Friday, October 28, 2011

Farm Weeks: Mountainside Petting Farm

Today, my farm adventure is to a place not in which I procured things to eat, but in which I fed others.  

Four-legged others. 

After going to Hill Top Berry Farm, Ellie and I stopped at Mountainside Petting Farm.  Ellie had heard about this place over the summer.  Since it was right on Route 151, only $6 a person, and on the way back to Staunton from Hill Top, it seemed silly not to check it out.  

Mountainside is quite a find.  Most of the animals are rescue animals, and the owners have filled in with a just couple animals they purchased.  When you arrive, the owner greets you with a nice friendly smile and a warm feeling of welcome.  He explained the different pins, some do’s and do not’s, showed us where to make smores when we were done, and then got us a pale of feed for the animals.  

We got to feed horses, some regular some rather tiny, a cow, ducks, pigs, sheep, and goats with amazing horns.  The animals are smart; they have picked up on the dynamic of you feed and only then can you pet them.  As soon as the moment of feeding is done, they just might reject your advances.  But, you have a whole pale and they do like eating, so it all works out. 

My two favorite attractions are Cloe and Wally.   
Cloe, the camel, is the one animal you aren’t allowed to feed because she has sharing issues.  But, she will trot along the fence behind you and nuzzle your head when you aren’t looking.  She even gave the owner a kiss when he asked her.    
Wally, the albino wallaby, is worth the admission alone.  He lives with ducks and peacocks and was hanging around the fence with his eyes closed.  If he is close enough to the fence, he will let you scratch his head and Ellie found his favorite scratching spot near his forearms.  The owner told us that he and his wife got Wally when he was a Joey.  His wife had to carry him around in a sling and feed him from a bottle.  Now, Wally and the owner’s wife are so bonded that Wally drives around in the truck with her.  The owner also said that since wallabies keep their balance in their tail, when they need Wally to do something they just grab his tail and then steer him around. 

Although not big, the Petting Farm feels like a place you want to be at.  There are old rocking horses and a wooden train to play in.  The kids run around smiling and laughing.  You get to watch the older ones squeal at rough and excessively wet cows tongues on their hands.  Or, you can watch the littler ones struggle with how to keep the feed in their hands when instructed to flatten them to allow the animals to eat.  I giggled to myself as a very little girl, would fill her hand with feed.  Then, outstretch her hand at an angle to feed the animal, only for all the feed to roll off her fingers before the animal could get there.    

Talk about a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 
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