My wife and I have the privilege of a visit from a little girl who comes and stays with us once a month. This weekend we took her to our vacation house in Sweden. For something fun to do on Saturday, we took her to a local mini zoo to experience and greet the animals. It was a great adventure and really took me down memory lane. Growing up in a small town with lots of farms, around gave a lot of opportunities to see and experience animals in their natrual environments. I know what it is to get up early to feed them. I know how to milk a cow or to shear a sheep (haven’t done it myself, but seen it a lot of times). There where also a slaughter in the city so I’ve seen how the animals are slaughtered and divided. My mom and grandmother often bought half a sheep, a pig or a cow and knew how to deal with it to make perfect portions for excellent food during the winter time.

To give you an example; this is me about two years of age together with a farm women feeding the sheep:
RennyBA Sheep feeding

This was what was running trough my head while entering the mini zoo with our charming and trustful guest. Together we could experience the same thing! The different animals were in pens, but you could easily open the door and get into them – and we did! Often I feel like children adapts the adults attitude and since I entered without fear: she came along too you know – as the most natrual thing in the world:-). Watching her talking to, touching, petting and feeding the animals was just like a thrill money can’t buy. So of course I had to capture almost every moment (I had my Nokia mobile phone at hand of course:-) and took around 50 pictures. So to give you an example, I had a bit of fun with my Photobucket account to make a movee for you to see what kind of animals you find in a Scandinavian farm:

So what I want to say with this post is that I feel we are missing something in our daily stress in the urban life. Whats natrual has become distant. (some of the parents at the zoo even prevented their children from going in to the animals because they said it was ‘dirty’ and were afraid of bacteria!) So the closest children come to animals nowadays is hamburgers provided by the modern and too officiant food industry and when you happens to drive out in the countryside and see a brown cow: they think its the one who gives chocolate milk. When a ram is something to be afraid of, the world goes in the wrong direction I think!
Other than that, I just wanted to share a jolly good and natrual time with the animals – another quality time with my wife and our little friend. Have a great week everyone :D And don’t forget to greet our four legged friends!!


  1. What a wonderful experience!!!! I think that I and my family would enjoy something like this too :)

    I’m sure you would AL and there is a 4H visiting farm east of Oslo you know – go visit and keep us posted!

  2. you know, i couldn’t agree more. i grew up in a small town surrounded by dairy farms and so i can appreciate all of this. there is a living historical farm near out house that my children and i have volunteered at and the children ahve spent many summer dyas there learning abotu and being with the animals and general farm life from over 100 years ago. they come home dirty but that dirt is priceless as it puts them in touch with their heritage and with real life. since we are also a family of hunters my kids have also helped in butchering whatever deer is brought home during the season. they have seen a circle of life.

    I knew you would as I can remember you have mostly the same background as me and I’m glad to know you pass it to your children too!

  3. We should all know where our food comes from! Unfortunately in this day and age some children can’t even name what the different vegetables are in there raw state, never mind the animals or where milk comes from. Some answer a carton.

    I do agree, its a shame! So we have to think of what kind of role model we are for our children then.

  4. I often see children who have no idea how to relate to animals. It’s quite sad. I believe that animals add so much to our world. It looks like your little friend really had a good time!

    I know you are a true friend of animals and reading your blog about your lovely dackels is always great!

  5. This reminds me of pictures of my own childhood when my parents took me and my sister to the Stamford Museum or the Catskill Game Farm. Wonderful places where life itself is the fascination for everyone. These are great images–an endearing one from your childhood and very sweet ones from this little girl’s. She is a blessed child!

    Glad I could take you down your memory lane too then!

  6. Well said Renny everything is changing so fast in our city that our children do not spend time at all with the Animals.
    What a lovely trip :D

    Glad you agreed although it was no surprise:D

  7. My two were brought up on a farm and so we’ve always had animals. Now they live on acreage…not really a farm, but my grandchildren have also grown up with animals. Not just cats and dogs, but horses, a calf, geese, a goat and birds. City kids miss out on such a lot when they’re stuck on the computer or in front of the tv and not allowed to get dirty. Dirt and kids go together. Cooper’s other grandmother won’t let him get dirty…Oh, too many germs. What a load of nonsense! Cooper’s mother used to go out to the garden and eat dirt…it hasn’t hurt her, or not that we’ve noticed anyway…lol!

    So you and your family lives a rich life down under then Robyn:D Non from animals can hurt – only the lack of it!

  8. Heading to the zoo takes so much stress out of one’s life, doesn’t it?

    Your soooo right – it gives back the natrual balance you know!

  9. He,he… you didn’t change that much Renny. I can still recognize you in that first picture!
    Yes, I guess kids are now more familiar with cell phones, computer games, iPods, etc than with animals. Can we blame them?

    Woow Sidney, what a compliment!
    Your so right and we can’t blame then but remind ourself of us as a role model!

