Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tazewell's Farm Friends

There is a small area on Chippokes Plantation
that is home to the Farm and Forest Museum.
Tazewell Hoover Chippokes the First, the somnolent porker,
makes his home at the outdoor museum, between the exhibition buildings.

But Taz is not alone. Peter lives near another of the exhibition buildings:
He looks like he could be a talker,
perhaps soliloquizing after everyone goes home.
I would guess he speaks with a British accent,
we'll never know for sure. We do know
that Peter the rabbit is a plump white inquisitive fellow
with pink ears and dark brown eyes.
I call them "M&M eyes" because they look like chocolate peanut M&Ms.
 Gary, the farm's handy man, dotes on the animals in his care.
While we were there, he fed Peter some fresh green tidbits that Peter really loved.
Still, I hate to see an animal this size living in a cage its entire life.
It's not natural.

Although Peter doesn't seem to get out much,
Taz does get to waddle around in a large enclosure shared by 5 goats.
I can only recall 3 of their names: Floppy, Nanny, and Billy.
And I don't know which name goes with which goat.
I do know none of these is Floppy
because Floppy's ears curl up at the ends the same way
girls in the 60s styled their hair in a flip.
  Here's a short video of a few of the goats bleating.
The voices heard in the beginning are the caretaker
and my husband discussing Taz, who doesn't want to get up and walk.

 The other four-legged animals that share the "barnyard" are two donkeys.
These donkeys have unusual markings on their backs that look like crosses.
 According to the caretaker,  
a legend tells that this breed of donkey is the same one
that carried Mary to the stable on the first Christmas night.
Afterward, the marking appeared on its back
as a sign to all that the donkey is a blessed animal. 

Here are some cattle in a high pasture overlooking the James River.
The 17th century mansion called "The River House" is in the background.

And what farm would be complete without chickens and a rooster or two?
Here's a banty rooster with some amazing black and white feathers.
The design reminds me of intricate henna tatoos.
Gary said this banty is always the victor in any rooster-to-rooster confrontation.

This larger rooster has deep russet feathers and a scarlet comb.
His feathers are so glossy they practically sparkle in the sunlight.

Feeding time. Grains of corn are available to toss in the pen to them,
but they run to be first in line when fresh green clover comes their way.
Tomorrow we visit the museum,
and there will be a few mysteries to solve.

No comments: