The major challenge has been the snow, ice, and cold. While I�ve been away, 18 inches of snow have fallen, making sanctuary operations more challenging than usual.
Pippin, our 30 year old Welsh pony is recovering nicely after his tooth surgery. He stopped eating and lost weight rapidly because it hurt so much to chew. The vet sedated him and removed the offending tooth by breaking it into 3 pieces. Antibiotics cleared an underlying gum infection and his appetite returned. We�ve enhanced his diet with timothy hay pellets, a mixture of high fiber grains for senior horses, and grass hay. It�s great to see him healthy and happy again.
The other horses, Amber the Arabian mare, and Sweetie, the Welsh pony, continue to thrive and the herd gets along well. We�ve moved them into the barn during the storms to keep them warm and and dry.
We learned this week that goats do not like to eat off the ground. We�ve been creating piles of timothy hay for them and although they�ve eaten them, they left a lot behind. Kathy ordered a wall mounted goat feeder for me to install when I return.
In my absence Kathy has organized classes at the Sanctuary and juggled interior painting/repair work around the classes. She�s also designed a second run in for the goat paddock so that we can house rescue donkeys in the same space as the goats. Donkeys can serve as a livestock guardian animals, keeping the goats safe from coyotes, bobcats, and other predators. There is a wonderful donkey rescue organization in New England that we�ll be working with.
I�ve begun conversations with other non-profits in our local community about how best to collaborate. We can share our sanctuary space for educational events, connect our trails to other community walking trails, offer our support to other local causes. Since our goal is to use the Unity Sanctuary as a public gathering space for the benefit and education of the community, it�s important that we identify all the possibilities and present them to the Sanctuary board for discussion.
Next week, a Welsh pony, Millie, arrives as well as Penny the yorkshire pig. Our paddocks and barns are ready to receive them. Our daily routines of alpaca care, pig care, horse care, poultry care, and dog care are now optimized, so we are efficient at meeting everyone�s needs.
I return to Boston on Friday night and will spend the weekend doing all the maintenance, repair, and building tasks I missed during the week. HIMSS (a major national IT conference) begins next weekend, so February is a tricky month to balance job, farm, sanctuary, live and travel. So far, so good.