Monday, June 17, 2013

Amish Country

I live in Ohio which I believe, is the state with the second largest population of Amish, Pennsylvania being the first.  All we have to do is travel south about an hour and it feels like you have entered a different time period.  Buggies carrying families down the road is a frequent site, as is entire families out working in the garden in anticipation of the fall harvest.

I have been to the Amish Country countless times but this time we actually did something we have never done before.  We visited the Rolling Ridge Wildlife Ranch in Millersburg.  It was so much fun.  You board a horse drawn buggy with several other folks and it pulls you through the most beautiful country you can imagine while animals of all shapes and sizes descend upon the wagon to get food.  There were buffalo, llamas, pigs, ostriches, zebra, ducks, water buffalo, long horn cattle, elk and deers of all different species.  We picked a great time to go because there were so many babies and the babies are adorable.  We saw two pot bellied pigs that were born the night before and several fawns that had been born within the last week. 

The ranch covers several hundred acres and it took us an hour to ride through, with frequent stops to admire the surroundings.  The animals are so tame and come so close trying to stick their noses in a bucket of food.  My foot was licked more than once by something and I was just thankful it stopped at a lick :)  We were told at one stop the animals will try to take your bucket of food so my husband made it his mission to keep that from happening.  It was quite a struggle as he was holding on with both hands but the Elk won.  He tipped his head back and emptied the entire contents of the bucket into his mouth and then dropped the bucket on the ground, to join several others.

I am not much of a zoo person because I think it's cruel to keep such beautiful animals confined to such small areas purely for the enjoyment of others but this ranch was awesome.  Rolling hills, ponds, streams and trees of all sizes and shapes and the animals could roam as far as they wanted.  A high fence surrounded the entire ranch so no outside animals could get in (ie coyotes or wolfs) so the animals are safe in their own little world. 

Below is a picture of one of the elks (I believe) getting up close and personal with my daughter and her fiance (notice the llama looking on).  Also another one of a couple of deer standing at the back of the wagon.  The bottom picture is of a water buffalo doing what they do best, stay in the water, while a giant bull stands next to the wagon.   It was surreal to be so close to these beautiful animals.