Saturday looked like it was going to be an ugly day at the sanctuary. Cold, muddy, sort of rainy. Somehow it wasn’t as cold as expected, and there was no rain. It was still muddy, but we had more volunteers than usual, and so the work went by quicky with plenty of laughter, and chased by some kind of vegan ice cream bar. (Thanks Ryan!) Nice cream bars in the winter? What can I say, it hit the spot!
I get the feeling sometimes that by posting the cute sanctuary pictures that I give the wrong impression of what we do there as volunteers, that maybe people think we frolic around petting the residents as our “work”. Yes, it is true, we get to interact with the animals (when they’re in the mood for us), but mostly we’re picking up poop.
Buckets and spreaders full of poop.
That’s Ryan, by the way, talking to Terry. And you thought he did nothing but run a blog! We do manage to get a lot of conversation in during our bucket-and-rake meditations.
The pig yard is one of those places that can be either the second most enjoyable area (though I will deny that I have favorites, the goats are my favorites, really) or the number one messiest area! When it rains or snows, it gets muddy and messy. The pigs root around for their food, and curious creatures that they are, they come over with those muddy noses and sides and make sure we share in the joy of being muddy! Actually, I think the pig area ends up being the messiest area regardless of the conditions!
Even on dry days, working at the sanctuary is dirty work, and hauling buckets of poop and 40lb (when full) buckets of water around can be a pretty good workout. On thanksgiving, I somehow ended up doing all the water buckets. 7 in the goat yard, 2 in the pig barn, 4 in the horse barn. 13 x 40. That’s a lot of pounds of water! I was a wee bit sore the next day. Sure beats going to the gym though!
Of course, in the end, it is indeed the animals that get us there and keep us going back. Even on the worst days, going to the sanctuary is the highlight of my weekend. No matter how messy, no matter how much poop, no matter how cold or rainy, I feel peace and community at the sanctuary, and my priorities are reaffirmed.
Say hi to Jacob. He’s lived at Poplar Spring since he was a baby.