on their own.  Another hose thing!   These splitters are good.  https://tinyurl.com/hose-splitter-for-maymay  We can use it to hook up a short hose and a long hose and that way more than one person can be using the hydrant at one time and it’s just very versatile.  There’s nothing worse than waiting your turn to use the hose.

I know I may sound like a broken record, but we are back to those hose subject again.  I have done some extensive research in my free time, and discovered that some of our hoses are not drinking-water safe.  Now, Santa Santa, I’m sure that they were not thinking of geese but of the ever-so-more-important humans when they did the studies, but — still and all, we animals drink from water put through those hoses.  So we need them to be drinking water safe!  Here is a short one:  https://tinyurl.com/short-hose-for-maymay and here is a longer one:  https://tinyurl.com/longer-hose-for-maymay

That is all, Santa Santa.  Just take care of our water and I am a happy girl!  Oh – a sponsor would be nice, though.  I love sponsors!  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

Santa Santa, if there are geese up at the north pole, please make sure they have plenty of corn to eat and fresh water to drink.  Thank you thank you,

Your goose girl, May May
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

 

May May

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Tony

Hiya Mr. Claus,

Howya been doin this year? Yeah, I know you’re real busy and those masks must get hot over your big beard.  I have a beard, but if anyone puts a mask on me I just eat it, ya know?

Hey Santa, I have such good buddies here, I wanna get them some presents.  Can you help me with that?  You can see I’m a lovin kind of a guy and I don’t need nothin for myself.  So here goes:

My buds Leo and Ernie are Boer goats.  Boy oh boy, those Boer goats have problems with their feet all the darn time.  The farmer lady is out there at least once a week trimmin and fussin and puttin on medicine.  It really helps them, but dontcha know, they’ve used up almost all of their medicine, so they could use more.  What’s that?  Nah, this ain’t contraband, perfectly legal, sold over the counter.  I know, I know, I have a sketchy past but scout’s honor, this is cool.  You can ask anyone here.  https://tinyurl.com/foot-meds-for-tony

Now, you might not know this Mr. Claus, cause I’m not sure if reindeer need this, but for sure goats need copper for their health.  Sheep don’t, ya see, just us goats. So there is this thing called a bolus.  It’s like a big old capsule that the farmer lady has to shove down our throats while we try to step on her feet and head butt her.  It’s good cause once it’s done we get treats.  Anyhow, we kinda need these boluses for all us goats – 4grams, just the 12 count cause we only need it 1-2 times a year:  https://tinyurl.com/copasure-for-tony

Ok then, Mr. Claus, I got stuff to do today, but don’t forget to send us goats sponsors.  We are so great to sponsor, dontcha know!  We follow people around and eat their stuff and get into their cars and then they take videos and show it to all their friends. And a good time is had by all!  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

See ya later Mr. Claus,

Tony Tones the Goat
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

 

Tony

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Jenny

Hello Santa Claus,

It’s Jenny here.  You know me, don’t you?  I’ve been around a long time now. I’ll have my 16th birthday next year if by God I make it till then.  You never know when you’re old, now do you Santa?  Santa, do you just look old or are you sort of ageless?  I’ve always wondered.

Well now, I’ve been enjoying my retirement at this farm for many a year now.  I love seeing the youngsters come in and teaching them a thing or two.  Right now I have my own quarters with Rhoda, a retired sheep (not quite as old as I am) and Herbie, who is still just a baby but he is so cute.  He has leg problems and he is waiting for his wheels so he can get around ok on the farm.  I have nice, soft bedding and I wear two coats when it’s really cold because us old ladies don’t carry a lot of fat on us.

Santa, I have arthritis and so I get medicine every night for it.  They hide it in a fig newton.   I pretend not to notice, because I don’t want to hurt their pride (they think they’re so clever!) and also because I really like those fig newtons.  Maybe you could bring me a few fig newtons just for treats (without the pills)?  I like regular fig newtons.  I don’t like strawberry or blueberry, and I don’t like the low fat (heavens to Betsy, no!) and I also don’t care for the wheat, or those cheap knockoff no-name brands.  Santa, I’m a girl of tradition and I like those plain, regular fig newtons that kids have been eating since even before Farmer Anne was born (and that is a LONG time ago hee hee).

Now in winter time, we have a special heat lamp that keeps us cozy.  Sometimes SOMEONE knocks it with their hand and then the bulb might go out, or sometimes it has just had it with being a heat lamp and it needs to be replaced.  So I think we should have an extra one on hand just in case it’s snowing and cold and the roads aren’t passable and all of a sudden there is no heat lamp and we’re all freezing and OH NO! Sorry, I get a bit anxious sometimes. We use the 250 watt red heat lamp bulbs.    https://tinyurl.com/red-heat-lamp-bulbs-for-jenny

Now, some of our heat lamps are set up a bit high.   I hear Farmer Anne say bad words when she cannot reach them (“just one more inch dagnabit”, she says – or something like that).  We used to have step stools but they have disappeared, along with all our ball point pens and scissors and lead ropes.  This is a very reasonably priced one and would hold up well in our barns:  https://tinyurl.com/step-stool-for-jenny

Just by the by, I really love massages on my back and neck. They make me feel so good!  Perhaps you can refer me to a good masseuse?

