Monday, February 15, 2016

Culture Corner 2/15/16

Life at the Sanctuary: A Netflix Original Series

[I know there are a lot of hyperlinks and clicking is a lot of effort,'s not. So click away and view. You can even look at the links for a few milliseconds, emit a small 'heh,' and then close the tab. Really. I won't tell anyone.]

Since last week's focus group demanded more details about my daily life at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary (and by focus group I mean the other interns and Professor Natov), it is my duty to provide them and the rest of you readers with a day in the life of Vegan Farmer Alex (now it's just Vegan Alex...the Farmer part is still rolling around outside in her cliched plaid flannels), itinerary style!

--------------------------------------------Alarm Rings---------------------------------------------------

5:45AM. Wake up to the silence and cold blasting through the crack of the open window (what can I say, I dig the cold), throw on minimal layers because I have become a Polar Bear beast.

6:00AM. Begin making my signature peanut butter and jam oatmeal. Smile because I'm a genius for thinking of such a creation. Inhale said creation.

6:15AM. Put on Good Mythical Morning to set the mood for the day (preferably with a straitjacket experiment or a bizarre mating rituals episode).

6:55AM. Head out the door (hopefully with all the proper outerwear), boots smelling like barn concentrate (to all you haters, Calvin Klein WILL accept my cologne proposal, just wait and see).

7:01AM. Get to the medical/hospital building. Turn lights on, receive 'good morning' meows, feed and water meowing animals, then start filling the 6 gallon water holder in the sink. I have to change around 5 heavy water buckets (dump dirty water outside, fill with water from 6 gallon container, refill container, repeat), and a whole bunch of bowls.

7:25AM. Strip, clean with clorhex, and re-towel around 8-9 chicken cages. Do laundry, sweep, and wash dishes.

8:15AM. Drink coffee...maybe. Relish the days I allow myself to partake, because it's really, really excellent coffee.

8:20AM. If the animals have been fed (by the caregivers), start changing their waters.

The north coops are on the lower-left side of the map, where it says "Cow Pastures"
8:22AM. North coops. The truest test of courage. First, I must wade through the famished swarm of white chickens (the "main flock"). They look like dinosaurs as they run towards wherever I go, and I maneuver around them as if they were t-rex (yes, that is the plural form; Yahoo Answers told me so). The reason why the white chickens are so hungry all the time is that they're genetically modified to eat until they die. Once I'm done with them, I move on to the sections with the two scary roosters, Lolo and Big Boy. I do my best dominant rooster impression and, surprisingly, it works. No attacks today!

8:45AM. Finish the north coops. Walk over to the goat and sheep barn. Open their doors to the outside, cut the strings around the bales of hay, feed them, and change their waters. Most of these waters aren't buckets, but rather automatically-refilling ones that I can pry open and scrape intruder straw and hay pieces out of.

9:20AM. Before I leave, I try for the 713th time to pet Dolly, the llama. Once again, she lifts her chin and threatens to spray me with spit. A single tear trickles down my face.

9:22AM. Take the golf cart and change the south coops' waters. The turkeys are as hungry as the main flock, but the rest of the chickens let me barge unbothered into their space. The egg-layers have already laid around 30 eggs (genetically modified to do so; most chickens lay two to three eggs each per week). I might collect those later to put in their mash. Chickens eat their own eggs naturally, as it helps them gain back lost nutrients and calcium.

9:37AM. Change the pigs' waters. Lexi, Cici, and Andy all mess with me while I try to clean the bowls. They nudge my butt, hands, and face with their snouts. On other days they've helped me clean the waters, but most days, like cats who sit on your laptop as soon as you open it to do work, they mess with me. I don't mind.

9:47AM. Final stop, cow barn. The main herd is outside, so I can clean their waters. If they were inside, I wouldn't have been allowed to enter. Cows are gentle and sweet beings, but they effectively think they're the size of a pig. So they swing their (horned) heads randomly, and can kick.

9:55AM. Yoyo, the donkey, goes on one of his rampages. Seeing him run back and forth, screaming, reminds me of what I will be like in May, come finals week. (Yoyo lives with his bonded friend, Caesar the cow. They were kept together in a really awful backyard petting zoo, and now they're inseparable.)

10:00AM. Drive back to the med building, do more laundry, and ask the caregivers if I can help with any treatments. Looks like chicken treatments again!

10:05AM. The main flock of chickens are science experiments gone wrong. In their genetically-modified state, they develop many, many medical complications, from foot problems (deep abrasions, frostbite) to cancerous masses to respiratory issues. Since chickens have just as large a range of personalities as other species do, it's difficult to see many of them slowly deteriorate and suffer.

10:30AM. Every chicken takes about 20-30 minutes to treat. Most don't like being picked up and moved, but once they feel secure and stable in my arms, they nuzzle up to me and relax.

1:00PM. The almost daily round of chicken treatments is done! I walk back to Lodge 2 (the place where I'm staying) to make lunch.

1:06PM. I have a stash of sliced, frozen bagels from Brooklyn that I make open-faced hummus, tomato, chive, spinach, and Sriracha sandwiches out of. If I'm feeling particularly literate, I read while eating. Most days I watch Markiplier scream at pixels.

1:40PM. I start walking back to the med building, but get distracted by the turkeys and their snoods. Fun Fact: a snood is a little fleshy unicorn horn above a turkey's beak that enlarges and retracts depending on mood and desires to attract a mate. ...Yeah, it's a forehead penis. Hey, a caregiver told me that; it's legit.

1:45PM. Great news! It's pedicure day for the pigs! We brush a serum onto their hooves to both treat and prevent cracking in them. Often when pigs come to us, they've been so overfed that their weight effectively crushes their feet.

2:00PM. I notice that Olive, the alpha female pig, is humping Antonio again. You go girl.

2:30PM. I get dropped off to feed the goats and sheep their linner.

3:00PM. After hauling their hay and fluffing it up, I see if I can sneak in some sheep massages. Two of my regular customers run over when they see me and each put their heads on one of my legs. They're like cats; every time I stop massaging them, they either paw at me or rub their heads against my hands.

3:06PM. Dolly stares intensely at my every movement with the Evil Eye as I exit the barn. I think I'm in need of holy water.

3:07PM. Back at the med building, I do laundry, sweep, and wash dishes until my work hours end.

3:32PM. I climb into the enclosure with babies Moby and Jackie. I hold Jackie, who fits perfectly on my forearm, for a while.

Baby Jackie and I during a cuddle session <3
4:05PM. I head home, attempt to un-hat my hat hair, take a shower, and begin preparing for dinner.

4:45PM. Rice is cooking. Over frying onions and peppers, I smash hella beans.

5:30PM. After eating dinner, I am slowly absorbed into the Internet/a book and sleep. Like this Chef Boyardee can into the lava:
[Please watch it. I cry tears of laughter every time I do.]

9:45PM I really am falling asleep at this time, aren't I.

9:47PM The squirrels in the attic have a rave every night, so I blast rain sounds aggressively before I fall asleep.

------------------------------------------------The End---------------------------------------------------

Is there anything else to say?
Most bread is vegan?
I've eaten enough donuts this week to form a ring around planet Earth?
I'm really procrastinating on reading my book of Arthurian Romances.


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