Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fargo watches the river flow, and pics from Farm Sanctuary CA

I always like to start here with a photo, so here's a portrait of the very handsome Ari, one of the goats at Farm Sanctuary's California shelter. That's where I've been most of this month, and we'll get back to California in a moment. Isn't he great?

Here in Fargo we're cautiously optimistic about the flooding situation on the Red River, at least those of us still on dry ground. The crest appears to have come and gone over the weekend, although now the National Weather Service is telling us to expect another crest, at similar levels, in another two weeks. We're in the middle of another blizzard tonight, with more snow expected before the final spring thaw even starts, so the river still has a lot of water coming its way. So far so good, but it looks like we'll be waiting on pins and needles for the next two weeks to see how this ends.

This has been exhausting for everyone, but the spirit here in Fargo, and Moorhead MN on the other side of the river, has been inspiring. Tens of thousands of volunteers from the Fargo-Moorhead area, with many more from around the region, have worked so hard this past week to prepare for the flooding. We've filled around three and half million sandbags, built miles and miles of sandbag dikes, and received so much support and well wishes from around the country.
I'm sitting here tonight watching the snow fall and wind blow, and happy to finally have an evening that doesn't involve filling, tying, tossing, or stacking sandbags. We'll see how things go the next couple of weeks, but we're all looking forward to getting through this.

On the personal front, I got back last week from sunny California, where I spent a couple of weeks volunteering at Farm Sanctuary's shelter near Orland, CA. I was at the FS shelter last year around this time for a month, and I'm so happy I was able to get out there again this year. It was another fantastic experience, and great fun to see all of the animals and folks at the shelter. I stayed at the farm with three other interns on three-month terms - Hi Roxie, Amanda, and Brian! - and they were first rate housemates. Good cooks too - I wish I'd taken some more photos of the food everybody was making, and every evening after work was good fun - thanks everybody!

If you're unfamiliar with Farm Sanctuary, they have two sites in the US, in New York and California. They provide life-long care for rescued animals, and support education for ever-growing numbers of people about the conditions these animals have survived as former commercial commodities. The website is full of information on the animals' stories, ongoing campaigns, and educational resources, so I encourage you to check it out - even better of course would be a visit to one of the sanctuary sites - they have weekend tours throughout the summer, if you get the chance! You'll love it, and I guarantee you'll fall for a few of the resident animals.

Now for some photos - the darlings of the shelter this spring are two lambs, Colvin and Adi (not sure about the spelling), brothers born after their mom Wendy arrived. Here's a picture of Adi - the little brother - running around their yard. He isn't quite sure how to use his legs yet, and I broke out laughing every time he ran around, with legs flying in random directions. He would occasionally launch into a full four-legged leap like this, just jogging around with his brother - that's Wendy at the right.

Below is Ramona pig, digging into a bowl of fresh greens and carrots. Feeding Ramona and her group of pig pals is always gratifying - they get so excited whenever the produce bowls come around, and this disappeared in minutes.

Whitaker calf - another sweetie, waiting to grow a little bigger before he joins the main cattle herd in the pastures.
This is Maya - she arrived at the shelter with pal Rosa last year. She just took a bath in the pond the main pig group shares with the geese and ducks here, and came up to visit and pose for her close-up. Lookin' good.

Here's Rosa - she and Maya sleep cuddled up together in the pig barn every night, and they're pretty adorable. Rosa's fired up about eating a bunch of shredded carrots here. They're as gentle as any friendly dog when it comes to eating treats out of hand.
Finally, my buddy Blue, one of my favorites from the sheep herd. The photo doesn't really convey it, but I always feel good when Blue comes up to see what's going on. He's pretty cool. Blue shares the pasture with the rest of the sheep and goat herd, and they're probably my favorite group of animals at the shelter to spend some free time with. The goats especially are endlessly curious, especially when I have treats like apples or carrots in my pockets. Some of the sheep are a little more wary, but Blue always comes up to say hi.

Thanks as always for reading, and I hope to be back soon in regular recipe/food mode. In the meantime, I have a feeling that the river is going to keep us on our toes for another couple of weeks.


Anonymous said...

hey animal lover! good to see a new post from ya!

hope all is well with ya!

thanks for sharing all the wonderful oink oink and baa baa pics! they are too cute for words!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

all the animal photos are so mellow! Looks like a beautiful place. Hope you get some relief from the flooding issue soon.

River said...

Mike!! So good to hear from you! We've been following the flood on the news and it's amazing how many people have come together to help. I hope mother nature gives people over there a break soon.

Thank you for sharing your stories and pictures from the Farm Sanctuary! Every body is so adorable, and I can see why you love Blue so much. I love him already! Adi's four-legged leap is so cute!!

To Visit My said...

your blog is very nice......

Gina said...

Those are such beautiful picture. I live relatively close to NY's Farm Sanctuary, I hope I get a chance to make it out there soon. Something about that calf really spoke to me :)