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Kentucky Vacation, Day 3: Going Down Under (Part 2)

June 2, 2008

Now, let’s see, where was I?

We finished feeding the rainbow lorikeets, then we had a few minutes to sit in the shade of a tree and hang out while we waited for the sheep herding demonstration to begin. The border collie’s name was Roxie and she was a very eager (but well behaved) dog. As soon as she got the command from her handler, she went flying across the field to round up the sheep. Roxie meant business!

I had to say, “Baa, Ram, Ewe.” Noodle laughed. I just love her — she totally gets me.

Following a very informative talk about sheep and dogs and the working relationship they have, we went to the wool shed, a large barn where various breeds of sheep were displayed for our enjoyment. There were (I think) nine different breeds. The Merino got most of the attention, as he is the sheep most commonly found in Australia. This guy, however, a Romney, kept giving me the eye.

He was the only sheep on the platform that stood up the whole entire time we were in there. And he was just a few feet away from me.

I got nervous after a while.

So again, we learned some fascinating things, some of which I won’t repeat in detail here. Suffice it to say that sheep have wool on every part of their body, and every part of their body is sheared. (Shorn?)

Baby lambs were brought out to be bottle fed, and Noodle‘s daughter Sass got picked to feed one. She did a great job, and carried the lamb back to the pen when it had finished the bottle. Poor Sophia was heartbroken that her friend had been selected for such an awesome job and she hadn’t. Fortunately, Carol at the Visitors Center had already told us that if we found ourselves in that situation, we could talk to the employees and ask for our children to be picked at the next show. We did just that, and decided to come back to the wool shed at 2:00.

That gave us about an hour to kill, so we went to the Kangaroo area. We entered the pen and met our informative but rather humorless guide, who began talking to us about kangaroos. We walked down the path and when the guide stopped to talk to us some more, I was surprised to see a kangaroo lounging on the ground just beside him. I couldn’t believe that I was *this close* to a kangaroo, and there was nothing between us except air!

My mind officially boggled.

And honestly, I can’t even tell you what all the guide said because all I heard was, “You can come over and pet the kangaroo now, one family at a time.”

And I was all, “What?!?!? I get to pet a kangaroo?!?!?”

I did. He was much softer than I thought he would be, and a lot calmer. He just laid there with this dopey, mostly-asleep look on his face. In fact, he reminded me quite a bit of Daisy. When I regained my coherence, I asked the guide if kangaroos are normally such docile creatures and he said that after they eat, they tend to just lie about and sleep most of the day, particularly when it’s hot outside.

Yep, just like Daisy.

I am still so blown away by this experience that when anyone asks me how my vacation was, I blurt out, “Ohmygosh! I got to pet kangaroos!” That usually confuses them, and they say something like, “But I thought you were going to Kentucky…”

Anyway, here’s a pic of Dan and Sophia petting the red kangaroo:

After we quit gawking at the kangaroos, we saw what we thought were joeys. The guide explained that they were actually wallabies. I sensed an opportunity…

ME (to guide): Oooh! Knock knock.

Guide: (bewildered look)

ME (nodding head in encouragement): Knock knock!

Guide (reluctantly): Who’s there?

ME: Wallaby.

Guide (with dread): Wallaby who?

ME: Wallaby darned, it’s another marsupial joke!

Noodle laughed (again, she gets me!) and Trevor looked like he wanted the earth to open and swallow him whole. The guide half-laughed, half-smirked, then tried to tell his own joke. I confess, I didn’t think his was anywhere near as clever as mine; in fact, I don’t remember it.

After we finished our tour through the kangaroo area (where we also saw an emu or two), we went back to the wool shed for the second sheep-herding demonstration. I was so glad that we did because the presentation was completely different this time around, and it was less crowded. We had seen the first show with a school group and this time it was just four or five families. Both of my kids got picked to feed lambs:

In addition, Noodle‘s hubby Skeeter learned how to set a sheep — placing a sheep on its butt so that it sits still while being sheared. I filmed the event for posterity, but I won’t post it here unless Noodle says it’s okay.

And then, just as our time in the wool shed was coming to an end and the employees were talking about farm life, one of them brought in a cow. I was not expecting it at all and I think I gasped or made some sort of horrified exclamation. The employees started talking to us about milking the cow and inviting us to come up and do it. Now, please recall my trip to the dairy farm and how nasty filthy dirty those creatures are. I had no desire to be anywhere close to that cow.

The employee sensed this and decided it would be fun to tease me about how if I lived on an Australian sheep farm I would rather let my family starve than provide them with fresh milk. I said, “You’re going to shame me into doing this, aren’t you?” Well, I can’t let a challenge go unanswered, so I got up and stood in the cow-milking line. When it was my turn, I reached down, gave the teat a pull and once I saw some milk hit the bottom of the bucket, I ran ove to the sink to wash my hands. Thoroughly, I might add.

Our day at Kentucky Down Under ended with a tour of the cave there. It wasn’t as rich in history as the Lost River Cave we had seen the day before, but it was nice and cool and twisty looking.

Then, on the way out of the park, we stopped by to feed the budgies. They gave each of us a popsicle stick with peanut butter and bird seed on it. We walked in and the budgies flocked to us, landing on the sticks and gobbling up the seeds.

We left the park after that, completely exhausted but absolutely thrilled with the day’s adventure. I cannot recommend Kentucky Down Under enough!

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2 comments

  1. Hehe! I’ll ask Skeeter if it’s okay. 🙂


  2. […] June 7, 2008 · No Comments hehehe.  Here’s the video of Skeeter trying to “set” a sheep on our visit to Kentucky Down Under. […]



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