Saturday, May 29, 2010

Me! A Versatile Blogger!

Many thanks to A City Chicken Farm for passing on the Versatile Blogger Award!  It's rewarding to be thought of as versatile.  I guess that having a full time job, being a part time law student, and having a farm, kind of force me into being a little bit versatile.  So, in order to follow the proper rules for this award, I'm supposed to tell you 10 things about me that you might not know.  These things may not be easy to think of, but I'll give it a go!

1.  I've now been sitting here for about 10 minutes trying to think of something.  Hmmm.  I think I might have said this before, but I really hate to fly.  I used to like flying when I was a kid.  We visited my relatives in the UK pretty much annually, and I thought flying was a lot of fun.  Something changed, maybe around high school time.  Someone I didn't know well in high school died in the Lockerbie incident.  I'm not sure if that's related to it or not.  I've been for hypnotism - it didn't help.  I had a job with a lot of flying involved, for a couple of years, on the order of 8-10 flights per month.  I thought I would get over it.  I didn't.  In fact, it got worse with every single flight, until I got to the point that I would cry and tremble uncontrollably and sometimes cry out in fear.  Now I take medication, to which I am resistant, so I have to take 3 times the normal dose.  I just prefer not to fly.

2.  I had a lot of trouble deciding "what I want to be when I grow up."  I went to university for archaeology originally, but after a year, decided it wasn't for me.  The second year of my BA, I took primarily French courses, intending to be a translator.  I then decided that wasn't for me either.  I finished my BA in the third year by doing English as a major, which was the only option for me to finish in the 3 year span.  I didn't know what to do next.  I worked for a couple of years at a firm that helped downsized executives find new employment.  I got bored, so I went back to school for a BS in Biology.  After one year, I learned about an environmental engineering program, so I switched to an Engineering degree.  After one year in that, I determined that multi-variable calculus was not something I was born to do.  I switched yet again, back into a BS, but this time for Environmental Biology.  I finished that and then decided to do a PhD in genetics and molecular biology.  After a year, I realized I could not tolerate being in the lab for another 5+ years that it would take for the PhD, so I switched into a MS, and finished that.  Then I worked in advertising for nearly 4 years, for agricultural clients.  I moved to the USA 8 years ago to take a job as a trainee patent agent, passed the patent bar within my first year, and after doing the job for 5 years, decided to go to law school part time.  Now I have one year left in my law degree (JD).  Presumably I'll be a patent attorney after that, at least initially.  But I feel like the journey is never complete.  Sometimes I want to go to vet school.  Sometimes I want to quit working and just do farming.  I really still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  

3.  Despite nearly 14 years in university, I have no school debts.  All my schooling was paid for by scholarships, and some scholarship "matches" that my parents generously gave me, except for my JD, which is currently being reimbursed by my current employer as long as I make a B- or better in each course.  It pays to study hard.

4.  I believe that, instead of using animals for cosmetic testing, we should offer convicted felons the opportunity to make extra money by doing cosmetics testing instead.  Those people who are serving life sentences could volunteer to do cosmetics testing similar to that carried out on rabbits.  They would make money for this that would help pay the restitution to their victims.  In addition, it could be imposed upon prison inmates who do not follow the rules as a punishment for bad behaviour.  Really.  I think this would be a great program and would significantly reduce the need for animal testing.  Then products could have a little blurb on the back that says "This product tested on humans" and we would know it was safe.

5.  I really, really dislike using public restrooms.  It's not because I'm worried about germs or things like that.  I can use them with no problem when nobody else is in there, because then it feels like a private restroom.  I just have a great deal of difficulty using them when others are in the restroom area.  I think it's psychological.  Sometimes I go to a restroom at work, and there is someone else in there, so I have to go to one on a different floor or in a different building, so I can find one that is empty.  

