A boy and his cat (and some other animals too)

If you asked me if my eldest son was intrigued by animals, I would have to say, no. He runs through zoos, racing to each animal after another, as if merely ticking them off on his imaginary list. He does not care to read about their eating habits, habitats, etc. He prefers mechanical things (trucks and bridges and fighter planes).

But, this cat of ours has worked her way into his heart. China was the first pet my hubby and I had on our own. Our first baby, so to speak. She is roughly 13-years-old and is as feisty as she was as a kitten. And, since being kicked outside due to hubby’s allergies, she has been missing all of the human interaction. And, so, she has adopted Ronan.

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When he is outside, she comes running…to be petted and appreciated. And, I think that he feels the same way. He puffs up with pride and declares her, “his cat.” And, I think his love for her has opened up his appreciation for other animals as well.

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This is a giraffe from Giraffe Ranch, a semi-local place that works to keep endangered species and interesting animals alive to breed. We consider this a homeschool field trip. On this particular trip you get a ride in a windowless school bus where you stop next to the giraffes and feed them a proper snack (sticks with leaves and cabbage was on the menu for that day).

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In addition to the more exotic animals, the owners of this ranch also raise their own pasture-raised beef and eggs (chicken too). So, you get a nice heaping discussion on the merits of respecting your climate and utilizing your natural resources as effciently as possible.

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And, naturally, these guinea pigs caught his attention. And, he has been begging for a hamster ever since. But, that was not the only “field trip” we went on this past month. We had a chance to visit The Butterfly Farm (which was much closer to us geographically).

This farm is a certified organic butterfly farm and the people who work there were wonderful about sharing their knowledge and expertise. And, for those in north Florida, I would highly recommend it as showcasing a wonderful attentiveness to the excitement and attention of the children. The owner and his “troupe” of characters presented an hour long presentation on the different aspects of butterflies (did you know they taste with their feet?). This was presented in such a way that not a single child was bored or was distracted and disruptive. The credit goes to the owner and I was very impressed with his ability to teach the kids (and adults) about butterflies in such an engaging way.

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The paint sticks were dipped in sugar water to feed the butterflies.

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A fabulous experience…bringing us that much closer to nature and hopefully, an appreciation and desire to conserve as much of it as possible.

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