As expected, it was hot and muggy at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary for the Farm Tour. Not as hot as predicted, but hot enough to keep the crowds down. Still, there were plenty of people who did come, and many of them were first time visitors. Lots of families, as expected, since the kids need to be entertained regardless of the weather.
The kids are usually great – open-minded, compassionate, curious – though generally disappointed that they can’t have more interaction with the animals. I always tell them to ask their parent(s) to bring them back for a tour on another weekend, and that they’ll have a lot more chances to interact if it’s not an event day. Of course their parents are standing right there listening! But the kids get excited, and the parents get ideas. Almost always they ask if the sanctuary gives tours to kids groups, or if kids can come volunteer.
We didn’t have as much chicken-holding as at other events – it was just too hot for them – and the chickens and turkeys spent most of the time inside the barn, where it was shaded, the fans were blowing, and they had foot baths to cool off in. Everyone was very understanding, and of course we’d bribe some of the chickens out into the shaded part of the yard with bread as often as they were willing to be bribed.
One group of chickens kept escaping to the nearby woods, and to the small stream that runs through it. We generally herd them back up to the barn area, for their safety, but I admit I love to see them scratching and pecking in the woods.
As usual, the cows, horses and mules headed off to the shade of the woods and the cool of the creek pretty early in the event. But unlike most times, they hung out for the entire day in the woods right near the fence of the chicken yard, so everyone had a chance to see them anyway!
At one point I noticed Darcy wandering in circles in the pasture, calling for his herd-mates. I knew he’d gotten separated from them, and would keep wandering until he found them. Not ideal, especially on such a hot day! I walked out to lead him to where Tally was, and was surprised at how much hotter it felt in the pasture. It felt like a 15 degree difference! Darcy didn’t want to go far into the woods, and who can blame him? He does amazingly well for a blind old horse, really. He happily munched on the grass at the edge of the woods in the shade. Tally came up from the creek to be near where he was, and I know he was comforted by being able to hear her bell.
The night before the event, a lamb arrived. Her mother abandoned her in the field, and the farmer wasn’t willing or able to care for her. She’s blind, or at least mostly blind. They think she might have some low-level vision, and they’re going to take her to the vet to get checked out. Isn’t she cute? And just in time for the new barn in the goat/sheep area that went up last week!
This event is just barely over, but I admit I’m already looking forward to the Open House on September 25. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau will be the speaker, which will be great. Not that I have yet to get a chance to hear the speakers, since I spend the event in the chicken yard!