Thursday, September 25, 2008

Working hard!

Wow! On our first day at work at Roo Ranch we bottle fed 4 little joeys, then were taught how to feed the zeedonks, llamas, a horse, and the adult kangaroos, wallaroos and wallabies! After that we got to scoop roo poop in the inside pens for awhile and put out fresh bedding hay for them. We watched the owners herd the roos from their night quarters out to the large day-time pens where people can see them. At the end of the day we helped cut up donated apples and other fruits and put it in bowls for the roos to eat when they returned to their night pens. We were exhausted, but happy at all we got to do and see. These two old coots are not as young as we used to be! We walk everywhere on the 13 acre property; no more riding in our "mule" like we did at Bear Country!

Day 2—we helped feed the New Guinea singing dogs, coatimundis, hedgehog, possums, sugar gliders, chinchillas, bettong, kinkajoos, as well as all the animals we fed on day 1. So far we have not fed the emus or the miniature zebu. I hadn't heard of some of these animals, like the bettong or the zebu or the singing dogs or the zeedonks. Had to look them up on Wikipedia! We are getting an education!

The tricky part of this job will be learning the names of all the hopping critters so that we give them the proper feedings. Is that Matilda, or is it Shadow? Is this one Yabba, or is it Gizmo? Yikes! Guess it'll take a little time learn them all. They all have personalities.

Day 3—we did get to feed the miniature zebu and the emus today. Also we raked and cleaned the zebu's enclosure and we cleaned out the inside automatic watering pots for all the roos, in the process leaving one running which flooded part of one room! We are learning!

Picture #1 is a swamp wallaby baby, S'Mores, very sweet and cuddly.

Picture #2 shows how the 4 joeys are kept. They get to spend their time in the flannel pouches or they can hop around the room. Showing are Axile, an Agile Wallaby, Gator, a kangaroo, and behind them is an albino Bennett's wallaby.

Picture #3 is an adult swamp wallaby. I think they look like outer space creatures when they are grouped together all looking at us.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Waltzing Matilda!

Well, here we are at the Roo Ranch! We packed up this morning, hooked up BigTruk to our 5th wheel, and left our pretty spot at the Happy Holiday RV Park. Two workamper couples who we didn't know very well, but wish we had, came to wish us well and happy traveling. One hour later we were here, definitely the shortest trip we've ever had to a new job. We pulled into our spot right next to the building that houses the small, nocturnal animals, and got lots of help setting up from the young man who is one of the owners of Roo Ranch. He made sure we had what we needed, and he and Keith spent quite a bit of time getting us on the internet, which we can't live without! We have a pretty open view of the surrounding hills on all sides, as well as the path where the visitors walk to see the 'roos. We will love it here!
I went out at my first opportunity to take this photo of Matilda. Fancy a kangaroo being named that! She is in a pen where people can go right in to pet her and photograph her. The other roos are in pens the visitors don't go into, but I got to watch an employee bottle feed several of them. That will be my job, too, as soon as I am shown how. Can't wait!! I will post more photos as I get them, and a description of our jobs.

Moving Day!

Be watching for pictures of KANGAROOS because today we are moving up to the Roo Ranch with our 5th wheel! It's sad to leave Bear Country, all our people friends and animal friends, but we know we can go visit from time to time over the winter.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Pretty Blonde!

Here at Bear Country we have several raccoons, but I had never seen a blonde one like "Steve", in the first photo. He is beautiful! In the second photo he and "Stubby" are asking for treats from us. They are good at standing on their hind legs and looking like they are starving. Actually, they are quite plump. We give them little chunks of what looks like dog food but is really a healthy mix made for them. We'll be sad to leave all our animal friends for the fall and winter. I always wonder how they do in the cold and snow. Their keepers will give them warm shelter; some will be in their same enclosures, and some will be moved to a more protected building. The bears, of course, will be hibernating!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Very Odd Vehicle

We spotted this unusual and odd-looking vehicle in the Bear Country parking lot and we walked all around it trying to figure out what it was! We discovered it had a South Africa license plate, was a Land Rover built in 1940, had 2 spare tires and 2 propane tanks, and just looked very rugged and well-used. We noticed several other tourists stopping to check it out, too. There was a world map attached to one side, with a plastic cover, showing the places this vehicle had been. (See photo below.) We were intrigued!

Then, to our delight, on our next run through the parking lot, we saw a man inside the Land Rover. We zoomed up in our little Mule and he rolled down his window to greet us. He was indeed from South Africa and he told us a long, fascinating story about his travels, along with his wife, through 86 countries. They were retired, and had lived their working lives very frugally just so they could travel the world in their golden years. Their rig was outfitted so that they could go anywhere at all, hence the big tires and the height of the vehicle, and they could stay anywhere along the road if necessary and have everything they needed. I would have loved to have seen inside! I like to think of our RVing lifestyle as being extremely pared down, but it's nothing compared with theirs. We discussed gas and diesel prices in various countries, laws governing international travel, the safety or otherwise of what they were doing, and other aspects of their travels. You can see from the map how far they've gone, plus there were 2 or 3 trips on a ship crossing from continent to continent. What a life! The irony was that they did not plan to write a book and they did not have a website! If they had, I would surely have kept up with them in their journey.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New "Post"

A scene in the Black Hills.
This is my new "post" for the day. Not much else to say for now!
It's an old, tipsy fence post in a swampy area filled with forget-me-nots and other wildflowers, always the kind of scenery I like!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mountain Lion Kittens

Here is Keith holding a mountain lion baby, about 4 weeks old. There are 2 babies this season, Bella and Edward. Both are covered with spots all over their fuzzy coats. These spots begin to disappear after 3-4 months and they will turn the solid, tawny golden color we are used to seeing in adult mountain lions. These little guys love to be held and petted. They have learned to toddle after their caretakers and will come when called. Bottle feeding time is quite an event—one must wear gloves for protection during their enthusiastic nursing! They do not learn to retract their claws until they are a few months old. Once again we've had the joy of seeing up close and, in some cases, getting to hold one of God's amazing creations!

Monday, September 8, 2008

American Elk

Rarely have I seen such beautiful elk as we have here at Bear Country. I'm sure it's because they have abundant feed and are well looked after by the caretakers, and have no predators. At this time of year, mating season, the females and the males are separated. It becomes necessary because they are quite aggressive towards each other and may also do some damage to cars in the drive-through! The first picture is a bull earlier in the season. The second photo, of the cow elk, is recent, after the separation. You can see a baby there, with spots. I had never seen a calf elk before. These animals are quite majestic and impressive. For now, the cows are roaming around with the buffalo and the miniature donkeys, but will soon be reunited with their male counterparts, and with the reindeer who share their enclosure. Click on the photos to see an enlargement. You can see the spots on the baby!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

3 bear cubs & a porcupine baby

Here is the best bear cub picture I've gotten. It's as though they posed for this photo! It was early morning and they were waiting for chow after having just emerged from their sleeping cave. The cubs are 8 months old now and they are getting pretty big and roly-poly. 

...and yet another picture of our baby porcupine. I couldn't resist this one. She is chomping on her favorite food, a carrot. This salad diet will keep her little round figure just perfect.