Today we went out to Out to Pasture Sanctuary for their Goats and Floats work/visiting day.
It was my first visit there, and I didn’t really know what to expect. We arrived on a beautiful, sunny Fall day to find friendly people of all ages working together or just enjoying the animals.
Clio bypassed the apple cider press, heading straight towards the back pasture. Pigs roamed freely around in varying sizes and colors from small miniature pot belly pigs to medium-large pink pigs to an enormous pig! They were seriously cute with their little wagging tails and happy personalities. All the animals had stories, the largest 700 pound pig, Poppy, was a mascot at Sunnyside Elementary School who was mistakenly believed to be a potbelly pig at first. This confusion seems to happen not infrequently with city people adopting pigs.
I would consider myself to be a city person, but I somehow have a country girl. One of my most embarrassing moments was years ago at the State Country Fair when we were looking at the pigs and I was disturbed to see one with massive growths on it. I asked the person next to me “What’s that?” in horror. They replied with obvious incredulity, “You mean, his testicles?”. In my defense, I have not seen a lot of pigs up close and promise you, it did not look natural.
Clio adores all animals, and they seem to sense this. She went right up to the donkeys, who were very timid and ran away from me. They were soon letting her pet them.
We saw goats, llamas (which I cannot tell the difference between them and alpacas), rams, rabbits, a turkey, ducks and many more animals. All happy and safe, and it was uplifting to see them enjoying life in this environment! We met Kit and John the owners. I was astonished that they also have full-time jobs in the city and commute back and forth 4 days/week. It is an hour commute! It takes them 2 hours to take care of their animals in the morning, and almost an hour in the evening.
There seems to be a range of things to do there from painting, spreading bark chips on paths, repairing fences, deworming, cleaning stalls, and more. One of my favorite “jobs”, too fun to seem like work, was to get pears that had fallen on the tops of shelters off of the tarp roofs. As a team of us threw the pears on the ground, pigs and goats came running.
The volunteers are treated very well, with the promised ice cream floats (non-dairy coconut ice cream), fresh-pressed apple cider, and delicious cookies, pies, bread and other snacks. All vegan, and delicious.
I’d encourage you to check out their website, there are multiple ways to donate, and if you are in Oregon they have work parties and a place to donate items for yard sale by the Hollywood Fred Meyer. I am so impressed with the difference these two people make, and how they have a loyal team of volunteers to help them that are dedicated as well.
Thank you for opening up your farm, Kit and John. Thank you for what you are doing. Let me know if there is anything we can do to help spread the word. We plan to come back as often as you’ll have us. And Kit, if you ever want to share your recipe for those chocolate chip cookies with me, I can’t stop thinking about them.