Tag Archives: animals

A Vist to Kangaroo Creek Farm

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It took us a while, but we finally made it to the Kangaroo Creek Farm in Winfield today.  It’s been on our radar since visiting the zebra farm last summer, and I’m so glad we snuck it in before leaving.  

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The farm, which feels as rural as can be, is {sort of surprisingly} tucked in right behind the A&W when driving through Winfield on Highway 97.  We arrived early this morning, found a free parking spot on the road above, and headed down the long driveway excited to see our first ‘roo.  After making our donation (the farm works on an honour-based donation system), we entered the kangaroo enclosure and immediately ran into this little guy.  

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At first, Miss G, our little animal lover, was quite apprehensive and didn’t want to go near the ‘roos, but in a few minutes time, this was her…  Loving on the animals in true Gracen style.  Perhaps a wee bit too comfortable!

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It was very neat to be able to wander around an open enclosure with the kangaroos, but without a doubt, Gracen’s favourite part was holding the babies.

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We lined up not once, but three separate times to do so.  Each time, Grae patiently waited the 10 or 15 minutes it took to get to the front, then hopped up on an empty chair, and waited another few minutes until she was passed a tiny ‘roo in a terry towel pouch.

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While some of the babies were {understandably} pretty sleepy, others were quite alert and enjoyed sniffing and interacting with her (one even began nibbling on the lace collar of her dress!)

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True to her very nurturing personality, she was super kind and gentle with each one.  She’d run her cheek along the fur on their heads, greet them with a warm and soft ‘hello’, and tell them that they were ‘good little baby kangaroos’ and that she loved them sooo much.

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We really enjoyed our morning spent with kangaroos.  It was a totally unique experience and I loved how informal and non-commercial it all felt.

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Miss G loved it too.  So much so, that as we were driving out of Winfield (not 2 minutes from the farm), she excitedly proposed, “I have an idea!  How about after my sleep we come back to the kangaroo farm for ANOTHER visit!”

Next summer for sure, Miss G.  Next summer…

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Dog & Girl: Best Buds

IMG 0568Just look at how far these two have come…  

The relationship started off a little rocky (Bella was over keen and Gracen was terrified), but after some serious effort on Grandma Charlotte’s part, they began getting used to one another and eventually began a friendship.  Now these two are inseparable.  When Bella’s around, everyone else may as well be invisible, and when Gracen’s around, Bella can be off her leash and not run away.  Now if that’s not a match made in heaven, I don’t know what is. ☺

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Beacon Hill Children’s Farm

While I’ve spent a ton of time in Victoria {and even lived there for a summer}, that was back in my university days… The days where clubs with the best DJs and the restaurants with the best 11 a.m. brunches was important.  But great spots in Victoria with kids? I had no idea.  So last week, I asked my Facebook friends for some recommendations.  They came back with all kinds of great ideas, including one of the most popular ones – Beacon Hill Children’s Farm.

I did a little online research and learned that the farm is found right inside Beacon Hill Park and is home to all kinds of animals, some of which roam the grounds freely.  The combination of the outdoors, animals, and a park sounded perfect for our little lady, so we made it our first stop of the trip.  

Here is our visit in photos…IMG 6824IMG 6830IMG 6834IMG 6821IMG 6841IMG 6836IMG 6844IMG 6849IMG 6842IMG 6856IMG 6862Beacon Hill Children’s Farm was such a fun place to visit.  Heck, I’d love visiting even if I didn’t have a munchkin in tow.  The admission was by donation, the animals were very accessible, they seemed well taken care of and happy, and the staff members were very friendly and informative.  We loved it so much in fact, that we’re already planning to go back before the end of our time in Victoria.  ☺


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To the {Woodland Park} Zoo!

Zoos are one of those things I love and really dislike all at the same time.  (Well, unless we’re talking about the Kuwait zoo, that is… Sadly, that one would have to fall into the category of ‘really dislike’ more than anything else… Animals from all over the world all kept in dry, desert-esque habitats with school children harassing them and visitors feeding them ice cream and popcorn is just not my idea of animal-friendly.) So when I found out that we were staying outside of downtown Seattle this weekend, very close to the Woodland Park Zoo, I had mixed emotions about going.  On one hand, I knew Gracen would love visiting.  She’s a true animal lover and it would be a chance to see many of the animals in person for the very first time.  On the other hand, I knew that leaving feeling terribly for animals kept in small, non-natural confines was a real possibility (I obviously hadn’t done much looking into the Woodland Park Zoo beforehand).  

I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised.  The Woodland Park Zoo is the least zoo-ish zoo I’ve ever visited.  And I mean that in the very best way possible.  

Because it spans 92 acres, its {more than} 1000 animals have tons of space to live and roam as they would in their true habitats.  And the best part? There are no tiny plexiglass confines or cages in sight.  In fact, most of the animals live in fields and forests so giant that visitors can only see small parts of them (though many can be accessed from several sides and have designated viewing areas).  It’s hard to describe, but it felt as though we were visitors to the animals’ environment, rather than them being the visitors in our environment.  It was peaceful. And beautiful.

