The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News


As the Vineyard’s human population continues to grow, so does its population of feathered and four-legged residents. A few of these animals have risen to fame in recent years, each with their own supporters. From 3,000 pounds to less than one, these famous island animals vary in shape, size and appearance, but each one loves its fans.

Now appearing: Crouton and breadcrumbs

Jeanna Shepard

A year ago, Crouton was a sickly little piglet, the runt of the litter. Today, she is a mother of 11 healthy children weighing 300 pounds.

“I really didn’t think she was going to make it on her own,” said Kyle Bullerjahn, Crouton’s caretaker at North Tabor Farm. Kyle and Crouton first met while picking up litter in Westport for another farmer. She was two months old, but no bigger than her babies at one month. Had she stayed with the rest of the litter, her stronger siblings would have outmatched her for food.

Jeanna Shepard

And so she was taken back to North Tabor to be cared for – and spoiled rotten.

“She’s definitely a bit of a diva,” Kyle said. And farm manager Ruby Dix agreed: “She has the energy of an only child.” Ruby pointed out that there are times when Kyle goes out into the fields to hand pick greens for Crouton.

Crouton’s prima donna attitude is not unwarranted, however; she has a host of adoring fans among the children who come to the farm to visit “Crouton’s Corner”.

Her children (the “breadcrumbs”) are happy and healthy, soon to be weaned and moved to a larger pasture. They still struggle for food, but not as much as when they were younger, and they warm to company. For now, they prefer to scratch their backs on visitors’ legs and nibble their shoes, unlike Crouton, who expects generous head scratches.

Scooby in the spotlight

Jeanna Shepard

Scooby the rabbit from Gray Barn is another famous parent, having recently fathered six babies with his companion, Brioche. Purchased at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Show three years ago, this Holland lop and mini lop cross has grown into the spotlight, and it shows.

If Crouton is Kim Kardashian, then Scooby is Brad Pitt.

Jeanna Shepard

“He’s an outgoing little bunny,” said Sarah Klein, one of his keepers, explaining how unusual this trait is in his species. Scooby spends most of his time frolicking in the grass outside the Gray Barn farmhouse, eagerly awaiting the hordes of children who come to see him. When humans aren’t around, he enjoys visits from the farm’s cats and chickens.

Out of season, however, he lives in the barn. “I think he’s depressed in the winter,” said Olivia Kruczynska, another goalkeeper. “He misses his fans.

Jeanna Shepard

He has more company now, especially from his girlfriend Brioche, a rescue bunny that Sarah found abandoned. Brioche currently has its hands full with the kids, all named for the breads: Cinnamon, Pretzel, Chive, Sesame, Baguette, and King’s Hawaiian. King’s Hawaiian is the most energetic, resembling his father.

At five weeks, babies are in the middle of the ear drop process; everyone has a top and a bottom. They will soon be leaving for new homes, though Pretzel plans to stay to keep her parents company. Rabbit farmers at Gray Barn are anticipating many babies.

Moshup is all bull

Jeanna Shepard

In Wampanoag legend, Moshup was a benevolent giant whose thunderous footsteps shaped the geography of Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard). His favorite food was grilled whale.

At around 2,000 pounds, Moshup the bull is a bit smaller and prefers a fresh grass dinner. He has brown hair, slightly wavy around his shoulders, and enjoys lazy chewing sessions with his sons Larry and Curly (bottom picture).

Jeanna Shepard

Moshup came to the island in 2012, donated to Morning Glory Farm by Betsy and Jesse Fink to support island agriculture. Since then he has sired over 150 offspring on the island, spread across Morning Glory, Mermaid, Gray Barn, Nip and Tuck, Blackwater and Slough farms.

The trio (Larry is intended to fill Moshup’s breeding role, while Curly the steer is intended for the market) currently graze on young velvet grasses and wild chamomile at Dan Athearn’s Chilmark residence. When Dan exclaims “Hey, cows!” both sons raise their heads to attention, but Moshup ignores him.

“He’s at the age where he pretty much does whatever he wants,” Dan said. At around 13 years old, Moshup is in the upper age range of his breed.

Jeanna Shepard

Dan, who looks after Morning Glory cattle, said he usually thinks of the herd as one entity, but Moshup has been around long enough for Dan to get a sense of its personality. Moshup is carefree, heavy and sometimes strong-willed. Dan recalled an occasion a few years ago when Moshup (quite easily) escaped his pen and went on an island walk, traveling from a pasture near the Morning Glory farm to the large Edgartown pond. Today the fight is out of the old bull; He and Larry spend their afternoons lounging in the shade, licking each other’s fur.

