My parents and I just visited my cousin Debbie’s horse farm in Kentucky. We drove down, and stopped in Madison, WI on the way.
When we arrived in Kentucky, this was our Welcome Committee:
I love me some animals, so I spent a lot of time with these guys and the other creatures around the farm.
One of the first things we did there was to gather the goose eggs. Cousin Debbie doesn’t want any more geese, so she makes sure to collect the eggs as soon as possible (there are new ones basically every day). There are three or so nests around the farm, and the nests are made under the earth and covered with straw on top, so you just barely see the tops of the eggs in the grass. Here I am, giving Debbie the eggs we found. Trying to be very careful!
First things first, vet check for a pregnant horse! ACK!!
Then we took a tour of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, where they make Bourbon Whiskey. As someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, this is where I learned a lot about something that has no relevance to me personally. But it was very interesting!
Below is a fermentor. It’s filled with sour mash (one of the first steps of the process). It looks like an enormous vat of bubbling vomit. And it smells like yeast. And they just leave them open like that, for anyone to just drop in their sunglasses or camera or… spit. On the right is our tour guide, who was fantastic.
Finished product. It’s kept in one barrel for at least 2 years (at this distillery, they keep them in there for 8 years). They’ve recently started moving them into a second barrel (which they treat slightly differently to infuse the Bourbon with a different flavor) for a few years.
On the next day, we hung out at the farm for a while, where I got to make friends with Wilbur (on the left), and Patty (on the right), the German Shepherds. We were just hanging out, when Wilbur made it very clear that he wanted to be chased (he nipped another dog and gave a little bounce away/look back smiling move). The other dogs didn’t take the bait, so I chased him, which he seemed to love. He was fast! Afterward, he got shy and seemed to want to ensure that we were okay again. He seemed to be a little shy with strangers, usually approaching them (even me, and I’m quite a bit smaller than he) cautiously with flattened ears. I ended up just kneeling whenever he approached, and that seemed to make him feel safe. They were the sweetest, most beautiful dogs.
I also made friends with Amelia, the pig. She made me nervous at first, because I had heard that she had started to get a little snippy with people, so I tried to give her space and let her know that I wasn’t a threat. But while I was in the big pen with the dogs, she came up to me slowly (she does everything slowly) several times. I didn’t know if she just wanted to check me out or if she was trying to tell me to beware, but I found out later that it was secret option #3, she wanted me to pet her! I found this out while I was sitting in the grass, and she ambled over to me, and she sloooowlly laid down next to me. Debbie was there, and she told me to scratch her belly. I still wasn’t so sure, but I did so cautiously, and the bristles on Amelia’s back raised (see the blond mohawk in the below pic). I’m used to cats, who raise their hair in fear or aggression, but I soon learned that Amelia does it when she’s pleased. And boyyyy was she pleased. Here’s a pic of that historic moment:
So I ended up spending lots of time with Ms. Amelia. She would usually come over to me grunting her request to be scratched, and then she would ease herself to the ground (it looked a bit like a tree being felled: slow slow slowww KABOOM! TIMBERRRR). Then I would scratch her up, and after a while I’d take a rest. She would eventually awake and realize that I was no longer fulfilling the scratching duties, so she would make her little pig noises, roll over and nudge me with her snout. “Um. Excuse me! You must continue the scratching!” So of course, I had to comply. I wasn’t familiar with pig noises prior to this, but she gave me a crash course. She usually did the little grunts (a greeting grumble, a pleased grmm grmm grmm), but sometimes she gave out a little low squeal, which had the cadence of an old timey ah-OO-gah horn. This meant, “Ooohh yeah, right there” or “HEY!!! I’m not happy that you’ve stopped scratching me!!!!!”
Oh, and Amelia is a family pet, not a farm animal. She spends as much time in the house as the dogs do.
That night, we had a HUGE bonfire, and made s’mores and sang.
Here are some pictures of the farm.
The trip was wonderful.