so that’s what you call him…

The Quarry Farm is pleased to introduce Captain John Smith.

No Name Opossum

Thanks, Kim, for the suggestion, and thanks to everyone who offered up a recommendation. There were several that made the cut, but this, by far, was our favorite. Want to know why? Just follow the link: 

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mcvmagazine/issues/2014/jan-feb/young-naturalists.html

Third time’s a charm

IMG_0826The Junior Gardeners of Continental were one of the first groups to visit The Quarry Farm after we officially opened to the public three years ago. I distinctly remember the initial telephone conversation with organizer Charlene. She had picked up our newsletter and wanted to bring her charges out for a program. She didn’t sound too sure about the whole idea, but her group arrived and we had a fantastic time. Guess they did, too, because they spent two hours with us on Saturday, this time searching for butterfly host and nectar plants on a scavenger hunt.

IMG_1107Beatrice met up again with her good friend Brandon, the first person she would approach of her own accord after her arrival in 2012 as a very young pot-bellied piglet. Although Brandon had some slick new wheels this year and Beatrice was sleepy in the July humidity, she knew him well. So did Buddy.008

Megan Ramey, Program and Partnerships Manager for the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, arrived just before the Junior Gardeners to talk with us about the possibility of scouts earning various badges here. Thanks to the joyous enthusiasm of Charlene and her crew, a star of a Virginia opossum and Laura’s coffee and sugar cookie bars, we’re in.

Here’s to more face time with the kids from Continental. Special thanks to Junior Gardener Jazlyn Bishop for sharing your photos and video with us. Keep them coming.

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This One’s for the Dogs (and the Opossum)

Rowan and OpossumIt’s been a bit longer than we like between posts. But since spring is finally here (knock on wood) you will forgive us since you, like us, are probably running around in today’s sunshine before tonight’s predicted rain.

Silence on the web does not mean it’s been quiet for The Quarry Farm. The new chicks are growing, as is the grass for Buddy and the goats. Fezzik and Inigo are displaying for every female fowl that could conceivably give them the time of day. Inconceivable? Not so for the little red hen that follows Fezzik around. The wild turkey hens on the nature preserve could care less, however.

Eventwise, The Quarry Farm has been on the road for the last couple of weekends. Saturday, April 20 took us up I-75 into Michigan for the Monroe Conservation District Tree Sale. Tim Kwiatkowski, good friend and conservationist for Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), invited us, and an assortment of aquatic macroinvertebrates from Cranberry Run as well as an opossum that matured overwinter here, to be part of the Monroe County Earth Day celebration that was held alongside the tree sale pickup.

It was cold and the wind blew. Despite the weather thousands of trees were sold and the buyers learned a little about biological indicators and that Virginia opossums are fantastic garbage collectors. Some even decided the little guy was cute.

He was cute. And we assume he still is, wherever his nomadic opossum ways take him. Once the evenings warmed toward the middle of the week he finally ventured out of his open hutch and into the wild.

Cassie

Cassie poses

Today, we had a short drive to the 6th Annual Mutt Strut and Craft Market sponsored by Putnam Pet Pals to benefit the homeless and neglected dogs of Putnam County and Northwest Ohio. They do good work and put on a great, loud show every year at the Putnam County Fairgrounds. Last year we set up a table at the Strut; it turned out to be one of the best offsite events that The Quarry Farm has ever been part of as we handed out packs of newsletters, talked to some amazing, compassionate people, and produced more canine caricatures than we could track. Although this year’s weather was sunny and warm, a day for breeding garage sales and other such competitions for public attention, the fairground was still hopping.

Better make that barking.

Good times.

Passing Through

Orphans. The word conjures a host of images, mostly Victorian, of wide-eyed children dressed in rags begging on streets or, empty bowl in hand,  pleading for more; of row on row of narrow beds, each filled with a child praying for a good family. These are Hollywood images, as unrealistic in their portrayal of real orphans as television is in its presentation of detectives or living in New York City. They’re the only ones I know, though. The human kind, anyway.

But there are other kinds of orphans.

This year we’ve handled the usual: squirrels, opossums, vultures, swifts, starlings, sparrows and more, all either passing through our hands up to Nature’s Nursery or down to us from there for release or fostering. At present, we’re hosting two: a black squirrel and a Virginia opossum.

The opossum was one of six found on their dead mother (she was hit by a car). While we’re not certain how long the little ones were out there clinging to her corpse, it’s likely that it was quite a while. All six were slow and skinny and dotted with fly eggs. The worst part of such a case is that the young continue to feed from their mother and after she has died, the milk that sustained becomes corrupted, poisoned. Five of the six died. On the up side, the one that survived is strong and growing and shows no sign of becoming attached to the people fostering him. Just the opposite, in fact. He hisses and growls when we approach, bites when we lift him out to clean his temporary digs. He’s been here about a month and we expect that he’ll need to stay another before moving on and out there, on the Quarry.

The black squirrel is a new arrival, an intake from a Lima man who found him outside his apartment. After doing everything he could to reunite the little squirrel with his mother, James called us. This squirrel, like the opossum, is strong and a good eater. We’re providing a temporary safe haven for him. Tomorrow he’ll make the trip north to Nature’s Nursery where they have several other juvenile black squirrels.