Baby animals bring life to farm


Returning home at dusk, we came to a dead stop last night while turning in to our lane. A skunk was playing with her two very tiny babies as if they had found themselves a really great amusement park. As we watched them flip somersaults, we could see that one baby skunk was mostly white, the other nearly all black.

Mama skunk and family

Suddenly, the mama realized she was under scrutiny. She sort of held us captive, taking up our only point of entry to home. We sure weren’t going to get out of the truck and shoo her out of the way, and trying to get around them in our narrow lane wasn’t possible either. Sensing the need to do something, the mama skunk picked up the darkest of the two in her mouth and began hurrying away.

“Yikes! What about Whitey?” I asked, just as the little critter ran straight for us, scurrying under the truck.

We waited. We watched. We each opened our truck door and peeked all around. By this time, mama and blackey were long gone, heading in the opposite direction.

“Well, do you want a pet skunk?” my hubby asked, sending all sorts of shivers up my spine.

I know some people might disagree, but my very prompt reaction was, “No, thank you.”

Growth spurt

As if we don’t have enough going on! Life on our farm this spring has been like experiencing a growth spurt on high test. Even if I had a hankering for a pet skunk, the answer would still have been no. We are busting at the seams with new life.

We welcomed the birth of a colt and two filly Haflingers earlier in the spring. Watching them grow and run with their mama mares has been better than any other form of entertainment available.

Two of our ponies had spent all last summer with a visiting miniature donkey in hopes of at least one baby miniature mule. This past month, each pony delivered a baby mule, both males. We now have the fun of watching Mo and Bo jaunt alongside the pony mares. I don’t think I have ever seen anything that keeps us all repeating ourselves, commenting on how cute those little fellows are.

Each evening, at dusk, those tiny mules find themselves just bursting with an extra dose of orneriness, and they lope and canter and kick with a bit of wild abandon in the large pasture behind our house. There is just no other show quite like this one.

Well, unless you count the baby fainting goats. Triplet doe kids were born on Easter Sunday, with twin bucks arriving the following day. Those little kids enjoy the pasture with their own set of playground equipment, and watching them jump and climb and occasionally faint when startled is worth getting out of bed very early every morning.

Puppies and kittens

On top of all this, we have newborn black and tan English Shepherd puppies, just finding their voice, a friendly kitten we adopted from a friend, and if the activity of the barn swallows is any indication, we will soon get to see another addition.

Life is never boring, and when it comes to skunks, boring is better than the alternative!


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.


  1. What happened to the mostly white baby skunk? I really like skunks and hope that Mama eventually came back for it. Love your column, keep up the wonderful stories.


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