in his own sweet time

The Fall newsletter included a brief about Mister Bill. That isn’t the first time that giant Boer-crossed-with-something (likely giraffe) Billy made The Quarry Farm quarterly news. Several years ago, Doug and Sandy Downing brought Bill here to join the Marsh, S’more and Buddy herd. He was such a huge presence—not just in size but in attitude and personality—that he of the magnificent curled horns was featured in the next newsletter. In the Fall 2018 piece, we talked about his August trip to the Ohio State University Veterinarian Clinic’s Farm Animal Services. The diagnosis was megaesophagus. The muscular tube connecting his throat to his stomach had become enlarged, probably due to an injury. His appetite remained big, but the food wasn’t getting where it was supposed to go. The vet prescribed penicillin injections for aspiration pneumonia and a diet rich in soaked in alfalfa pellets, fed from buckets elevated enough to keep his throat as upright as possible.

20180828_184536Bill took to the increased menu with relish. After a week of antibiotics, he was strong enough to say no way to the syringe. He licked his bucket clean before joining the other goats to nibble tall goldenrod and mulberry leaves in the lowland. But there was more going on inside his barrel chest, after all. Several days ago, Billy couldn’t stand. It took two of us to walk him to a bed under the pines where he could be in shade and good company. Dr. Babbitt was scheduled for a Friday house call. The plan was to fill Bill’s red bucket with taste treats before a final injection and release.

As always, Mister Bill had a mind of his own. Last night, as I was mowing the south paddock, I saw Rowan cross the lawn to Bill, His bucket was a few feet away and his body prostrate. He was panting and panicked. Steve and I sat with him and stroked his long nose until he calmed. Rowan was with him when he died 30 minutes later. He was buried in a 6’ x 10’ grave, a hole that seemed small for such a mountain of a goat. In the end, it was too big for what little remained.

But this story isn’t about us, even though I’ve spent three windy paragraphs about what us humans did during Bill’s end days. It’s what the animals did, what they always do. We only skirt the edges of what it is.

As I sat on the ground with Bill, swatting and spritzing biting flies from his legs and mine, Nemo worried around us. Funny, since Bill’s megaesophagus was probably caused by a winter food skirmish with the huge pig. Last night, Nemo quietly lay down under the pine nearest Bill, even though there were fresh apples just on the other side of the fence. I walked away. Nemo stayed. In ones and twos, the other goats, pigs and donkeys came. Each stood over the body for a bit. Elora bleated. We waited. We buried him, digging the hole just a little deeper to make way for the massive right horn. I looked out the front window after dark and could see S’more and Elora sparing near the bare soil.

Steve said, if he were to write this, he would concentrate on what happened after Mister Bill died. He also said that what did happen was very much like what happened when Marsh died, except this time was quieter. “They fought me when I tried to fill the hole,” he said. That’s because the one who fought most was Mister Bill.

Bill

Thanks, TS Gordon: The Jam is rescheduled for Sept. 22

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Quarry Farm reschedules 5th Annual Jam for Sept. 22
PANDORA (September 8, 2018)—The 5th Annual Quarry Farm Jam has been postponed until Saturday, September 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. due to inclement weather on the originally-scheduled date of Saturday, September 8. The Quarry Farm Nature Preserve & Conservation Farm, Pandora, hosts the organization’s annual Jam for musicians and music enthusiasts.

Whether you play an instrument like a virtuoso or just like to pretend, sing along or listen, people of all ages are invited to this family-friendly event. Bring a lawn chair and spend a sweet late summer evening with music under the outdoor pavilion’s big red roof, alongside the calls from the nature preserve.

Light refreshments, including homemade cookies, will be available. The event is free and open to the public, but donations are welcome as they support The Quarry Farm’s educational programming.

The Quarry Farm Nature Preserve & Conservation Farm is located 1/8 mile north of 14321 Road 7L. For more information, visit www.thequarryfarm.org, The Quarry Farm on Facebook and Instagram or call 419-384-7195.

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Fall 2018 Newsletter

Fall 2018 Newsletter coverSchool’s back in session and we are ready for the cooler weather, especially with our annual Jam on September 8 and The Quarry Farm 5K just around the bend. Click on the cover here to read the Fall 2018 Newsletter and join us for the upcoming programs listed, including the new Give Thanks Woodland Hike, or give us a call/email to schedule an outing or program.

Sebastian

20180724_071901With great sadness, we report the death of Sebastian from a probable stroke in mid-August. No one knows just how old this miniature skunk was, as he was found in a tiny cage in a basement in Northeast Ohio during a home intervention. Estimates are anywhere from four to six years of age.

Northeast Ohio rescue Skunk Haven liberated him, nourished his famished little body and allowed us to adopt him as an educational ambassador for his kind. We first met this beautiful soul at a gathering of skunk friends near Lake Erie. They shared stories that reflected their love and understanding of this much-maligned animal. We were honored by the opportunity to learn more through interaction with a skunk in our own place along Cranberry Run.

Sebastian bounced, scrambled and cuddled his little self into his new digs on The Quarry Farm. He loved the new outside run we installed this spring, enjoying the open air on coolish days. He increased tolerance for skunks everywhere during the brief time he was with us. He certainly touched lives, including those he met this June at the Putnam County District Library branches. He certainly made a difference in ours.

The race is on

35796760_2207605782613427_3068332942729150464_nSaturday, October 6 at 10 AM – 12 PM

Check-in: 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Seitz Pavilion; please present ID to receive participation packet

Parking and run/walk start: The Quarry Farm, 14321 Rd 7L, Pandora, OH 45877

Registration is open! The Quarry Farm 5K 2018 race will consist of two events: The Virtual 5K and an Onsite 5K. The Virtual 5k is to be done at your own location and pace. The Onsite Quarry Farm 5K is an easy (just two sloping hills!) out-and-back rural course that takes participants past a historic bridge, two scenic creeks to a rest halfway and back to the finish line at Red Fox Cabin.