Santa, I have been on this earth a long time for a goat. I hope to have more time to enjoy myself, sit in the sun, chew my cud, eat fig newtons, and meet little children.  I would be overjoyed if a little child would sponsor me and then come to visit me.  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

Thank you for working overtime this year, Santa!

Love,

Jenny the Goat
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

PS  I love you, Santa!

Jenny

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rotkäppchen

Hallo hallo, happy new year, everybody!  Especially you, Santa (do you celebrate New Year’s?)

My name is Rotkäppchen and I am a little red hen.  Rotkäppchen means “Little Red Riding Hood” in German.  I am new to the farm, and was placed with the Front Yard Chicken Gang which is run by the Rhode Island Red roosters Gallo and Brewster.  They thought since I was also a RI Red that I’d like to be there — he!! no!  What a dump they live in and they have no sense of humor.  And Mein Gott, they are greedy and hang around the feeder all day waiting for the girls to go by so they can harass them.   The killing moment was when Gallo had the nerve to call me “shorty”.  Seriously?  That’s not my scene.   So I emigrated to the back to form my own chicken gang.  That’s just the kind of bird that I am.  My gang is called the Old Folks Chicken Gang and our members so far are: Buster (my boyfriend, a rooster of dubious heritage, my Man!), Herbie the sheep, Jenny the old goat, and Rhoda the old sheep.  Mr. Dave built me my very own roost in the infirmary barn and that is, for now, command central for our gang.  I don’t know why, but some people have trouble pronouncing my name, so you can just call me Rot-K (pronounced “Rote Kay”).

I have a very nice private feeder, but I could honestly use a waterer that can be hung on the wall.  This way I do not have to jump down just when I am thirsty in the middle of the night.  This is a good one:  https://tinyurl.com/waterer-for-rotk

Santa, I could also use some bugs. This time of year the bugs go to ground and it’s hard to find them – but we chickens love our bugs!  Imagine your life without chocolate chip cookies.  Can you think how awful that would be?  Well, that is a chicken’s life in winter.  So bugs it must be (they are out of stock but they’ll get more in soon)!  https://tinyurl.com/bugs-for-rotk

Santa, I would love a sponsor, too.  I will introduce them to all my friends and they can hang out with us in our very, very cozy little barn.  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

I know it’s after Christmas, but my informants told me that you are still on the move, so that’s why I wrote to you today.  Peace, Santa.

Rotkäppchen the little red hen
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

rotkäppchen

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Dee Dee

What in cotton pickin’ tarnation is this hooey?  You let the old lady go last?

Dear Santa, chopped liver here at your service.  Yes yes my name is Dee Dee but I am so hopping mad I can hardly stand on all four hooves.  You’re probably already in the Bahamas relaxing after riding in your sleigh too many hours (you can get hemorrhoids sitting in that old thing for too long. You haven’t updated it since I can remember and that’s a long time). So I get to write you LAST and this will go into your vacation auto-response inbox, and I’ll have to wait until Valentine’s day for a response which will also be from some confounded computer (do real people even work anymore?) and I’ll have to make a phone call and you know I hate phone calls, Santa.

Dagnabbit, are you listening to me or not?  I know you’re not in the Bahamas.  What I know is that you can’t fit into your swim suit, now tell the truth.  You think it’s all fine and good to eat all those cookies but look what it does to you.  We old ladies have a way of knowing these things.

Lookie here, Santa, get off your duff and get back into that bum-crushing sleigh and come over to our farm.  We’re not done yet.  The old lady hasn’t had her chance and by God, when you’re as old as I am (not too far from 50, I reckon) you get to boss people around.  So get to it.  I want you to take a really good look at my coat.  Blue, you say?  How observant.  I’m supposin’ you don’t see the frayed straps and the mud and the butt cover that is slowly making its way off the velcro.  You’re just nodding.  You don’t get it do you?  I need a doggoned new coat.  I wear size 48″ and I need something where the neck isn’t too wide because I’m a donkey and we don’t have those ridiculous big chests that horses do (show offs, they all are).  And NO, I don’t want pink.  I want another blue blanket.  I just do.  https://tinyurl.com/coat-for-deedee

I really have most of what I need, Santa,  I have good food, grooming tools, and friends. I know that the farm has other needs that (honest to goodness) don’t really concern me, but I’ll just let you know we have a wishlist here:  http://www.stargazingfarm.org/how-to-help/wishlist/

Now, keep writing this down.  I have almost no teeth.  That means I need to see the dentist to check on the few that I do have.  If you can send me a sponsor, that will pay for my dentist’s visit.  I know you probably think I don’t like that, but this dentist is sweet and nice and whispers in my ear as she works.  I’m not beyond taking a quiet compliment now and again.  http://stargazingfarm.org/sponsor

Now Santa, go get your elves out of bed (I’ll bet you let them party all night, didn’t you?) and get moving.  This is the last letter to you for 2020 but don’t you worry, we’ll be thinking about you all year long!

