Tuesday, January 27

The Stuff of Farm Life: Losing Lambs and Lottie

Lottie Found the Sheep Halter! (taken 5/1/08)

Sometimes it's hard to know how much to tell you about what happens around here. When you share your life with dozens of animals out in the wilderness (or anywhere for that matter), bad things inevitably happen. I don't like to dwell on the losses and the hardships, but I don't want to completely gloss over them either.

I know many you visit my blog because you're interested in what country life is really like, and while we certainly have more than our fair share of beautiful scenery, adorable animals, and laugh out loud moments (not to mention fabulous food), we by no means lead a perfect storybook existence out here.

Farm life is amazing, but it can also be heartbreaking—and frustrating as hell. I've been meaning to catch you up on some of what's been going on over the past year, and as I was tromping around doing morning chores in the sleet, I decided what better time than during a sleet/ice pellet/snowstorm.

Lots more below. . .

Darla in the Kitchen Garden

Last April, I told you about the pair of coyotes that had killed one of our sheep out in the hayfield (and shared photos of a stunning little screech owl). I mentioned that the killing hadn't stopped, but I never wrote any more about it. But what happened was that over the next seven months we lost 11 more sheep to the coyotes, including sweet little Darla, who somehow injured both her front legs the summer before and lived in the kitchen garden until she was healed up and walking just fine.

They got Emma, our biggest and best looking ewe lamb of 2008. And dear Mary, a twelve-year-old triplet who was born during my very first lambing season. I went down to the barn one morning as it was starting to snow and found her dead body in the barnyard. There was hardly anything left.

Annie with Two of Her Triplets in 2007 (one is hiding on the other side of her)

There was the 75-pound Katahdin ram lamb we'd specially picked out and purchased a month earlier with the plan to improve the parasite resistance in our flock. He was taken down in the front field near the driveway on his first day out of a pen. And four-year-old Annie, pictured above, who had been an orphaned bottle baby and was one of my favorite ewes. Born in 2004, she was the first—and easiest—'alphabet lamb' we named. (Get it? Little Orphan Annie.) Then there was the young ewe lamb that was part of a starter flock we had sold and were planning to deliver the very next day.

These coyotes were brazen. We had dogs, we had donkeys, we had the local boys letting packs of hunting hounds loose on the property to roust them out at least once a week. Annie was killed at about eight o'clock in the morning on the driveway in the creekbed between the barn and The Shack. Some of the little lambs disappeared right out of the fenced farmyard adjacent to The Shack. One afternoon I watched in horror as a coyote sneaked into a small group of sheep just a few yards from the new bakery/living quarters, but I didn't have a gun with me.

It was awful (not to mention expensive). I dreaded going outside each morning, wondering what gruesome scene I might find, hoping my lamb counts didn't come up short. But too often they did.

First Day on the Farm for these Fluffballs

In March we acquired Lottie and Marta, two inseparable and incredibly adorable Great Pyrenees/Komondor/Anatolian Shepherd livestock guard puppies, but we were told it would probably be a year before they would be able to fend off predators, let alone kill them. In fact, the puppies themselves were potential coyote victims. We borrowed Lottie and Marta's mother for a while, but unfortunately that didn't work out.

In May, we spent several thousand dollars on portable electric net fencing (which is a great invention in theory but must be moved every few days—along with water and shelter—and is generally a total pain in the butt, especially if your soil is rocky) and set it up in the front field with the sheep and the puppies inside it. To their credit—and despite the fact that the little lambs routinely escaped under the netting—we never lost any of the sheep that were out with the pups.

Lottie on Duty 5/28/08

During one week in August, three lambs disappeared near the barn, including one of only two jet black ones born last year (I do love those black sheep best). During that same week, after 400 miles and five trips to the vet, including a 10pm Saturday night visit where she was hooked up to an IV in an attempt to save her, our sweet, seemingly healthy Lottie dog died from unknown complications a week after undergoing some routine surgeries.

