Month: October 2013

Fall is Coming

I imagine y’all noticed the slowdown in blogging once the company left – and we were back to our slow, dull days.  We enjoyed the visit from the Kids, and it was also fun to get out and about.  Everybody left on Wednesday, and they spent a couple of days in Boston.  Last I saw, Olivia and Victoria were checking out the cockpit in their plane.

Catherine was excited about seeing the fall colors – I think she just missed by a week or two.  But, she did get to see some fairly rapid changes occurring.  We are about 40-50% there now.  Here are some photos from this morning – starting with sunrise at 6:30am, until about 7:30am.

It really was a colorful sunrise

It really was a colorful sunrise

 

Once the sun was up, it brings out the colors in the trees

Once the sun was up, it brings out the colors in the trees

 

Looking down the path to the beach

Looking down the path to the beach

 

I'm really hoping we can keep this - I'm growing fond of our big orange machine.

I’m really hoping we can keep this – I’m growing fond of our big orange machine.

 

AAAAccckkkk --- holes, lots of holes in the yard

AAAAccckkkk — holes, lots of holes in the yard

 

Let's see what it looks like in another week

Let’s see what it looks like in another week

 

A BIG Surprise …

hopeelesYesterday, we went to visit the elephants in Hope.  Hope is a small town just 20 miles away.  Elephants in Maine?  Yep – Rosie and Opal are two circus elephants who were brought to Hope last year to finish out their retirement.  They are over 40 years old.  Dr. Jim, the veterinarian who arranged for them to come to Hope, actually worked with both of these elephants when he was a juggler in the circus when he was 18.  To learn more about the Hope Elephants, check out their website by clicking on the link.

It was a beautiful drive to Hope, and we almost passed right by the Elephant Habitat, since it is an unassuming barn and enclosure built next to Dr. Jim’s house.  We were able to visit the small educational center they have set up, then were able to view the elephants for about 45 minutes while we learned all about them and their rehab work in Hope.  We then toured their barn, where they can go if it gets cold.

The first thing we saw when we arrived were giant sunflowers in the yard

The first thing we saw when we arrived were giant sunflowers in the yard

 

The facility has a small education center that they hope to expand.  Thousands of school kids have already visited the elephants.

The facility has a small education center that they hope to expand. Thousands of school kids have already visited the elephants.

 

The girls measured themselves on the "elephant ruler"

The girls measured themselves on the “elephant ruler”

 

The elephant family

The elephant family

 

Dr. Jim starts off by telling us about how he knew Rosie and Opal when he was working in the circus.

Dr. Jim starts off by telling us about how he knew Rosie and Opal when he was working in the circus.

 

This is how elephants normally drink - they put some water in there trunk, then deliver it to their mouth.

This is how elephants normally drink – she puts some water in her trunk, then delivers it to her mouth.

 

Rosie's trunk is partially paralyzed, so she does better when given water directly to her mouth.  Before she came here, she would try to throw the water in her mouth, and was dehydrated as a result.

Rosie’s trunk is partially paralyzed, so she does better when given water directly to her mouth. Before she came here, she would try to throw the water in her mouth, and was dehydrated as a result.

 

Dr. Jim uses a ball on a stick to exercise the elephants to help them improve their mobility - a type of physical therapy.

Dr. Jim uses a ball on a stick to exercise the elephants to help them improve their mobility – a type of physical therapy.

 

Rosie is tossing a glucosamine pellet into her mouth - it helps with their arthritis.

Rosie is tossing a glucosamine pellet into her mouth – it helps with their arthritis.  She is good at tossing food into her mouth.

 

Dr. Jim gets Opal to step into a bucket of medicine for her foot.

Dr. Jim gets Opal to step into a bucket of medicine for her foot.

 

Opal keeps her foot soaking as long as Dr. Jim gives her treats - Purina Elephant Pellets.

Opal keeps her foot soaking as long as Dr. Jim gives her treats – Purina Elephant Pellets.

 

Here he is giving her a pellet - she's taking it into her trunk with her "finger" and will drop it in her mouth.