Yours curmudgeonly,

Dee Dee Donkey
Star Gazing Farm
16760 Whites Store Road
Boyds, MD 20841

 

Dee Dee

Dee Dee

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We want to thank you for helping our animals have the best holiday season ever!  They are already using their gifts (including the goats who love the cardboard boxes).

We are so heartened by how many animal lovers there are out there who want to lend a hand to rescued farm animals.  Every positive action you take for animals counteracts the many bad things animals have to endure.  Please keep keeping on!

Farmer Anne and the crew at Star Gazing Farm

Read our NewsletterI want to thank all the generous people who donated to my farm’s Giving Tuesday fundraiser. The day brought in enough money not only to fill our barn with hay but to put aside some towards our new barn. I’m so grateful!

If you’d like to know more about what 2019 was like at the farm please read our annual newsletter!

 

From October 31 – November 2 we are celebrating Day of the Dead, remembering the souls who have lived and died here. This tradition dates back to Aztec times, but is still celebrated in many forms and across many cultures. Some believe that on these days the boundary between the spirit world and the earthly world dissolve. Our own Ti-gba (ti Legba) was named after the Voudoun god Legba, the master of the crossroads, the god you must invoke to open up communication with the spirit world.

The Christian church celebrates All Saints Day and All Souls Day on November 1 and 2, respectively. And then there is Halloween, a thoroughly pagan affair.

On these days please remember those who have gone before and passed on. Their bodies may be dust, but their spirits live within us.

You may feel free to remember your own animals who have crossed over in the comments, or post their photos on our facebook page. If you wish, you may also make a donation in memory of your own animal or one our residents who touched your heart. Funds donated will go to help defray funeral expenses.

Memorials pledged by friends




 

We remember you

 

A fellow farmer friend once told me that she often dreads going out in the morning.   “Why is that?” you may ask, innocently perplexed.  See, all you city folk think it’s so lovely to live on land, to smell the fresh air, to be surrounded by animals and plants and all the stuff of life.  Maybe.  Ok, yes.  There is nothing better.  There is fresh air, there are animals, there are plants, and life teems even when you wish it wouldn’t.

But then there is that problem of going out in the morning.

Too often barely fortified by half a cup of coffee and frequently still in pajamas, we warily wander through the fields and into the barns. We are not admiring the view.  We are not enjoying the morning air.  We are not communing with nature.  We are not petting cute, fuzzy animals.  No.

We are looking for bodies.

I challenge any farmer to tell me they don’t do this.  Admit it.  You look for the bodies, now don’t you?  A sleeping beast is enough to send our adrenaline into overdrive.  We glance left and right, in the hay feeders (stuck chicken, anyone?), into the water buckets (oh God, who fell in overnight?).  We count heads and, not finding everyone, get ourselves worked up into a lather.  We brace for the quite decent possibility that someone died overnight, or worse, is lying sick or injured in an inaccessible location, in deep trouble; and we know that this discovery will mean that everything has to stop while we rush for medicine, administer first aid, call the vet, call in reinforcements.   And regardless of how we may feel about whatever has happened, you can bet it is going to cost a lot of money.

Everyone is encumbered. It’s what ties us to life.

Of course, most days on our bleary-eyed morning outings we find nothing of the sort.  Does this make us feel better?  Not at all!  It’s just one more day’s reprieve.  And anyhow, regardless of who may or may not have taken the train out of here overnight, there are still chores to be done, animals to be fed, emails and phone calls to answer, never mind the day job. The good news is that, for today at least, everyone is walking and breathing.  An accomplishment.

Because whether you have a few farm pets, or raise animals for their fiber or for their meat, or offer sanctuary to the old and compromised ones, like we do at my farm, the fear and the caring are all the same.   The vegan police who look down on anyone who “does” anything with their animals will find this surprising, but in my experience of travelling to farms all along the East Coast, the vast majority of people who have animals living outside in barns and on pasture, whether 2 or 200 or 2000, are solidly tethered to their animals.  And every farmer who has had to cope with sudden death or prolonged illness (usually mysterious – illnesses love to be mysterious and un-diagnosable) – each one of us carries a heaviness of resident grief inside.  Sort of like a stone in the stomach.