Playful Pups on 4/7/08

After never having been apart from her sister, Marta was sad and confused to find herself alone. I was heartbroken and couldn't stop sobbing. Our coyote fighting team was gone.

Fitting Right In: Another Water Baby!

A week later I drove over to a goat farm to look at two 4-month-old Great Pyrenees pups I'd heard through the livestock grapevine were available (which is when I met Chowder the baby goat). I wasn't very taken with the pups, but as soon as I saw their mother I wanted her. And I got her. She's a sweet and gorgeous three-year-old Great Pyrenees. Her name is Daisy, and she is awesome. She defends the farm day and night and even barks warnings at hawks who circle too close to her sheep.

Ready to Move into Greener Pastures

This is not the kind of dog you usually find for sale, and the only reason the owner was willing to part with her was because he had recently reduced his goat herd and really didn't need all nine of his dogs. After six months, I still find it hard to believe she's really ours. Her nickname is Crazy Daisy because she goes nuts (in a fun way) whenever it's time to eat. She came to us wearing a light pink collar which has stained all of her neck fur pink.

Nap Time for the Sheep, but these Happy Girls are on Guard

Marta and Daisy took to each other immediately, and because Daisy had just raised a litter of pups, she didn't mind a bit when seven-month-old Marta wanted to do things like gnaw on her ear or walk around with Daisy's tail in her mouth (which Marta still does despite the fact that she is now bigger than Daisy).

Barking at a Potential Intruder

It's fascinating to see how Marta constantly watches and learns from Daisy.

He's Totally Fallen for Her

Meanwhile, Lucky Buddy Bear is in love. He's so smitten with Daisy it's embarrassing.

Adorable but Deadly

This photo was taken not long after Daisy arrived, and I'm so tickled that it appears in the current print January/February issue of GRIT magazine in an article on livestock guard animals.

Dirty Girls, But How Can You Get Mad at Those Faces?

It still hurts to look through all the cute puppy photos of Marta and Lottie (links to lots of them are here), but I'm focusing not on what we've lost, but what we have. . .

Heading Out After Breakfast to Watch Over the Flock

Two glorious big white dogs who I can hear defending their farm as I type this—and no signs of coyotes in months.

Want to read more farm life stories and tidbits?
6/3/05: An Unexpected Beginning (my very first blog post)
6/8/05: That Outfit Could Kill You
6/27/05: Chocolate Chip Sheep & Chocolate Chip Cookies
7/31/05: When? Soon (Living on Country Time)
8/10/05: Whoa! Farm Visitors
4/12/06: Hearts and Rocks and Numbers and Thoughts
4/13/06: Shepherd's Nightmare
5/14/06: A Tiny Tail for Mother's Day (the story of baby Cary)
6/15/06: How to Ensure a Happy Haying Crew
7/21/06: And Sheeeeeeee's SAFE!
7/18/06: The Tail of a Donkey and His Ratty Blue Halter
9/1/06: Happy Hour in the Garden
1/19/07: Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Life is but a Stream
1/28/07: At Least I Have Chickens to Cheer Me Up
1/31/07: Sheep Shearing Early for a Change
2/3/07: Snowstorms and Sheep Shearing
5/13/07: The Tail of Two Mothers—A Mother's Day Story from the Farm
7/28/07: (It Only Looks Like) A Picture Perfect Walk in the Woods
3/10/08: Broccoli Soup & Recharging Your Dead Batteries (Because Setting Them on Fire Isn't an Option)
3/13/08: Cary, No Baby
3/19/08: Flood Watch
9/18/08: Putting Up Hay and Losing Electricity

© 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the fur loving foodie farm blog where we are huge supporters of animal shelters and rescue operations and urge you to please adopt a homeless cat or dog when adding a new animal member to your family. Millions of wonderful unwanted cats and dogs—including many purebreds—are put to death in shelters each year. Because Lottie, Marta, and Daisy are specialized working breeds of dogs who need to be brought up in strict environments in order to do their jobs well, we chose to buy them as puppies from nearby farmers, but they are the only animals we have ever purchased.