Here he is giving her a pellet – she’s taking it into her trunk with her “finger” and will drop it in her mouth.

 

A close up of the end of Opal's trunk

A close up of the end of Opal’s trunk

 

Dr. Jim puts some hay out and the elephants amber over to the back of their pen.

Dr. Jim puts some hay out and the elephants hurry over to the back of their pen.

 

Rosie sees something she wants, and ambles back to the fence.  Notice how she is swinging her leg out.  She has shoulder damage, probably from age and having been bumped by other elephants.

Rosie sees something she wants, and ambles back to the fence. Notice how she is swinging her leg out. She has shoulder damage, probably from age and having been bumped by other elephants.

 

Rosie finds her "toy" - it's like a giant Kong Toy, filled with carrots and apples.  She shakes it to get the goodies out.  This is an exercise for her trunk.  She has what's called "Floppy Trunk Syndrome."

Rosie finds her “toy” – it’s like a giant Kong Toy, filled with carrots and apples. She shakes it to get the goodies out. This is an exercise for her trunk. She has what’s called “Floppy Trunk Syndrome,” a result of the partial paralysis.

 

This photo shows we were close to the elephants, but separated by a couple of fences.

This photo shows we were close to the elephants, but separated by a couple of fences.

 

The girls pose, once the talk is over.

The girls pose, once the talk is over.

 

We went into their barn - the floor is made of concrete with radiant heat, covered with 8 inches of sand, kept at 68 degrees in the winter.

We went into their barn – the floor is made of concrete with radiant heat, covered with 8 inches of sand, kept at 68 degrees in the winter.

 

Fred, a volunteer, explains about the barn and also talks about elephant facts.  He's showing a molar - elephants replace them 6 times over their life.

Fred, a volunteer, explains about the barn and also talks about elephant facts. He’s showing a molar – elephants replace them 6 times over their life.

 

We all enjoyed the visit.  It was educational and interesting, and the Hope Elephants seem to be doing very well in their new home.  This isn’t a circus or a zoo – it is a rehabilitation facility and place for the elephants to live out their lives after long years of service.  Their circus experience helps them respond to the cues for the physical therapy exercises.  Dr. Jim and his brother started this endeavor to provide a home for the elephants, but also to do research that might aid others.  They hope to raise enough money to buy more equipment, like an underwater treadmill.

Carriage Ride – Part 2

We left off yesterday as we were introduced to Betty & Reba, the Belgian mares who would be pulling our Carriage.  The Stables also has Percherons and Clydsdales.

Some more photos from the tour:

Starting out on our 2 hour adventure

Starting out on our 2 hour adventure

 

A serious cyclist passes us - bicycles are popular in Acadia

A serious cyclist passes us – bicycles are popular in Acadia

 

The girls sat in front of the carriage, just behind our driver

The girls sat in front of the carriage, just behind our driver

 

The Gatehouse at Jordon Pond - now used as a dormitory for the Female Park Rangers

The Gatehouse at Jordon Pond – now used as a dormitory for the Female Park Rangers

 

The second carriage

The second carriage

 

The beautiful Belgians pulling the second carriage

The beautiful Belgians pulling the second carriage

 

The First Bridge built by Rockerfeller in 1917.  It is the only one built from Cobblestones

The First Bridge built by Rockefeller in 1917. It is the only one built from Cobblestones

 

Waving Waifs

Waving Waifs

 

Another view of the bridge

Another view of the bridge

 

And one more look at the bridge

And one more look at the bridge (I liked the bridge)

 

The other carriage coming through the Gates at Jordon Pond

The other carriage coming through the Gates at Jordon Pond

 

Another view of the Jordon Pond Gatehouse

Another view of the Jordon Pond Gatehouse

 

A hint of fall showing in the trees

A hint of fall showing in the trees

 

A colorful area on the trail.  Bicyclists wait for the Carriages to go by.

A colorful area on the trail. Bicyclists wait for the Carriages to go by.

 

 

Going over the last bridge before returning to the stables

Going over the last bridge before returning to the stables

 

Posing with Reba and Betty

Posing with Reba and Betty

 

The drive out of the park

The drive out of the park