Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Friendly Animal Farm

This week has seen two groups of young children traipsing around our farm, much to the delight of Shirley Puppy, Lindoro and Milagro (the llamas), and Polly, Mr. Smith, Jessie Anne and Nightingale (the horses). Perhaps we should have named this the Fink Family Friendly Animal Farm. The kids are going to think all llamas give kisses and love to be petted. And they'll think all horses come up out of a field, unbidden, for pets and attention. Ah well, it's nice to have illusions when you're young.

I wish I'd taken a photo of Polly with the kindergarten kids who came today. All the horses were grazing when we hiked through their field toward Agency Creek to look at beaver chewed trees. Polly marched right over to the kids as we were preparing to help them across the little creek that flows out of our pond and into Agency. She put her head down and sniffed each one and accepted their pets on her face. I have never seen her so eager for attention from youngsters. Then I remembered that years ago, when we had school groups come regularly to the farm, I let kids pick grass to feed the horses. Polly must have been remembering that. Grass pulled and handed to her always appealed to her more than grass she had to pick herself.

Polly does love children, though, and happily allowed the horse-crazy youngster who came a few days ago to have a ride on her bare back as I walked around the field next to her. I had not taken halter or rope with me into the field but Polly doesn't care. Put a child on her back and she'll take care of him. Nightingale loves kids, too, mostly, I suspect, because they pay attention to her and Night wants constant attention. After most of the kids were across the creek today, Polly left and Nightingale replaced her, nuzzling the few youngsters not yet safely on the far side. Here she is lovin' up the kids who came earlier in the week with their parents.
The llamas were happy to take orange peels from that first pair of kids. Their parents were not so enamored of the llama kisses as their children were. I love the photo of their dad enduring attention from Milagro.

The llamas went absolutely nuts over the kindergarten class today, smothering them with llama kisses. I stood there stupidly enjoying the scene without taking photos. Perhaps the llamas were expecting more orange peels.

The class was here to see beaver environment. The Chinook Wawa immersion class from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde are studying beaver this week, "eena" in the trade language of the Northwest. The kids came to our farm with their teachers and Henry Zenk, on the right side of this photo of the class surrounding a dramatically beaver-chewed tree.

Henry has been studying this language for many years. I met him long ago when I took jargon (as we called the language then) from Eula Petite, and later, Ila, her sister. I am lousy at learning languages and never did learn to pronounce the sounds correctly, but Eula and Ila were very patient and kind and taught me much more than the language. Those wonderful tribal elders taught by example how to live joyfully, no matter what is happening in one's life.

When the kids left today, they sang us a thank you song in Chinook Wawa. I thought I was recording it on my camera but apparently did not do something right as it's not there. Oh well, maybe next time. And maybe next time I'll remember to take more photos of cute kids with friendly animals.


  1. Do you need some models? I can put them on the next bus out.
    I keep thinking that Ms Francis "I need a pet" Werth should go spend a week taking care of animals and see if she still wants a lizard, goat, horse, pig, dog, etc.

  2. No fair sending kids without parents. We want to see you and Brad, too. :-)