I’ve been backing up photos through google+ (an option now available if you happen to use Picasa) and it struck me how many of the farm photos show groups of animals hanging out and getting along. Ducks and chickens, turkeys and Bantams, ducks and sheep, turkeys and hogs… The cat, Iago, and anybody who will stand still long enough for her to snuggle.
I’ve had horses for many years and one of the things I heard people say with an air of total authority was that horses and pigs do not get along.
I beg to differ! Ringo in particular is happy to befriend creatures of all stripes – he loves the cat, follows chickens around, and chats through the fence with the hogs (this is our old boar, Philip). When a particularly adventurous group of piglets got out, where did they head? Straight for Ringo! They tugged on his tail and chased each other through and around his feet and he just stood there, head down, curious and gentle.
The oddest bond he has ever formed was with a wild rabbit. The rabbit regularly sought him out and would sprawl in a sunny spot in the horse paddock. Ringo would amble over and proceed to give the rabbit a massage, which the rabbit appeared to thoroughly enjoy. How on earth this peculiar relationship ever began is beyond me. Why would a wild rabbit sit still long enough to allow a HUGE animal like a horse to walk over and give it a back rub that first time? Mysterious, but kind of cool.
Unfortunately, hawk, owl, or eagle likely got the rabbit because after several months of the rabbit hanging out with Ringo it suddenly disappeared.
Perhaps in the course of the Great Photo Sort Project I’ll come across a photo of the bunny and post it…
I was just settling in to write my daily post when an email arrived from C. at Spyder Ranch. Perhaps foolishly, I allowed myself to be distracted and opened the email. It contained this link to a marvelous documentary about Dr. Temple Grandin.
I first came across Dr. Grandin’s work many years ago when my mother said I had to read Thinking in Pictures. I confess I didn’t do every thing my mother told me to do and never did get around to reading the book, but Dr. Grandin’s work has been on my radar ever since. More recently, I was at a meeting of fellow livestock breeders and someone had brought along a copy of Humane Livestock Handling, a fascinating book that gets into the nitty gritty of how to better move livestock from point A to point B. Aimed more at larger operations, it reminded me about her work and how fascinating it was that someone with autism could have had such a huge impact on commercial agriculture.
Then, at the Sypder Ranch Christmas do, C. mentioned she was reading Animals Make Us Human and I knew I needed to get my finger out and get caught up on my way over due reading!
And then, the link to the documentary arrived in my in-box and guess what I’ve been doing during my designated blogging time? Yep. It’s great. I suggest you settle in with a cup of tea (if you haven’t already seen it) and use your designated blog-reading time to watch. The documentary is not only of interest to anyone who works with livestock, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of Asperger’s and autism, and the many challenges faced by individuals who must find ways to cope with the mainstream world.
(I love watching documentaries, btw – and am tempted to request your suggestions… except then I know you’d send me your favourites and I might never write another blog post again!! And, a belated thank you to those who suggested some amazing-sounding cookie recipes! Hoping to get back into baking mode soon and will report on my findings…)