When I moved to this farm, I was free of death’s friendship.  I blithely brought in sweet animals to live on this sweet farm, and wow, what a great idea this was.  Until I found my beloved Betty the duck ‘s body, sans head. That was the first clue.

And still, I had no idea what I was in for.

I hear stories from my friends that break my heart, stories that are worse than what I’ve dealt with, and I wonder how they keep standing upright.  I hear about animals who got themselves in trouble when humans were not around: a little sheep who got its head stuck in a fence and strangled, a goat who climbed a tree, hooked its foot, and hung till it died.  I hear about impalements and the ravages of dog packs.  I hear about disease and barn fires.  And then sometimes a tractor turns over on a farmer.  I don’t think life is easy for anyone, no matter where you live or what you do.  At some point you are faced with something you are pretty sure you don’t have the strength for.   But as far as the daily dose of hyper-vigilance goes, I think farmers might just rank right up there with cops and EMTs and stockbrokers.

Surprising? What about breathing in lovely fresh air and watching sheep gently grazing in the fields whilst you sip lemonade (or, better, a mint julep) on the porch?  You jest!  Not at our farm.  If we want all that, we go to a hotel… or someone else’s farm.

Sometimes, mostly when I visit people who live in condos with really clean wall-to-wall carpeting and central AC, I wonder what it would be like.  A life, unencumbered.  You know, not wondering if something was goat-proof?  Not worrying about the limping sheep or the alpaca losing weight or new cat hiding under the house.

But of course, that is nonsense.  Everyone is encumbered.  It’s what ties us to life.  My own particular flavor just happens to have dirt and earthy smells, chickens wandering into the house, and goats  banging on the back door.  And death as a regular visitor.  The stone in the stomach, the heaviness I hadn’t known before farm life, brings me back to my choice of being a shepherd like a divining rod.  Had I never had to usher so many souls into the afterlife, chances are I would be as ungrounded as when I first moved to the country.  Vapid and optimistic.

For you see, that stone is also a gift.  It gives balance.  Maybe it’s my token of membership in the farmers club. “Got granite?”  You have to lean into it, swing around with it, feel how it keeps you close to the earth and yet always still standing, like those dolls who bob around but never fall down.

To bring some levity into my life (and to have an excuse to dress in something other than jeans and mudboots) I recently took up swing dancing. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the balancing of weight – to trust in leaning back against the hand of your partner and to let him lean back against yours.  Only when you each let gravity do its thing can you really swing.  It feels like flying.  That stone in the gut – it’s my dance partner on the farm.

I’ve lost a lot of animals this year – animals who lived here many years, with whom I had really close friendships.   Some were quite elderly.  Knowing it’s coming makes no difference at all when death arrives, though.  At each loss I’ve fretted, “OK this is the time I’m going to fall apart.”  I’ve waited for the sadness to overwhelm my ability to carry on.  But it didn’t.  What happened was that grounding stone swung me around, weight as counterbalance, set my two feet flat on the ground and asked with an impish grin, “do you want to dance again?”

“Life is the dancer and you are the dance.”
—Eckhart Tolle

Captioning Contest!

August is “caption this” month. Every day there will be at least one photo which really needs a cute/funny/smart/smart alecky caption. Clean language only, please!

How to submit your captions?

You can submit your caption on our facebook page or via email to: captions@stargazingfarm.org. If you submit by email, please indicate what date/photo you are captioning.

Winners

We will announce a winner for each day of the month, and then all of those will go into the “pot” for three grand prize winners!

We have a busy fall planned!  Here are some of our upcoming events.  Make sure to check our Calendar for updated and added events.

Saturday and Sunday, October 5-6, 10am-4pm:  Heritage Montgomery Farm Tour: Star Gazing Farm’s crew will be at the Button Farm!

Sunday, October 13, 8am-3pm: Star Gazing Farm will be a stop on the “Ride for the Reserve” bicycle event held by the Montgomery Countryside Alliance

Saturday, October 26, noon-4: Fall Festival at the Farm!

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We wish to thank the V. and S. Foundation, Inc. of Rockville, MD for their great generosity to our animals. They have pledged to match up to $10,000 of donations to Star Gazing Farm Animal Sanctuary! If you’ve been thinking about making a gift to the farm, this would be a great time to do it, because your donation will be DOUBLED!

You can donate via paypal/credit card:


Or you can send a check to Star Gazing Farm, PO Box 162, Boyds, MD 20841.

Your donation goes a long way at our farm and you help us care for animals who have been abandoned, tend to special needs animals who could not survive on large farms elsewhere, and help place stray and neglected animals in loving homes. You help young people learn the joy of bonding with all kinds of animals and also learn the value of hard work. We are a friendly and welcoming community and we hope you’ll come out and visit to see just how your funds are put directly to work!

Visit this page often to track the progress of this exciting fundraiser!

