There have always been animals around Stoneback farm. In the olden days every household had one or two cows and some sheep. And cats, lots of cats... And the forest around was full of wildlife, with lots of elks too.
Later came antisocial hens, a rooster called Alexander the Great, rabbits, goats and horses. Two boxer dogs, a hunting dog called Elvira, a cat called Hobie and now Mr. Chip - the Fox terrier have all lived in the family home through the years. Elvira was a rescue dog. Her first home was full of drugs and alcohol so she got a new chance with us. After six months in the country she settled in and out emerged the loveliest dog ever met.
Hobie the cat was left in the forest and moved in with us one Christmas Eve. He was in a bad way and very cold but after some memorable visits to the vet, he got better and lived with us almost forever. He had time to get to know our old boxer dog Krista, Elvira and lived his last year with Mr. Chip. He was the boss of everyone and we are still recovering from knowing him. (There has never really been serious plans to find a new cat for us...) Cats usually choose their people anyway, so that's something to worry about, I guess.
Mr. Chip moved in with us because he needed to get away from home badly. The breeder owner wanted hunting fixated dogs and Mr. Chip is more of a "let's sit in the sofa with a good book" kind of dog and very gentle so not the dog for them. We love him to bits and he loves us back. He also finds long walks and good food to be a crucial part of a good life, as a dog. He's 13 years old this August and still going strong, just a bit slower.
After the horses went to heaven our small fields have been without four legged friends. The paddocks and fields turned in to lawns, green and tidy ones and it has all been extremely boring looking. We planted fruit trees, made huge borders for all sorts of flowers and got some more berry bushes.
Everything grew and looked groomed but there is a limit to how many lawns the soul can take...
So to liven things up, we got four sheep and some hens to move in with us. Not really with us but in to our nice, clean stable.
|Credit: Dasha Dimitrova|
Waldemar the rooster and his wife Wilhelmina arrived first. They enjoyed a couple of weeks of peace and quiet in their new home before the chicks flew in. And out and in and ... They were very good at flying and poor Waldemar can't fly. In no time at all he became the fittest rooster in Finland. He's a Plymouth Rock and beautiful in his own right. But his wings are small, symbolic feathery flaps and he is too heavy by far to do a lift off. So he jogs...
We had planned to get three lambs, happy young ones that would grow up with us and find a place in our way of living. Instead four, larger than life sheep, arrived. They were three years old and had plenty of attitude and we fell completely in love with them. They did no such thing, though...
Three of them were petrified balls of wool that saw us as sheep eating monsters. Luckily number four was a bit calmer and loved dry bread more than anything else in life. We gave them new names, as they did not seem to react to their old ones. And so we had Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My staying with us on Stoneback farm.
Now the stable was back as a cheerful, nice smelling place full of rather happy animals. The lawns soon got paths of mud crisscrossing here and there, sheep droppings everywhere and the flower borders got turned over by very eager hens.
Waldemar started waking us up at 3.30am and the hens made messy drops everywhere. Life as we had known it was gone.
Text by Nina