Many of you know the history behind the place where we live and raise our son Glenn Jolson Brent. For those who don't, here is the story: I (Andrea) grew up on this farm in Northern Germany. My father had worked as a pig farmer there before I was born. When he remarried and had his two children, my brother and four years later me, my father's day job had become a tram and later a bus driver. He continued to have animals: sheep, chickens, geese, rabbits and cats (what I despised was that these animals were killed and eaten, except the cats).
At age 16 and a troublesome time which included a suicide attempt, I moved out and focused on education. I studied and lived in bigger cities, became interested in theater and filmmaking and traveled through Germany, Europe and the USA. In 2010, I met Wyman Brent, the founder of the Vilnius Jewish Public Library in Lithuania, married him and had our son Glenn Jolson Brent (named after Al Jolson who had brought us together). After Glenn's birth, we moved to the farm to have Glenn grow up close to his German grandparents as Wyman's entire family lived in the USA.
In 2017, my mother died and we had planned to move out. But at that time, I had met this young guy named Mirco who was desparately looking for a place to establish his horse riding school. Mirco was 18 at the time. I saw a lot of myself in him as I had planned to open a pet hotel on the family farm at age 18, but wasn't given permission by my father. I convinced my father to rent out parts of the barn and the fields to Mirco, so that he could establish his horse riding school. It went so well that it became Mirco's full-time job. Because Glenny loves Mirco so much (and vice versa) and because of the fact that there are so many ponies to grow up with (with the chance to ride them any time) and so many kids that come over, we decided to stay - despite a flat that is way too small.
We started to share animals with Mirco: 5 chickens, 4 geese, and 4 sheep. There are also 3 rabbits, 5 dwarf chickens, 2 budgies, 2 cats and a dog. We took them over recently as Mirco had to fully focus on his growing business. Glenny loves growing up with all the animals and many ways for him to have a happy and free childhood where he can try out new things every day, learning to understand the needs animals have, learning a lot about himself by experiencing that he can take over responsibility even at a young age and develop self-confidence that way. We never force him to work. Whatever he does, he does because he wants to do it. He has the good parts of my childhood: freedom, animals, adventure, but not the bad parts: He is never lonely as children come over regularly to have their riding lessons, no animals will ever be slaughtered or sold and despite his rural upbringing, we make sure that Glenn still has other, intellectual activities and stimulations. So, we decided to settle in a time when I wanted to not only continue my work as a documentary filmmaker, but also pursue my career as a dramaturg or assistant stage director - definitely a challenge.
Was it partly because of this switch to a rural life that led to the end of our relationship? Maybe. We are very different in regards of physical work and not always the best team in this context. Yet there were many other influences. In the long run, our living situation on this property will have to change, but it is not possible at this point. Glenny should definitely grow up with both his parents, especially since we cannot tell for how long Wyman will be able to be there for his son because of his incurable lung disease.
We enjoy the kids that are coming over and love showing them the other animals, too. Therefore, we thought it might be a wonderful idea to establish a visitor farm for kids who otherwise have very little or no contact with animals. We are also trying to offer this experience to seniors who can also enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of cake once everything is set up. This place (which we inherited in November of 2017) is in bad shape. House and barn roofs have to be replaced and we have to get rid of a lot of junk. Things are very slow, we cannot rent out any room as my father still lives in the big house, and although the relationship is not good, we want to be smooth with all the changes. But with every little step, things are starting to look better.
We do not want to turn our idea into a business, but we founded an association together with another friend ("Unsere kleine Farm"/"Our Little Farm"). We have donation boxes on our property in case visitors would like to make a donation. Our main idea is to give people the chance to adopt an animal for only 2 to 3 EUROS (3 to 4 USD) per month. This monthly donation will be spent on the animal's food. People who adopt an animal receive a certificate, and a sign is being placed inside the barn on our Bulletin board.
We would also like to offer this online to people who do not have the chance to visit us in person, yet would like to adopt an animal or make other donations to become a part of our little farm adventure. The certificate would be placed on this website, on our German website: www.dieponyfarm.de/unsere-kleine-farm, and inside our barn.
If you click on "Animal Sponsorship" in the menu above, you can take a look at all of our animals. This is the PayPal link for the sponsorhip and other donations, but you will also find it on the "Animal Sponsorship" page.
And yes, we are still planning to do our US trip as a family, but financing it will take longer than expected. :)
Three weeks ago we asked for name suggestions for our 4 dwarf chickens. Our rooster was already named Papito by Glenny. Today we chose the names we liked best, and here they are: Goldie, Rugy, Gina and Glenda. How to tell them apart? Here we go:
Goldie is the (surprise!) golden looking one, Ruby is also golden, but she is slightly more white in the front. Gina and Glenda are both greyish, but Gina has a darker head and is a Little less skinny than Glenda (wanted to word it nicely).
Have a look and try to tell them apart. :)
For almost two months we have had quite some problems with our geese Jack, Heidi and Else. We thought that the combination of one male and two females would guarantee peace, but no, it doesn't. It turned out that Jack and Heidi formed a couple and that Heidi started to attack Else - badly. Since some local goose experts found it very unusual that a female and not the male is the aggressive one, we had to figure out if we were correct with our assumption that Jack was the male and Heidi and Else were the females. Apparently, this is not too easy to tell as three different vets could not help us. With the help of YouTube and a local goose expert (via phone), we learned how to distinguish between goose male and female parts. :D The result was that everybody was whom we expected to be. Else was not a happy goose anymore as we had to separate her from the other two. Goose experts told us to get another male for her. So, here is Siegfried! It was not easy to find a male goose relatively close to our home (we still had to drive for two hours to get him).
Siegfried moved in yesterday, on March 10th, 2018. Thankfully, he and Else did not fight. Unfortunately, there is no mutual interest in one another either. Today we tright to put all the geese together to see if it works, but it doesn't. The first five minutes were peaceful, but then Heidi attacked both Siegfried and Else. Siegfried's wing gut caught in the fence and Wyman had to free him. Else almost got strangulated by the fence Heidi forced her to run into. Wyman got injured in the face and I (Andrea) got bitten in the leg - which bled, although I was wearing two layers of pants.
So, now we have two separate goose couples (although one pair is not even a couple yet). All these problems lead to different fencing plans. There is a lot of work to do at the moment as we are also extablishing our visitor farm and everything should look nice. Andrea will leave for her theater internship in the middle of April and won't be home for six weeks. And off to work we go!
Mother, filmmaker, translator, editor.