Read our newsletter

Read our newsletter

What happened at Star Gazing Farm during 2018?  Who are the new animals?  Who passed on to the rainbow bridge?  What are our projects?  You can read our letter below, or see the PDF version all nicely formatted here!

12 December, 2018

Dear Friends,

This is the one time of the year I write an actual letter to all of you! Oh sure, you can check up on the farm’s do-ings on Facebook and our web site, and occasionally I send out an email missive, but this is the one true letter, actually sent the old-fashioned way through the US mail that you’ll get delivered right to your home! So grab a cup of hot tea, put your feet up and read about our amazing year here at the farm.

Not so surprisingly, this letter is about the animals here. These beautiful beings mean the world to me. Their personalities, their ability to heal and adapt, and their ways of communicating are incredible. And every single animal has his or her own special friends (both animal and human). For instance, who can know this farm and not be familiar with the inimitable Mr. Newman Goat (now over 17 years old and the animal who has been here the long-est). Sigh. He tried again this year–but failed–to convince the local election board that he should be allowed to vote (“give goats the vote” was his slogan….). He used to engage in simpler pursuits such as stealing Waldo’s dinner and breaking into my car. Sweetly the goat has been taking over that role, however, and she’s excelling at it. We are, after all, a haven for wayward goats. Two very dear sheep arrived this year who have captured everyone’s hearts—Ricardo and Ray Ray, both about 8 months old now. Ricardo was “slow to develop” and Ray was born blind. We took them both in as special-needs sheep. Right now, in fact, Ricardo is in the hospital recovering from a fairly major surgery to his abdomen – and that, of course, is the other side to this joyful life.

Ask any farmer: animals have ways of getting into trouble we could never begin to imagine, and usually this requires very quick action on our parts. Now, I and the volunteers have become quite savvy about basic animal treatments for things such as intestinal upsets, basic exterior wounds, hoof problems, administering shots and pain medication. But when serious problems or even emergencies happen, we have to be ready to do triage, get the vet out, or transport them to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital. This is where you can help. You can make a donation to the farm of $25, $50, $100, or dare I hope, $1000 and know that your money will be used to help these precious animals stay safe and healthy.

Working with animal shelters and rescue groups is very important for our sanctuary; most often they are on the front lines, removing animals from poor and even dangerous conditions. This year we brought animals here from three of these wonderful groups. Milo was part of a seizure of a large number of Anatolians from a serious hoarding situation in New Jersey done by Common Sense for Animals. He had lived with sheep and chickens before, and when he arrived here, he looked like he had landed in heaven! He is still very shy with people, but he loves the animals and looks after them all the time.

Mamie, an Australian cattle dog/Jack Russell Terrier mix had been churning out babies at a Pennsylvania puppy mill when she was rescued by the Mid-Atlantic Jack Russell Terrier rescue. She is recovering from this abuse, and is now taking herding classes. She likes to try to ply her trade on the farm every day.

Our two new rabbits Don Giovanni and Luc were initially taken in and sheltered by Friends of Rabbits . Sadly, many rabbits find themselves homeless after their ‘cute’ and small phase is over. These are two big, beautiful, smart rabbits and we’re so happy to have them here.

Bruno and Salvo are two very lucky horses. They were at the auction and headed for the long ride to slaughter (horse slaughter is illegal in the US and so unwanted horses have to ride to Canada or Mexico to meet their awful end). Denise at Gaited Advocate Intervention Team saw them and felt her heart start to break, knowing that they would not be bought by anyone besides the “kill buyer”. Bruno is blind in one eye and has navicular disease, and Salvo has Cushings disease. They actually met on the trailer ride home, and became instant friends. We could not adopt just one of them and leave the other behind, so both are here. Initially quite afraid, they are learning to trust people more and more each day.

When you donate to Star Gazing Farm, you can feel so good that your financial gifts to Star Gazing Farm go to make the difference between life and death; the difference between a painful and wretched existence and a life of comfort and love.

Here are some simple examples of how your funds get put to work here:
♥ $60 buys an 800 lb round bale of hay. 2-3 of these bales feed our whole herd for one week.
♥ $50 pays for the farrier to trim Mehitabel the donkey’s hooves (she needs this every 6 weeks—she came here with very serious hoof problems and a badly healed broken ankle).
♥ $25 pays for a week’s worth of fresh greens for our bunnies.
♥ $15 fills up our beloved tractor with diesel

We spend on average $17,000 a year on veterinary bills and $15,000 on feed and hay . We have three very part-time people who are integral to the animals’ care; everyone else (including me!) is a volunteer. So there is very little overhead in our budget. When you donate, your money has power here.

