Welcome to 2013! We hope that your 2013 will include a trip to The Menagerie! This past year, we encountered many blessings in the form of feathered and furry creatures as well as many of you coming to visit! If you haven't been for a tour yet, be sure to take advantage of a nice day to see what we have so far. We have lots of goals and dreams that we plan to accomplish over the next year. Our signage is nearing completion, so all driving west of Alva will be able to find us. By the end of the year, we'd like to have a building as a place to take shelter from the wind, cold, or heat, and a place to grab mementos from The Menagerie. (We now have t-shirts available!) We also would love to host school groups (ask about our school discount) and birthday parties. We hope that your 2013 is a time to fulfill your goals and dreams! Happy New Year from The Menagerie - Bradt's Mammals and More LLC!
Guess what Santa brought!
Last year Braylon asked Santa for fainting goats, and he brought four. Since then, our group of goats has grown, as they often do. This year, Brickman asked Santa for an alpaca. Santa held up on his end and brought two with a note attached that there was one for each of the boys! We now have two male alpacas to add to The Menagerie tours. Brickman chose the red one to be his and named it Andy since alpacas originally come from the Andes. Braylon has not yet named his. We're excited to bring them both to the join the rest of the animals on the farm. They are currently in a barn on a different piece of our property since it's so cold. You will love petting these super soft furry mammals!
Ever since the animals came to live on the farm, leaving town has been a bit of an inconvenience. Luckily, some pretty great guys have come into our life to take care of our animals when we need a little help. This weekend was the perfect example of that.
Since he found out about it, Jerad has wanted to go to the Shawnee Poultry Show, but he's always had something going on to prevent him from going. This year, he made a point to keep his calendar clear so the boys could enter a couple of birds and check out the show. What a show it is! Some of the prettiest, largest, most unique chickens, ducks, and geese you could find sat row after row in the expo center. And then, of course, there is the sale room. Brickman immediately had his eye on a set of runners, a breed of duck that, rather than waddling like most ducks, run. He was ecstatic when he realized he had enough money in his wallet to buy the pair. Braylon had hoped to find a pair or trio of silver phoenix. The golden phoenix that he bought previously is his favorite, but he saw a silver phoenix in the show that was beautiful. Instead, he settled for a pair of paint silkies, and then talked Jerad into buying a pair of black silkies. And, of course, Jerad couldn't leave without finding a few that he loved. He picked up another pair of white call ducks, and he couldn't resist the Sebastopol geese. Instead of sleek feathers that hug their body like most waterfowl, these geese have curly feathers, making it difficult for them to fly. They are beautiful!
We took two birds to the show and came home with ten! I'm sure the boys will want to go back after that, regardless of their placings. Of course, as mentioned at the beginning, we never would have been able to leave town if it weren't for some great guys who were willing to watch our animals while we were gone. Thanks to Tyler and Derrick who paired up to do the chores, took turns bottle feeding, watched the house, and made us feel okay about leaving for the weekend!
This past week, we had the good fortune of getting to spend the day with our adorable niece. A perk of coming to stay with Aunt JoJo and Uncle J is getting to have fun with all of the animals. Luckily, Miss Joplin is so young, she doesn't realize it's work! As stated in a previous post, bottle feeding is part of our daily routine. So, Joplin got to help with our newest addition to the farm; Autumn, a plains zebra. Autumn loves being pet on her face and neck and will nuzzle up to you when it's time to be fed. She is so sweet with a very docile temperament. And, as you can see, aside from her sweet nature, she is absolutely beautiful. If we could get her to eat a bit faster, we would love it, but until then, we spend 20 minutes holding up a bottle every three hours throughout the day. She is a part of the petting zoo, so when you come for your tour, you'll be able to experience her gentle nature.
When we first started our business venture, joining our local Chamber of Commerce was on the list of things to do. The ladies in that office have been extremely helpful in so many ways, from pointing us up in the right direction to giving us some good ideas to just being there to listen. So, when Alex called and told me she wanted to set up a ribbon cutting, I really had no idea what to expect, having never been to one before. So, we made a big deal out of it! We were so excited with the people who came to support us.
Many didn't want to be a part of the picture, and others were reluctant to jump in, but it turned out to be a great group. In the picture are our boys (who we took out of school for the occasion); Karen, the Woods County Extension Coordinator; JoDe's sister and brother-in-law, Raye Lyn and Skeeter; Jerad's grandparents, Wesley and Towanda; a couple of our hired hands, Derrick and Tyler; the Chamber President, Cory; the Chamber Director and her husband, Alex and Tyler; a representative from the Oklahoma AgriTourism office, Lori Coats, and, of course, Jerad and me (JoDe).
We were also excited to have some others stop by to wish us well. We missed a few who were unable to make it, but we had an excellent time visiting with those who came while we all munched on hotdogs and hamburgers. The boys were finally able to meet Lori, who we've talked about a lot because, not only is she a fabulous resource, she is just an amazing person. We were thrilled to see her drive up to celebrate in the day!
Thanks to everyone who came out!
(You can see more pictures of the day on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bradtsmenagerie.)
We have never really been morning people, but having a massive amount of pets has changed our morning routine. Up until this fall, we were the type who even struggled to get our boys to school on time. (Horrible, I know.) Now, having started the school year with four bottle babies, a Scottish Highland calf named Hildie, two goats named Valentine and Clementine, and our zebra Indie, we had no choice but to get up early. They need to eat whether we're running late or not! Then over this past weekend, we added two more babies to bottle feed into the mix, another Highland calf named Harley and a zebra named Autumn. (I'll post later about the amazing place we got them!) Getting up in the morning used to be a struggle, but knowing these furry creatures are depending upon us for food forces us to wake up early so we can get everything finished before it's time to start the school day. It's like having a new baby all over again! In the past, the boys may have been up for thirty minutes before rushing to school. These days, they have been up for two hours.
Our average morning starts with me (JoDe) pulling myself out of bed and stumbling into Brickman's room to wake him up. While he goes downstairs to wake up Braylon, I get started on making the bottles. Since it's getting colder now, the boys check the temperature and decide whether they need to bundle up. Then they head outside to feed and love on each baby.
Our routine has definitely changed before having bottle babies! However, it's been a good change. No more rushed mornings getting ready for school. No more boys barely awake to start their school day. The furry babies are happy with full tummies, and the boys have plenty of time to prepare for the day ahead.
Each day as we wake up here at The Menagerie, we never know what we're going to step in...literally and figuratively! Each day is a new day, and we try to make the best of it. Follow along!