In January 2017 I apprehensively (yet also excitedly) got in touch with Little Owl Farm regarding volunteering after a Google search lead me to their wonderful Facebook page where I proceeded to spend lengths of time scrolling through animal photos and thrilling visitor reviews. I saw only happy, satisfied visitors reflecting upon their enjoyable and pleasant experiences at the farm, so I figured I should try to get involved too.
I recall receiving a speedy reply. I was ecstatic to learn that carrying out work experience at the farm was an opportunity available to me. Cindy got back in touch and informed me that she was “delighted that I wanted to gain experience at Little Owl Farm” – but I doubt anybody could be as delighted as I was!
Even from the email, Cindy seemed incredibly kind and welcoming as she offered to show me around, additionally adding that it would be great to meet me. And I couldn’t wait to meet her either! I felt a sense of hospitality. Meeting Cindy has been the most pleasurable experience that I’m beyond grateful for. I love my friend and her big heart! I was joyful about getting involved, delighted at the concept of making new animal friends too. Though understandably anxious about the new people and surroundings…
Fast forward a month later, during February half term, I leaped out of bed following the ring of my alarm. I ensured to wrap myself up in multiple layers following Mum’s request and according to the weather forecast, I was bound to be in for a chilly (yet thrilling!) adventure.
Putting on my thickest coat and fastening my shoes tightly, I headed on to the bus stop at approximately 7:30am ready for my first bus ride to Manchester. A blanket of snow sitting comfortably on the floor crunching beneath my walking shoes as I eagerly made my way to the stop. Since it was my first time at Little Owl Farm (and in Oldham) I used my phone as a navigator and felt near to Dora The Explorer with the wonderful assistance of Google Maps.
I then hopped onto two more buses and I was well on my way to approaching the farm. I lost my way partially but Cindy quickly came to my rescue when I plucked up the courage to phone as I stood speaking to Winston the Horse.
“You came from where?! You travelled how far to find us…?”
My first impressions of Little Owl Farm were only positive, as they still remain, as I was shown around and introduced to friendly John and intelligent Izaak and the lovely Naomi, alongside many gorgeous animals. After a cup of tea and a chat in Cindy’s Café! I thought Cindy’s accent was the sweetest thing and I was stoked to tell Mum all about my new Canadian friend. This is the day where I met Poppy and Mary-Jane! A major highlight of my experience at the farm has been becoming friends with my two girls. I was also given information about the activities held at the farm, such as themed days and crafts.
My only disappointment was that I hadn’t found this gem sooner!
My first time at Little Owl Farm involved the heartwarming opportunity of assisting in saving the most beautiful Duckling. She was incredibly tiny and fluffy with a sky high cute factor. Bright yellow and beautiful like a ray of sunshine. We had her wrapped up in a towel by a heater in the Cafe, encouraging her to have a bite to eat. She regained her strength and fought to health. The text from Cindy later on in the evening confirming that warmed my heart massively, especially as I was also asked to name her.
Meet Mabel. The name I chose with the Latin definition: “beautiful, loving and loveable.” Clearly a name that was well suited to my fluffy friend.
Since it was my first time at the farm, I stayed for a few hours before heading back home after the completion of some daily farm jobs, uncountable photos and animal cuddles later. Since I hadn’t taken the bus route home before, I wanted to ensure I travelled home safely and I knew that once I had taken the route once, I would be fine the next time and all the times following.
And this is how my time at Little Owl Farm began. An email and a bus journey lead me to making the most incredible friends. Almost 18-months-later and I can confidently say that my love for the farm increases every time I go, as does my happiness! I’m incredibly grateful to have my happy place, a place where I’m accepted for my goat obsession and smiley face, also filled with the best people and animals and volunteering there fills me with so much joy.