visiting farm sanctuary

Kiwi_medium
as i mentioned in my previous post, i had the chance to visit farm sanctuary a few weeks ago, which was just a fantastic experience. i had such a great time, and it was over much too soon, and i’ve thought about it every day since.

my husband and i decided somewhat spur-of-the-moment that we would go to a wedding in lake tahoe. it was the wedding of a old and dear friend, and we’d just put off our decision-making and trip-planning too long, but once we decided to go, everything fell into place quite nicely. we planned to stay with another old and dear friend in sacramento, and pretty much the INSTANT i realized we’d have friday "free," i started lobbying for a visit to the orland farm sanctuary.

i wasn’t actually sure if it would work out, so i tried VERY hard not to get my hopes up, but i went about trying to set things up with sarah, my VRF friend who works there. she was so sweet and helpful (and excited like me!) and i kept my husband informed about all the details, in the hopes that it would really work out. we would be staying at least an hour and a half away from the farm, and we weren’t sure what our friends would want to do that day, so it wasn’t a sure thing… but i kept my fingers crossed very tightly that the trip would materialize (all the while telling myself it probably wouldn’t. heh).

we arrived late thursday night, and sat out on their patio talking until about 1am. when we all headed in to go to bed, they asked us what we wanted to do the next day, and my husband passed the conversational baton to me, all, "well, she wants to go somewhere…" so i awkwardly explained about farm sanctuary as quickly and "breezily" as i could. our friends were like, "that sounds great, let’s do it!" and i was floored, and explained that it was a good 90 minutes away, but they were completely cool with it. woo hoo!

the next morning i BOUNDED out of bed, got ready, and called sarah to set up the details. she had to run work-errands all afternoon, so we were trying to get there early enough in the day to have some time for visiting with her and getting the grand tour (the perks of having a friend work there!).  we managed to get out of the house in relatively good time, but the drive took longer than we thought it would (i think we thought there would be more freeway–i.e., speeding–miles), and we ended up getting there much later than anticipated. i felt awful because i totally screwed up sarah’s schedule for the day, but she was sooo awesome about it and never once made us feel like jerks. hee.

when we parked the car i was kind of in a state of shock, because days before i could have never predicted that i’d be standing there. it was so awesome. i scurried over to the shelter office to find sarah, and it was just so funny–my brain was on a constant "oh my god i’m at farm sanctuary!" loop. sarah was on the phone when i got inside, so i stood in her doorway and acted like a nerd for awhile, then pet one of the cats sitting on a big pillow on the floor. it was SO cool to meet sarah; she’s just the greatest person and such a wonderful host. i heart her.

we went around to every barn and visited tons of animals. we started with the cows, which are amazing and enormous and gentle and gorgeous. we walked right up to them–some walked right up to us–and got to pet them and hang out and talk to them. i have a super-soft-spot for jersey cows, so i was crushing on tyler and eugene and eli, among others. we also met roberti, who is absolutely massive, and nellie, who has a beautiful face.

we got to hang out with the donkeys, bonnie and waylon, which was particularly exciting because both sarah and i really really really love donkeys. and these donkeys are SO sweet! oh my goodness. waylon followed sarah everywhere, and bonnie seemed to like me. it was so great to snuzzle with them.

after the donkeys we got to meet kiwi and fergus, two piglets who will just charm the pants off you right away. when kiwi came running over to the fence i swear to god i welled up a little, she was so cute. (i do that. i’m weird.) she has spots and she’s so friendly and i just wanted to take her home (she’s in the picture above, click for a better look). fergus is part pot-bellied pig, part feral, and his tail wags like a little helicopter blade. They Were So Cute! we fed them banana peels, which they loved. we went from there to the "big pig" barn, and met the piglets who were rescued from UC-davis and some of the giant piggers. they were all totally friendly and loved the banana peels. i met lily, who weighs 750 pounds, and ramona, who is smaller and has spots and loves people.

then we headed over to the goats and sheep, and the goats were totally interested in us but the sheep were more shy. we pet a bunch of goats and then all of a sudden we realized a lone sheep was following us around. her name is zoe, and she was from a wild herd on santa cruz island. she totally loved attention, and was really patient about waiting for it. she would just stand quietly nearby with her head ducked down a bit, like, "um, you could pet me and that would be all right." she was so cute! i hung out with her and talked to her for awhile.

after we were done in that area, we headed over to see all of the chickens and turkeys. sarah had brought bananas to feed the turkeys (something i never knew turkeys liked!) and it was totally hilarious–she peeled a banana halfway for me and said, "here, if you hold it
they’ll come peck bits of banana off," and i was all, "kewl!" and then
this greedy turkey lady busted over and YANKED THE ENTIRE THING OUT OF
MY HAND and ran away. it was the most hilarious sight, this crazy
turkey running around with an entire banana sticking out of her mouth,
peels flapping in the breeze. she would get somewhere, stop, look
around all shifty-like, then run again. i really wish i had video of it; the image is burned in my mind forever. the turkeys loved being petted, and they were so gentle and sweet about the whole thing. and they’re really soft!

