Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hoe Down 2011: The time free wine happened near pigs

There is this place called  Farm Sanctuary. A foxy dude named Gene Beaur started it by rescuing a sheep from a pile of downed animals at a stockyard. He brought it to this beautiful farm in upstate New York and funded it by selling veggie dogs at Grateful Dead concerts. It grew into one of the primary animal welfare agencies today, with multiple sanctuaries for rescued farm animals. Vegnews published a story a few issues ago about a vegan bucket list, and this Virgo went check mark crazy with coloured pens. One thing I hadn't done yet was attend the annual Hoe Down at Farm Sanctuary.  An incredible vegan-palooza with world class speakers, rescued animals, amazing food, yoga, free wine, spectacular location and did I already say food? It was on!
We decided that for the full experience, we would set up camp in the tent village. At midnight. Without flashlights. In a tent neither of us had ever put up. Enter Adrian, a fellow Canadian, who saved the day with a glowing cell phone and more self preservation skills than we possessed. It wasn't quite perfect, but it did the trick (until the end when it didn't, and collapsed on us in the rain).
Katherine and I both left nursing children at home, so this tent also served as a lactation station. It sure wasn't a stretch  to empathise with a dairy cow! We woke up to vegan breakfast and rain! Heavy clouds brought heaving downpours that clattered off of the roof in the people barn.

On the plus side, we brought cute rubber boots. In the afternoon, we got to learn about the animals on the farm. Their stories of survival and triumph brought me to tears, and then we got to meet them! My favorites were the fuzzy Holstein calves, squeallllll....even thinking about them now makes me swoon!

I told you we had cute boots.

See you in part two!

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