In Northern Germany, summer is almost over. We propbably experienced the dryest summer ever since the weather was recorded. Only recently it started to rain again occasionally. That led to quite a few problems, No. 1 is that there was and is not enough food for all our animals. Our sheep and horses need their grass. We had to buy typical winter food like hay, silage and corn. Some sensitive animals reacted to the food change. Our Cameroon sheep are especially picky and sensitive. They rejected the silage, only ate a little of the offered hay, so we tried to compensate with grain - which they love. Our little Hoppe (who is actually not so little anymore) got seriously ill, also because he was stealing grain from the ducks and the rabbits. How he made it through the fences and even the rabbit cage doors? Well, he knows how to use his horns. We will have to get very creative to stop him. Hoppe's rumen, the first stomach, eventually got all clogged up, he developed a fever, stopped eating and things did not look too good for him. Our vet gave us medicine for him, and thankfully Hoppe got all better. There is now grass growing again as it started to rain about a week ago.
The dry summer also led to a huge mite outbreak in our chicken house. It took us a while to figure out what was wrong with them. Two of our chickens got very ill, one died and another one had to be put to sleep. It was our weakest chickens which we only got a few months ago. They had not been fed and treated well in their previous home, so we thought it might have been that along with their age. Eventually, we discovered the thousands of mites in the chicken house - they hide very well until they attack at night. We treated the chickens, killed the mites, and now all chickens are doing fine again. We had mites last year, but it was not that bad. They suck quite a bit of blood out of their victims.
Yes, animals died on our farm, but many more were born. We were able to observe how 18 little chickens hatched, which was quite exciting. We had lost our white Hettie who was breeding behind the fence where a fox found her (instead of us), but she had left 5 of her eggs which eventually hatched under Emma. It is hens only, so we are able to keep them all. Grace was breeding on 13 eggs, and she is still quite busy with her offspring (it is not all hers actually, you can tell by the colors). Unfortunately, 7 of them are roosters, but we will be able to keep 2 in different groups. We will hopefully find a good home for the others. The hens we will all keep.
Our running ducks - who love snails (the actual reason why we got them) had a snail-less summer, it was simply too hot and too dry for the snails. Recently, one of our dwarf chicken eggs hatched. Ruby was breeding for the first time and only one made it out of the shell. And we accidentally got a new cat! A kitten was brought to us in June, it was only a few weeks old at the time. It was found in the middle of a field, maybe a bird of prey had lost it during the flight since there was no other kitten or anything else around, but who knows! The people who found her thought that our farm was the perfect place for the little baby. We didn't want to keep it at first, but yeah, you can guess the rest. We also got a new dog, a little Chihuahua and Jack Russel mix named Cookie. Our bigger dog Leia is still on our farm every day, but she now lives with Mirco (the horse riding teacher) and his friend Julian. They all got so attached to each other, that it was the best for everbody. But we are all a big family anyway. Oh, and then we took in two rabbits that otherwise would have ended up at an animal shelter. The child that was supposed to take care of them lost interest, so the parents decided that the rabbits should find a new home.
We did so much work during the summer, it is unimaginable. And as on any farm, the work never ends. We emptied barns, moved stuff, burned stuff, painted, planted, harvested, repaired, built. And of course, we are not done yet. Andrea only returned from her theater work at the beginning of June, and there wasn't a single day without farm work. But all the work does pay off: The place looks so much better now, and from time to time, we can welcome quite a few children to spend some time with our farm animals. We do all that on the basis of donations. We also now see how much this lifestyle has had an effect on our son Glenny: He is so much more open to other people that it is amazing to watch. There are different children of all ages on our property on a daily basis, and he enjoys playing with all of them. He also developed a strong sense of responsibility and quite a bit of self-confidence in his own abilities. This reminds us every day of why we are doing all of this, because sometimes we do have doubts. Wyman's lung disease takes his toll on him, and the farm is a lot of work for a woman alone who is not that young anymore and who also has to take care of the family. ;) Big investments like the roof repair work still have to be made.
We recently obtained a little tractor which is a lot of fun to ride, respecially for Glenny. Andrea is able to give Glenny what she herself loved about farm life while growing up, and it feels like life is coming together. Everything seems to make sense, and it is a good feeling for her to be able to fill her farm experience with a new meaning. Perpetuating the good while making adjustments to avoid the bad experiences.
We are now also offering cooperating events with Mirco's horse riding school where we bring together children with our farm animals for a few hours, a little extended version of our individual children's program.
This Sunday, we will be hosting our big farm event and we are quite busy with cleaning up everything and get everything ready for the big day. Very soon, we will also host the first horse riding tournament on our property. Glenny will participate and is very excited already. So are his parents.
We will keep you posted and will catch up on posting all of our video material. Stay tuned!
Mother, filmmaker, translator, editor.