  1. Wow, that would be hard! Losing so many precious animals! :-( It was sad to read all that, but I appreciate the fact that you don't want to gloss over the hard things in life. There's nothing worse than perfect-looking blog when the behind-the-scenes is different!
    I'm so glad the coyotes haven't bothered you in ages! You have two beautiful dogs. Give them a pat from us!

    Thanks for Sharing, and (((HUGS)))

  2. Hiya, Susan...

    Great blog, great subject. I am in IL...we're out in the country (not like you, but still out there! lol) and I am always amazed at the harsh realities of country living. My friends (townies) are constantly remarking that this life is hard. It is what it is, and as you well know, you gotta love it, or you wouldn't do it.

    We lost our black lab to coyotes 2 years ago. The first time, he put up a big fight and came home with big chunks missing. I nursed him for about 2 weeks and he was doing well. The next time it happened, he didn't come home on the coldest night of the year, and I knew he'd lost the fight. We have lost chickens and cats too...not sure to what. We have seen tracks of bobcats and fox, and I have chased at least one possum out of the chicken run. We did have a problem with racoons, until we got Molly McGee, the Jack Russell Terrorist. Now we are almost a squirrel and coon free zone! lol

    Glad I found you...Akannie

  3. Heartbraking and sad. I'm sorry to hear about your losses...



  4. That must have been a hard post to write.

    Thanks for sharing the bad as well as the good.

  5. Thank you so much for the updates; I have wondered but was not going to ask about loss again. My condolances for your loss of Lottie and your sheep friends. Back a couple, few years ago you wrote about the lambs you had lost and that bummed me out as I was hoping to have space to have some sheep for my own shearing but I take loss hard and now I see it is hard for everyone.

  6. Yes, as Bonnie said in her comment, that was very sad to hear about all of your animal losses, as I feel like I know them through your blog, but I too am glad you don't gloss over the hard stuff.

    I really enjoy your blog, and was just telling someone earlier today that I would love to come out to see your farm in person if I am ever out your way.

  7. I can so sympathize, we are plagued with coyotes, and lost many sheep, until we got a llama. Then we find out that we have meningeal worm problems, and are losing our second llama now, the second year in a row. It is so hard to deal with. Maybe a dog is the answer for us. I hope you continue to have good luck. Judy

  8. Mother Nature is amazing, splendid, and beautiful, but she can be a real bitch. It's hard for us humans to grasp that there really are a lot of things in the natural world that we absolutely cannot control.

    I was so glad to see the happy ending after all the heartbreak. And especially happy to see my buddy Bear is so in love with his new friend. :-)

  9. Have you check out Alpaca's? I know the local farms use them to ward off coyotes and coydogs. My understanding is coyotes travel alone, coydogs travel in packs.

  10. Thanks for occasionally sharing the down side of country life, as well. It's important for readers to know that all is not always bliss and happiness on the farm. Birth and death are part of life, and sometimes things are not photogenic.

    I am glad that you have finally found what works for you. We hear coyotes, but have not yet had trouble with them...

  11. Thank you for sharing - I'm glad those two girls make such a good team.

  12. I've been luring on your blog for a few months now and This article really got to me. I'm so sorry for your precious sheep lost and Lottie. We to, have a coyote problem. Across from our modest 1/2 acre is a huge bison farm. The coyotes came close at night,after the bison calves. I'm afraid for my pets.

  13. Susan, I've noticed the focus on Marta and not much mention of Lottie lately. What a heart breaker and I totally understand. We lost a dog about 3 years ago and the one that was left behind was the same, never been parted from each other and totally heartbroken. We got a pup to help ease the pain for her and us. She wasn't happy about it to begin with, but now they too are inseparable. And the youngest grabs the oldest by her tail too.

    How exciting to find Daisy and have her fit right in with Marta and the rest of the farm animals. And thank you for sharing the pains and sorrows as well as the good times. I always love reading your blog daily and the pictures of all the 'critters'!

  14. I'm so sorry for all of your losses over the last year. Even though you know farm life isn't all rainbows and lollypops, it's never easy to lose animals, be they sheep or dogs. I'm glad you found Daisy and that things seem to be looking up.

    Best if luck to all of you, and thank you for sharing what must have been difficult to write, let alone go through.

  15. I grew up in the country. It's never easy to lose an animal. If you care for them correctly, it should hurt! (Grandpa always said)

    What a beautifully written post. Thanks.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am glad you were able to get a "seasoned veteran" to help guard the flock & train Marta. And so sorry about losing Lottie and all those lambs. That must be heartbreaking.

    Here's a toast (of coffee) to many more months (and years) of being predator free.

  17. I'm glad you shared this aspect of your life. As hard as it is, it is real. I'm glad you found the wonderful dogs. Give them hugs. Hugs to you too. It's like losing part of the family. candy

  18. Awww,thanks for the update; so sorry to hear about Lottie and all the lost sheep. That must be the hardest aspect of country living when you are an animal lover. I hope Marta and Crazy Daisy continue to keep those coyotes away from the flock.

  19. This was really a beautifully written post. Thanks for taking the time to share one of the harder parts of farm life.

  20. awesome post, sure hate hearing about the losses.

  21. De lurking here. What a powerful post. We have a Great Pyr mix. Our Sophie is just shy of 100 lbs and looks like a border collie... on steroids. She's guarded our city acre from the moment we brought her home as a 3 month old pup. She herds the kids and has been unfailingly patient with our huskie blend puppy since we got him. Hubster travels a lot, but we're safe and tucked in here with our Sophie. That great, deep bark is a comfort, isn't it?

    Thanks for sharing your Daisy.

  22. What beautiful writing Susan. Thank you for it all. Sending you happy thoughts!

  23. This was heart wrenching to read, but I am so glad you shared it with us.
    The reality of life with animals can be painful and difficult at times but the joys definitely outweigh the hardships. (Though I'm sure there were moments when it didn't seem that way for you!)
    Again, thank you for sharing all aspects of your incredible life. You are an inspiration!

  24. Thank you for this update! So sorry to hear about Lottie, but I'm in love with Daisy too. And as someone who dreams of herding her own sheep someday, I appreciate being able to learn through your experiences.

  25. Thank you so much for sharing this story. It is important in this day when so many things are glorified, to keep the honesty. I, for one, appreciate it.

  26. That is tough to read about and I know even tougher to live through. I am glad that you found Daisy and everything seems to be good again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!
    PS-The good thing about sharing on-line is the support you get from your readers, the valuable info we amateurs glean from you, and the hints and tips we all share with each other! ☺

  27. I offer condolences for your animal losses. A long time lurker and former Missouri farm gal who now resides in the west Tex desert. Your posts are an elixir for my longtime homesickness and a reminder those years may pass but life on the farm rarely changes. Where I live my backyard is a state park and the coyotes migrate throughout the fall from the mountains of New Mexico down to Old Mexico to spend the winter. Our neighbor recently lost a rescued Pomeranian and a tiny Chihuahua to coyotes…they now own a rescued Mastiff to guard their remaining small dogs. For that reason and rattlesnakes, I never leave my rescued Westies outside unattended. As my farmer father always preached, “Nature is intrinsically hurtful yet never evil…God left that to man”.

    I heart your blog!

  28. I am also a lurker who has to come out to say I am so sorry for your animal losses... it must be so hard each and every time... but I am so glad your story has a happy ending and I hope Daisy and Marta have many years together with you!

