Hidden Treasure

Written by Hippo (a hippopotamus) and Al (a bird)

Dryer Balls and Eggs in the Orchestra Pit?

Yes, we really did find dryer balls and eggs in the orchestra pit at a performance of Little Women in Greendale. We happen to know the trombone player who was playing in the pit who, in conversation with the french horn player, Cheryl Miracle, discovered that Cheryl and her husband (both local band directors) have three alpaca by the names of Royal Heritage, Ulysses, and Endeavour, and about a hundred egg-laying chickens, bees, and more at Wick Place Farm in Caledonia.

Cheryl brought the alpaca dryer balls and fresh blue, green and brown eggs (they are not dyed) to a performance where we met her to collect our treasure. The dryer balls are simply works of art – not only for the eyes, but for our noses too.

“They also have yarn which would make an excellent nest liner,” added Al.”

Socks from an Engineering Company?

Instead of candy and flowers, we surprised one of our human friends with alpaca heart socks on Valentine’s Day last year.

We had to get two more pairs just to keep the peace,” said Al, “because everyone wanted them. Then they ran out! So this year we’re getting some more.”

These came from Steve, an engineer at Horizon Performance Technologies LLC , a co-worker of a human we live with. Steve and Tami raise alpaca and egg-laying chickens and ducks as well as German Angora rabbits, sheep, and more on six-acre Prairie View Farm in Genesee. Steve brought the socks to work and our friend brought them home. We also get eggs using the same delivery system. Later, Steve and Tami invited us to a party and we got to meet the gang – Al and I aren’t good at remembering names, but we do remember Mr. Duck (an easy one), Lily the German Angora rabbit, Eleanor (one of the chickens), the sheep Harley, Harriett and Pearl, and Jaggy (one of the five alpaca).

Tami told us that part of alpaca greeting customs is to smell the breath of a new acquaintance to help them remember who you are. Jaggy came right up and I gave him a great big breath just to make sure he would remember me. Jaggy turned and ran.

“That is something Jaggy will never ever forget, Hippo,” squawked Al. “Never mind what your breath smells like, your mouth opened to full capacity would make anyone run for their life.”

“That picture isn’t even full capacity, Al!”

Tami is selling Valentine heart socks again this year as well as some other Valentinesy things like heart bath balms, plus handmade mittens, hats, and other things to keep you warm head to hoof, all available at Eagle Public Market.

“It’s an indoor market,” said Al, “with over 90 local vendors and they’re open every day.”

And from the Hair Salon and an Architecture Firm

Lisa at the Wild Side Salon cuts hair for our human friends. She also brings fresh eggs for us from chickens raised at her home. Believe it or not, we have also gotten a turkey from a nearby architecture firm. Kinda weird.

Olive Oil from Right Next Door!

Our next-door-neighbors Helene and John are from Greece. Helene still has her very own olive tree on the land where she grew up. Once a year or so, she has her olives pressed in the local Greek town and shipped to her. It takes a long time on the boat, but it’s worth waiting for and there’s enough to share with us.

I like thinking about Helene and her olive tree, about Jaggy, Royal Heritage, Ulysses, and Endeavour who gave their wool for our dryer balls and socks, and finding eggs in unexpected places like beauty salons and orchestra pits. It makes Al and me happy.

Maybe this story will lead you to some treasures. Check out the websites for Wick Place Farm, Prairie View Farm, and Eagle Public Market. But our main point is to inspire your inner treasure hunter. Maybe you’ll find someone who makes cheese or plum vinegar. Maybe you’ll be invited to pick apples or raspberries in a neighbor’s yard and make a lifelong friend. And even if you find not one ounce of treasure, you might come to realize that the motherlode is not in the destination but in the interactions with humans, chickens, and alpacas you will meet along the way.

Happy Hunting!