We couldn't do it without them!
(Well, maybe we could, but we'd be really tired and cranky.)
Several AMAZING people now help us out at the farm. Every one of them has a fantastic way with the animals, and they are each graced with an excellent sense of humour, which is helpful when you are about to do a faceplant in a pile of manure while chasing a pig who needs a shot of Ivomec.
Their smiles are all geniune, and they warm our hearts. We are deeply touched by the great care and attention these people all give to our animals.
A huge shout-out and big thanks to the crew at Bee Meadow Farm who help me keep my sanity, and make is possible for Gordon and I to spend our free time doing things other than shovelling poop and scrubbing dirty buckets. And thanks for letting me post your photos here, too.
"Why do you want to take my picture?"
"Just hold this chicken and smile, okay?"
Luc has done all manner of work on the farm, including building our box stalls and doing the beautiful renovation of our granary. He has built kidding pens, fixed barn walls, replaced barn windows, built a sand ring for riding, installed goat, horse and pig fencing and gates, rode shotgun sitting on a million buzzing bees on the back of the RTV when my mentor and I moved eight beehives out to the fields, installed an outside water system, made a creep box for goat kids, held down more than one anaesthetized goat for the vet (including once on a Saturday at midnight in our very cold barn), trimmed goat hooves, wrestled pigs for the syringe-wielding vet, helped me give injections to goats (or done them himself!), helped with deworming drenches, done a flying faceplant in the mud while chasing an escaped pig (I'm looking at you, Button!), installed our farm sign, caught a runaway donkey and pony, held down a reluctant bucking bronco of a pony who needed his eye syringed out... the list is endless. Any time we ask for help, his standard response is "No problem!" And his partner Debbie is always here to help when we need back-up. We are so grateful to both of them for all they do to give us "city slickers" a hand. They are great at stopping us from doing something stupid.
Luc is also the architect and builder of Goat Mountain and Buck Bridge.
Ask Luc to show you his tattoo sometime!
Thank you, Luc, for all you do for us.
Jackie is the animal whisperer. She comes every Sunday and spends several hours looking after absolutely everything here (this after working hard all week in Montreal!) And she knows just where to give Kevin the goat a good scratch!
Jackie loves all animals but her favourite place on the farm is down with the birds. She enjoys spending time with the chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, quail... she even cuddles the turkeys that everyone else wants to roast!
Jackie always has great ideas and suggestions for making the animals' lives better. She keeps everything in top condition and has not missed a single Sunday since she started working here. We are so grateful to have this special woman in our lives.
How can you not love someone who holds your goat kid's back legs for the vet, gets squirted with the fetid contents of said goat's HUGE lanced abscess, and never utters a complaint?
Thank you, Jackie. We are so glad we met you!
We can't say enough good things about this amazing gal comes to our farm early every Saturday morning to do chores, always with a smile on our face. She's hardworking, reliable and cheerful, and so much fun to have around. She's also Stephanie's cousin!
Joseanne is an accomplished equestrian, and sometimes when she finishes her chores early, she hops on Sandy the Fjord horse (often bareback!) and gives her a workout (apparently Sandy can jump!) Joseanne is also an expert at cuddling foster kittens. She has a soft spot for our donkey Saul, even though he refuses to let her teach him any tricks.
Joseanne loves all the animals here... except the rats and mice. Let's just say she leaves those critters to the cats to deal with!
She's thinking about becoming a large-animal vet after she finished her schooling. We know that whatever path she chooses in life, she'll excel at it. When Joseanne isn't at our farm, she can be found barrel-racing her amazing Paint horse Cookie, or teaching little kids to ride.
Thank you for being you, Joseanne. Our animals love you, and so do we!
Robert comes twice a week to do barn chores. He's a retired guy who likes to keep busy and he keeps the coops and pig pen spic-and-span. He also picks up and drops off wood shavings for us, and often lends Luc a hand when he needs it. He even puts up with our obnoxious turkeys, even though I think he'd be more than happy to serve them up on a platter.
Apparently he's also the world's best grandpa!
Thank you, Robert. The turkeys send their love.
Bernie also has a day job, but for some reason he really enjoys shovelling manure! And he keeps the box stall area so clean, you could eat off the floor. Bernie can be found doing any and all of the barn chores here but I think his favourite spot on the farm is with the horses, ponies and donkey. He grooms them, picks out their hooves, works with them, sweet-talks them, and just keeps them happy. As you can see, he has a soft spot for goats too. If you can hear country music on the barn radio, you know Bernie's at work.
If I need something heavy lifted, Bernie's always there and willing to save my back.
Thank you, Bernie, for all your good work here.
Malcolm helps out once a week in summer and on PD days during the school year. He does AMAZING work, and on top of that, he creates artwork in the goats' supper pans. It is always a pleasure to have Malcolm around. He works hard, he works fast, he's independent, and he's always flashing that great smile of his. Malcolm loves animals and it shows.
I asked him if he would quit school to come work at the farm, but wisely, he said no. Somehow I can't blame him.
Thank you for all your hard work, Malcolm. We are looking forward to the next PD day!
Yes, she is holding young Debbie the goat in this pic, but the truth is, Stephanie has a thing for chickens! If she's not mucking out horse stalls or forking out the pig-pen or dodging Kevin-the-connoisseur-of-head-butts while cleaning out the goat house, Stephanie can be found in the chicken coop whispering sweet nothings to Chirp the rooster as she holds him in her arms.
Stephanie is also fond of Gracie the pig, and has been known to bring Gracie her very own peanut-butter sandwiches! Stephanie is also highly susceptible to lying barn cats who tell her they haven't been fed for a week... the cats have told me they've nicknamed Stephanie "The Kibble Queen."
When Stephanie isn't loving up our animals, she is working super-hard around the farm. The barn is always immaculate after she's been here. And you could eat off the floor of the goat house when it's been "Stephanized"... if you don't mind the smell of chèvre!
Thank you, Stephanie, for caring so much about our animals.
Kim now has a job in Ottawa, but she used to work at the farm. She and Monty have a thing! She and Finney the pony have an even bigger thing, because she worked with Finney to transform him from Ass Pony to... FANCY PONY!
Yes, Finney is the well-mannered, well-behaved pony he is today largely because of Kim's work.
When she wasn't sweet-talking her chestnut pony boy, Kim could be found doing pretty much any of the other barn chores around here. She attacked everything with military precision and a smile. She still visits from time to time and the animals are always happy to see her (us too!)
Kim does get pretty excited over watermelons, though. Almost as excited as the pigs do!
Thank you, Kim, for all your help.