Well, as a devoted October fan, as I always say, “Welcome, October 32nd!” And having just celebrated the 46th birthday of our amazing (self-appointed, but no less valid) fearless leader, Jamie Chimpanzee, I think we could safely say Jamie would support a never-ending “Jamieween.” I mean, let’s be honest, it really is Jamieween here in her sanctuary home 365 days of the year, just as it should be. Thanks to you! And if you haven’t had a chance to see yesterday’s Jamieween celebrations, click here.
Of course, November bring it’s own special celebrations from start to finish so if you have celebrations of your own, please join us! You have November birthday triplets this month.
We begin with November 2nd when we celebrate our tiny bovine family’s 5th anniversary of calling the sanctuary home. I remember when we were anxiously awaiting for Betsy, her son, Nutmeg, and Honey and her daughter, Meredith, to arrive from California as everyone here hurried to build their cozy barn. We’d already moved into growing darkness and cold and couldn’t help but wonder and worry how these California beauties were going to adjust so close to winter. But they were so courageous and seemed to take their new lives in stride, together.
After many months enjoying their summer pasture above Young’s Hill, their winter floof is making it’s appearance and any time now we will be wanting to run our fingers through their glorious hair, but they will most likely remind us they aren’t those kind of bovines and we should keep our hands to ourselves. Good thing there are the sanctuary pups, Abbey, Benny and Nala, available for those kind of human shenanigans.
Here are Betsy, Honey (background), Meredith and Nutmeg upon arrival in 2018. What must they have been thinking? Look at Honey back there letting us know what’s what. We’re so grateful they call the sanctuary home.
Nutmeg and his mama, Betsy:
Meredith and her mama, Honey:
Next, we get to celebrate beautiful Lucky, who will be turning 32 on November 6th! What a year she’s had! Once she made her mind up, she’s been fearless on the Bray and is often the one who ventures to the highest points of the structures for forages and views (again, see Chad’s great Jamieween video from yesterday for a wonderful example of Lucky scaling the heights).
Lucky may not always be someone who appears front and center, but she is always present, observing and taking everything in. Which somehow makes the special person she is shine even more in moments like this:
Dora, Rayne (back) and Lucky:
Next up, on November 10th, we will be celebrating gorgeous and sassy, Honey Cow, turning 16!
The chimpanzees’ Thanksgiving celebration (here in the states) falls on November 23rd. Filled with wondrous treats like Field Roast, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, Burrito’s wild food squeaks of joy, and oh, all manner of good things, I feel like it’s one of the chimpanzees’ favorite celebrations. And because our minds linger over all the many ways and reasons we have to be grateful, you all being a profoundly large part of that, I feel like it’s one of the humans’ favorite celebrations, as well.
Terry learning all about the magic of Field Roast during a Thanksgiving past…
We always laugh at the reactions of our nine newest family members in regard to the parties and variety of enrichment we are able to offer them. When each of the (then, two) groups first arrived, much of the party shenanigans Jamie’s group was already well accustomed to, were new to everyone in (now) Cy’s group. We were constantly met with blank and bewildered stares and pursed lips upon offering them certain food items (especially if roasted!) and food puzzles. As if they were saying, “Why? Why are you trying to poison us with these strange things??”
This is in no way to imply that they weren’t very loved and cared for at their former home, the now closed Wildlife Waystation, but a lot was being asked of them with a new home and caregivers to get used to and gain trust in. But much to our hearts’ delight (and persistence), they’ve grown accustomed to our partying ways and we now see faces of joy and excitement with the arrival of party carts and trays and bowls. Most of the nine now even wait expectantly after dinner for their evening enrichment. We wore them down! 😉 Oh, we still get the occasional looks of suspicion, and Gordo still typically takes a hard pass on special occasion roasted food items, so we make sure he gets the option of raw or roasted. It’s just more examples of what sanctuary and your support provides for them: variety, choice and individualized care.
Gordo demonstrating the ever-popular, sniff test (Jamie’s favorite):
Wrapping up the month, on November 30th, William B Chimpanzee will be turning 33! When Willy B first arrived to the sanctuary we celebrated his honorary birthday on March 1st, but having since learned his true date of birth, we get to celebrate him again!
As many of you know by now, Willy B spins his own mystery brand of chaos within his group on the regular. That said, the courage he’s shown in finding new footing, both literally and figuratively, whether it’s in forging new friendships, navigating living with some other big (and very patient and forgiving) guys, or facing his fears of the new found ground beneath his feet out on the Bray (as J.B. wrote about recently), the progress Willy B continues make is so admirable and we celebrate this guy and every brave effort and step he continues to make.
Rayne and Willy B:
Willy B and Cy:
So much in life seems to happen gradually, then suddenly. Autumn colors didn’t appear to be building up to much this year, then suddenly one week it turned into one of the most vibrant autumns in recent memory. All week the woods and canyons have been glowing, luminescent in golden sunlight and foliage across the bluest of skies, most days filled with a sound like rain from the steady fall of leaves.
With a week of nighttime temperatures sometimes in the teens, during yesterday’s Jamieween celebration many of us remarked on our gratitude for the warm sunshine that appeared for the chimpanzees while they were out on Young’s Hill and the Bray, but by party’s end we humans were rubbing our frozen limbs with frozen hands and donning extra layers as icy winds rose up from the mountains. And today, suddenly, October has turned from the colors of magpie, starlight and flame, to November shades of junco, river stone and amber.
Thank you for being here with us through all the days of the chimpanzees and bovines (and humans) and for all the varying colors and shades you bring to all our lives. We are acutely aware of the many directions life pulls our attention and it genuinely means the world to us that you choose to spend some of your precious time with us. Have a wondrous November, everyone!
Oh! And as we head into prime cozy season, yesterday was the official kickoff to our Comfort & Joy online auction and virtual events so there’s plenty of time to join us there, too, if you’re able.