Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Story of the Ostrich Who Tried to Kill Quinn and the Day We Hugged a Camel

Hey, remember, like a week and a half ago, when I teased you about a story about the ostrich who tried to kill Quinn and the day we hugged a camel? If you are a shrewd headline reader, you might have realized by now that THIS is THAT story.

But I'm going to make you sit through sheep first.

The Story of the Scary Sheep

A couple of weeks ago I took Quinn to the Reston Zoo, which is such a fun thing to do if you have access to Virginia and a bunch of extra money rattling around in your pocket. The zoo is a mix of a farm and...a farm with bigger animals.

When we got there, we sprung for the $10 bin of pellets and entered the barn. I get the feeling that the sheep and goats in there have a keen eye for the Big Bin o' Pellets and that was why they very nearly climbed over their little pen fences in an effort to get to us and our Big Bin.

These were a couple of the more restrained goats.

It was, I have to say, a little intimidating.


The Story of Baby Pig:

Goats and sheep were fine and all, but the whole reason we were at the Reston Zoo in the first place is because I wanted to take Quinn to the National Zoo at first, but then he freaked out and said he wanted to go to a farm because there are baby pigs at the farm and I want to see a baby piiiiiiiggggg! I think he was having flashbacks to a field trip to an apple orchard we went to last fall. Needless to say, I was a little worried when there were no pigs, baby or otherwise, in the barn.

When we walked outside the barn, we finally found a pig. Also its companion, Baby Pig. Baby Pig was made even better because along with the Big Bin o' Pellets, we also purchased a tiny baby bottle full of milk. We had tried unsuccessfully to feed it to every stupid goat and sheep in the barn to no avail. Guess who liked the baby bottle full of milk?

Baby Pig, that's who.

It's too bad that the big pig, who also liked the milk, wasn't smaller and cuter. He might have gotten some milk too.

The Story of the Emu Who Tried to Eat Our Fingers (Not to Be Confused with the Ostrich Who Tried to Kill Quinn):

See the emus? They look nice, huh?

From a distance.

Our first up close encounter was a little bit more frightening. Quinn ran up to the fence and one of the emus tried to eat his thumb. Then, because I don't learn without doing, I jammed my hand through the fence and the thing clamped down on my thumb too.

Do you see how he wants to eat us? Do you see?!

Never ones to learn a lesson completely, but able to learn a little bit, Quinn and I adjusted our feeding strategy.

Who knew that emus and goats ate the same food?

This experience took me back to the first and only other time my family went to the Reston Zoo. Quinn wasn't around then and Jack was less than a year old. I was feeding an emu through this very same slot in the fence as Alex held Jack on his lap. Every single time the emu darted his head down and took some food, Jack laughed and laughed and laughed. He almost couldn't breathe he was laughing so hard. It's one of my favorite memories of Jack. Quinn did a similar amount of giggling on this day.

After the emu feeding we got on the wagon ride that goes around the enclosure where deer, zebras, bison, and other large animals roamed around.

Huh. What's that headed our way?

The Story of the Ostrich Who Tried to Kill Quinn:


I fear I may have overpromised when I say I have a story of an ostrich who tried to kill Quinn. In reality, the ostrich and one of the other wagon-riders conspired to try to kill Quinn. See, we were in the primo feeding spot on the wagon. All the animals came straight up to us, drawn by our position in the wagon and the remnants of the Big Bin o' Pellets.

This particular ostrich was a greedy lil' motherfucker, so at some point, in order to save some of our pellets for the rest of the animals and to give the other riders a chance to meet the bird, I pulled our bucket away. The lady in the middle of the wagon directly behind Quinn held out her cup. The ostrich pecked at it, resulting in pellets flying all over the wagon—and Quinn. Reacting to the rain of pellets, Quinn ducked down his head as if he were under fire (kid has good reflexes), and wonked his head on the metal rail.

He sobbed and sobbed and the lady behind him looked like she wanted to die as I tried to simultaneously comfort Quinn, tell the lady it wasn't her fault, and move the Big Bin o' Pellets from between me and Quinn so the ostrich wouldn't peck him directly in his distraught head.

Eventually, satisfied that he had done enough damage, the ostrich wandered off.

The Story of the Day We Hugged a Camel:

Did you know that camels are snuggly? I didn't either until this trip. But they really are. At least the two at this farm were. We hugged this guy and hugged this guy and hugged this guy. I kind of want a pet camel now.

And you can keep your comments about my track record with pets to yourselves, thank you very much.

Honestly, who needs frogs, when you can have this?

He would have been hard to smuggle home in my minivan though.

Instead, we had to settle for this gift shop stuffed pig, heretofore known as Mud.

He's huggable too. And portable. (The stuffed pig is nice as well.)

Even with all the (slightly over-dramatized) near death experiences, this was one of the best days Quinn and I have had. Put Quinn in the proximity of cute animals and he's the happiest guy on Earth. Put me in proximity of happy Quinn and I'm the happiest mom on Earth.


  1. Very, very cool. I'm glad that you both had a great day.

  2. What a wonderful time you had, the big pail or whathaveyou of pellets was worth it, right?

    And there's not much uglier than a goat, if you ask me. Except turkey-vultures, maybe. Tell Quinn to go look *those* up. Best viewed online vs. in person, in my opinion.

  3. I'm not surprised that an emu bit both you and Quinn. Emus are just plain mean. Whilst out horse riding in the bush as a kid I was chased by an emu. I have retained a healthy dislike of them ever since.

  4. Totally awesome post. I don't trust large birds (hello, dinosaur decedents! danger!), so your story does not surprise me either.

    I think Oscar and Quinn look alike - have I told you that before?

  5. "Shrewd headline reader," hee!

    And I love that guy who wandered right into the middle of your picture.

  6. I hope you gave him a bath is all I have to say. Or maybe gave that big ol' camel a bath too.

  7. I haven't been out there in a while. The first time we went, the tractor driver ran over an animal. Gave us a bad feeling about the place, but we kept going back. Another time we went, the camel had this gaping flesh wound, and the word disgusting doesn't even come close to desribing it. My children knew instinctively not to touch the camel near the wound, but another child put his hand smack in the middle. I about vomited as did the parent. I then looked in my bag and found some wipes which I started throwing at the woman. I have never met a more grateful mom.

  8. He seems to be getting a stuffed animal collection to rival Andy's. And that's saying something. (And they pick such great animals! I mean, how many folks own a stuffed pot-bellied pig??? Super awesome!)

  9. Hee! Hee! That same ostrich/emu she-devil thing almost killed J when he was 5.

    The camel? Sheer delight!

  10. In spite of the killer animals (and fellow passengers!), it sounds like a pretty awesome day. That makes me smile, too.

  11. What a great post, Jean. I love the pictures of Quinn. We may have to make it a point to get out there one of these days on a day trip!

  12. it's nice if i can be there too


Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.