Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter, 2012 - An animal sanctuary and an old favorite

Alert, alert: this post has many photos, so put on your caption reading attitude and let's go!  My family had a lot of fun over the Easter weekend.  On Saturday, we went to  Animal Place , a farmed animal sanctuary, for their Easter egg hunt.  We went to one of their hunts a few years ago, and I was really glad to make it back for another one.  They are located in Grass Valley, California and have been at this location about two years, after moving from Vacaville.  Their Vacaville location still has animals for adoption and is called Rescue Ranch.  The new location in Grass Valley is strictly a sanctuary and has over 600 acres!  We've been coming to Animal Place for tours since SR, my oldest, was still in her front baby carrier and couldn't walk.  We are so thankful to have a sanctuary like this relatively close to our home. Living in Sacramento, we are about halfway between Vacaville and Grass Valley, so the move didn't affect our driving time to get to it.

Here is JK holding his Easter basket after the hunt.  There were more children than they expected to have, which is a good thing, but the eggs for each child had to be restricted, so everyone could enjoy the fun. Inside were stickers, little toys, tattoos and hard candy.

Here is Marji Beach, Education Manager, and Kim Sturla, Animal Place founder.  I'm always impressed by the memories of these two ladies - they always remember my family and always make us feel very welcome.  They are just as nice as they appear to be in this photo.

After the hunt and a picnic, we were taken on a tour of their sanctuary.  We've been on many tours, but it's nice to see the same animal friends with which we've become familiar and also to meet new ones.  Here is a shot of the sanctuary as we head down the path.

At this new location, they've begun to grow a vegan garden.  They use no bone meal or other animal products in their garden mix.  If they have a successful bounty, they are thinking of opening a produce stand.

Here are a couple of their bunnies inside their enclosure.  This is the outside part, but they also have an inside shelter, as well.  We brought greens and other treats for them to enjoy.

This three-legged sheep is Carmen.  She looks like a goat but isn't.  They do have goats, but we didn't see them this time.  Anyhow, Carmen was saved when a farmer's neighbor noticed her suffering with an infected leg. The farmer wasn't interested in paying vet bills, and was just going to let her die...painfully.  The neighbor contacted Animal Place, and the farmer allowed her to be rescued.

Carmen lives with these sheep in a beautiful pasture.  Look at those sheep tails!  Did you know sheep have tails like that?  Apparently, they are cut off when they are a few days old, but not at Animal Place.

Howie, the big steer here, is one of our old friends.  That's G and SR petting him.  He's enjoying a good rub down - his loose fur was flying off.  JK is having a blast.  GR is petting Elsa, and on the side of the picture, you can barely make out black and white Sadie.  These are their geriatric cows; they have another field for their younger cows.

This is a pot-bellied pig that got too big for someone to keep as a pet.  I love this picture, but it reminds me a bit of the pigs in the movie, Hannibal.  I only saw him eating roots though!

These two pigs literally came running out at us as if they were a couple of dogs.  They ran right up and demanded to be petted.  Everyone had their hands full with these two.

GR and SR petting some beautiful tom turkeys.  During Thanksgiving of last year, they were dropped off in boxes at Animal Place, rescued from being dinner.  I noticed that they were making huffing noises and asked if these were warning sounds for us to stay away.  Marji explained that in fact they were showing off and puffing up to impress us.  They loved being petted and kept strutting around fluffing out.  So funny!  They had lots of turkeys and chickens there.

Okay, so if you want to find out more about Animal Place, follow the link above.  Now, on to Easter dinner.  I was feeling really under the weather, so I didn't make nearly as much as I'd hoped for the family potluck.  When we got back from Animal Place on Saturday, I made my Kids Love It! Potato Salad , and that was all I could do.  I subbed the baco bits for LightLife Smart Bacon, sauteed and chopped.  Sunday I was worse, so we just popped over to Whole Foods and picked up some lemon capellini to bring along.  I was so impressed with the vegan options that my relatives brought this time. Take a look!

This is my actual dinner plate - quite full, don't you think?  My potato salad is in the left upper corner of the plate, a vegan roll, my mom's pickles and garlic, the lemon capellini from Whole Foods, an amazing salad from my aunt, my mom got us Chik patties and make an apricot sauce to go on top, and steamed asparagus.  There was only cole slaw and chicken on the table that wasn't vegan.  As a matter of fact...

