Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How Ya Doin', Baby Cow?

When you think of Las Vegas, one doesn't normally think of cows, chickens, and pigs, but lucky for my son, we actually do have farm animals in Vegas.

Many years ago, when the area north of the city was flat and bare and cactus-filled, there were ranches with horses and good ol' cowboys. Then Las Vegas grew and spread and overtook these ranches. This means there are now areas of town where horses stand behind fences in between rows of cookie cutter houses, and you might find a Feed and Tack store next to a McDonald's or Barnes & Noble.

Occasionally I have pulled our car over so my son can check out a horse or two, but the easiest way for him to visit a farm is to go to The Farm. Located in the northwest part of the city near Gilcrease Orchard, The Farm has been around for 50 years, taking in animals who need help, and selling fresh eggs and produce, and local honey, jams, and jellies. At Easter time you can take photos with real bunnies, and in the Fall they offer hay rides and pumpkin chips.

On this trip, my son's favorite was the calf that lay in the grass in between the pens of two huge cows and two overly friendly horses. "Hi baby cow! How ya doin'?" my son kept asking the little animal, and it did seem interested in return. They looked at each other for quite a while. I took many photos and a video, while hearing constant grunts from Violet the pig who liked to stand nearby. Have you ever petted a pig? I can say now that I have.

On this trip we enjoyed looking at the bunnies who were, however cliche, eating carrots. Also fun were the ducks who thought we had food and quacked loudly at us. We liked finding the cats who slept in quiet tucked-away places and didn't stir when we whispered "Hello!" The exotic roosters and peacocks strutted their stuff and all called their ear-splitting cries. When tired of the animals for a moment, my son checked out the old tractors, watched the men working in the pens, and picked up handfuls of hay to cover his legs while I cringed at the dirt.

But kids are supposed to get dirty. And they're supposed to get to know cows and birds and friendly pigs. Las Vegas is lucky to have The Farm!

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