Fred Tilton is a whale of a pygmy goat

Ray Ewing

Pygmy goat Fred Tilton lives in a lush, clover-filled paddock on Native Earth Teaching Farm, along with his Flashlight cousins ​​and Click and Clack twins.

Despite the abundant pastures around him, Fred much prefers to be hand-fed. He and Flashlight often bump their heads on handfuls of the same grass that is inside their enclosure.

Fred has some big shoes to fill, explained owner and sitter Rebecca Gilbert. “He was named after Captain George Fred Tilton,” she said. “He was the last generation of whalers and he lived in my house.”

Reading Fred’s autobiography (the captain’s, not the goat’s), Rebecca was shocked at the environmental destruction in the oil industry and how aware the captain was of it. She hopes young Fred can add a new chapter to this story by becoming a “climate activist goat”.

Ray Ewing

Fred and his loved ones express their activism through the consumption of invasive and obnoxious plants such as honeysuckle, bittersweet and poison ivy at reserves such as Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary. But the prodigious appetite of goats also has destructive potential.

“Goats have a reputation for being able to take a lush environment and turn it into a desert,” Rebecca said, referring to an ancient whaling practice of leaving goats behind to populate uninhabited islands. The whalers returned to find the islands with far more goats and far fewer plants.

For now, Fred is on hiatus. Much of the focus on the farm is currently on the new kids, kept in a separate paddock, who will soon be old enough to participate in Goat Yoga, held all summer at Native Earth Teaching Farm.

Chilmark the beef is a gentle giant

Ray Ewing

Every Sunday afternoon, Cicilio Rosa Neto travels to Owen Park Beach in Vineyard Haven in a cart pulled by her beloved ox, Chilmark. When they arrive, they go for a walk by the water.

“Chilmark likes sand, but he hates water,” Cicilio said. The duo have become a Vineyard Haven institution in recent years, often the first to greet visitors disembarking from the nearby ferry. On the back of his oxcart reads: “Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard.” God bless America.”

Ray Ewing

Cicilio received Chilmark three years ago from Allen Healy of Mermaid Farm, whom he helps milk and tend to the herd. “I don’t do it for the money, I do it because I like it,” Cicilio said, explaining how it reminds him of his youth on a big farm in Brazil.

Over the years, the man and his ox have forged a close bond. “Allen gave him to me as a baby, for the meat,” Cicilio said, “but now he’s like my pet; he’ll never be a burger. They spend a lot of time together, although Chilmark has had to being moved to pastures farther from Cicilio’s house when his loud calls for breakfast kept waking the neighbors.

Ray Ewing

Chilmark will likely continue to grow over the next three years, buoyed by the exercise of its weekly trips to the beach. But

Despite his size, his horns and the bad boy look of his nose ring, the chocolate giant is a real treat.

“It really makes me happy that people come to see it,” Cicilio said. “Everyone loves him and he loves everyone.”

Tony the Pony

Ray Ewing

Tony Smalls, aka Tony the pony, is perhaps the most talented animal on the island. He can do tricks, paint pictures, play music and is an accredited therapy horse. He is also very small, about the size of a Great Dane. He is black with a white patch on his torso, and all of his legs except the front left have a white fur sock above the ankle.

“He grew up in West Tisbury and he never had a bad day in his life,” said Annie Parsons. Despite being her owner, Annie said she felt more like a personal assistant during her shows. The duo are associated with the Misty Meadows Equine Learning Center, where Annie teaches mounted archery. “They have this big mission to make horses accessible to everyone,” she said.

Ray Ewing

All of Tony’s talents were on display during his recent performance at the Chilmark Public Library. A crowd of youngsters watched anxiously as Annie set up a towel for Tony to play on, essential to keeping his mind off the grass.

Tony got a little impatient before the performance, pounding his foot into the ground to show his frustration. “He can’t wait to create,” said Annie, as she asked the children to choose the colors he should paint with. Tony uses his mouth to grab the brush. His style is bold and vertical, a bold technique in the tradition of Abstract Expressionism.

Ray Ewing

After being helped with his signature hoofprint, Tony gave a keyboard performance, though he lacked the usual tambourine accompaniment from his daughter, Sugar Smalls. “She’s very sassy and knows exactly what she wants,” Annie said. Sugar is even shorter than Tony.

After the performance, Tony enjoyed a snack of lush grass next to the library, while the children braided white clover flowers into his mane.

Thomas Humphrey is an intern at the Vineyard Gazette.


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