Monday, April 03, 2006

Kangaroos and Wallaroos, Oh My!

On Saturday Kirk, Kelly and I drove up to Arlington to the kangaroo Farm for my birthday. It started to rain hard on the way up, and we got to the farm an hour before the tour - bad planning on our part. We had some time to kill and were told it was okay if we went around to see the lemurs, which were actually the animals we most wanted to see. Apparently it had rained hard overnight at the farm, and it was still raining and cold. We found the lemur enclosure and Kelly found the biggest puddle she could. We had outfitted her in water-resistant clothes and rubber kitty boots, but they were no match for a puddle-stomping mud monkey like her. We were unable to keep her out of the puddles and took turns watching her or the lemurs. She had no interest in anything but the muddy water right then.
There were about six ringtail lemurs, including a mama and a tiny baby. They were sleeping in a cat bed with their long striped tails crisscrossed over each other. They did wake up and inspect us amid yawning and grooming. Eventually they did get pretty active and jumped around. They were very cute and endearing. We also got to visit with a young female llama who made these really adorable little noises. She obviously wanted company and would stand in the rain to get it. The farm itself is very rustic and is obviously not just for tours - they do keep and raise their Australian animals there as well as a menagerie of other pets.
The tour began and we were first introduced to the wallabys, wallaroos and Patagonian cavies.
The cavies are really sweet looking but don't care for being touched. The wallabys and wallaroos were happy to be fed and petted. They were unexpectedly soft and friendly. The owner and guide, Ray Strom, made sure everyone had plenty to feed them and went out of his way to show us the babies, even opening a pouch so that we could see a hairless joey. We also got to see the big red kangaroos. It is clear that the owners really love their animals. Kelly enjoyed feeding the smaller bouncy critters but was especially intent on making sure a bunny got some of the loot, too. Leaving the 'roos we encountered some turkeys, a muscovy duck, two miniature donkeys, a pygmy goat, nearly a score of peacocks and some pot-bellied pigs. We were able to feed and pet nearly all of these. There are two emus on the farm who were far friendlier than we expected. We always thoughts emus were bad-tempered but these were quite nice and hand-tame. Next came the llama and alpaca, two gelded boys who will take an alfalfa pellet straight from your lips! I partook of these llama kisses but Kirk and Kelly did not. I have always wanted llamas and my mind was not changed by meeting these nice boys and especially the sweet girl llama we first saw. At this point the tour was mostly over, but we got to talk to Ray about his lemurs for quite a while after everyone else was gone. We found out they do lemur tours for $20 each and we may do that some day. By this time we had gotten our two stuffed lemurs from the car and Kelly was giggling up a storm making them converse with the real lemurs. When it was time to go and hunt down lunch we removed Kelly's rubber boots and poured out about a half cup of muddy water. No wonder she had wanted to be carried on the tour! We stopped at a local restaurant for lunch. Wow, was that ever a mistake! Kirk and I both ordered the hot turkey sandwich for $8.95, and we got Kelly a corn dog for $2. The turkey arrived on a rather small plate with a small scoop of reconstituted potatoes and what at first looked like a heap o' turkey, but turned out to be thin, dry turkey shavings over dry but salty stove-top stuffing. Imagine the turkey has been in the fridge with a little plastic wrap draped over it, leaving some portions exposed to the air, making them drier, darker and well, curlier, than the rest of the bird and you have what appeared before us. A gravy boat accompanied our repast, no doubt to lubricate the meal and prevent any liability for us choking on the dried out food. Kelly enjoyed the chips and the lukewarm milk that came with her meal, and I convinced her to eat one little piece of hot dog. Then she and her daddy began to play "llama"; Kirk would put a chip in his mouth and Kelly would take it with her teeth. When he tried the same with a piece of hot dog Kelly shook her head vigorously and said "Yucky!" This is the kid who eats hot dogs (only all-beef kosher) with nearly every meal. So score zero for this Arlington eatery!

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