Sarah and I took off from work this past week, which I'd been meaning to do for a while now. You tell yourself you'll take a break when you finish a project and then it goes on for four months and then you say, 'enough.'
We took a few days to recover and relax at home, in Queens. Because sometimes it doesn't feel like we get to use our home that much. We didn't want to just sit around at home for the whole week, though, and Sarah found something that involved the term "vegan brunch," and I was sold.
We spent two nights at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, which is a nice, vegan BnB that's attached to and supports a rescue sanctuary for farm animals. I haven't really had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with other people who don't eat animals. I had a friend in high school, knew one or two people in college, and otherwise haven't really had too many around. I could do with more people around, period, but the proportion of veg*ans has been historically low. It was nice to have someone else asking me not to put anything not vegan in the fridge. I can do that. That's the way I live, too. It was nice not to be the weird one for a few days.
The first night, we had vegan pizza at the Catskill Mountain Pizza Co. in Woodstock. There were a bunch of people crowded around the bar, watching the baseball game and most were wearing different hats. It was was open and friendly and felt good to be there.
The next morning, we took a tour of the Sanctuary. Goats are delightfully weird and were easy targets for petting. I also got to hold a rooster.
Jailbird was rescued from a meth lab. Some of the chickens were boiler chickens -- the kind that are bred for ovens. They grow so fast and big that they have a fraction of the lifespan of their not-engineered-for-food brethren, and joint problems to boot. The same goes for the pigs and cows. Another popular origin story was the pig who was supposed to be a cute little pet and grew to normal pig size. Some were re-rescued from animal shelters for cats and dogs, where people had left them.
One downside of being around vegans is the popularity of anti-science and, specifically, anti-vaccination. It seems like people come to it from different directions, but it always saddens me. It's strange to discuss with people older than me how terrible the old diseases are. How their unvaccinated children put others at risk; including others who have compromised immune systems and can't be vaccinated, even if they want to be. I think on some level, I see it as a sort of social pact. Sort of like how we try to be polite to each other and don't set each others houses on fire. Putting everyone else at greater risk like that falls into that sort of category in my mind.
People keep telling me that when I become a parent, my whole viewpoint will change. I don't imagine becoming a parent will make me so constitutionally different from who I am that I wouldn't vaccinate my children.
Later that night, we explored Saugerties, which was another little town in the area. We got some yarn for a knitting project I'm going to try and walked out a lighthouse on the Hudson. The lighthouse was also a BnB. It was a little disappointing and the path was soggy.
There were several stores that had vegan options and I was super happy. I had a vegan ice cream sandwich, which I posted about earlier, and we had tasty soup for lunch and dinner at Rock da Casbah, which was very friendly and provided a tempeh burger and vegan mac 'n cheese.
An animal sanctuary is a place that raises a lot of questions. Questions like: 'What do you do with the sheep wool, that you have to cut anyway?' and 'Have you seen a rise in goat/chicken/duck rescues as part of the modern homesteader movement?' and 'What sort of relationship can we aspire to with animals?' They're tough questions, but I missed having real tough questions in my life. They're things that make it feel more meaningful. The real hard problems in my day to day life have been dealing with other people for too long, and it filled me with hope and aspirations for what my life could be.
Thanks for reading.