And our volunteers are amazing! We welcome children starting at age 11 and adults of all ages to get involved, whether that be in shoveling manure on our Saturday work-days, building (and fixing!) fences, knitting, sewing, photo-graphing, drawing, writing, or even tweeting! I’m constantly impressed by the young people who are willing to undertake any task, no matter how dirty or hard it might be, and who are wanting to help and to hug every animal. Their capacity for compassion is so deep. I’m honored to offer them a pro-gram where they can start at a young age, build their physical strength and coordination, learn what hard work is, and understand the responsibilities involved in caring for other beings. They also learn to work with people of all ages, from all different backgrounds and, perhaps most extraordinarily, from different schools!

Won’t you donate to help us build that bridge of compassion for young people, who are our future? A gift of $25, $50, $100 or $500—or (as the kids have instructed me to ask, “new barn shovels, please!”)—will make a big difference.

NEW BARN PROJECT

We need another barn, and that is a fact. Bullwinkle, the immense steer, is going on 14 which is quite old, and he suffers from arthritis. Brandy, our Angus cow, is also getting on in years and is having some joint problems especially in her knees. They simply need a larger space that is enclosed and can be heavily bedded. The intention is for this barn to house all of the cows, and to thus give over the older barn to the horses.

We have seed money of $5000 earmarked for this barn, and need only another $3,800 to complete the funding. This includes site preparation and materials, barn construction, and gates. We are so close! With your donation of $100, $250 or (for your name on a barn plaque) $500, you can help our older giant animals keep cozy, warm and safe for the winter. Our builders tell us the barn can be up within 6 weeks!

Among our other arrivals this year and a future resident of the new barn: Carmen the Here-ford cow. This little calf had been very sick but the farmer fought hard for her. While she survived, her growth was stunted and she lost most of her eyesight as a result. She has grown a lot but will be a “mini cow” for the rest of her life and we love her just the way she is!

We love to help animals but we also love to help animal-loving people. Our four new goats came here from three different loving families who, in all cases, were suffering medical issues of their own and were desperate to find a safe place for the goats they had raised from babies. Sweetly and Yuki, both 9 years old, are very naughty Pygora goats and Jenny, 13, is lovely but swiftly learning how to be naughty. Old Vinnie, 13, is a gentle Angora goat, with a very special toothy smile! These goats have integrated completely into the “goat gang” here and provide much entertainment and irritation on a daily basis.

I am so extremely grateful to you, our supporters and friends, who contribute to helping each and every one of the animals here at this farm. Your generosity means that we are able to provide high quality food, clean bedding, and excellent veterinary care to these beautiful and deserving creatures. We honestly can’t do it without you. Did you know you can donate monthly? Yes! More and more people are opting to donate a set amount every month—whether $10, or $20, or even $50. This regularity means a lot to us and is perhaps easier on your budget. We have an easy-to-use form to sign up for this on our web site (Click on the “Donate” button). You can also set this up through your bank. Our monthly donors are special because we know we can count on a certain income each month, no matter what the season. It’s a greater security I yearn to have for our animals.

I was very, very sad to say goodbye to the following animals this past year: Dogs Henry and Ti-gba, our dear sweet cat Tigger, rabbits Oreo and Mae West, Sheep Kimiko, Huckleberry, Rachel, Jane, and Rebecca, Lime the goose, and Mama B the hen. The hardest part of running this sanctuary is loving the animals and then losing them to death. Yet I feel so blessed to have known them and so happy we were able to give them safe and loving sanctuary .

I thank all of you who have so generously given to the farm in the past, and during this holiday season I wish to ask you once again to please remember us in your end of year giving plans. It’s your donations that feed the animals, support the youth programs, pay veterinarians, farriers, and hay suppliers, and ensure that our sanctuary animals have a continued, secure future. Although we work with the local animal control agencies, taking in and helping to place the unwanted and abused farm animals in their care, we receive no government funds and so rely entirely on donations to help the animals.

Won’t you help us by donating, and sharing this with your animal-loving friends? Your donations not only go to feed the rescued animals, they are also feeding young minds and establishing a supportive and loving community. Thank you for caring!

For the love of the animals,
Anne E. Shroeder (Farmer Anne)

P.S. The sanctuary needs your support! Won’t you send your tax-deductible donation of $25, $50, $100, or even $500 today? Thank you.

Help Star Gazing Farm
Name _______________________________________________
Street Address ________________________________________
City, State, Zip ________________________________________
Phone ______________________________ Email _______________________________
Check Enclosed for $_______ [ Payable to “Star Gazing Farm”]
Charge $_______ to my Visa/MasterCard /Discover/Amex
Credit Card Number ________________________________
Exp. Date ___________ CSC Code _______ Signature _______________________
DESIGNATIONS
For animal sponsorship __________________(name of animal)
In memory of:____________________
In honor of:____________________
I prefer to donate via the Combined Federal Campaign or the United Way (#86412)
I will donate online on your web site Please contact me about planned giving or special designations.
2019 Calendars are in and for sale on our web site. $10 each plus shipping!