we peeked in on the rabbit enclosure, which is like a little Rabbit Town, i swear. cool hiding places and lots of room to hop around and have fun. we saw geese strolling around, and then flying to the pond. we checked in on some adorable white ducks. oh!! and we got to meet the baby turkeys who survived the horrible northwest airlines fiasco–they were adorable. the whole experience was beyond amazing; i am sounding terribly inarticulate because i’m running out of normal-sounding words to describe it. we took some pictures while we were there; if you want to check them out, here you go!

i wish i could have spent the entire day there, but i wouldn’t trade the 90 minutes we had for the world. i have always thought that farm sanctuary was a tremendous organization, but being there, and meeting the animals, and spending time with sarah has really driven the point home, and made it so much more personal for me. i want to go back, like yesterday. i want to adopt all the animals. i want land so i can rescue a cow and a donkey and a piglet and and and…

summary: farm sanctuary is the bestest EVAH. you must go.

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11 comments

  1. My daughter really loved the farm sanctuary pictures! She sang “old Mcdonald as I showed them to her” She is 2 years old. Looks like you had a wonderful time 🙂

  2. Hey Girl! You’re never gonna believe this, but Ramona is our pig!! Maya, Mina & I adopted her after someone found her in a drain sewer half drowned when she was teeny tiny. I loved seeing your pictures and the girls were thrilled to see how big she’s gotten. They go, “Why did she visit our pig before us?” And I’m like, “I know girls. We’ll get up there soon.” Especially after your loving description of it all.

  3. madness–no way! that’s so awesome! ramona is the greatest. she is SO friendly and sweet. and as a baby, she looked just like kiwi looks now! i bet as kiwi grows up and gets integrated into the pig barn, they’ll be come little piggie friends.
    You Simply Must Go. and i can’t wait to read all about your adventure when you do!

  4. It sounds like a great time. I love rescue shelters/animal shelters. This year I’m volunteering as a school mentor. My mentor parter and I will be taking our girls to taking to a farm sanctuary this Spring.
    This past July I adopted two ferrets from a rescue shelter.

  5. Loved the pics of your visit to Farm Sanctuary. Especially the ones of the PIGS! I must say I have a soft spot for pigs. I have FOUR of them!
    We were fortunate to be able to visit the Farm Sanctuary in Watkin’s Glen N.Y a few years ago at Thanksgiving for the Celebration For the Turkeys. I loved seeing all the animals, but I couldn’t wait to get to the pig barn, and once I did, that is where I could be found till the end of the day. It was my first experience meeting BigPigs. I couldn’t get over how gentle they were, and how like my beloved Potbellies they were. I have since met several BigPigs, even got to transport a pair of 400 pound “babies” to a Sanctuary. This summer, my husband and I are going to start looking for land, so we can start our own pig sanctuary.
    Pigs are for lovin’
    Not for the oven!
    Cheers,
    Sherry and the piggers,
    Ruby, Bart, Teddy and George Kune.

  6. Loved the pics of your visit to Farm Sanctuary. Especially the ones of the PIGS! I must say I have a soft spot for pigs. I have FOUR of them!
    We were fortunate to be able to visit the Farm Sanctuary in Watkin’s Glen N.Y a few years ago at Thanksgiving for the Celebration For the Turkeys. I loved seeing all the animals, but I couldn’t wait to get to the pig barn, and once I did, that is where I could be found till the end of the day. It was my first experience meeting BigPigs. I couldn’t get over how gentle they were, and how like my beloved Potbellies they were. I have since met several BigPigs, even got to transport a pair of 400 pound “babies” to a Sanctuary. This summer, my husband and I are going to start looking for land, so we can start our own pig sanctuary.
    Pigs are for lovin’
    Not for the oven!
    Cheers,
    Sherry and the piggers,
    Ruby, Bart, Teddy and George Kune.

  7. raw vegan momma–what a wonderful field trip idea! and hooray for ferrets–i love those little guys.
    sherry–that sounds so amazing! i really loved the pigs, too, especially the babies and the “teenager pigs,” heh. so cute and spunky! i wish you the BEST of luck with your sanctuary–those piggers need all the help they can get!

  8. raw vegan momma–what a wonderful field trip idea! and hooray for ferrets–i love those little guys.
    sherry–that sounds so amazing! i really loved the pigs, too, especially the babies and the “teenager pigs,” heh. so cute and spunky! i wish you the BEST of luck with your sanctuary–those piggers need all the help they can get!

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