We had quite a weekend. On Saturday, I was up early to go swimming and then went straight to Older Daughter's last soccer game. Alas, this was not a winning game for them, which I know was a disappointment to the team after the last several successful weeks. The girls and I went straight home so they could change and then we were off and running to the local Knit In Public event (with a stop on the way to get a gift card for the team mom). As we were driving to the store, we saw three young people walking their sheep down the main street. Not something you see every day, I thought. It turns out that they were on their way to provide some Livestock in Public energy at the knitting event. I completely forgot my camera, but I can tell you, it was a sight to see. (I should also mention that these were the cleanest sheep I've ever seen in my life.) We knitted away merrily on the side of a very busy main drag in San Marcos, with all of our "Honk If You Knit" signs waved by the girls (who declined to knit in public in favor of leading rousing knitting cheers). It was amazing how many honks we got, including a few from some truckers coming by in their semis, and a few cars full of guys. One wonders...
This was all very confusing to the men hanging out at the pub that shares a parking lot with the yarn store. One of them finally stopped me and asked, "What's going on out there? I thought it was a knitting thing, but then the FFA kids showed up with the sheep...?" (I'm not kidding. This is a pretty exact quote.) I said, "It is a knitting event, and the sheep are there because people knit wool." And he said, "Oh! So that's the connection." Well, yes. That, indeed, is the connection.
The girls and I hung out for a few hours and then we were off and running to Older Daughter's soccer team's pizza party. Once all of that was over, we all came home and fell over for the rest of the day.
Which was a good thing, because yesterday, we went to the Wild Animal Park to take Younger Daughter on one of their photo safari tours for her birthday. She decided very firmly that she wanted to do the Asia tour, rather than the Africa tour, which rather surprised all of us, since the Africa tour includes feeding giraffes, which were, for ages, her very favorite animal. But she declared that she wanted to see rhinos, so off to Asia we went. And boy oh boy were we glad we did. For one thing, to get to the big open Asia exhibit, the truck has to first drive through the Africa exhibit, so we got to see giraffes up close and personal in any case. (Do you know that the adults' heads can be some six feet long? And that they can swing them on those necks and do some serious damage? And they look so sweet and gentle with those long eyelashes... Just goes to show.)
The Wild Animal Park is a pretty amazing facility, in that it has hundreds of acres of open range exhibits, where the animals roam free, doing pretty much what they'd normally do. The predators are not placed into the range enclosures (although not for the reasons you'd think; apparently, under conditions like these, the chances are that the bigger hooved herd animals would take down the lions, given half a chance, so it's for the protection of the predators rather than the prey that they're not housed together -- coyotes who try to break into the bit exhibit fare extremely poorly, and do not last long at all), but they are very close by so that the herd animals can hear and smell them, so they show all of the behaviors associated with that environment, including alert circles and so on. It's an amazing exhibit.
They have a fabulously successful breeding program for endangered animals, and yesterday alone we saw a baby elephant (about a week old), some several-month-old giraffes, a day old gazelle, and three very new baby cheetahs.
Those are gaur. Their horns are absolutely gorgeous. They are very big, and apparently also very aggressive.
And then came the part we were all waiting for: the rhinos. We parked the truck, and waited to see if they were hungry for the bucket of apples we were carrying with us. They were.
Everyone kindly let Younger Daughter go first, since it was her birthday.
But we all eventually got our turns.
We even got to reach in and feel their mouths (yes, on the inside) -- did you know that rhinos' upper lips are prehensile? I had no idea.
That one there was about nine feet tall and weighed some 5,000+ pounds. It was good to be on a truck. But he was very sweet and let us touch his horn for good luck. Their skin is incredibly rough, although the guide told us that it's fairly sensitive, which is why they enjoy their mud baths so much, to protect themselves from sun and insects.
And then we had to drive back out again. I think the girls enjoyed themselves.
It was declared an excellent birthday adventure by all.
And then we went home and took a nap.