Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Family,Friends,History,Life,Lupus,Wildlife
Hey, couldn’t keep her from having that experience, right? And so Saturday we went to the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer and took their walking tour of the grounds.
Domesticating a species takes 250 years, they told us, and we’ve had 50 so we’re on our way but we’re not there yet–so please don’t put your hands past the fences.
(A few days later at a different farm we would be told, as reindeer walked freely among us and looked us in the eye while licking alfalfa from our hands, that the difference between caribou and reindeer was that the reindeer had been domesticated for about 250 years. Alright, I see where that number maybe came from.)
Parents were asked to keep small children close so as not to spook the animals into thinking small creature=wolf. On the flip side, when the man who set up the farm with its first set of animals 50 years ago was approached by a small dog, the musk ox had taken their human’s small size relative to their own as meaning he was defenseless and they closed ranks in a circle around him as they do to protect their young, horns pointing outwards and ready to charge the threat on his behalf.
The white along the tops of the spines of many of them: the guide said they weren’t sure but they think that’s to reflect the sun away during the summers so they don’t overheat.
The curves in their horns? Those tell you about how old the animal is. Short and stubby, you’ve got a young’un; the next year they start to turn forward, and at I think she said four you get those iconic half loops in front. Most of theirs have their horns trimmed to protect the humans but she pointed out this one old guy over there that had the full set.
Back in the museum/gift shop, my sweet husband was the one who picked up the musk ox-topped knitting needles and asked me if I didn’t need these? Then the grampa in him wanted me to take a soft little stuffed one home. And we couldn’t come all this way without some qiviut. We just couldn’t.
We’d just been told about the musk ox playing with a fifty-pound ball given to the farm after the oil pipeline had been built, y’know, something for the animals to play with or rub their backs on or something.
They’d managed to get it rolling down the hill, and bam! Right through the fence! Oops.
So for now, mine is playing with a ball. It’s a deep red. It’s a mere ounce, because I just could not bring myself to spend that much more money on yarn when a single ounce would make me just as ecstatic.
The book? While we were out in the fields (yay sunblock and hats and I’ve been holding my breath but no major flare yet) I’d asked them if they had it and explained that Donna Druchunas, the author, had been the text editor for my own knitted lace book.
They were delighted at the connection and told me enthusiastically, Oh yes! It flies off our shelves!
I had previously wondered what on earth was holding me up that I hadn’t already bought it. Now I know. It was waiting for me to support the husbandry of the very animals Donna had written about as well as Donna herself with that purchase. It was worth the wait.
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