March 26, 2006

So there was this Elk Farm...

Hello all. This is Tenn's DH. Yes, I took the children, a little while ago, to an elk farm. DW has been asking me kindly to blog the event for oh about 6 months now. So, I thought now was as good a time as any. Honestly, it's difficult to remember much (it was so long ago) but apparently, it was a seminal event in the maturation of our children. NO, not maturation in that way! They didn't see anything that was difficult to explain ('are the elk hugging, daddy?').

It was a full-on farm experience. There was the mud. It was thigh high (at least you'd think so by the time we were done by looking at the kids). What is it about farms and mud? You can see it in the picture. Now understand, this is not a picture from our event. It's just a random elk farm picture. But you can see it there too. There is the mud and a large antlered elk standing like the cock-of-the-walk (er, elk-of-the-walk or elk-of-the-wok as we later found out!). I don't think wild elk wallow like farm elk seem to do. There are not wide expanses of hoof-churned mud out in the wild that attract elk like African water buffalo at a water hole.

So there we were, walking gingerly around mini mountains of mud. There was the obligatory farm cat underfoot and we made our way to the first of several large paddocks. It had all the male elk - some juveniles sprouting furry horns like a teenage boy on his first date with a girl a year older. Our friendly proprietor emptied some elk food (which looked like rabbit poo). Thing 2 (middle boy child) said it looked like "nuts". Hmmmmmm. At the mere sound of the rabbit poo food hitting the wood trough that ran the entire length of the fence separating us, there was a juvenile horny antlered elk stampede right at us. We stood there, mouths agape and slightly upturned as we witnessed a true 'Marty Stauffer' moment. Our joy in the 'nature experience' wavered slightly as the elk running toward us didn't seem to be slowing. We all wisely took a single step back from the fence - sure to put a "safe" distance between us and them if the flimsy fence failed to withstand the brunt of about 50 2000 pound elk hitting it at full tilt.

It held, they stopped and started eating the "food". They weren't just eating it, they were fighting over it. Yeah. About 3 feed from where we were standing, separated by a wire fence, they started using those cute furry antlers to try and gore each other for better position and access to the poo-food. I mean they were going at it! The antler clashes sounded like thunder cracks. I was reminded of Tennyson (win an honorable mention on this blog for commenting on the reason why I was reminded of Tennyson).

After extracting our boots from the mud which had engulfed them, we moved on to paddock 2. The girl elk were there. Honestly, (and I mean no disrespect here) they were pretty boring. Standing there looking like fat oversized versions of Bambi (but without the spots) they (not we!) blinked at us. That's all. I think one winked at DW but she may have been a lesbian elk. You can never tell with elk. We quickly moved on to the grand finale - paddock 3.

This paddock was rocky and rife with scrub brush. The elk appeared confused by the scrub, being used to the mud. Nevertheless, it was a much more "natural" feel for us city-folk. The men in our group (my vegetarian self, too, I'm ashamed to admit) alternated between making obscene hunting boasts, beating our chests, and marking our territory. Well, we didn't actually do that last part but we would have; goodness knows the elk were certainly doing it (in large fountaining quantities too - ok, that was too graphic for the family nature of this blog. See what happens when DW goes away for the weekend and leaves me with Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3?).

It was here at paddock 3 that we had our "nature encounter". Apparently these wild majestic creatures aren't partial to rabbit poo nut food. They LOVE carrots! Now here was something I could relate to. I'm not partial to rabbit poo nut food either! As the implications of this thought ramified through my mind a budding and somewhat grudging respect started to blossom. Any creature that could actually eat rabbit poo nut food was clearly designed by God to wallow in mud and stay "restrained" behind the merest suggestion of a barrier. At that time I simply loved being Human. I respected Mr. Elk farm man for his ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit.

Then we all got to feed an elk a carrot. It was like feeding a horse a carrot - only the horse wanted to eat the carrot and your hand and skewer you in the eyeball with a pointy antler. After that Thing 1 had to go potty and, wanting to keep as much (insert personally acceptable scientific term here: evolutionary, punctuated equilibrium-ally, created, alien-seeded) distance between us and the elk as possible, we again extricated ourselves from the mud and made our way back to the homestead to use the facilities. Several more jokes about elk meat, vegetarians, tofu-elk, and "horny youth" and we headed back to grandma and grandpa's house.

So there you have it. Hope it was worth waiting for.


  1. Serona - Maybe in the future, Tenn should moderate posts as well as comments. ;-) Hope you enjoyed your time with all three Things.

    Were you hearing cannon to the left and right of you when watching the elk?

  2. I guess my teacher knew memorizing Charge of the Light Brigade would come in handy one day.

    "Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them
    Cannon in front of them
    Volleyed and thundered"