Two new additions to the farm arrived on Friday. Guinevere and Nimue are 10 week old Great Pyrenees puppies in training to protect the livestock here at Whispering Orchards.
A month ago I attended the winter conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association which I am a member. Vitaly Brukhman of Bubbly Jen’s Farm was also there at the conference offering samples of his ginger kombucha. Vitaly and I met a few years back at an SBA lecture on branding. We have become good friends since that time. If you like fermented foods you need to try Bubbly Jen’s sauerkraut.and probiotic drinks.
As Luck Would Have It….
A few months ago, Vitaly drove 448 miles all the way to West Virginia to purchase 2 Great Pyrenees, Gerda and Kai, to guard the chickens, goats and pigs on his 10-acre farm in East Brunswick, NJ. He wanted dogs that actually worked the farm, not just a breed from a kennel. Great Pyrenees are natural protectors…the breed’s goal in life is to protect sheep, goats, livestock, people, children, grass, flowers, the moon, the lawn statues, bird feeders, and any real or imaginary predators that may intrude on your personal space. Oh yeah, and to give, give, and give unconditional love.
I asked Vitaly how he came up with their names. “They are from the original “The Snow Queen” fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson.
“a little boy Kai and a little girl Gerda live next door to each other in the garrets of buildings with adjoining roofs in a large city. ”
The devil, in the form of an evil troll, has made a magic mirror that distorts the appearance of everything that it reflects. The magic mirror fails to reflect the good and beautiful aspects of people and things, and magnifies their bad and ugly aspects…slips and falls back to earth, shattering into billions of pieces, some no larger than a grain of sand..On a pleasant summer day, splinters of the troll-mirror get into Kai’s heart and eyes while he and Gerda are looking at a picture book in their window-box garden. Kai becomes cruel and aggressive .”
“Kai needed help, he was very asocial with people,” Vitaly told me. “Gerda was very friendly with us but cared about Kai. Kai had been running away daily, sometimes for more than one day in a row. Gerda had been running between Kai in the woods and us. Back and forth. She’s been trying to “save” him like Gerda saved Kai. That’s how they got their names.”
So back in November, Gerda and Kai had a litter of 5 pups on the farm. When I saw Vitaly at the conference, I casually mentioned that I was looking for a dog breed to guard the chickens on the farm. He mentioned that he has a litter of Great Pyrenees and that 2 of the females would be great to look after the flock that I have.
When the pups arrived I named them Guinevere and Nimue, two characters from Arthurian Legend. Guinevere was the wife of King Arthur, and Nimue, also known as the Lady of the Lake is the title held by a sorceress character in the Matter of Britain. She plays a pivotal role in many stories, including giving King Arthur his sword Excalibur, enchanting Merlin, and raising Lancelot after the death of his father.
Over the next few weeks we will start training Guinevere and Nimue as guardians of the property and the livestock here.