 

 

The 2019 Star Gazing Calendars are here!  Each month features a gorgeous photo of our animals (by photographer Kathe Powell).  This is a 12-month calendar, 17″x 11″, and is in full color. with the last four months of 2018 in summary.  The calendar includes holidays, and the full, new, and crescent moons.

You can purchase the calendar at the farm or at one of our events, or order online.  All proceeds of sales of the calendar go directly to help care for our animals.

The cost is $10 per calendar (or $12.50 with shipping).





 

Sneak peek inside!

It’s their very own advent calendar!

The animals are all extremely busy right now writing their letters to Santa Claus. Most of them have been good, but a few of them have been naughty – I wonder if they will let on to Santa? This is the spot where you can read their letters. Each day a different animal will get to publish his or her letter. If you’d like to send them a gift that they ask for, it will make them very happy!

Click on today’s date to read today’s letter! You can also read the letters from previous days (in blue). Days in red … well, those are still a surprise!  To see a full list of what the animals have asked for (and what has already been received), please click here.

Captioning Contest!

October is “caption this” month. Every day there will be at least one photo which really needs a cute/funny/smart/smart alecky caption. Clean language only, please!

How to submit your captions?

You can submit your caption on our facebook page or via email to: captions@stargazingfarm.org. If you submit by email, please indicate what date/photo you are captioning.

The Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our “Caption This” contest !! The grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to our gift shop (and yes, can be used online). The second prize winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to our gift shop.and the runner up, a $25 gift certificate.

In first place:

By Patrick Shuster

 In second place:

By Tom Jackson

 

In third place:

By Beth Cayer

October 2, 2018:

“Come on give me a smooch. Don’t be like that.” (Credit to Margie Callahan)

October 3, 2018:

“And coming around the first turn Louisa has the lead, but Jean-Claude isn’t giving up, he is staying right on her tail.” (Credit to Karen King)

October 4, 2018:

” Gooooooooooood
MORNING!!!!” (Credit: Paul Morris)

October 5, 2018:

“Just 5 more minutes” (Credit: Laurie Fausze Allen)

October 6, 2018:

“…and then she said, “FINE,” and stormed off. I tell ya fellas, I just don’t get it.” (Credit: Beth Cayer)

October 7, 2018:

“Goat catnip” (Credit: Linda Cox)

October 8, 2018:

“Attention please, we have an announcement from management…” (Credit: Alice Flyte)

October 9, 2018:

“Is my hair ok?” (Credit: Nelly Ortiz)

October 10, 2018:

“Oh no, I’m BAAAAAAre!” (Credit: Kathe Powell)

October 11, 2018:

“My tongue is stuck!” (Credit: Debbie Laredo Weinberger)

October 12, 2018:

“Knowing that it could mean unlimited food for all, goat scientists worked feverishly to understand the door latch principle.” (Credit: Tom Jackson)

October 13, 2018:

“Just chillin” (Credit: Veronica Holling)

October 14, 2018:

“I just love stakeouts- you ready for a kibble break?” (Nancy Hartman)

October 15, 2018:

“Photobomb!” (Credit: Sharon Johnson).

October 16, 2018:

“Reservations for two please. Oh, and by the way we’re vegetarians!” (Credit: Angela Smitty)

October 17, 2018:

“I’ll tell you when the coast is clear” (Credit: Darleen Morris Peteritis)

October 18, 2018:

#1: “You’ve heard of a peeping Tom?” (Debbie Merchant McKerrow) #2: “Excuse me, do you have a moment of time to talk about our savior?” (Patrick Shuster)

October 19, 2018:

” I’ll help unload the groceries for you!” (Credit: Judi Lynn Durham)

October 20, 2018:

“Every time I try to take a peaceful nap, somebody just has to pet me” (Credit: Patricia Showe)\

October 21, 2018:

“Here is MY ballot” (Credit: Marianne Lawson)

October 22, 2018:

“WWF Saturday Nite Take Down!” (Credit: Stephanie Woolsey)

October 23, 2018:

“Who ordered the tossed salad?” (Credit: Keri Chase)

October 24, 2018:

“You should see the other guy.” (Credit: Wendy A. Augustine)

October 25, 2018:

“NEWMAN, where have you been all my life?!” (Credit: Debbie Billhimer)

October 26, 2018:

“If it fits, I sits”. (Credit: Amanda Spino)

October 27, 2018:

” Deposit.50 cents to go forward” (Credit: Judi Lynn Durham)

October 28, 2018:

“Just a pig in a blanket.” (Credit: Callie Hill)

October 29, 2018:

“And 1 2 cha cha cha” (Credit: Kim Sosnowski)

October 30, 2018:

“Hold it right there, pardner.” (Credit: Susan Vitale)

October 31, 2018:

“Hello! would you like to join me for a spot of grass?” (Credit: Jeanettea Williams)

Our animals are anxiously waiting to be sponsored, especially some of our brand new animals who have never had a sponsor before!