6.  I don't like spicy food.  I like herbs - thyme, ginger, tarragon, basil, mint, rosemary, etc.  When it comes to "hot" spice though, I have no tolerance.  I don't even like using black pepper on my food.   I despise chili powder, curry powder, hot peppers in any form, and I really dislike any form of pepper - black, white, red, or otherwise.  I can't tolerate cilantro either.  My absolute most hated spice is cumin.  I just cannot even put it near my mouth.  I smell it and that's enough.  Ugh.  Mexican food is my nemesis, along with Indian food.  All I can eat at those restaurants is the bread.

7.  I help turtles cross the road.  I carry a towel in my trunk in case I find an animal that needs help, including turtles.  I use my winter car scraper (on a long handle) to assist snapping turtles get across the road so that they don't get hurt.  I feel this is my duty and obligation, since it is the hand of humanity that has impacted their territory.

8.  I don't watch TV.  Really.  No really!  In the past 3 years, I watched some winter Olympics highlights (this year) and a few broadcasts on tornado warnings in my area, just to see what was happening.  I have never watched the following programs:  Lost, American Idol, the vampire show that a lot of people seem to watch which I don't even know the title for, and I have never seen an episode of MASH, Barney Miller, All in the Family, The Simpsons, South Park, The Jeffersons, Mission Impossible, I Dream of Jeannie, Hogan's Hero's, Hill Street Blues, House, and numerous other such programs (Kelly told me the names of all these because I could not have even told you the names, but he said most people would have heard of them.)  Hmmm...does this make me not versatile?!

9.  I worry a little bit about being hit by a meteorite.  I especially think about it when I am driving.  I mean, what if one came through the roof of my car?  Or, what if I was in an airplane (ugh...) and a meteorite hit it?  Or what if it came through the window while I am sitting here typing?!  I think about this from time to time.  It worries me.  In fact, I worry more about being hit by a meteorite than experiencing a tornado.  Yes, I know this is not logical or reasonable or even rational.

10.  I'm really not as strange as you now think I am.  Well...maybe a little bit strange.  But still, I'm versatile!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I am so embarrassed

Finally, FINALLY....Claire said that I could do a blog post.  The rabbits around here are seriously under-represented on this blog.  I am really in a snit about it.  I mean, how often have YOU seen a rabbit here?  Maybe in the background, small and insignificant.  Pffft.  We are fiber animals!  Just like those smelly sheep!  And we deserve equal rights!  So today, Claire says "Sure Maple, you can do a blog post today."  So why am I embarrassed?  Because....oh geez....this is so awful.....she only said that AFTER she gave me my summer shearing!!  I look like a FREAK!  Nobody is going to take me seriously.  Seriously!  No, I don't even want to be seen...
There are three of us rabbits.  There used to be five, but two of us have moved on to the big carrot patch in the sky.  So there's me, and there's Walnut (he's a male) and then there's Kyndling.  Walnut and I (Maple) are full German Angora rabbits.  We are both sort of peachy beige colour.  Kyndling is a grey angora, and we're not sure if she's full angora or not, because she's kind of small, but she came from the animal shelter which is really cool and we're glad she got to live here.  Walnut lives with her, because Kyndling has had "brain surgery" already.  I get my own cage because I haven't had "brain surgery" yet.  I am not sure why I would need brain surgery.  Claire says it's so we don't make more bunnies.  What does that have to do with brains?  And get this - she's in law school!  Great lawyer she'll be, thinking that more bunnies come out of brains.  Here's Walnut - he got sheared too.  He's trying to protect Kyndling from the embarrassment.
So anyway, Claire uses our fibre for spinning.  She mixes it with sheep's wool and she says it makes really nice yarn.  So in spring, she gives us a nice shearing, so that we will be cooler in the hot Iowa summer.  That's great, except that we do not look our best when we are sheared.  It's totally humiliating to be shown on the blog with my summer cut.
She really doesn't even do a very good job.  I mean, she can't keep all the fur the same length.  She calls it "The Lumpy Bumpy" cut and says all the animals want it.  Yeah, whatever.  Not on this planet, lady!  Look at this, even the baby goat thinks I look strange.
 I see that look in her eye.  She's a loud one you know.  But she smells alright I guess.
Oh yeah, see my tail?  Get this....Claire says "I left you a fly swatter on the end of your tail."  She thinks that's cute!  What the heck is she thinking?!  I'm not a COW!  I don't swat flies with my tail!  I'm so humiliated.

