Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Final days at Farm Sanctuary

I knew this month would fly by, and I was right. I have only a handful of days left here as an intern at Farm Sanctuary California. The crew here had a staff/intern farewell lunch today - if anyone is considering applying for an internship at Farm Sanctuary, there are a ton of good reasons to do so. One of which is that we are fed really well. Lunch today was nummy vegan pizza with sausage, soy cheese, and other goodness. Poppy seed cake-bars and red pepper-bean hummusy dip rounded things out. Good stuff - I've gone an entire month without having to negotiate my way through a meal with non-vegans, and it's been a nice break. Thanks everybody.

Most of my cooking is done here at Vegan House, the intern residence. I was feeling sort of lazy after a good day of work and I'm trying to use up my groceries, but I'm excited to dig in to the roasted butternut squash with onions and garlic and random spices in the oven.

Tomorrow promises to be a big day. The caregiver staff is administering a health care check for each and every one of the Santa Cruz sheep herd. They are grateful refugees from Santa Cruz island off the California coast, but probably the least domesticated of Farm Sanctuary's happy residents. The herd has had free range of the farm yards the last week or so - the sheep herd and main cattle herd alternate among the many pastures on the property. This week the cows moved to the "pond pasture," north of the farm. They have plenty of green grass and a good sized pond to enjoy. Today during the daily hay feed chores, we rounded up three straggling donkeys who hadn't made their way to the new pasture yet. It took a little searching on the mountain pasture to find them, but they were bribed with carrots to move to the pond pasture. Riding around the pastures, checking on the animals and feeding out hay, is always a good time. It's the Farm Sanctuary version of ranch life, and the views from the high pastures of the surrounding snow-capped mountains never fails to inspire.

After work I spent time with the pigs of the Rescue Barn. Pot-bellied Fergus Pig, one of my favorites here, had already gone to bed - it was pretty windy and cooler today, and Fergus calls it a day early the few days when it isn't warm and sunny. He was burrowed into the straw in the section of the barn he shares with big Matilda and shaggy Ramona and Kiwi. Kiwi is another younger pig, and she and Fergus love belly rubs. I was adding water to the pigs' little pond, and Kiwi came up beside me and rolled over for an extended belly rub session. If you haven't heard the snorts and grunts of a happy pig getting a belly rub, you really, really ought to sometime.

We also spent a couple of hours this afternoon doing hoof trimming on three of the older goats today. Their names are Studley, Sprout, and Cheech. The goats have a genial cool about them. They are quite sociable and curious - not in the frat-boy, party animal, eager to please character of dogs that I love so much - but really cool about it. I'm a big fan of the goats, especially these three. They aren't crazy about the hoof trimming (it's basically like clipping toenails, but really crazy toenails), but it didn't last long and they were out in the pasture with their buddies in no time. At his shoulders, Cheech maybe comes up to my knees - he's just the best. I'm going to miss the goats. We should all be more like them.

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