Yesterday, I had pretty much the best day ever. I spent the day volunteering at the Long Meadow Rescue Ranch run by the Humane Society in Union, Missouri.
There were horses, pigs, chickens, goats, sheep, cows, ducks, guinea fowl, donkeys and a llama named Mama. For an animal-lover like me, it was hog heaven.
After my orientation I got busy cleaning the stalls with the staff. My first visit was with a super cute white mini-horse that loved to scratch his hiney on my big bucket. It made cleaning, um, challenging. Next, it was feeding time in the outside pens for a handsome pygmy goat named Fonzie and his pal Ralph, a big beautiful white horse named Annie, and some sweet, sweet, sheep. After that, I spent some time in Miss Kitti's stall. Miss Kitti is a very curious and beautifully majestic quarter horse. However, getting her to move around the stall so I could clean was only slightly easier than moving a school bus with my bare hands. I don't often feel small, but next to Miss Kitti and friends, I feel pint-sized. She was HUGE and every time I got her to skooch five feet away, she'd come right back like a boomerang and put her big velvety horse nose right in my face, "Whatcha doing? Huh? Can I see? Please!" If Miss Kitti could fit in my Honda, I'm pretty sure she would love to go for a ride and hang her head out the window, mane blowing in the wind. Cleaning stalls and feeding is back-breaking work (hats off to the awesome and totally bad-ass staff!), but it's a small price to pay for the opportunity to spend time up close and personal with some truly amazing creatures.
Meet Duncan. Isn't he handsome? He's a real sweetie, too. Rub his neck, he likes that.
I didn't catch this little guy's name, but he cracked me up. Nosy, nosy, piggy. I bent down to take his picture and he ran over to check out my lens.
This guy was one of my favorites. I heart donkeys. He likes it when you scratch behind his ears and has the sweetest, shyest way about him.
This big dude weighs over 1,000 lbs! His name is Norton. We made a giant bed of hay for him to snuggle up in for the night. For all of his snorting and slopping noises, he's a surprisingly dainty eater when it's all said and done. It only takes a couple scoops a day of piggy kibble to maintain his slender figure.
After we cleaned the stables, fed and watered the animals and took horses out to the pasture for exercise, we took a spin in the big truck to close gates and check on the grazing cattle and horses enjoying the fields.
By the time the day was done, I was totally exhausted, covered in poo and sawdust up to my knees, I had fistfulls of hay in my hair and I'm pretty sure I smelled like a goat, but I was grinning ear to ear. SO MUCH FUN!
On my way home, I had to make a quick pit stop to take a few pictures of my friend Jeff's band, SuperJam. Barn to studio, baby, that's how I roll. Anyhoo, I'm really pleased with the results and they're a great bunch of guys to work with -- they didn't complain about the smell, even once. If you're in the Lou, you definitely have to check them out. All the cool kids are doing it.
|Eric, Dave F., Joe, Jeff, Dave A.|