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Thanks to you, it's here!

 
The new barn has arrived and is gorgeous and being loved by the animals. Many thanks to all who donated funds, time, and expertise to bring this major improvement about.  The barn includes a new infirmary area equipped with a heavy duty overhead crossbeam that can hold a large animal sling.  Fencing to create modular paddocks is now in the works. A slideshow of the construction process is on our web site.
 
In this newsletter, we give our old friend Del Lamiman the Angel Award of the month, and we welcome new arrivals at the farm. Subscribe to our snail mailings and read about a dramatic highway rescue of a sheep!  Be sure, for a few laughs, to read the latest story in the Chronicles of Newman "What's in it for me?"!

Farmer Anne, Star Gazing Farm
Angel Award: Our Event Volunteers
This month we honor an old friend, Del Lamiman.  Del runs a horse farm in Boyds and we've known him since we moved out here.  Over the last decade and more he has helped with countless "situations" at the farm - from emergency electrical fencing installation to prevent steers from roaming the neighborhood, to giving horse educational demonstrations at our events, to responding to middle of the night "help!" calls, to trailering our rescue animals, since we do not own a trailer.  Recently, Del was responsible for bringing our rescued alpacas to the farm - they flounced out of the trailer without a word of thanks, but we thank him,and we know they are also very grateful that he was there to help, as he always has been. What a guy!
Did you miss it?
We send out bi-annual newsletters the old-fashioned way,,via snail mail. If you missed our recent mailing, you can read it online here.  To sign up to receive actual paper letters in the mail, please send your mailing address to us at: info@stargazingfarm.org
Sprung from Prison

Delphine, Marguerite, and Senna are alpacas who were being kept indefinitely in the basement of a bank barn with concrete flooring, no direct sunlight, no bedding, and no access to pasture. Pieces of rebar were sticking up through the floor, and rusted metal pipes were strewn along the walls.  It was a dungeon. We negotiated with the owner to bring them here, and their transformation into blooming flowers of beauty and happiness was almost immediate. They capture the hearts of everyone who visits!  Petite Senna is the oldest at 17; Delphine is 11 and her daughter Marguerite is 2. We are so glad to now see them frolicking in the sunshine, grazing, and enjoying their lives, as they should.
 
Our work is not always obvious
Star Gazing Farm gets calls and emails every day asking for help with animals - all kinds of animals.  In July the most notable was the request to help with a sheep who was wandering along the very busy I-270.  You can read all about the rescue mission here.

The Chronicles of Newman“What's in it for me?”[read this story online]

You know you’re getting old when you start sentences with phrases like “now, when I was young….” and you fondly reflect— often —  on how life was sweeter, people nicer, and everything was better and cheaper.  I will swear that I’m far too old to be part of the ‘me’ generation, and that social etiquette “back then”  “in the good old days” included returning phone calls (via rotary phone), letting people get into a traffic lane in front of you, and, yes, doing things for others that didn’t directly benefit you.

Nowadays all you have to do is go to a shopping mall to witness the dog-eat-dog world we live in.  Just try finding a parking space!  Problem is, I don’t even have to leave home.  Mr. Newman Goat has more than once eerily reflected the more, shall we say, base inclinations of society.  I suppose the sheer honesty of his bald “Me-ness” is part of his charm.  But really, sometimes he goes too far. 

