THE DOGS: Standard Poodles: a light cocoa colored one, Boggle, and a medium cocoa colored one, Bounce. Both are spayed females.  They love people, especially children, although Boggle loves to bark at all guests, but does not bite.  They have a room in the main house that opens into their run—which is located between the main house and the barn, down the hill.   Bounce and Boggle are taken for a daily walk, they no longer are permitted to run free during the afternoon.  They found that they enjoyed taking daytrips to parts unknown, and sometimes don’t get back before curfew.

Please don’t feed the dogs anything, not even treats.  They will still love you. They are well fed, but when they get strange food, we have problems.

Bounce & Boggle are shoe retrievers. Sometimes they retrieve only one shoe, sometimes the pair. The only problem with this is that we don’t know where they retrieve them TO. They also retrieve pool towels, T-shirts, water bottles, sunscreen, but shoes are their favorites. It is therefore strongly suggested that people do not leave their shoes—or anything a dog can pick up—on their portals or patios around the noon hour when they are walked.  It’s okay to take wet/muddy shoes inside. Put them on some paper towels if they’re muddy.

OUR CURRENT CATS: office cats-orange, Ginger Peachy (not particularly friendly) gray sisters, Kit’n and Kaboodle, both enjoy being petted. Bedroom cat:  Shadow, a dark gray tabby, spayed female and Bib Bootsie, a spayed orange tabby.  Both are strictly indoor cats.  The office cats are let out by the first riser in the main house, usually around 7 am. We try to have all cats back inside with the doors shut before the poodles are let out to walk at noon. Otherwise, they may spend four hours of the afternoon treed. Bounce is convinced she is a pointer. We have seen her hold the point at a treed cat for over an hour without moving.

Burros:  The older two are Butch and Jackie.  The four newest still have not been given proper names.  We adopted four needing a new home in the Fall of 2013.

Sheep: Shetland sheep. The rams are usually in the pasture to the right of the driveway. The ewes are pastured with the goats down at the bottom of the hill. WE suggest NOT going in the ram pasture. Rams, even little ones like these guys, butt! Hard!! We suggest not standing with your knees against the fence.

Goats: A medley of oddball goats. Goats are smart and friendly. They enjoy being fed and petted and talked to.   Frankie, is the black & white, small goat, short leg, who is now permanently housed with the females.  The other males liked to pick on him.

Rabbits: Flemish Giants. Our warren had been re-established after a three year lapse. Interesting story. We wanted Flemish giants because that is what we had started with. They are big, big enough to be very pettable and feedable. Our warren had been wiped out by a large nest of bull snakes (or so we believed) which had eaten the babies in the burrows. So after de-serpenting the warren, we purchased a nice stock of Flemish giants, brown, white, and black.

Within two days of being released in the warren, all of them were dead. We asked the local vet to do a necropsy. “Don’t need to,” he said. “I’ve seen it over and over. People raise these big rabbits as show rabbits. They never let them out of their three square foot hutches. First time they get out of a cage, they try to run, or jump, and their backs break. They have no muscles back there at all.”

We think this is criminal. Of course, we think battery hens are criminal, too. Our new stock of bunnies are raised to run, jump, play, breed, and be fed by friendly humans.

As we were roofing the warren to prevent all types of predators, our fence man informs us that we have a Bobcat roaming the area, bold little cuss.  Since the roof was added, our loss of rabbits has been minimal, mostly due to someone not closing the gate quickly enough or a baby finding a hole just large enough to escape through.

Feeding the animals:

All the herbivores enjoy apple, grapes, carrots. Rabbits like melon and rinds, cabbage, grapes and bananas. They don’t like bell peppers, onions, parsnips (I have no idea why) or any form of citrus. If you plan to feed the rabbits, bear in mind there are approximately 100 of them and a handful of grapes will not be sufficient.  Remember to only feed from a flat hand, fingers tightly together.  Less likely you will get nipped when they smell food and think your finger is a nice carrot or grape.  If you offer food to the rams, stand back from the fence, at least a foot. We occasionally lock the warren because someone has failed to close the gate after they have entered or departed.  If you have children with you or if you just want to see the rabbits up close and personal, if the gate is locked, a staff member will let you into the warren if you so desire.

Geese: There are a dozen or so Toulouse geese in the pasture by the chicken house. They get out each morning to graze and swim (buried stock tank filled for their pleasure) and they loudly resent people coming into “their” pasture. Wings out, threatening, honking. Wave your arms at them and ignore them. They don’t actually bite. Just threaten to.

Peafowl: We could go on and on and on about peafowl, how they nest, how they teach the chicks to eat. This is a self sustaining flock that is over twenty years old. The odd colored ones (white) are recessive genes popping out. They are not penned, not housed. They live wild here except that we feed them and provide several “refuge” places where they can nest fairly safely. At noon, when the dogs are out, the peafowl disappear. They are up on roofs, in trees, in the area behind the pool which is fenced. When the dogs are brought in after their walk, the peafowl reappear.

In Memoriam:

Jefe, Anna’s Manx, 11/11/13

Tallulah Belle (Lulabelle), female white standard poodle, 12/16/13

Don Silvano (Pupup), male white standard poodle, 01/03/14

O’Malley, Anna’s Manx, 06/05/14

Each of them left paw prints on our hearts.