  29. As an animal lover and farmer myself, I know that animals aren't "just" animals - they're individuals that you love and return that love. We've lost chickens, goats, cats, and even a horse to a variety of things. My heart goes out to you and your animals for your losses. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  30. Thank you for the update. I've gone through the same thing with show chickens and raccoons. We didn't know we had a raccoon problem until our ancient Queensland Heeler died and they moved in overnight. For a while we trapped them and relocated them 30 miles away on my brother's ranch (with his permission). Until one of them killed my Dodge Caravan.

    Well, sort of. We were releasing a raccoon during a rainstorm and had to drive through a small creek. Found out that the air intake on the van was very low when it sucked water into the engine.

    I love wildlife, but I despise raccoons. They don't just kill, they maim and injure everything they can get hold of.

    Ironically, we have lots of coyotes but in our area, where lots of truck gardens abound, they are valued for keeping the rabbit population under control. They do eat vegetables as well, I've seen them gobbling sweet corn and packing off small watermelons, but the damage they cause is minor compared to their value as bunny controllers.

    Good luck with your new team of defenders, and I'll be hoping for the best for you.

  31. What a heartbreaking but beautiful post.

  32. And so happy you won the 2008 best food blog award!

  33. Thank you for the update on your farm. I have been wondering how the pups were faring and I'm sorry for the bad news. It's not an easy life but you make it sound like it's worth it.

  34. Hi Susan,
    I know that must have been hard for you to wrap up a year of wins/losses that occur on a working farm. You said it beautifully though and after recently losing one of our farm dogs to a coyote, I like your thought of focusing on what you have instead of what you've lost. Wishing you continued success with your farm and blog! - Nisha

  35. Susan -

    These posts always make me cry and remind me of why I could never, ever be a livestock farmer (I'll stick to my suburban acre with apple trees). I'm so sorry for your losses. The world needs more people like you - you love all of your creatures, you give them a good life for however long they are on the earth, and you mourn their passing. That's more than some people have. I hope that the dogs continue to be the answer to this particular problem.

  36. Wow those pictures are too sweet!

  37. Oh, dear, fig. I'm so sorry to hear about the troubles and sadness you've had. You wrote so beautifully about the harsh reality of death on a farm - but it must be awful for you. love to you


  38. Thanks for sharing the drama of farming. I hope the dynamic duo is able to keep further losses to a minimum.

  39. Though it's hard, I think it's important to write truthfully about the challenges as well as the victories. Sometimes I think people are so disconnected from their food that they forget how bleeping hard it can be to raise livestock and grow crops. Thanks for keeping it real.

  40. So so sorry about the coyotes. Misery loves company, so allow me to share:

    I live in a semi-rural community (sorta farmland and sorta kinda suburban?) and we've been overrun with the little skulkers. Nobody that lives around here can have an outside cat anymore because they disappear the moment they go outside.

    I have a woods for a backyard and a trout farm pond down a way, and a pack of coyotes lives down there. I have heard them yipping more than once.

    Just last night, I'm not kidding you, they took down a dog in my back yard. I'm talking a labrador, so they must have been lying in wait for him. I don't know the outcome, all I know is that they were horribly loud right outside my window and the dog's barking clearly signaled real injury. It went on for a good 15 minutes. I poked my head out the window and shouted to frighten them off but they paused all of a second and started in again.

    It was very unsettling and, to say the least, I didn't sleep well afterward.

    I checked the woods this morning but couldn't find any evidence (no hair, blood, pawprints, even), so I'm hoping that the dog took a few hits but got away. Who knows? Maybe my shout gave the pooch the diversion he needed.

    We also have problems with eagles carrying off small dogs, which is just as sad, but at least there isn't the awful ruckus of the coyotes.

  41. Thanks for sharing. It's sad, but it's part of life - especially on the farm. I hear llamas make amazing guard animals - but they don't mix with dogs (they attack the dogs) Maybe something to consider in the future? Check out the blog and website for Harley Farms Goat Farm in Pescadero for more info on theirs!