  10. Aww you were such a cute two-year-old bundle of joy!!! And my gawd, I totally miss the zoo! Haven’t been to one in ages, y’know!

    Thanks – your so sweet! So go to the zoo soon then -and please keep us posted!

  11. oohh…. its been a long time since i vist ZOO. I should birng my niece there next time

    Yea do so and keep us posted!

  12. It seems the world has changed drastically from the time when I was growing up. I can recall my parents taking us to the State Fair each year and strolling through the area where they kept the animals. Now it seems that modern youth are more content to play video games than to experience nature.
    As for animals being “dirty,” it reminds me of going to the grocery store. One grocery store chain where I live provide free anti-bacterial wipes at the door for the grocery carts. I can see maybe wiping the handle, but one day I viewed a woman wiping down the whole grocery cart before putting her child in the seat.

    It’s not that I’m nostalgic for the “good old days,” but some things have certainly not changed for the better…

    Your parents did the right thing then!
    Your story from the grocery store shows we (at least some) has gone too far – its ridiculous.
    Well said: So let’s bring back some of the good old days and habits then…

  13. We visited Zoo just recently & my kids really love it.Loved the idea of photobucket & those photos with li’l girl are really lovely.Your 2 yrs old photo of yourself is even lovelier! priceless!

    No wonder kids loves it and we should all give them the chance more often!
    Thanks for your compliments! I’ll pass it to the li’ll girl and me; I”m blushing:D

  14. I love the slideshow and you were an adorable two-year-old!

    Thank you, and like I said to CheH; I am blushing :D

  15. I have always been a city girl but I remember going to a farm as a child. I also remember I didn’t like the taste of fresh cow milk, it was still warm and maybe too rich. That didn’t keep me from liking milk and milk products! even nowadays I drink my milk :)
    Sounds like a wonderful and reciprocal experience with your little friend. What an enrichment! love your pic as little boy wearing “pampers”!

    Ain’t we all kind of Mar:-) but glad you remember the good old days too. I think fresh milked is delicious, but you have a good point.
    Your right, but the little boy was a girl:D

  16. Contact with our fellow creatures on planet Earth have always been important.
    But too often misunderstood feeleings have taken overhand: Like Brigitte Bardot in her jeapardy coat talks about preserving Seals.

    Your so right Tor and also your perspective was very interesting – a great pint of view and I couldn’t agree more – she was pathetic.

  17. I took my nephews and niece to a farm not so long ago and we fed all sorts of animals – not just the traditional farm animals. I got a huge thrill out of feeding a red deer because I’m never been so close to one before. Obviously, this deer was used to human visitors because s/he came up right up to us at the fence before we even had a chance to get the feed out.

    It’s true what you say about kids not knowing animals though and it reminds me of the stories I used to hear when I was studying education. When asked where milk comes from, the answer was always the supermarket!

    Good to know you had a great experience too and even feeded Santa’s helpers:D
    Your experience from education study is so typical – we have to teach our children better!

  18. Yeah, I so recognize that story from here in Sweden too, especially that about that they would have bacteria’s. Bah! Later on they discovered and the fact that the kids DON’T comes in contact with animals, living in a too clean environment, is worse than the opposite. I’ve always said that too. There is no more teaching than to meet and be around animals. About life and they it should be lived.
    Oh, and I love that old photo of you!!!

    I don’t seem to be able to see the photos at photobucket for now, I don’t know if it’s my Internet connection that is slow or if it’s at photobucket site, but I’ll have to come back later to see them :-)

    That’s true; nothing is as natrual as bacterias you know – but if your not exposed to them from the childhood, then you might have a problem.
    Glad you liked the photo too ;D
    Sorry you had problem watching the movee! I take it you know you need Flash installed! Hope you’ll come back and see the best part of the post then!

    If any other have the same problem, please inform me!

  19. What a thoughtful post, Renny! Oh my! I think your words are so wise and the time with your little friend at the animal farm/zoo was precious. You are so right about our fears. Even with all my traveling I am aware, every time I go back into the US, that I have to say on the form if I’ve been to a farm and touched the animals! UGH. What a sad “worry” to have to live with!

    Thanks for the compliments Ginnie! Your right: Its sad that we have to live with these kind of worries – the world has been turn upside down!

  20. I lived in Sweden for a while. A beautiful country! As for the farm animals, you’re right: We can be too fussy at times, as parents. Our local zoo provides handwash areas outside of the petting areas, which is a very nice idea. But I always have kept wet wipes on hand, and it solves everything (well, most of the time!)

    So you’ll just have to come back and visit Scandinavia again then!
    There was a hand wash area on this zoo too and of course we wanted to teach good hygienic behavior of course.

