“Did you want to stop in at DeMille’s and get some corn,” my husband asked me as we drove into town on our shopping trip. DeMille’s is the local farm store in our community – and the reason it is the store (when we do have others) is that they have a really nice petting zoo.
“Sure,” I answered. I love going down to see the animals, and I love the feeling of walking through the store full of (mostly) local produce, and pretty canning jars, and freshly baked pies, and… That place is what ‘living’ feels like.
It is real, and it is natural, and it is… me (though I’ve never lived on a farm.)
Mostly I just head straight for the animals, though, while my husband does the shopping. Today I went in with him. He got the corn. I got a few sweet potatoes (I really liked how they were smaller, and not the huge potatoes the grocery store gets.) He also asked me to pick out some apples, and I got a nice looking 10lbs bag.
We put them in the car, and on the way back to the animals my husband asked if I wanted to buy something to feed them.
Really?!!! We’ve never bought food for them before – I always just go in and look. “Yes, that would be fun!” I replied.
We went back in and he bought two paper bags full of seeds and corn and such, and then went back out to the animals.
They have it set up now so there are two gates to get in (and keep the animals inside.) So now they are able to have some of the animals out of their pens.
When they saw us come in with the paper bags, they came heading strait for us. I took out some seed, and they each took turns eating it. They were all so gentle. They even let me pet them after I fed them, and when we walked to see other animals, we had a following behind us – donkeys, sheep, a llama, some chickens…
We got to some “fainting goats” in their pen just as a worker was about to drop lettuce and such in. She let us take some out of the box to feed them first. We did that, and gave them more from our bags. As we were walking down the ‘boardwalk’ (a bridge of pallets covered with plywood) a rooster came running at us. I gave him some food from the bag, too, and he happily stopped to eat.
We fed more goats, and some Alpacas (with ‘Beatles’ like haircuts – so cute!) and more chickens, and at that point the sheep and a donkey met up with us and got the last of our food.
$1 a bag! That was probably the best dollar I have ever spent in my life! Hours later and I am still filled with joy from the experience. Such a wonderful gift my husband gave to me today – if ever he wanted to convince me he knew me; really knew me; it was in those words, “Do you want to buy something to feed the animals?”
I think my experiences with animals are much like what I see when other people are interacting – but always feel left out and awkward then – completely natural, and full of more joy than I could express.
The only thing I might like better would be a day (or weekend) spent at the fall fair – but my husband and son don’t like the fair, so I never get to go. Anyway, that doesn’t take away from how happy I am at this moment after spending even a short time at the market, feeding the animals.