REDFORD The original barn cat. He showed up in July 2014 around the same time as Emerson, and we think they were dumped together. Redford is a magnificent orange polydactyl cat -- he has extra toes on his front paws! He was probably born sometime in early 2013.
For weeks he wouldn't come anywhere near us. In the end, we managed to shut him in the garage, live-trap him, then take him to the vet for neutering and vaccines. It took a long time to earn Redford's trust, but earn it we did. He is a wonderful cat: handsome, affectionate, and excellent at vermin control. He enjoys regular cuddles and lap time. He also loves to play with his pal Emerson.
MOOTIE We adopted Mootie along with her friend Pip in October 2014 (see Pip's story!) Mootie has had a difficult life. At one point she languished in an animal shelter for year, labelled "unadoptable," until her kind former owner took a chance on her. It turned out that Mootie did not want to be touched because she was in pain from a mouthful of bad teeth and diseased gums. The woman who adopted her (and Pip) took Mootie to the vet, where she had all her teeth removed. Cue complete change in personality!
In 2015, we took Mootie to the vet for a hernia repair, where it was discovered that all the internal stitches from her spay (done years back) had failed at some point. So the contents of her abdomen were essentially being held in by her skin! Our vet repaired that and Mootie healed up perfectly.
Now Mootie adores attention and is a pest about cuddles. She constantly demands to sit in your lap, and loves nothing more than to walk across your chest to block the book you are trying to read in bed. She is the happiest cat in the world, and like Louise, drools to express her gratitude for being cuddled. She will also unapologetically knead your flesh with her pointy little claws.
Mootie was born sometime in September 2006.
BUTTERCUP One of the Greek triplets. She is the only one who has chosen to remain a barn cat! She is beautiful, smart, confident and loving, not to mention the most devoted ratter/mouser you can imagine. She will often spend an hour perched near a hole in the duck coop floor, waiting for a hapless rodent to emerge. Buttercup has been offered the opportunity to live in the house with her sisters, but has shown no interest. She'd much rather be in the barn assassinating rodents and making her boyfriend Keaton do her bidding.
FINNEY We adopted Finney along with his friend Esme on November 12, 2014. Finney is a chestnut pony (gelding) born in 2011. He was seized by the OSPCA and put into foster care while he waited for his new home. While in foster care, he bonded with Esme. Originally we were only supposed to adopt Esme (who was seized from the same barn as our pig Ophelia!) but how could we split these two up? So Finney and Esme moved to our farm, and were our very first equines. Talk about a steep learning curve!
Finney used to be nicknamed Ass-Pony (and is still called that sometimes!) because he was so naughty when he arrived. He wasn't gelded until he just before we got him at the age of three. He loved to bite when you least expected it, and he has kicked both of us at least once in the past. But with consistent training and lots of love, he has turned into the most wonderful, well-mannered pony. He just needed to learn what was expected of him. He's super smart, and is learning to pull a cart and be ridden. But of course he still has a mischievious side, and if he thinks he can get away with something, he'll give it a try! We just love this guy.
KIKI In May 2016, we adopted this male Muscovy duck who needed a home with other ducks. He previously was the mascot of a riding stable, but they felt he'd be happier with some duck friends of his own. So far, so good! This pecking ninja loves to sneak up on unsuspecting humans to give them a taste of his magnificent beak. He has left his mark on us all.
MISSY Missy moved into our barn with her buddy Lionel in September 2014. They were both living in the barn of a local couple who were concerned that they could not provide sufficient warmth and shelter for the cats in winter. Sadly, lovely Lionel died two weeks after we got him, despite our vet's valiant efforts to save him (the vet thinks it was toxoplasmosis that killed him.) Missy, however, has done wonderfully well here. She is a darling petite cat who loves to be petted and will meow loudly for attention until she gets it! But forget picking her up; she wriggles like a fish on a hook if you try to hold her. Missy was born sometime in April 2011.
STEPHAN and AMANDA In October 2014, we adopted two Coturnix Quail from the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry OSPCA. A lady walking in a park in Cornwall saw some moron trying to feed these birds to a dog! She rescued them and turned them into the OSPCA. We have since added five more girls to the flock, because Stephan needs to, er, spread his love around so as not to wear the girls out! All the quails are named after OSPCA workers/volunteers: Stephan (for Stephanie), Amanda, Christina, Chantal, Ashley, Melina, and Julie (there are two Julies at the shelter. One has a chicken named after her, the other a quail.)
HONEY The feline personification of love, and one of the Greek triplets. Early on, Honey decided that she preferred to live in the house. I have never know a cat so content just to be carried around and snuggled. She is an absolutely exquisite little feline, and even certified cat-haters have fallen in love with her.