And we had a wonderful time.  

Here’s our morning in {a ridiculous number of} photos (try to ignore the fog and smudgy fingerprinted glass)… 

IMG 0602IMG 0476 2A Hip a Hip a HippopatomusIMG 0482IMG 0484IMG 0492IMG 0498IMG 0500ElephantElephant LoveIMG 0529SiamangIMG 0550OrangatangIMG 0557IMG 0564Wolf  HawkIMG 0578I Spy an OwlIMG 0579Brown Bear Brown BearIMG 0589IMG 0593

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iPhoneography // Thanksgiving Saturday at Davison Orchards

Thanksgiving SaturdayWhen I told Gracen that we would be headed to the Okanagan for the weekend, she immediately exclaimed that she was excited and started listing off all of the things she wanted to do while there, one of which was “Old MacDonald’s Farm”.  Confused, I asked her what she meant.  Her response? “Old MacDonald’s Farm – apple treat drink!”  Such a funny little thing.  With that, I knew she actually meant Davison Orchards, home of the appleanche (a pure apple slushy drink we let her try this summer).  

So this morning, after a little sleep in for Brad and I and a  little play for Grae, Manmaw, and Poppop, my girl and I headed into Vernon for a Davison visit. The orchard was extra beautiful today… sunshiny, packed with pumpkins, and sprinkled with autumn displays. Gracen loved every minute as always, and thought the pumpkin people were especially funny.

“thankful” // first stop: animals

goat feeding

donkey love

greedy sheep // corn barn

farmer grae // climb

corn maze // pumpkin family

sunshine // hoedown

Photos edited with Instagram. Find me under jkossowan.

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Southlands Country Fair

Today, my munchkin and I escaped to a little piece of rural paradise, right here in the city of Vancouver.  We spent our day out at Southlands Riding Club (just off of SW Marine Drive), at their annual Country Fair and it certainly did not disappoint.  The fair, which raises money to support the club, as well as their summer riding program for underprivileged children and two other local charities that run programs for disabled riders, was wonderful… The perfect way to spend a day with little ones, really.  Besides horse entertainment and demonstrations all day long, there were pony rides, hay rides, a petting farm, a vendors’ market filled with local goods, musical entertainment,  a huge farm yard fun area bursting with old-fashioned activities for little ones, and more.  Grae and I arrived in time for opening, stayed well past her usual nap time, and could have stayed for at least two hours more.  

Without a doubt, the highlight of the day was the pony rides (and not just for Grae – it seems most families felt the same way).  Though I’d read about how busy the pony ride area was in years past, I thought Southlands had a great system this time around.  Basically, you visited a booth to sign up for your pony ride time slots, then went about your day and reported to the ring only once it was your designated time. Because the line was only for time selections, it moved fairly quickly despite its length.  Luckily, I thought ahead and signed up for two time slots {an hour apart}, guessing that Gracen would love her first horse riding experience and want to go again.  And thank goodness I did.  The first thing out of her mouth after getting off her pony was, “More pony riding?”

Here’s a look at our day in photos…

IMG 9644First pony ride.

IMG 9647Wee cowgirl on a wee pony.

IMG 9652Puppy dog face.

IMG 9666Goats need hugs too.

IMG 9675‘Hello piggy!’

IMG 9681Back to the riding ring.

IMG 9684On the ‘BIIIIG’ pony, as requested.

IMG 9695Doesn’t get much better.

IMG 9696Cowgirl Grae.

IMG 9700Tractor driving.

IMG 9710Bouncy horse!

IMG 9713A giant sensory pit… the hay pile.

IMG 9719Yay for hay.

IMG 9725Ahhh… Comfy.

IMG 9728Future firefighter?


What a day.  I’m not sure who had more fun… But one thing is for sure, we’ll definitely be back next year.

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Grae & Bella: Eventual Buds

A week ago, Gracen was enamoured with the idea of Bella (Grandma Charlotte’s dog), but whenever the dog came within a 4 foot radius, she’d shake in panic and desperately try to climb up the legs of the nearest adult in search of protection (in Grae’s defense, Bella is still just a puppy and has been easily excitable and quick to jump up until recently).  Now, just 7 days later, after many long walks and several baggies of dog treats, it’s a completely different story.  They’ve become best buds.  Grae isn’t the least bit fearful and Bella has been calm, patient, and gentle despite the lingering hugs, overzealous pats, and ongoing tail tugs. Just look at these two…

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Bella & Berries

Each day that we’ve been here in the Okanagan, Grandma Charlotte has taken Gracen along on one of her daily walks with Bella, her two year old water spaniel.  Besides some quality Manmaw-Gracen time, the result has been Grae becoming much more comfortable around Bella, Bella becoming much more calm and trustworthy around Gracen, and this Mama {and Papa} having an hour of our day to do anything we like. (I must admit, living overseas for the first year of Grae’s life and now living 5 hours away from the nearest grandparent has not allowed us many of these opportunities, so at first I didn’t know what to do with myself… But I quickly realized that the time could be very well spent doing little crafty projects for Gracen’s second birthday party, which will be celebrating at the end of August. Yay for getting things done early!)