During the entire month of September, one animal will have an opportunity each day to persuade y0u that he/she is the ONE you want to sponsor, and come to visit.

We’ll post a new animal in the spotlight on our front page every day, and will also post on our Facebook page.

What is a sponsor?

It can be as simple as an honorary stipend given to that animal for his/her feed and care.  You receive a lovely packet with biographical information and photos.  It can also mean establishing a relationship with your animal where you come to visit, bring treats, groom, and have deep and long conversations.

How do I do it?

Very easy!  Visit our sponsorship page and select your special animal – the form will walk you through it.  You can also give a sponsorship as a very special gift.  Questions?  Please email us!

Why Schmooze?

In addition to holding informal Saturday visits at the farm(every Saturday between 10 and 2), we will be out and about this month!   Sunday, September 23 from 11-2 we’ll be at the Bark! in Kentlands.  Come on out and schmooze with our woolly friends.

Who will be next!?

Check our Facebook page daily to read stories and anecdotes about the animals available nowhere else!

Who has made their appearance on Facebook?

My dog Sullivan is a big black lab mixed with something.  He’s a good dog but he has a few problems; mostly, he’s old.  There seems to be a lot of that going around these days.  And being old, he doesn’t always get a lot of warning when he has to poop. A few weeks ago he made it just outside the dog door and pooped on the welcome mat.  Then it rained. The mat is ridged and so while poop pickup was not particularly convenient even with the nicely formed specimen, once it rained, of course, the poop became a fecal splat, deeply ingrained in the ridges of the mat. This was now a Project.  The hose hookup at the house is not completely functional and last I checked, someone had scavenged the hose and used it elsewhere on the farm. So the pile stayed there.

Some people clear their piles the moment they appear. I think these people are almost certainly descendants of aliens. They probably also don’t need coffee in the morning.

Every day since that poop was deposited on my front step I managed to navigate around it.  Folks coming to help do morning and evening feedings entered the front door and also navigated around it.  With recent rains it increased its real estate and someone, most likely Sullivan, walked through it and spread it onto the concrete steps as well.  Nothing that a good hosing down with some soap would not fix. But that required locating a hose, dragging it through an elderberry-filled jungle of the front yard, hooking it up to the somewhat crooked spigot, getting all the kinks out of the house, and actually washing it down.  At most a 15 minute task. Instead of doing this, I and everyone else entering the house continued to walk around the pile. The accumulated energy of actively ignoring that pile was probably enough to scrub and repaint the front steps and put up window boxes.  But so many of our piles are like that, aren’t they. And I still don’t have window boxes.

Some people clear their piles the moment they appear.  I think these people are almost certainly descendants of aliens.  They probably also don’t need coffee in the morning.  Me — I seem to be a magnet for piles.  I don’t ordinarily leave dog poop in my midst, I’ll admit, but I always seem to have an inordinate share of other Life Piles: laundry, overdue library books, bills, boxes for recycling, bags of chicken feed, veterinary detritus, duct tape, and, of course, Sullivan’s occasional indiscretions on the front porch.

Eventually I did locate a hose. I waded through the tangle of the front yard, hooked the hose  up, and, with admittedly a great deal of cursing, worked out all the kinks so it would spurt water.  I cleaned the heck out of that front porch.  It felt good.  I then went on to vacuum the house, do four loads of laundry, wash windows, clear the kitchen table of bills and dog biscuits and old tools, pay bills, check email, and generally become frighteningly efficient.  For a few hours.

Now I’m back to normal, thank goodness.  Sullivan continues to poop on the front porch when his old man intestines tell him to, but that’s OK.  I’ve figured out that I don’t have to turn into superwoman to have a porch that people can walk on without fear of icky shoes.  I’ve also been giving Sullivan a lot more hugs lately.  He’s really old and he has bad breath but his ears are so silky and his head so regal and fine, and he follows me everywhere I go in the house, just to be close.  He is a bit dotty, and sometimes forgets where he was going. He stands in the hallway and blocks traffic, and looks in wonderment at all the humans streaming around him, so busy busy busy all the time.  His appetite is waning, but he has developed a taste for McDonald’s breakfast biscuits.  He has some trouble getting up and down, but he still chooses the softest dog beds in the house.  He doesn’t bark much anymore, and I rather miss that loud acknowledgement, but he still goes out to the front porch to greet me every time I get home.  And if I have to clean up a pile or two in exchange for all that, well … hand me the hose.

Our annual letter is now ready for your reading pleasure!  Meet all of the new animals at the farm and learn about all the activities from this past year.  We hope you’ll be inspired to become a farm supporter, or to renew your commitment to helping our animals!  [read newsletter PDF]