my sweet ireland. lover of animals, dragons, climbing, and all things nature…she is our earth child! she turned 6 and asked to go to a farm sanctuary for her birthday. she is SO awesome! after some serious research and lots of planning, this is how our fantasic weekend went…first stop was the olympic game farm.
we have mixed feelings about this place. it is great for us to see all of the unique animals, most of which are unwanted by zoo’s, pet owners, and old film companies…the game farm is basically a retirement center for large animals. of course it is not ideal for some of the animals that clearly were meant to be in the wild, but better here than being mistreated or neglected. with so much land dedicated to the farm, there are quite a few wild indigenous animals that have made the game farm their home. it is a pretty cool place to take the family, and a great laugh as you will most definitely get chased by buffalo who will stick their whole head in your car and give you a lick…(check out my instagram roll for some hilarious pitures!)
then we made our way into to mountains where we stayed at an awesome bed and breakfast…the elwah ranch.
there was a huge storm that night and we had to snuggle to keep warm because the power went out…we woke up to fresh fallen snow…it was magical.
speaking of magical…the highlight of it all…the precious life animal sanctuary.
this place…it is amazing. i called and spoke to the owner of the farm and told him about sweet ireland and her birthday wish. his name is ralph, and he is so kind hearted, hardworking, and was so good to oblige us. i told him we would love to come spend some time on the farm and help out for a morning…he welcomed me, our entire crew, and i am sure…the help! it was a surprise snow day, and we did not come prepared to get our vanagon up into the mountains, so we had to hike into the farm, which was so fun for the girls.
ralph is so wonderful with these animals. they are his friends, as it should be. he has saved rabbits, cows, horses, turkeys, pigs, goats, dogs, deer, and ducks. he treats them with such love, respect, and belonging. he works effortlessly to tend to them, and does so with compassion. what an amazing example he has set for my little flock.
at the entrance to his farm there is a wood carved sign that displays the poem, ‘if i can stop one heart from breaking’ written by emily dickinson. it reads:
if i can stop on heart from breaking,
i shall not live in vain;
if i can ease one life the aching,
or cool one pain,
or help one fainting robin
unto his nest again,
i shall not live in vain.
i painted this because i was so moved by everything that ralph stands for, and so inspired by everything irleand loves…and because…in my mind, this is how it should be.
(please if you feel so moved…go to his site and make a donation…he runs this magnificent farm out of his own pocket, and i can only imagine how expensive it is. i have done enough research to know just how difficult this kind of farm is to run…he is saving animals not using them for gain! he primarily single handily maintains the farm, and it is not open to public…he was just willing to let us come and be a part of his routine for the day. he does get a few volunteer groups at times…so we are going to be visiting the farm again this summer, and are looking to put together a work crew of volunteers! if you are interested…please, PLEASE respond or email me!)
it was an awesome birthday wish, and i am so grateful that she has such a warm heart. it allowed our little family to have quite the adventure, a great time together, and a reminder of the peace we should keep. happy birthday to my young but old soul…my sweet girl…my earth child! i love you.