So here's the pile of my fleece that she "rejected" for spinning.  She keeps the best bits in a separate container.  This stuff she said was a little bit "matted" or tangled.  So she puts it on the ground because little birds use it for their nests.  I guess that's a nice thing.  The barn swallows have babies in their nest right now and they use lots of chicken feathers in it.
Do you think if I just kind of roll around in it, then it would stick to me again?
Nah, I didn't think so either.  So, it's been good to blog and all, but kind of embarrassing too, so I'm off to look for other exciting things now.  Stop looking at my tail.  This is such a travesty....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Flurry's Lamb

I was very relieved that Flurry the Icelandic sheep had her lamb on Sunday - a beautiful ewe lamb weighing in at 10 lbs.  I had to start class again on Monday at 9 am, so I really didn't want her holding out until this week.   Flurry is a first-time mother, so she is not at all sure about this whole "taking care of baby" thing.  At first, she did lick her lamb clean and paid attention to her, but once she was up and trying to nurse, Flurry decided that she was not at all interested in that part of the responsibility.  She began to head-butt the lamb away.  I had to get into the pen and hold on to Flurry while her lamb nursed.  Fortunately, she doesn't seem to have a problem with that procedure, so now I can simply enter the lambing pen and stand there while the lamb nurses.  If I leave, Flurry resumes the head-butting behaviour.  It's rather annoying for me because it means extra time out of my day, and in addition, it means I need to keep Flurry and her lamb inside the barn until she is nearly weaned, because out in the field, I doubt that I can get close enough to do any good.  Flurry is usually a skittish sheep.  Still, I shouldn't complain because her lamb is absolutely gorgeous.
She has an incredible fleece with white, black, grey, and touches of cinnamon throughout.  She has solid black rear legs and a solid black tail.  Her front legs are lighter with the fawn colour around the knees.
The front of her fleece shows more of the blue-faced Leicester crimp like her father...
...but the back of her fleece is more Icelandic in character.  I'm sure it will be a wonderful spinning fleece.
Now, if I can just get Flurry to be more agreeable to nursing, all will be well!
Lucky Nickel continues to do well and is enjoying time spent outside in the daytime, but she still comes in at night because the other goats don't really want her near them.  Poor girl!
The front garden is coming along really well now and I'm pleased with the choices I made in allium bulbs (wonderfully deer resistant).  The new ginkgo tree is also looking healthy.
On the weekend, we spent many hours installing new fencing on the lower 3 acres to expand the sheep pasture area.  Although it's not ready yet, the fencing is going in well and I'm really pleased with the woven wire fence I chose from Premier Fencing.  It's sturdy and easy to work with.
I managed to escape being damaged by the thorny locust trees...
...but I did manage to get a nasty gash in my leg from some barbed wire left behind by the previous owner of the land.  This necessitated a sudden trip to the doctor on Monday for a tetanus booster, since I hadn't had one in 8 years, and when you have a nasty injury with something rusty, they recommend a booster ahead of the 10-year normal schedule.  Good thing I have so much free time in my day for doctor visits!  HA!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In which we answer some questions!

(sorry for the weirdness with the font size in this post...can't figure it out...)

The ever-so-lovely Isobelle Golightly sent me a lovely award today.  She got it from Millie the goat here in Iowa.  I didn't even KNOW Millie, let alone the fact that she was right here in Iowa with her own blog!  How exciting.  I think it's a very pretty award and I agree that life is very good, but this award has caused a disagreement.  You see, I thought I should answer the questions, but Lucky Nickel said that it was really a goat sort of questionnaire, since both Isobelle and Millie got to answer theirs, and that it was presumptuous of me to think that I should do the answers.  We had a little committee about it, and we've decided that we'll both give our answers.  I'm going to write mine in this usual text colour, and Lucky Nickel wants hers to be pink.  

1. What would your prefect day consist of?
I get to go first because I'm younger.  That's what we decided.  My perfect day is waking up by jumping on Claire's head.  I tried giving her goat kisses but the reaction isn't as interesting, so I went back to jumping.  Then I have bottles all day whenever I want.  I might go outside and run around in the yard too.  Then some more bottles.  A bit of hay.  Oh, then I'll jump on Claire's lap while she is studying, and leave little hoof bruises all over, just to show I was there.  Another bottle.  Then bedtime and jumping on the bed for a long time before I go to sleep.  And NO diapers.  I don't like them.  Pffft.
Well, for me, the perfect day is no work, no school, no studying, no dishes to be done, no laundry to be done, no deadlines, no stress.  A little gardening, spending time with the animals...
What about me?
Yes, yes, spending time with you too, Lucky Nickel.  Also some spinning time, and some quiet reflective time walking in the woods and listening to the call of nature.  A nice glass of wine with a nice dinner that I didn't have to cook for myself, and then a good book to curl up with.  And a goat on my lap.  

2. How would you describe yourself if you were an item of clothing?
Who needs clothing?  This is a silly question.  
Well Lucky Nickel, you said you wanted to help...
Alright, alright.  I would be a hat.  Because I like to jump on your head.  I think I would be a stunning hat.  You could walk around and people would say to you "Oh, where did you get that hat?" and you would smile and say "It was custom made for me you know" and they would look wistful and wander away.
Well, let me see.  I think I'd be a sort of multi-coloured flowing long skirt that is all different patterns and shades but they work well together, so it's very adaptable and comfortable, but also a little bit hard to pin down.  Maybe it's a little bit sparkly in some places too.  Did you just roll your eyes at me, Lucky Nickel?

3. What hobbies are you currently working on?
I'm working on several goat olympic events, including high jump, power jump, extreme jump, super jump, long jump, spinning jump, flip jump, just to name a few.  I'm very athletic.  
I'm spinning yarn from fleece when I have time.  I love gardening but I haven't much time for it right now.  So much time is taken up with studying.  
Yeah, I know, you're kind of boring like that.  
Lucky Nickel!  You take that back!  I'm working very hard and that helps with things like feed and fencing.  

4. Walking in the woods in wellies or bare foot on the beach?
Oh yes, I am a woods kind of goat.  That is where the best browsing is.  The sand might get between my hooves and that would be uncomfortable.  And I don't really look my best in a bikini.  
Neither do I, Lucky Nickel.  I'm a woods girl too.  I like to see the wildflowers and birds and animals and feel the peaceful hand of nature at work.  

5. Have you ever hugged or sang to a tree?
We goats frequently hug trees.  Here are Misky and Larke tree hugging, yesterday

I hug trees too.  And I sing in the woods sometimes, really softly, so I don't scare the animals.  
Remember last night, you sang me the goat lullaby to help me sleep.  
Yes, I did!  I'm glad you remember that.  It's called Rock-a-bye Goatie.  
It had trees in it too!  I guess you're OK at singing.  
Gee thanks.

6. Growing your own veggies or nipping to the supermarket?
I don't have to grow my own veggies.  Claire does that for me.  She's a good gardener.
Well I do try, when I have time.  I need to expand the raised beds.  But I do buy frozen veggies too.  