Participants of both events will receive a custom race t-shirt.

NEW FOR 2018: Onsite 5K participants will have the option of receiving a white t-shirt with The Quarry Farm logo on the chest. Runners/walkers wearing the white shirt will be ‘painted’ at various stations along the route. We will use liquid, non-toxic paints that will cool you down as you enjoy this colorful experience.

Registration is $25.00 and may be completed day of event or online at https://www.active.com/pandora-oh/running/distance-running-virtual-events/the-quarry-farm-5k-2018

All 5K proceeds further the goal and mission of The Quarry Farm Nature Preserve & Conservation Farm to provide the opportunity for people of all ages to increase their understanding of the natural environment of Northwest Ohio and to interact with their fellow inhabitants in a sustainable manner.

26535-blanchard-river-watershed-partnership-annual-meeting-nov.8Thanks to Blanchard River Watershed Partnership for coordination support and to Ted’s Market for supplying water and snacks!

 

Click HERE to download a printable 5K form

Finding the bees’ knees

DSC_1009This is a year of dragons. Saddlebags, skimmers, twelve-spots and white tales dive-bomb the farm animal sanctuary yard, plucking mosquitoes before they latch onto exposed skin. It has been stupid-hot of late, enough to keep the dragonflies under cover at mid-day. But in the evening, their wings shimmer position for hovering and steep dives.

Rain came today. No dot-com could have predicted this more accurately that the four bats that wheeled over the paddock at dusk; three more than we usually see when the chickens, turkeys and ducks are tucked in for the hungry night. Tonight, leopard frogs dive into Nemo’s mud wallow, skitter across the surface and churn the depths.

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In Leipsic, making 59 bush honeysuckle hiking staffs with Boy Scouts

The Putnam County Master Gardeners were onsite before the rains came. I was across county, talking folklore to Boy Scouts and helping them to make hiking staff of plants that shouldn’t be in Ohio. The Master Gardeners were here, tending to plants that should be, in their pollinator garden on the chimney-facing side of Red Fox Cabin. They set fencing as a deterrent to wild yearlings in search of fresh greens among the yellowing grass. Bee balm, indigo, milkweeds and Joe Pye weed have grown tall enough to attract them. More importantly, they call to pollinators.

As Joe Kinsella wrote, “If you build it, they will come.” Maybe ‘build’ isn’t the correct word. But since Red Doud and Joe Hovest moved large boulders into place, Phyllis Macke ID’d plants with ingenious signs she created and everyone moved soil, mulch and a purple tricycle in place, let’s go with that. In any case, they came: swallowtail, fritillary, monarch and skipper butterflies; honey, bumble and other wild bees moved from blossom to blossom. A hummingbird moth whirred in, unfurling and curling its proboscis as a nectar drinking straw. A widow skimmer dragonfly paused on the plant next door, pausing just long enough for me to click another blurry photo.

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With the scent of sun-warmed monarda in my nose, I picked a handful of mint on my way home and boiled it up with three bags of Earl Grey. The last of the chilled brew is at my elbow now. The mint is in bloom and off limits, waiting for whomever can make their way across the desert to save us all.

‘Further up and further in’

Heron

Look overhead, above Paul Nusbaum’s bridge over the quarry channel. Do you see who’s watching?

Summer 2018 Newsletter CoverThe humidity today says it is summer in Northwest Ohio. The calendar says it’s spring. We’ll go with the weather and release the Summer 2018 issue of The Quarry Farm Newsletter. Click on the cover to the right for your copy.

There is only so much information that can be included in an 11″ x 17″ newsletter. There For instance, on the first weekend in May, we drove across five states to Save-a-Fox Rescue to meet a potential education ambassador . Google Maps advised us to travel south to U.S. Route 30 to begin our Northwest journey. That didn’t make sense, so we took SR 15 North. We saw flat land bisected by rivers flowing into unglaciated parts of Williams County.

Westbound Indiana was a I-80/90. Enough said.

I slept through most of Illinois, but Steve regaled quotes from billboards, including one promising “All the Liquor…None of the Clothes.” We stopped at the Belvidere Oasis, a six-lane-spanning travel plaza on a stretch of 1-90 dubbed the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, east of Rockford Mile Marker 54.5. We planned on buying bagels. Instead, we pounced on a food kiosk selling cucumber salads and falafel. Aside from the usual food chains, Mom-and-Pop vendors were hawking jewelry and fudge. 

Wisconsin is a very tall state. We drove its full height. Motorists can enjoy scenic wetlands, glacier-carved sandstone formations interspersed with theme parks, yellow-and-black “Beef Jerky Outlet” billboards and signs advertising a ‘gentlemen’s club’ called “Cruisin’ Chubbies.”

Interstate 90 connecting the La CrosseWisconsin area to rural Winona CountyMinnesota is breathtaking. We added another jerky outlet sign to our list when, suddenly, the Mississippi River stretched before us, banked rocky cliffs and green. Google Maps flashed an emoji of the late musical artist Prince to tell that we had arrived in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes (and Purple Rain.)

20180531_200157My ears popped as we climbed out of the Mississippi River Valley and rolled through greening hills and fjords toward Rice County, Minnesota. On the evening of May 4, we arrived at the place where silver, red, and roan foxes roost in trees rather than in the cramped, fur farm cages. Alexis at Save-a-Fox describes foxes as “those mythical creatures you read about in middle school.” We are learning just so from Quinn, the vulpine ambassador who made the return trek to Ohio.