  42. so sorry about the multiple losses -it is a painful thing for those of us who are the caretakers of animals. Glad you have the new dog and delighted Buddy Bear is luvin her too. Very glad you are honest about the rough times as well as beauty of living in the country.

  43. Choking down a lump in my throat - and then the big Daisy shows up! She's a lovely dog - of course. How could a Daisy be otherwise?

  44. Hey Susan...a beautiful post but hard to read...I feel a bit foolish about my email to you agonizing about Jack The Cat's illness and my anguish about how we might lose him, when you are dealing with this kind of sudden and massive loss day-in and day-out...we love how you love your animals so much and work so hard to protect them...hope you survived the storm ok...
    best, S

  45. Chiming in with the others, it really is hard to see/read, I can't imagine how hard it must be to live through. Very harsh it must be, especially seeing that harm comes no matter how vigilant one is. I am sorry to hear about the animal losses... as a newish reader, I hadn't read back from the spring and summer as to what you have been going through.
    Thank you for your honesty, it is much appreciated. But at the same time, this post made me realize that there is also a good side to things too, and it is balanced with the "bad" - just like anything else in this life, I think.

  46. Oh, Susan. I am so sorry to know that Lottie is gone, but Daisy sounds like she has been a Godsend! She is gorgeous, and I am so glad that she is teaching Marta all she needs to know. Will you be breeding Daisy later on, do you think?

    Losing all those sheep must have been very hard. I think your guard animals are amazing and are doing wonderfully.

  47. Oh Susan, I can just feel your heartbreak. So sorry, but thank you for sharing this bit of farm reality, lest we city folk get too romantic about the whole thing. Anyway, I hope that you have truly turned a corner now with Daisy in the mix. Good luck!

    Hey, is it almost lambing season already? I got an email yesterday from a farmer in far northern New York state who listed "lambing" among the things keeping her busy this week. And I thought, you've gotta be kidding, it's still only January and surely the deadest of winter way up there!

  48. Susan,

    As always, sending you hugs of comfort and love from Ohio.


  49. Those pups are the cutest pups with all that fur!! I just wanna reach through the computer and pet on them! So sorry about Lottie...and all your losses. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking that has to be. Thanks for all your stories and sharing your amazing pictures with us. I enjoy logging in everyday to see what snapshot you have captured on the farm!

  50. Thank-you for sharing "the rest of the story" - may it continue to have a very happy ending!

  51. I've kept returning to this post, unsure of what to say. I'm so sorry to hear about the death of Lottie and the sheep. It seems that life on a farm isn't all happiness. Thanks for sharing both sides.

    And tell Bear to knock it off. I'm embarrassed for him.

  52. this post absolutely broke my heart. i had been wondering why there had only been pictures of marta lately, but i had no idea there were so many others. what a lesson in the realities of farm life - i'm so glad you shared.

  53. So sorry for your losses it has to be a very difficult part of farm life. I lost several rabbits when I was a kid (4H project) to a bobcat and I recall it vividly to this day. I have seen these dogs on sheep farms in my area and have a hard time not stopping to meet them. I understand that that would not be a good idea as they are super protective against any strangers humans included!

  54. Great *real* post. Of course, heartbreaking to lose any of your creatures, but I imagine there are lots of hard farm living things that us regular people don't include in our Farm Fantasies.

    Meanwhile, it is fantastic to see Daisy with Marta. I imagine that will be a lifelong companionship. And I still can't believe you don't get to cuddle those dogs all the live long day. I'd be spooning them both right now.

    Because I'm very mature and obviously a professional farmhand.

  55. Good Grief! You've managed to have me sitting here at the keyboard crying my eyes out!

    So sorry for all your loses but I am very happy to read about all the good times!

  56. I knew you had loss on the farm, but I did not know to what extent. My heart aches for you because I know how much you love your furry family. I am so glad it is under control with the two fierce girls.

  57. I'm with Jeanette - sitting here sobbing! And you posters sharing about the dead labradors are _really_ NOT helping a bit :( I'm sure I'm too soft for all that heartbreak. But I admire those of you who are, and who nurture animals through good and bad... Thank you for sharing, Susan. :::hugs::: PS -- letting puppies lick tears away really helps.

  58. So sorry to learn of Lottie's death. Losing any of our animal companions is hard, but especially when they are so young. Condolences.

  59. (((HUGS))) - Amazing, and sad, post all at the same time. I'm so sorry for the losses!

  60. I thought it was only me. Thank you for posting this. We raise miniature goats and in the last year have had our share and more of tragedies (we even had a two week old baby buck kidnapped from his mother and twin sister in December), but all over the place I see these idyllic goat raising pages with instructions, information on illnesses and what to do (with the impression that it's fool proof), and all these happy stories.

    I have to admit, I was beginning to feel awful about how things were going. It must be that these others talk only about their good stories. Thank you for sharing.

  61. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad. So sorry to hear about the loss of the favorites. It does seem that something positive happens after all, like Crazy Daisy (great dog) and something funny too, like Bear, how embarrassing. Guys.... what can I say.

  62. We have a Great Pyres. too! They are one year old, Duke and Daisy! We moved to the country 1 1/2 years ago and still learning. We got the dogs for they same reason, to protect a sheep, yes, one sheep, and our chickens. We have them in a yard area, and hoping we can let them loose after we get a fence on our 10 acres. Fences are so expensive these days. Life isn't perfect, but we love it!

    my blog:


    password: kirkland

  63. I thought Marley, our pyrenees, had lost his marbles when I saw him barking at birds, so I was glad to hear that yours does, too! Marley guards us very diligently although we wish he would do it a bit more quietly every now and then. He is the sweetest dog and has the most beautiful "people eyes" (as a little girl said to her friend when they passed us walking him on the square in our little town).

  64. Hi Susan,
    Sending my sympathy across the miles to you. I'm sobbing just reading about the loss of your pup. I'll bet she found an energetic playmate in puppy heaven.
    Thank you for sharing your heartaches as well as your joys!

  65. I loved your story of loss. Not because I like loss, but because it is so real. I understand both the joy of your animals and heartache of your loss. I've lost 2 goats to mountain lions and 3 goats to coyotes here in the Sierra Foothills. I've also lost 12 to 15 chickens to coyotes, foxes, bobcats, racoons and large flying predators in my attempt to let them be truely free range chickens. Of course there is an attachment to each animal and a strong sense of disappointment and loss when they disappear, even worse when you find the remains somewhere on the property. Never the less, I'd never exchange the harsh realities of country living with the sterile city life again. There is something about loving and loss that makes one appreciate life all the more.

    Thank you for your honest writing and your willingness to share your life. I appreciate your blog and feel a kinship to you. Keep up the good work...Dave

  66. Thank you so much for sharing this heartbreaking story.

    I always said I would make a poor animal farmer cuz they would all have bows and pretty collars and have warm beds on the back porch where i would keep them all.

    Although I am in tears, I love how strong and caring you are and I love to read of your life there.
    Thank you for sharing it all.

    Best wishes

  67. What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

  68. I have a retired goat dog who is part Komondor and part Pyr. I love your Marta updates--they give me a good idea of what's going through my boy's brain. For example, he barks at hawks too.

  69. Hi Susan
    I just found your blog and can't begin to tell you how much I'm enjoying it...your recipes, your stories and especially your pictures of your beautiful animals. I am now living my life vicariously through you!!! Your dogs are gorgous beyond words! I cried when I read about your loss. Sometimes life is hard and I know only to well the loss of a dog. It hurts. Thank you so much for sharing your life, the good and the bad and I look forward to making your blog a part of my "internet routine"..I live in the city and can only dream about what you have and you've done such a great job with this blog that its almost like being there..Thanks so much Joyce

  70. The second to last puppy picture is adorable! They are so cute! And I'm really sorry about Lottie, it is so hard to lose a pet/


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!