Bus trip

Recently, a few weeks back, I went on a bus trip with other members of the Saugeen Valley Fur and Feather Fanciers Association.

It was a trip that I actually looked forward to, both from the social aspect as well as the places we were going to visit. The trip was arranged on short notice, so not as many as expected could juggle their time to go.

But this, I think, turned out to be a good thing, for the school bus chartered had sufficient double seats for each of the broad butts that settled in. It’s been 65 years since I last rode on a school bus, and it amazes me greatly just how much those seats have shrunk during this time.

The first stop was at an upland game and waterfowl farm with a large collection of birds that numbered second to none in my lifetime. There were a number of swans, geese, ducks, peacocks, and pheasants that obviously came from far-flung parts of the world.

There was also a llama that guarded a flock of sheep and a donkey that behaved not as expected. Though I have been interested in the exotics since my early teens, there were beautifully feathered species there that I did not recognize. In addition to that, the host served us a soup and barbecue lunch that still makes my mouth water. It was “country cooking” at its best.

The second stop, just around the corners of a couple of rural route blocks, was what I can only describe as a peacock paradise. It was quite evident by the large, recently-drained pond and immaculate gardens that the dollar was certainly not lacking. His collection of pheasants and peacocks were housed in well thought out buildings and pens I could only dream about.

Yet he shared the predatory headaches of hawk, coyote, raccoon, fox, mink, weasel, skunk, mice and rats, which most of our members do also.

The peacock collection there contained the four colours of South Asian natives and umpteen colour variations, none of which have improved on the creations of Mother Nature.

Though the moulting season had peaked during previous weeks, dropping their beautiful, long tail feathers, it was not hard for me to imagine how beautiful they were when they had their six- and seven-foot tail feathers spread fan shape in their accustomed three-quarter circle. A more beautiful avian sight, I’m sure, cannot be seen in this part of our bird world. My hat is off to their keepers.

The third stop was a couple of hours spent touring the Dufferin County Museum.

This was not entirely new to me as our environmentally conscious Greenspaces for Wellington group based in Fergus had a bluebird, tree swallow and bat house workshop there shortly after it opened. I was definitely pleased to see that the bat house, which a member stood tiptoe on the top of a too-short ladder in order to mount near the sheltering peak of an outbuilding, is still there.

How ‘bout that, folks.

The fourth stop was to fill our faces once again at Steven’s Restaurant in the heart of Shelburne, well known as the old-time fiddler’s town, where a full and pleasant meal treated us each to our own taste.

Last, but by this time, certainly not least, pleased, satisfied carcasses were dropped off to wind their way home, where I’m sure beds waited moments only to be thankfully blessed by tired, weary, old bones.

Take care, ‘cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins