Week 2: All the Animals

 

Whoa… this week has definitely been different from my usual routine. Working with baby farm animals is exciting, entertaining, busy, poopy, cuddly, and just about a million other things. Every minute isn’t wonderful, but it feels good to get dirty and hold little animals.

Basically, I am working with a woman (Karen) who runs a traveling farm (Old MacDonald Farms) that brings baby animals to schools, fairs, parties, etc. We drive to the location (often 4+ hours away), set up a pin, feed the animals and then help kids pet and brush the animals for a couple hours. During our travels, we have to stop every several hours and bottle feed the babies, which takes at least 2 hours with set up and allowing them to graze/rest for an hour after feeding.

Being at the sites can feel a bit hectic at times, but there is something really delightful about teaching a little tot (3 year old) how to pet a lamb for the first time. The way the child is all nervous and trying to crawl on top of you, then they realize that the lamb is safe and fun to pet, and their face lights up. They look back at you to make sure everything is ok, and you reassure them they are doing the right thing. The kiddo squeals with delight, and sets out to touch another one. I love it.

Aside from all the animal-ness, I have been learning a lot about the wildlife and land in Australia. Confession: I bought a cheap pair of binoculars to look at the birds and have been on an obsessive search for a bird book.  There is one species that looks like a huge pigeon with a bright pink chest, and there are so many colorful parrots its hard to keep track. I feel like such a nerd. Also, I got to try sugarcane!! We went out to a local farm to pick up a couple baby goats and one of the farmers showed me their fields. He gave me a stalk to chew on and I tentatively started chomping on it like I’ve seen pandas do in videos. The stalks kind of look like bamboo, you shave off the outer layer, then chew on the fibrous flesh and sugar juice comes out! It was kind of amazing.

Thankfully, I’m getting better at recognizing the common catch phrases and the social greetings too. Some are a little bit different than what I’m used to. For example, when you tell someone “thank you” they usually respond with “that’s okay” instead of “you’re welcome,” and it sounds like people are saying “how are you going” when they are asking “how are you doing?” I can’t tell you how many times I have told people where I am going rather than how I’m doing. Its fine. I have an American accent, they know I’m working on it.

Right, well… cheerio!!