She specializes in inserting herself between your face and whatever tablet/phone/computer screen you may be staring at. She especially enjoys lying across your arms as you are typing.
She is a mighty huntress of dirty socks and old gloves, and delights in parading her "kills" around the house.
DUCKY In the winter of 2015, we also took in Ducky, our neighbour's sole Muscovy duck. He wasn't being particularly nice to her chickens and she thought he'd have a better home with our ducks. Ducky is slightly deranged, and doesn't quite fit in with the flock, but we love him anyway!
ESME (right, with Finney) We adopted Esme with her friend Finney on November 12, 2014. They are so closely bonded, I decided to put in this photo of Esme with her boyfriend. Esme was born in 2002 and is blind in her left eye due to chronic recurring uveitis. She is also prone to founder/laminitis and had foundered many times before we adopted her (and a couple of times since, despite our work with the vet and a horse dietician to get her problems sorted out.)
Touch wood, she is doing much better these days. She copes fine with her limited eyesight and is a sweet, well-behaved paint pony with an endearing nicker. Her manners are impeccable, and we could not love her more. She has been through more in her life than any animal should have to deal with. And she has the softest muzzle ever!
Sometimes I swear I can see her rolling her eyes at Finney...
HARRY and DIEGO On August 17, 2017, we adopted Harry and Diego the Saanen goats. These lovely boys were born around 2009 and are a fabulous addition to our farm. They had been living at a sanctuary that was in the process of closing, so they needed a new home. These two are the biggest goats we have, and perhaps the smartest... Harry figured out how to open the door to the goat supply room soon after he arrived! It took two break-ins before we got smarter than a goat, and put on a locking hook.
These boys are just the sweetest! Harry is the one with the wonky horn.
PIP We adopted Pip along with her friend Mootie in October 2014. Her owner was having health issues and had to move to a place that did not allow cats. We agreed to take in Mootie and Pip, but hilariously said they would have to be barn cats.
Suffice to say, they are no longer barn cats.
Pip was born in June 2013. She is quiet and smart and loves a good cuddle.She also loves to irritate the heck out of Emily.
THE GREEK TRIPLETS Buttercup, Daisy and Honey were abandoned at a dump in Syros, Greece. My friend Joan runs a cat rescue on the island, and took these three in. She desperately wanted to find them a home, but after a year there were still no takers. We told her that if she could get the cats to Canada, we would adopt them! Well, she did, and we did.
The girls were born in September 2013, and you can read more about their story on Joan's blog.
DAISY One of the Greek triplets. Daisy is the triplet who most likes lying around doing nothing. Movement is not her forté. She is soft and plump and loves it if you massage her belly with your foot. Her tail twitches like a rattlesnake's when she's happy. She thought it was ridiculous being a barn cat. She much prefers to lounge around my office, sleeping. Food is her reason for living, which is why she's now on a strict diet.
NELLI, PULMU,ALMA & TILDA In March 2015, we added four Plymouth Rock hens to our flock, whom Errol Flynn (who sadly died in 2016 at the age of 6) immediately took under his wing. He was probably relieved to find some others of his kind in the flock at last!
Their former owners took WONDERFUL care of them, giving them a special hand-mixed organic grain diet. Their first human mama is Finnish, hence the hens' exotic names. The girls are a delightful addition to the farm. They are great egg-layers, too.
Sadly, Alma died unexpected in 2016 but her sisters are thriving.
GEORGE In February 2015, we took in Honey and George, a lovely and beloved pair of Saxony ducks whose first family needed to find a new home for them. Unfortunately, Honey passed away in her sleep in the summer of 2016, but George (born, er, hatched on July 15, 2013) lives on. He is the undeniable king of the coop, a bossy little guy who loves to hog the swimming pools, charm the duck girls, and generally proclaim his greatness to all and sundry with very loud, very assertive quacking. George is extremely secure in his masculinity and has a way with the Muscovy ladies in particular.
He loves to be sprayed with the hose while you are filling his swimming pool. On his birthday in July, he gets a bowl of plain popcorn. He's special that way!
CINDY and NINJA On March 23, 2017, we welcomed Cindy and Ninja to the goat herd. They are a lovely pair of Pygmy-Nubian crosses, a sister and brother born in 2014. Ninja is quite protective of his sister, but both of them are super-friendly and love to interact with people. Still, we can't help but wonder how Ninja got his name! These two immediately befriended Salt, Pepper and Bert the day they arrived. Cindy has beautiful blue eyes. Both of these goat were in good shape when we got them and had been well looked-after, but their owner needed to find them a new forever home, so here they are! They have magnificent horns that they use for good, not evil.