Last Saturday I got to share one of my favorite places with Mr. Greenhorn and our two friends!
I found CJ Acres Animal Rescue Farm through the Hands On volunteer network more than a year ago. I was instantly hooked, and laugh that I won’t mow my own yard but I’ll drive 45 miles to go do theirs. I’ve returned several times thanks to the great owners (Lee and Jenn), the stories and, of course, the amazing animals.
So, when they opened up their farm for a public tour, I jumped at the chance to show them off while not having to shovel manure.
I usually get up early, fill my gas tank, get gas station coffee and make the hour drive by myself. This time was much more relaxed (and later in the afternoon), so we picked up our friends for lunch and then headed out. It was already raining so I’m so glad they were such good sports and came along anyway!
Once you park in the grass driveway, the first thing to greet you are horses on your left and pigs on your right.
Those little pigs in the picture above are interesting because they came to the farm after a very public debut (not the case with most abused/neglected/endangered animals). The semi they were riding in flipped over on the highway in Raleigh, N.C. sending five piglets into morning rush hour. Luckily, that accident turned into their saving grace.
But my favorite animals on the whole farm (which until I visited CJ Acres would have always been horses) are the hogs. The two males in particular, Argus and Ahab, are so friendly, so smart and have so much personality! But don’t tell the others, okay? CJ Acres has six big pigs: four breeding sows and two smaller males who escaped slaughter.
Argus walked by me and I reached around to scratch his soft underside. He oinked a little and then leeeeaaaaaaned, and then flopped. Just like a dog! Except he’s somewhere around 400 pounds. When he flops, it’s quite a site to see. It’s a real testament to the farm that he’s not only comfortable enough to be around a mass of strangers, but he responded to me and gave up the belly. 🙂 Owner Jenn cheered for me–I told you they were great.
Too funny. The next stop on the tour was the mustang pasture. Yep, I said mustang, as in wild horses. But they are a bit less wild now and come running when people show up. Finally, they are confident and associate visitors with food and positive attention, which is no where close to the association they made just 6 months ago as they were dodging Bureau of Land Management agents, cars and slaughterhouse bids.
Next, we crossed the farm to enter a mixed group area. One turkey, three sheep and goats that were moving so fast collecting Saltines that I lost count, maybe four total.
Tom likes shiny or fancy shoes (to stand on, preferably with your feet still in them), long walks (around you while he puffs up and shows off) and love poems (I’m just guessing on that one but it’s a safe assumption since he’s such a romantic).
I have come to really love the sheep. They are not smart, but they are so different and have gone from so panicky and distrusting to a place where I got them to come to me and eat the cracker out of my hand! The owner reminded me that they can be adopted. Good try Lee, good try.
Jeremy, and friends Joey and Amanda, in the final tour spot. They had run out of crackers.
I only had a moment to capture their experience before I was in the midst of my own.
They also have dogs, cats, chickens, roosters, ducks, pot-bellied pigs and regular horses that I didn’t even photograph this time. It’s more than worth going to meet them on your own!
Countdown to Friday is on! Anyone else have a farm affinity? Also, please leave a comment if you’ve rubbed a hog belly. Have a great day, try something new. 😉