I like to do my food shopping surrounded by animals where I can be reminded that that’s often what food is. Plus, I like the idea of nodding to the chickens who laid my eggs that very morning because the grocery store conundrum—organic? cage-free? free-range?—is murky; this way, I can see that the chickens are happy and not pecking each other to death from claustrophobia. Also, I like any excuse to visit a farm. So this weekend, I headed to Wilson Farm in Lexington. It’s a visit that can be overly stimulating, even to adults; they have warm cider donuts, hot soup samples, Halloween hayrides, and this weekend: Wild Birds Day.
I followed a mass of kids into the greenhouse to spot the sweetest little screech owl that I wanted to take home, even if he were to screech in the middle of the night. The diminutive fellow was all alert (though shouldn’t he be sleeping?) and had a look about him that said, They don’t call us wise for nothin’. Anyway, my attempts to distract the handler and smuggle the owl out under my coat were unsuccessful.
Needing a lift after my botched birdnapping, I walked into the barn and was startled to see a llama roaming free. “She likes to stretch her legs,” the farmer told me. Indeed her pen lay open and we were face-to-llama-face. “She’s very gentle,” the man said, but I saw the furball eyeing me as I sidled by to look at the chickens. She just happened to sneeze as I came close. Coincidence?