7. Have you found anyone exciting in your family tree?
Well my mom was named Puffin, and she was exciting and had a really big udder and would have been able to give me lots of milk, but a bad thing happened and she died after I came out.  So I don't know any more about my family than that.  I had a brother too but he's the one that caused her problems, so that's not exciting.
Well Lucky Nickel, your family story is rather sad, but you are part of the whole farm family, and that's exciting isn't it?  I mean, you are part of a big family of sheep and goats and llamas and chickens and geese and ducks and rabbits.  
Well, OK, yeah, that might be exciting.  Where is the tree?  
What tree?  
The tree with my family in it...duhhh....don't you remember the question?  
Oh, that's an expression.  A family "tree" is just a way to describe all your family members going back over time, and if you draw it on paper, it looks like a tree.  
Well that's a rip-off.  You can't hug a tree like that.  Or browse it.  Well, I do eat paper...

8. Slap up meal in a posh restaurant or fish 'n' chips from the wrapper?
Well, as you know, I eat pretty much anything, so it doesn't really matter where it is.  I do have a fondness for the twigs you brought in yesterday.  There should be a restaurant called "The Twiggery" for goats.  
Well, I do like a posh restaurant myself.  I'd rather eat out at nice restaurants less frequently than eat at chain-style restaurants more regularly.  I like to try new and different foods.  But nothing too spicy, and definitely no cumin, no curry, no chili peppers, and NO cilantro.  
You're so picky...

9. Which element do you most resonate with, Earth, Air, Fire or water?
I think I'm an air goat.  Sort of like Isobelle.  I like to be bouncing and flying and leaping.  But I do like to land on earth when I finish.  I'm not at all interested in fire.  No thank you.
Well, I'm an Aries.  I think that's a fire sign.  But I think I am an earth girl at heart.  Always happy with my hands in the dirt!  
I'm an Aries too.  That's why I'm so stubborn.  
Indeed.  We work well together!

10. Do you believe in fairies?
But who wouldn't?  They are all around us!  
I do believe they are, Lucky Nickel.  Be careful not to land on any of them when you're jumping.

So who are we going to pass this on to?  Isobelle!  No, no, she already did it!  Oh yeah. Well how about Pricilla?  Sure!  We will send it to her.  And I'll send it to Polly too!  And anyone else who wants to do it from my blog roll - feel free!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Strong in this one,     the force is. 

Learns well, she does, from skilled master.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Two down, one to go

Exams, that is.  I have a total of 3 final exams this semester, and I've completed two of them, the second one being this morning.  My last one is on Thursday, and I will be very glad to have that behind me.  Then the summer semester will begin, and I will have one exam on May 28, two in July, and another in August.  So, it doesn't really end.  However, the positive thing that I must focus on is that this coming summer is my last summer in law school, because next summer I'll be studying for the State Bar Exam, which is at once a relief that my classes will be finished, and a huge looming terror of an exam that lasts for multiple days and which, if I don't pass on the first time, will have to be taken again the next February.  Ugh.

Back to my title: two down, one to's the same thing with the sheep!  Well, at least the "one to go" part.  Last time I blogged about lambs, Poppy had given birth to her single ram lamb, and I was waiting on my ewes who were not playing by the marking harness rules.  Paisley, Flurry, Oreo, Bianca and Buttercup were taunting me with their big bellies and full udders.  Since's four down and one to go.  First, here's Poppy with her ram lamb, Paddington.  He's a very rapidly growing boy who runs like the wind.  He's going to be a big ram with a gorgeous fleece.
I'll start with the sad news.  Bianca tried to give birth on May 3 (her predicted day was May 9).  When Igot out to the barn, she had a partially birthed ram lamb hanging out of her, dead.  He had presented head first but with one leg back.  I am not sure if he was initially alive and because she could not get him out, he died, or whether he was already dead.  I suspect he was alive because he looked perfectly normal, so that makes me really sad.  He was, however, enormous.  It took a long time to slowly work him out of her, and by the time he was out, she just wandered off.  She didn't even turn to look.  I think she knew.  I checked her internally and she only had the one, so thankfully no more lambs were lost due to the difficulties with the first.  He would have been a whopping huge lamb.

