Today we celebrated the 32nd birthday of the one and only Lucky! Due to the seemingly unending rain here in Central Washington, we held the parties fully indoors, which meant that Lucky was out of view of the paparazzi for most of the corn, cherry tomato, and gum forage (yes, gum is one of Lucky’s favorite things). But after the lunch forage, everyone in her group was given a mango and I managed to snap a few photos of Lucky savoring her special treat in the Oakwood greenhouse.
Many thanks to Paulette for sponsoring this day in honor of the birthday girl!
There are very few chimps as sweet as Lucky and her brother, Cy. Lucky generally prefers to be out of the spotlight, with the notable exception of when we are serving her favorite foods, at which point she leaps to the caging to tickles our wrists with her toes while panting excitedly. With her more reserved personality, I wasn’t sure how quickly she would take to a more adventurous life on the Bray. Needless to say, she surprised us all! These days she is often the first one out and among the most likely to be seen at the top of the tallest climbing structures. We often find her out there just soaking up the sun and taking in the view.
The view from the Bray, by the way, is incredible (a few power lines and the occasional parked train in the valley notwithstanding). From almost anywhere on the hill, the chimps can see their caregivers coming and going, they can watch the sun reflect off the Yakima River, they can keep an eye on the cattle, or the can spy on their chimp neighbors next door. But from the very top of the hill, the view across the Cascade Mountains is almost limitless. In order to take advantage of that commanding view, however, the chimps need a few more places to perch.
Building the Bray took quite a while and we didn’t want Lucky and her friends to have to wait any longer than necessary to enjoy it, so we chose to hold off on building some of the climbing structures we had planned. With winter approaching, it’s a good time for us to get back out there and finish what we started.
This past week, we welcomed a new part time Facilities and Grounds Technician, Jake, and we immediately put him to work setting posts that we had purchased last year for these new structures (a quick note of thanks here to Kelsi’s husband, Adam, who filled the same role until his firefighting job began to require more of his time). Now we need your help to finish them! If you visit our Comfort & Joy online auction, you’ll see an option to donate towards the construction of new play structures on the Bray and Young’s Hill, which will help fund the purchase of the framing lumber, decking, and fasteners we need to complete these new towers. If we can get the in-ground work done this month, construction of the decks, roofs, ladders, and swings can continue throughout the fall and winter. And in the spring, we’ll be able to wrap things up with additional irrigation and more trees and shrubs.
And before you know it, Lucky and the rest of her family will be starting each day with a hike to the top of the Bray, just like Jamie’s group does on Young’s Hill, to which we will also be adding new climbing structures in order to take advantage of all the additional space we added last summer.
As a little bonus, here are some photos of Lucky’s group enjoying Ryan’s Lookout, one of their favorite places to hang out.
Rayne, again, retrieving a pomegranate from one of the crow’s nests connected to Ryan’s Lookout:
Rayne atop Ryan’s Lookout, with Gordo, Lucky, and Terry in the foreground: