Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Summer Storm at the Sanctuary

Monty, checking out the camera

This past weekend was one of my ride-to-the-sanctuary days. I do this a small handful of times per year – it is 74 miles round trip, and 4800 ft of elevation gain and loss total. For me, that’s a fairly strenuous undertaking. I bike commute, so my base is 135 miles/week, and my commute is plenty hilly, but 74 hilly miles in a day (with 3 hours of physical chores at the halfway point) just isn’t something I can do every week!

Since I had planned on riding, I read the weather prediction with attention to the details…you can imagine my surprise when the skies darkened and we heard thunder in the distance as we raked the goat yard! We were all asking each other, “this wasn’t in the weather report, was it?”

As we walked to the pig yard, past the cows who were hanging out in front of the barn, I was astounded to realize that Carlyle was bigger than the SUV towing the spreader.

Seriously, he’s bigger than a truck! I’m not sure if he’s done growing yet either. These male holsteins guernseys tend to grow until they’re about 7 years old. This giant size is part of why they suffer so much from arthritis, one of the by-products of the genetic manipulation for dairy cows to produce more and more milk.

Terry left more info on Carlyle’s story in the comments, which I’m also adding here:

By the way Carlyle is a purebred Guernsey, which is a dairy breed like Holstein. This breed is fairly uncommon now because their milk has more fat in it, which consumers don’t really want anymore. Of course he was going to be killed for veal because he was born a boy and can’t produce milk. The only reason he was saved is because the farmer who raised him (who we buy our hay from) had to nurse him back to health as a young calf and fell in love with him. When it came time to send him to slaughter he just couldn’t do it, and asked us if we would take him at the sanctuary. He is six years old and still growing, and is already over 1500 lbs.!

I don’t know how I didn’t know his story before! Love it.

You can see the ominous sky in the background.

It didn’t start raining until we were mostly done with the pig yard, but once it started, it was quickly a drenching downpour. We go to the horse barn after the pig barn, so it was good timing, overall, but Dexter, the youngest horse, was a little unnerved by the thunder that seemed to be right overhead.

We hung out in the horse barn for a while until the rain lightened up a bit, and then we hustled to the chicken barn. It was still raining while we did the chicken barns but since most of our work was inside we stayed mostly dry. I laughed to see Leesa walking between barns with an umbrella.

We so rarely deal with weather like this during chores!

We hung out for a while in the chicken barn after finishing up to wait for the rain to lighten again. Because of the heavy rain we’d kept all the birds inside the barn, and you’d have thought they might get antsy, but it was a very peaceful atmosphere.

You can see Ruby hanging out in this picture, and you can clearly see her amputated beak. The beak amputations sound pretty horrible even if you’ve never spent time among chickens, but it’s even worse to contemplate once you’ve seen them in action. At least Ruby’s was done fairly evenly; not all are even that lucky.

For Ruby’s sake, for Carlyl’s sake, go vegan. They, and countless individuals like them, are the ones directly impacted by our food choices.

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6 responses to “Summer Storm at the Sanctuary

  1. Sandra L. September 8, 2011 at 12:40 am

    That’s quite a ride you took! I admire you for sticking to your biking goals. And, of course, for your sanctuary work.

    Were you able to find pigs-in-the-puddle photos?

  2. Terry Cummings September 8, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Hi Deb, hope you didn’t get too wet on the ride home! By the way Carlyle is a purebred Guernsey, which is a dairy breed like Holstein. This breed is fairly uncommon now because their milk has more fat in it, which consumers don’t really want anymore. Of course he was going to be killed for veal because he was born a boy and can’t produce milk. The only reason he was saved is because the farmer who raised him (who we buy our hay from) had to nurse him back to health as a young calf and fell in love with him. When it came time to send him to slaughter he just couldn’t do it, and asked us if we would take him at the sanctuary. He is six years old and still growing, and is already over 1500 lbs.!

  3. Deb September 8, 2011 at 4:35 am

    @Sandra – do you mean of Patsy and Paige swimming? I forgot to ask! I got distracted by the rain!

    @Terry – thanks! I updated the post to correct his breed, and add in his story. I don’t know how I didn’t know his story before! The ride home ended up being pretty dry, thankfully!

  4. Sandra L. September 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Yep, those are the ones I meant. Sorry not to be specific. đŸ™‚

    • Deb September 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      Haha! No problem, it was funny because I *did* have a pic of a pig in the mud puddle from last weekend, but I was surprised you asked (how did you know I had one?! lol) and then I realized you were probably talking about the swimming piglets! đŸ™‚

  5. ☼Illuminary☼ September 8, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    If I say HOLY COW! try not to roll your eyes at my bad pun!
    I was so jazzed to read that you are occasionally biking out there! That is so awesome! So which way is harder? the way home because you have put i so much work? or the way there because it’s all up hill?
    My son has been helping out at a farm near by, He is going to get me pictures tomorrow of the baby Lama he helped with! The folks he is helping are an elderly couple, and all their animals they raise for the fur, she’s a spinner and weaver. He says they are VERY attached to there animals, and other than eggs, don’t eat any meat! Now if only some of this would rub off on him…~sigh~

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