In better, and surprising, news - Buttercup gave birth right on schedule to quadruplets on May 2!  She actually had quintuplets, but one was not fully formed in my opinion.  The 5th lamb was only about a pound - very tiny and a strange color.  This leads me to think it died in utero.  The 4 quads were incredibly active almost right away, and all were ready to nurse.  Here they are shortly after birth.
She had 3 ewes, weighing 5, 7, and 8 lbs, and a ram lamb weighing 8 lbs also.  They are Polypay-blue faced Leicester crosses.  Remarkably, Buttercup is having no problems keeping up with feeding all of them and they are growing like weeds.
 Here they are today - just as cute as can be!
They seem to show strong BFL characteristics in their fleece, but they have the Polypay head shape.  Their ears are more BFL in style, but smaller.
Following Buttercup's stellar performance, Oreo gave birth (nearly 2 weeks later than her supposed due date) on May 8 to the most spectacularly coloured lambs I've seen yet on the farm.  She carries the mouflon and spotting genes, and those showed nicely in her lambs.  Both lambs were 8 lbs and the ewe lamb is a gorgeous black and white spotted pattern.
She will probably be mostly grey as she gets older, but right now, she's just stunning.
Oreo's ram lamb is a beautiful mouflon with fawn under parts and some white on his head.  He, too, is just beautiful.
Both of Oreo's lambs were running around with her in the field at about 7 am when I went outside.  In fact, they were so active I had trouble catching them to weigh them!  They are Icelandic mule lambs, which means they are born to an Icelandic ewe who was bred to a blue faced Leicester ram.  Cesar the guardian llama was very interested in checking them both out and learning to know his new flock members.
Finally, Paisley clocked in on Mother's Day, May 9 (not her April 28 due date!!) as a first time mom with an adorable ewe lamb weighing 7 lbs.  She is black with a lot of white and tan "frosting" to her fleece.  She is a full blue faced Leicester lamb and will be registered along with the others soon.
So, the last hold-out is dear Flurry, who has always been one of my most rambunctious and difficult-to-handle sheep.  She is now in the lambing jug in the barn and I am trying to make the most of the opportunity of her forced confinement by spending time with her every day.  Sorry for the glowing eyes as a result of flash!
I have actually made considerable progress in being able to touch her.  She will now allow me to give her neck rubs, which she never would have deigned to permit when I first got her a couple of years ago.  I'm really pleased with this progress and I'm trying to show her that being with people is not the dreadful thing she thought it was.  She was a survivor of a pack of 3 Saint Bernard dogs who attacked her flock, killing 3 of the 6 sheep.  It's no wonder she was skittish to start with.  My hope is that she will continue to mellow out with time.  She's the only one in my flock with the phaeomelanin gene, which is something I'd like to perpetuate.  We'll see what she does with her first lamb, probably in the next few days.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Claire is letting me blog today.  She is busy studying for something called an exam.  I am not entirely sure about what that is, but it sounds bad.  I don't want any exams.  So my name is Lucky Nickel.  Here I am.
Right now, I live in the people house.  Claire took me outside to meet the other goats.  I do not like them.  One of those goats put her head under my belly and caught me on her horns and flung me across the pasture.  It was terrible!  She was so mean to me!  I didn't even do anything.  She has a baby goat of her own, so she should know better.  Claire said it happened too fast for her to help me.  After that, I just stayed on her lap.  There are 3 other baby goats but they don't smell like me and they are very rambunctious and I am also rambunctious, but only in the house.  Outside, I am nervous and I just stay with Claire.  She says I have to get used to the other goats.  Pfffft...

I had a mom too, but a bad thing happened that I don't really understand, so I didn't really know my mom, and really Claire is my mom.  She says I am very lucky and that I was brought into the world by her vet, Dr. Nicholson, so that is why I am Lucky Nickel.  She feeds me every day, and sometimes I get something she calls "sheep milk" mixed in with my other milk, and it's really good.  She says Bianca sends it to me, but I don't know Bianca.  Here is the sheep's milk that Claire got this morning from Bianca.  She said it's 1.5 cups.
She says Bianca is very nice to let us have her milk.  She also said she's going to make cheese with Bianca's milk.  I don't know what cheese is either but maybe I can eat it.