...there was also this fruit salad that my other aunt made, and I forgot to put on my original plate - not that there would have been any room., anyways.  Truthfully, this was the best vegan feast we've had with my family...ever.

For dessert, my mom made vegan strawberry shortcake and bought soy whip, and my "fruit salad" aunt made vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.  Hello!!!

I definitely wasn't feeling well, but I'm really glad I went 'cause I would have missed out on all this amazing food!  Hope everyone else had a great Easter, too.


  1. Are you recovered yet? Is it morning sickness? A lot of vegan bloggers are procreating lately in case you haven't noticed.

    Neat sanctuary. I've never visited an animal sanctuary, I sort of feel I run my own private sanctuary as it were. Happy Belated Easter.

  2. How fun! Outdoor Easter....animals and nature...wrapping up with good food.

    thank you for sharing.

  3. What a fantastic Easter! Glad you were able to be out and about, even though you weren't feeling well. I hope you're doing better today!

    Love the sanctuary! It seems like such rewarding work; peaceful and beautiful. Thanks for sharing the pictures! :)

  4. I wish there was an animal sanctuary around here! Woodstock Animal Farm is probably the closest. Looks really cool!
    The Easter fest looks wonderful as well. We didn't celebrate this year so it's especially nice to see other people enjoying it.

  5. Wow, what a great place! And what a fun thing to do for Easter! I love all the pics! It's wonderful to see geriatric cows and sheep with tails! I have never seen a sheep's tail before. God bless Carmen: I'm so glad she was rescued!

    JK looks very handsome with his Easter basket.

    And, well, your Easter dinner looks scrummy; a bit of everything represented there! Dessert looks great too! It's so cool your relatives brought on the vegan dishes!

    I hope you're feeling better!

  6. S.V., nope I'm not one of the recently blessed bloggers expecting a new babe. Just a cold. You do have your hands full with all the critters on your property. Are you going to open it up to tours? :-)

    WM, it was a good day. I hope you had a nice Easter too.

    Ingrid, I'm feeling somewhat better now, but the cold hit me hard. The sanctuary is beautiful, and the workers are wonderful.

    FF, I'm surprised that there's not a relatively close sanctuary near you. I guess I'm spoiled with Animal Place. Why didn't you celebrate Easter?

    Rose, Can you believe sheep have tails? I had no idea. God bless that farmer's neighbor too! Thanks for noticing my handsome little guy. I think he's pretty darn cute. I was really happily surprised with the vegan fare at Easter. It was a wonderful treat for us. I'm feeling a bit better, but not 100% yet. Thank you, though. :-)

  7. what a nice place to visit, the animals are so beautiful and the food looks fabulous. what a great way to spend an Easter day.

  8. Millie, thanks, it was a great weekend.

  9. You're so lucky to live within driving distance of Animal Place! We've took a road trip to the NY Farm Sanctuary one year and just adored it there. It looks like everyone had fun and all of the animals are so adorable. I especially love pigs and would have been thrilled when those two came running up. So cute! <3

  10. Molly, I guess we are pretty lucky. I wasn't aware until recently how far and wide animal sanctuaries are. I'm sure glad we have this one close to us - it's a good place to take my kids, for sure. You would have definitely loved those pigs! They were a crack up.

  11. Sounds you the family enjoyed a wonderful Easter. I've never visited an animal farm, but Animal Place looks very interesting and fun. I don't know why pictures of hogs always scare me. But they do. Lol.

  12. What a perfect way to spend Easter — I love that you took the whole family to an animal sanctuary. It looks like a wonderful place filled with happy animals.

    Don't you just love it when the family finally understands what your diet is all about and starts to accommodate. I appreciate their efforts so much. The next step will be that they start to like the food and make it a regular part of their meals, not just when you're visiting. Kudos to the aunt for the vegan, gf cookies!

    I hope you're feeling better.

  13. Don, don't be scared of hogs - those big teeth, that big mouth, the indiscriminate palate. Don't be scared...

    Andrea, the sanctuary visit made for a nice day. I'm not sure the relatives purposely made the food vegan (except for the cookies, and my mom, of course), but maybe they did! My family does take five place settings, so you never know - maybe we're a large enough group to have an impact! Plus, I have a pretty loving family. That could be it, too.