  21. Cute.
    Looks like the girl had a perfect time :-)

    Thanks – we all had :-)

  22. That picture of you with the farm woman and sheep is just too precious for words. What a lovely memory captured! I grew up down the street from a farm, and I know how lucky I was to see animals on a daily basis. There were cows, goats and rabbits. It was a large german family, and they were wonderful friends.
    The little girl is so adorable, and it’s nice that you and Diane take care of her once a month! It looks like so much fun at the zoo!

    I got that picture from mom a while ago and hardly remember it, but it brought up some good memories from a wonderful childhood.
    Good to know you where growing up in the same kind of natural surroundings then!
    She’s our little princes and we have lots of joy when she is visiting.

  23. Oh god, that’s such a cute picture of you! And what a fun way to spend time with a kid. :)

    Thanks Mark and yea, we had a jolly good time!

  24. A very nice slide and I think it could be a good pedagogical instrument in schools to show to our little pupils the life in a farm! Each year I go with my class in a farm and the children caress and give their food to the animals and learn to milk and after they learn to do a cheese or some bread. And I must say they are at this moment the happier kids!
    I adore the retro photo!

    Your welcome to show the slides in your class Claudie! and good to know you take them to a farm for them to experience them self!
    Glad you liked little Renny too :D

  25. awww that’s so sweet… I dont want my children touch the animals if it is only wild animals but my daughter doesn’t want to. she’s afraid even with the cats and dogs hehehee I don’t know why though I keep telling her that they won’t gonna harm you. Maybe when she grow up a little more :)
    take care renny and have a great day always with your family :)

    Have patient Scart and keep on showing your daughter the way!
    Wishing you and your family the very best too :)

  26. I like my kids to get dirty and getting licked by animals.
    I know we are lucky still being rural.

    I knew we where two of a kind and yea, rural is good as it gets back to our roots!

  27. Renny, delighted to find my way to your blog starting from the Technorati Facebook group and how fascinating that we also share a concern that the youngest generation not lose touch with the natural world.
    I think the good news is that we are not alone in seeing the need and there are seeds a movement to change understanding. Near us is the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture that is committed “to demonstrate, teach and promote sustainable, community-based food production.”
    I grew up on a farm so know how hard people have to work to produce the food supply, hard work with success impacted by whether or not the rain comes on time. Effort and dependabilities that are largely invisible to most food shoppers although with rising prices as global pressures on the food supply increases, perhaps that will change.
    Great post.

    As a network evangelist, I’m delighted too!
    Thanks for your encouraging information which really enriches this post and the subject and with an interesting link!
    I do agree with you and also hope for a change!

  28. what a lovely experience for you and your little friend……….you look very cute in that photo……and the animals look quite tame……
    I still remember when I went to our Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney…..and my children who are 17 and 16 years old …still love to go EVERY year !!!!!

    Yea, it was really great and the animals was gentle as a lamb:)
    I’ve red Sueblimely told me the same – sounds like a great zoo!

  29. A lovely article Renny. It sounds like you wrote from the heart. There is nothing finer than being able to share a child’s enjoyment and wonder of life but we all too often forget to do it. I lived just down the road from Taronga zoo for a few years, laketrees, and was able to take my children there regularly. It has such wonderful views of the ocean too.

    Thanks and I can assure you; it came from the bottom of my heart and I’m glad we’re thinking the same!
    The place you describe sounds wonderful and good to know your children where regular visitors!

  30. Now you make me remember my childhood with my grandparents who lived in a little town with a lot of farms. I too tried to milk a cow but she slapped me with her tail, so I had enough ! But jumping from the barns window into a high bale of straw and playing with little pigs I know too ! How wonderful of you to have taken this little girl to this mini zoo. I once had the little daughter of a friend here for a week and she thought that steaks would grow on a tree ! My son had the chance to grow up with cows around and a nearby farmer and a big corn field behind our house. Today that was all replaced by houses. That’s a pity but we had this for 28 years.

    Glad to know you’ve had the same lovely experience from your childhood. Jumping in hay was one of my favorite too!

  31. How fun, that is a memory of a life time.

  32. hehehe – how cute were you as a kid?! Made me smile, as my son recently went to his first school excursion to a petting farm in the city. He was incredibly excited and had a great time. It’s nice to see the farms up this way when we drive further out west. Nothing more than cows, horses, goats & sheeps tho – along with the occasional kangaroos parading as nuisance “pests”. One local friend owns goats. Their skins get used for drums while another man uses the head for a macedonion bagpipe. So much for animals just being used for food alone in these parts. *lol*

    I’m glad your sun has the chance to have fun with the animals too!
    I think you Australians do good with using the animal resources.

  33. I love zoos! My Gr. 1 field trip was to a zoo and i think of it fondly. The Metro Toronto Zoo is fabulous as is the zoo in London England.
    Here, we take city kids to The Royal Agricultural Winter to see what life in the country is all about and where their food comes from.

    I know Ruth – we have a lot in common when it come to loving nature and animals!
    Good to know your kids can have that kind of experience.

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