The other day he was out sunning himself and looking at me in that charming, je ne sais quoi way of his, so I went up to him and received a nose-to-nose kiss.  I thought, how sweet, how absolutely charming, he loves me.  Moments before, though, I had been handling some food and right after the kiss he reached around, sniffed my hand, shuffled to his feet, and proceeded to get quite pushy.  “There are no free kisses”, he proclaimed.  “Where’s the treat?”  You’d think by moving out to the country and tending to some gentle animals that the peaceable kingdom concept might apply a bit more often. 
After this incident I began noticing the trend of gimme, gimme everywhere.  Angel (she is not one) the sheep, has developed a technique for maximum food intake.  Refusing to get with the evening program of goats in pen 1, sheep in pen 2, pig in pen 3, and elders in pen 4, the other night she dashed into pen 4 knowing that the old guys get the best (and most) grain.  She rushed from bowl to bowl, pushing each old animal out of the way as she scarfed down their food and they scrambled to find a bowl unoccupied by Angel.  I made angry noises and waved my scary human arms to no avail.  It was a disgusting show of absolutely self-centeredness, and I declared her unworthy to be called a sheep (who ordinarily exhibit the closest example of pure socialism I’ve ever known).   I do not care that she is a millennial or that when she was younger she didn’t have enough to eat or that she is the smallest of our sheep; I want to know who her parents are so I can give them a piece of my mind.  She is now fat, entitled, and rude. Thank heavens Dee Dee Donkey (going on 42 years old now and certainly of a more disciplined generation) round-kicks her whenever she gets the chance.  But I despair of Angel ever really learning manners.

Hypocritically, I am glad when certain animals develop a sense of entitlement.  Louisa the llama, 17 years old, was so shy and afraid when she first came to the farm 3 years ago that she spent all her time under a tree in the most remote part of the pasture.  When Hurricane Sandy hit with driving cold rain, I found her at the bottom of the driveway, huddled on the gravel, shivering from head to foot.  I herded her back up to the barn and toweled her off but she then headed right back down the hill to suffer stoically in the rain again.  So we repeated the exercise.  The day after the hurricane, I found her lying down amongst the sheep in the barn.  Somehow she had decided that she belonged.  Because of her age and because she was underweight when she first came, she gets some of the old folks’ feed every night. If any other animal came near her, she used to run away.  Now, she pins her beautiful ears back and spits at anyone who dares to try to steal her food.  I love progress. 

But I fear I’m a bad influence.  I love them all, offer little discipline, spoil them rotten in fact, bore my friends with endless photographs of them (“look, aren’t they just too cute?”).  And I’m not fair. I celebrate the cojones Louisa has developed, despair at Angel’s (“la pistolera”) bad manners , and simply laugh at Mr. Newman’s antics.  

And yet.  Have you ever visited a farm where the animals were not loved?  Where you can see the despondency, the ribs sticking out, the flat, dead eyes?  Water troughs might be green with algae, or the barns ankle-deep in decaying manure and fetid urine. The fencing might be broken down and rusty, with broken wires sticking out, the pastures so overgrazed the animals are picking roots out of the ground.  Or the animals might be locked in a barn with no sunlight – as were our three new alpaca girls – living in a dark, concrete dungeon with a bit of hay thrown in each day to stave off starvation.   

So let’s celebrate the remarkable sense of entitlement the animals have at Star Gazing Farm – and rally in protest against the mistreatment of farm animals elsewhere.  Just think:  it could be Mr. Newman’s second cousin once removed you are helping.

“The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot.”
― Mark Twain, What Is Man?

A few resources: 
Look up what is happening in legislation in your state:
http://www.humanesociety.org/about/state/?credit=web_id95084468

History of gains made to protect farm animals:
https://www.aspca.org/fight-cruelty/farm-animal-cruelty/aspca-and-farm-animals

Facts about farm animal protections:
http://aldf.org/resources/advocating-for-animals/farmed-animals-and-the-law/

Documentation of major animal welfare issues:
https://www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Pages/state-issues-welfare.aspx

Sign up to receive updates on legislation issues in your state:
http://www.farmsanctuary.org/get-involved/federal-legislation/state-legislation/

Copyright © 2015, Star Gazing Farm, Inc., All rights reserved.
Star Gazing Farm Newsletter List

Contact Us:
Star Gazing Farm
PO Box 162, Boyds, MD 20841
Web site:
http://www.stargazingfarm.org
Email: info@stargazingfarm.org
Tel: 301.349.0802

EIN#: 20-0882587
CFC#: 86412