I like to be in charge in the home office.  Generally, I take my seat upon my throne and I keep an eye on things, to make sure everything is going according to my liking.  You can see that I have a very regal presence.
Sometimes I get busy on the computer, and you can see me here, typing this blog.  Claire took my picture so you could see how intently I worked on it.  My hooves are quite small so the keyboard is no problem.
I just need to check what's in the desk drawer, in case there are tasty treats in there.
I also like to practice for the goat olympics.  I have heard it is a big deal around here.  I am going for high jump I think.  Maybe hurdles.  What do you think?  Do you like my form?  I have a great deal of skill for my age.  That's what Claire says anyway.
Then I get back up on my throne...
...and I check for crumbs that might have fallen out of somebody's pocket.

Sometimes I get tired, and I just like to rest on Claire's lap.  She has a nice warm lap and I am very comfy there.  She says nice things to me and it makes me feel loved and special.
Do you know that I get to sleep on her pillow at night?!  It's very comfy too.  I scream loudly if she puts me on the floor, because I don't belong on the floor.  It is not befitting of a goat of my stature.  I generally wake her up about 6 am, and I find the best way is to jump on her head.  It is sure to do the trick except sometimes it seems to make her a bit moody.  If she doesn't get up to feed me right away, I practice my bouncing from her head to her toes and back again.  This is invariably effective at getting her up.

Here we are having a nice cuddle.
I like to stand on her lap and put my hooves on her shoulders.  She makes little kissy noises and tells me I'm a good goat.  It's really quite good accommodation here.  Anyway, Claire says my typing is distracting her studies, so I will have to end here.  It's been good to have a Lucky Nickel blog day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do they see what I see?

I'm always fascinated by the different structures, shapes, colours and other characteristics of the eyes of my animals.  The variation is tremendous.  I find it remarkable how nature has adapted each creature's eye for its needs, and how they all serve a similar purpose, but they are all so unique to that animal.  I thought I'd share my fascination with eyes through a series of pictures I took.  I hope you enjoy them!

One of the mini-Nubian and angora cross young goats.  What eyelashes!
Blue faced Leicester ewe.
A broody hen!
Petunia the senior ewe.
Maple, the angora rabbit.

It's interesting to me to note how most of my animals have their eyes positioned on the sides of their heads, rather than in front, like human eyes.  This means that they have a much wider field of vision, but I believe it also means that they don't see terribly well directly in front of them.  So how does their brain process what they see?  Does it produce a combined picture with a "blank" in the middle (i.e. directly forward)?  Does it produce two images that they "view" separately in their mind?  

A Pekin duck.
Lovely llama lady!
Miss Marshmallow, of course.
Easter egger hen.

Who sees in colour?  Who sees in black and white?  Do they perceive colours the same way I do?  What does a sheep see when it looks at a yellow dandelion?  What does a chicken see when it looks at another chicken?  Does a white chicken know that a brown chicken is different from itself?  I do believe that animals can identify eyes in other species.  Chickens have a tendency to stare at my eyes, which sometimes makes me nervous because I think they might peck at them.  Do they look at them because they are shiny?  because they have small movements?  because they can tell I am looking back at them?

Blue-faced Leicester - Polypay cross lamb.
Blue-faced Leicester ewe.  They have a habit of looking surprised!
Olwyn, the blue-faced Leicester lamb.
Young light Brahma chick.
Icelandic ewe.
Who are you calling chicken?
Stormy the cria.
Finally one of my favourites - Lotus the Nigerian dwarf goat.  
Next time you look at your animals, whether they be farm animals or pets (or both), take a moment to study the beauty of their eyes, and maybe ask yourself if they see what you see.