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August 21, 2019

SO MUCH RAIN...AND ZOO MEMORIES

We seem to be having a lot of rain events this summer...and memories from the Audubon Zoo.

We are having a lot of those long long rainy days, sometimes with sheets of rain falling so hard you cannot see through at all.  Certainly makes it impossible to keep clean floors with muddy dogs coming in and out but that cannot be helped.  Dogs seem to be self-cleaning: as they dry the dirt falls off of them and onto the floor, then the sun comes out, they go out, shake themseles all pretty again and I'm left with the floors..ok, no big deal, thats what the super deluxe vacuum is for.  

The bunny care has worked itself into the daily routine:  When they can be brought outside to their outdoor 'mansion' for fun and exercise,  then I have a more relaxed time cleaning their indoor cage.  Water bottles are refilled both indoor and outdoor and pellet dishes as well,  Make sure there's plenty of fresh dry hay to much on all day long, clean the litter box.  Now the litter box is certainly the most unpleasant part but I have also worked out a system by which I empty it into a plastic bag (grocery bag), wipe it out with some 7 Generations spray (non-toxic) and paper towels and later on in the day I can take that and empty the contents out around one of my tomato, pepper or eggplant plant int he veggie gardens.  Then it rains and the fertilizing happens! the plastic bag and paper towels then go into the trash.   But on these very rainy days I prefer to keep bunnies inside, still the morning routine has worked itself out nicely, then I cut up veggies or fruits for the birds and do the same for the bunnies and eveyrone has their brunch/snack and seems very content.  Since the birds get their seed bowls & water bowls cleaned out and refilled in the evening, this gives me also a chance to check on the bunnies, make sure they have enoguh water and hay for the overnight.  

Cutting up the fruits & Veggies mid-morning somehow always brings me back in my mind to the year I worked at the Audubon zoo - arriving early in the morning, our entire crew got to clean out the elephant house.  Whoa!! There were 4 elephants then so it was a BIG mess!!  Took about 2 hours to get the place shoveled up and hosed down.  The elephants were put outside of course.  Once they had been given their hay for the day, I moved on to the camel barn. That was my thing.  Let the 2 camels out (bactrian camels from Mongolia), rake and shovel their stalls, hose down, clean out their water trough, etc..etc.. one of the camels was such a dear, I got to brush him everyday which was similar to brushing a giant sheepdog.  Then I went to the walk-in cooler and got veggies for them ..   So somehow I am reminded of this each morning and how pleasant it was, although quite physically challenging, to take care of these beautiful animals and then I feel blessed that I can take care of these smaller but no less beautiful creatures here.  

The chores that come with taking care of 5 dogs, 12 birds and 2 bunnies are repetitive and sometimes quite a bit smelly and dirty.  But there is a very pleasant reward in those too: to see them happy and content and playful .  It also gives myself a rhythm, time for this and time for that...the day unfolds in a lively and lovely manner.  In the middle of my lovely gardens I am keeping my own little min-zoo and it pleases me greatly. Gives me a sense of peace and purpose. 

Now if only I could get those dead trees cut down and that small pond dug in front.....Yes, there is alway more projects, that is part of it too.