Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Reality Farm

Yvonne and I took Zeke, Duffy, and Hauk to Rancho San Antonio on Saturday to let them burn some energy and see some animals. For those of you who don't live here, Rancho is a huge nature preserve with miles of running trails and all kinds of wilderness. I've seen deer, bobcats, snakes, rabbits, and wild turkeys on my visits over the years. The great thing for those with kids though is that the first mile of trail is actually very wide and flat (parts are even paved), which makes it easy to push a stroller or ride a bike to the petting zoo that is right at that one mile point. (Really it's not a petting zoo because there is no petting. It's more of a watching zoo, which I guess is what most zoos are, but the scale and layout of this one suggests that petting will be part of the deal. Alas, it is not.)

So that's what we did. Zeke had his bike, Duffy had his scooter, and Hauk rode in the stroller. We got to the non-petting zoo without incident, and the kids were happily peering through the fence at the very fat bunny rabbits, when Duffy asked, "What's under there?" 

He was pointing to a big hand-painted wooden sign on the rabbit cage that said "What are rabbits for?" There was a handle on the outer flap of the sign, so I lifted it up to reveal the answers:


I shut the flap. 

"Open it! Open it!!" the kids implored (like I was hiding a map to a pile of free cookies).

"OK," I relented, looking nervously at Yvonne. 

"M-e-a-t," said Duffy, reading the letters of the first word aloud. "What does that mean?"

"Snuggling. Bunnies are for snuggling."

"But snuggling doesn't start with M."

"Sure it does. You can spell it a bunch of different ways."

"What do the other words say?"

"Petting and Companionship. Bunnies are for snuggling, petting, and companionship. Lets go look at the pigs."

You can only imagine what they said about the pigs. And chickens. The theme was definitely "The cold, hard, reality of life as a farm animal." I guess I can't really complain since it's not my farm and the visit is free, but geez, can they cut the kids a little slack? Reality will intrude upon their happy little lives soon enough. Shoot, I'm 40, and I still don't like thinking of bunnies as meat (or wax for that matter). 

So I spent the rest of our visit lying to poor Duffy (he was the most persistent), and probably permanently wrecking his fundamental understanding of the English language. Whatever. The kids had a great time, and remain more or less clueless about the fate of their furry farm friends. 

The picture I've posted has nothing to do with Rancho (I brought my camera to the farm, but am still not in the habit of taking pictures). It's just Zeke in the back yard today, playing in the sand...probably wondering whether I'm making him a rabbit sandwich for lunch.

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