IMG 7485The other thing that’s come of these walks is the realization that there were several currant bushes bursting with berries down at the farm.  So this morning, rather than sending Gracen and GC on their way, we all headed down the narrow dirt road, pails in hand, with the goal of clearing the bushes and using the currants to make something yummy.

IMG 7488Of course, we had to stop part ways to allow Gracen to give Bella a treat.  During the past week, she’s become the official doler of puppy goodies and she takes the job very seriously.

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IMG 7496IMG 7498IMG 7507IMG 7509IMG 7494We arrived at the bushes to finding them bursting with tiny, dark berries.  While Papa whined pretty much the entire time (hi Babe! ☺) and even tried to sit in the grass and just watch us pick, Gracen loved picking berries.  She carefully plucked them off of the branches, gave them a sideways glance, and then popped them into her yellow bucket.

IMG 7510Of course, she made some time to sample them as well.

IMG 7520Before we knew it, the bushes were empty and we were on our way home with a bucket full of currants  and a plan to make my yummy baked berry oatmeal for breakfast the next day.

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Zebras at Raw Hide Ridge Ranch

When I heard that there was a zebra farm right here in the teeny tiny town of Lumby (the town that is so small that it’s technically a village), I didn’t really believe it. Zebras, like the ones from Africa, right here in LUMBY? Sure enough, my good friend, Google, confirmed the story. Rawhide Ridge Ranch, located just 25 minutes outside of downtown Lumby (towards Mabel Lake), is not only home to four zebras. but it’s home to turkeys, cows, horses, sheep, chickens, coy, and bison too.

Curious to see what zebras living in Lumby looked like, and knowing Gracen’s love of animals, we picked a day and  booked a ranch tour. 

IMG 7379Today, we arrived to the ranch to meet James, one of the farm’s hosts, a big friendly rottie named Max, and this sweet little calf named Sophie. 

IMG 7371Gracen wasted no time and wanted to go over and say hello to Sophie right away.

IMG 7381Our host, James, was wonderful. He was super friendly, truly excited to tell us all about the farm, and very mindful of the fact that we had a {soon-to-be} two year old with us.  He even brought out a bottle of milk for Gracen to feed Sophie.

IMG 7373IMG 7383We spent the first part of our tour oohing over Sophie and this one week old foal, named Sky.

IMG 7384After a quick trip to the pond to admire the gorgeous water lilies and lily pads, it was off to the barn to meet a mystery animal named Tom.

IMG 7390Turned out that Tom was a giant, friendly turkey who roams freely around the ranch.

IMG 7396Such a funny looking guy – and with a personality to match.

IMG 7393We hung out in the barn for a while and visited with the other birds, and then it was time to be on our way.

IMG 7402Next stop – the fish! Strangely enough, this was one of Grae’s very favourite parts of tour (most likely because James gave her the job of feeding some of them).

IMG 7406IMG 7413IMG 7417It wasn’t easy, but when we finally convinced Grae to leave the fish, we headed down to the field to find Lucky, a very friendly ram who happily walks on a rope and visits with guests.  We petted him, learned about what to do if he ever puts his head down and looks as though he might charge at you, and some of us (not me!) were even brave enough to try playing a butting game with him.

IMG 7420Then it was off to see the farm”s highlight… The zebras.

IMG 7429IMG 7430IMG 7433IMG 7436When we got up to their enclosure, they were all the way at the very back of it near the forest, so James went in, rounded them up, and got them to come towards us.  The four of them, including 3 mares (2 of which are currently pregnant) and one stallion, came right up to the fence to let us admire them. They were beautiful and it was really cool to see zebras happily living in this sort of setting, rather than in a zoo.  We learned all about zebra behaviours and even got to witness Apollo, the dominate stallion, keeping the herd close together by nipping the rump of one of his female counterparts.

IMG 7443After a visit to the bison herd, that was our tour. We stopped to see the fish again, visited the beautifully rustic guest house that can be rented out much like a bed and breakfast, said goodbye to Tom, and left with a dozen free-range eggs and Grandma Charlotte’s name on the list for an all-natural free-range Christmas turkey.

We had such a good time at Rawhide Ridge Ranch that I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to visit a real, working farm. 

Rawhide Ridge Guest Ranch is located on Siglet Road in Lumby, BC. Contact them at 250-547-2525 or at rawhideridge@gmail.com to book a tour. Tours are $10 for adults, $5 for children, free for munchkins 4 and under and can be booked from April 1st to October 31st.

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Ostrich Watching

Yes, these are the types of things we do while on vacation at home in the Okanagan… 

IMG 7351IMG 7352IMG 7354IMG 7356Stop on the side of a random road in Lavington, pile out of the car, and ostrich watch.

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