“Just hold your hand out flat,” Erick and our guide said to me several times as I giggled and withdrew my hand from the horse’s tickling mouth. “I’m trying. But he’s still getting my fingers.”
This was one of many wonderful moments during our little trip with the kids to a nearby farm this past weekend. I was just as excited as the kids for this trip, as I knew we’d get to meet many of the farm babies. Wildlife and animals is just one of those things that makes me light up, whether it’s whale sharks in Mexico, toucans in Costa Rica or a baby pig in Virginia.
I wore a gingham sundress which I loved. It was perfect for the hot day and comfortable and easy to move around in. Definitely a good choice for many summer activities. I also wore my espadrilles, which are currently 40% off! I brought my boots, but got so excited when we got there that I totally forgot about appropriate footwear. Oh well, luckily for me, my sandals survived unscathed, even after traipsing through the goat dung and a nasty horse skirmish that sent manure flying all over me from the other side of the fence.
We walked into the barn, with flies buzzing and the unmistakable barn smell, but with some welcome shade from the hot sun. There was a goat just wandering around loose that would follow us around. All of the sudden, there was a high-pitched whinny and lots of braying. We turned around and discovered the source of the disgruntled neighing from the mini horse and her roommate — our guide was carrying her foal out of the stall for us to see. My goodness, I can’t tell you how much my heart melted. Sweet little thing, so soft and fuzzy. Poor mama…I enjoyed seeing this baby, but I felt bad for her. We quickly put the foal back and she ran to mama’s side and started nursing.
Our guide was a transplant from Florida, who now lives on the farm and works as a farmhand. He seemed to really love what he does and it showed. He showed us an adorable black and white calf. He immediately said, “Hey, his cheek is swollen,” and then got out his phone and dialed someone to ask if the calf had a shot earlier. He hung up and told us that the calf had not had a shot, which might have explained the swollen cheek, but now most likely meant that he got kicked by the horse and he told us he needed to separate them immediately. We loved seeing how much he cared about all of the animals.
I felt bad for the calf and then immediately felt guilty for eating meat. It’s really hard to reconcile in my mind that I love animals so much, but I eat meat. Then, when I see these animals up close, it’s extra hard. Maybe this is how some people become vegetarians.
Our guide disappeared and returned with a tiny little white goat. Seriously, one after another, the cute baby animal parade. How could he keep topping himself? The kids were excited, but also super distracted. While Erick and I were looking at the oohing and ahhing at the baby goat, my son was picking up hay and trying to find a open slat in the barn from which to escape.
We went to a different building and this one was pretty dark inside, so it didn’t register at first what the guide had in his hands, as my eyes adjusted. A little piglet! The piggy didn’t squeal, but I think I did. Seriously, I was so happy. I have never seen a baby pig and definitely never held one. I was calculating in my mind what it would take for us to have a pig as a pet. Would it get along with our weimaraner? Could we handle it? Where would we put it? All of this passed through my head at warp speed BEFORE our guide said these the little pot-belly pigs are the best pets and cleaner than any other animal, like cats, he specifically mentioned. Yes, I thought. See? This is a good idea.
The pig was quickly replaced by a little gray bunny. We let our son try to hold it, but he was squeezing it, so we took it out of his little undiscerning hands. My daughter, however, was thrilled, and grinned ear to ear at the prospect of seeing a real live bunny, since a stuffed bunny, aptly called “bunny” is her favorite stuffed animal.
We emerged from the dark barn to find a turkey wandering around, a pen of sheep and then went into a little pen of baby goats. It was a minefield, but that wasn’t about to stop me… I went right on in, sandals and all. Why didn’t I wear my wellies?
Our guide brought some bagels for us to feed to the horses, mini donkey, alpaca, etc. This is where I giggled uncontrollably at the feel of the horse grabbing the bread off my hand. I don’t know why. I have fed horses before, but it just tickled and I found it funny.
I fell in love with this mini donkey. Look at sweet face.
After seeing most of the animals, we thanked our guide and wandered around to take a few more pictures and watch the horses in the pasture. He told us all about their trail rides and we promised we’d be back. We said goodbye and he said to come find him if we needed anything.
About five minutes later, our guide was back with a tiny, black, 3-day-old bunny in the palm of his hand. So tiny. Again, my daughter was thrilled and got to hold this sweet baby. Such a great ending to our day.
This place was so wonderful to visit. They were so nice and it’s in such a beautiful setting. And…the animals!! Did I mention the animals?
Spring Valley Farm (Moneta, Virginia) – by appointment only and $10 per person for a visit. They also do birthday parties, petting zoos, trail rides, etc.