Sunday, August 19, 2012


Well everything at the zoo has been going great! This last week I was with the orangutans. Although I do love the orangutans, I love the gorillas more. Orangutans are just not as nice as gorillas! For example, the orangutans like to spit water on people they do not know. I had been warned and was trying to be extra cautious. Every time they would make a dash for their water hole to get a big mouthful of water I would make a run for it, then they would chase me till I was out of sight.  Some of the keepers told me that is the exact reaction they want to get to I just have to let them spit on me and not react or this little game will never end... So I only got a total of two mouthfuls spat on me. It actually really wasn't that bad, orangutans are really clean animals. Orangutans are also really smart, quite a bit smarter than gorillas. There was some research being done about their ability to count. A researcher would go to each orangutan and put a screen up to them and there would be three rectangles.  One rectangle would have a lot of dots, then one would have two dots and the last one would have one dot. The orangutan then would put them in order from most to least and would get a grape if they got it correct. They are so smart!! I found myself over by the gorillas after work though, I just love them.

My mom sent me a video clip of two brother gorillas that had been separated for two years. This is a picture of their reunion. Isn't this the cutest thing you have ever seen?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Harper's Ferry

Nathan and I took a day to trip to Haper's Ferry, West Virginia today. There are so many fun places to go to near here! It was only an hour drive and there is so much history there. It is mostly known because of John Brown. He attempted to start a slave uprising but they were stopped by federal troops. It put the slave question at the front of politics and was an important precursor to the Civil War.

 It is so green EVERYWHERE out here. I guess I am just not used to it! It's gorgeous.

There was a candy store that was basically a candy museum. Had different candies all the way from the 1700's. Here Nathan is drinking a soda called Dandelion and Burdock from the 1800's.

Enjoying some ice cream at an old fashion ice cream shop.

Union troops

John Brown's fort

the general store

This was an old pulp mill that made paper.

It was a fun little trip and we look forward to many more!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Our New Home

I know this post is a tad bit late but I wanted to show you pictures of my new home! We moved to Arlington a little over two months ago and are loving it! The library, park and grocery store are right across the street and the metro is about a five minute walk away.  And we are only ten minutes from the mall and downtown DC. I couldn't ask for a better location! We have a nice one bedroom apartment in a six story building. Here are some (crappy phone) before pictures:

And after:
I found all these printables for free on Pinterest 

A few of the countries we've been to, another Pinterest idea. 

The view from our balcony. 

We love our new home and visitors are always welcome! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Primate Aide Keeper Job

Okay, I am not trying to sound cool or awesome or anything, but this is the best job EVER! So yes, I do clean up primate poop but the rest of the stuff I get to do and see outweighs the poop cleaning! First thing I do when I get there is feed them. The gorillas are inside in their cages so I go outside and spread some fruits, vegetables and bamboo shoots. Then I come inside, we open the doors and they all run outside to eat. There are six gorillas, three boys and three girls.  Baracka is 20 years old, male and the dominant male in the family. He is what they call a silverback.  Then there is Kwarme, he is 12, and Kojo, he is 10.  Then there is Mandara, she is 30 years old and has given birth to all the gorillas except for Baracka (she was a surrogate mother to Baracka since his birth). There is another girl and she is 18 years old (I cannot remember her name!) and a 3 year old girl name Kibibi which means "little lady" in Swahili. She is in the picture below, she is about the size of a human three year old and oh so adorable! So while they are outside eating I go inside and clean their cages.  Take the old hay out, hose it down and put some new hay in. They love coming in to their clean cages. They check it out to make sure it's clean enough and roll around in the hay.  Once they are all inside I go back outside and spread some popcorn around (no butter or salt). It's a treat to them. Then they go back outside to eat and play again. Then the zoo keeper and I go outside and answer the publics questions about gorillas. In the afternoons we do some enrichment activities like playing on iPads and computer, playing with sheets (they love wearing them on their heads!) and play with other different toys. These animals are so smart and so lovable.
These animals are so much like humans it is crazy. In the wild male gorillas will live with their troop till they are about fourteen years old, at this point they go on their own and form a bachelor troop with other male gorillas around their age. After a couple years they will go find some females and start their own troops. So we have Baracka who is the dominant male of the family. Kwarme is 12 years old and is starting to distance himself from the troop.  When we call them in for breakfast/lunch/dinner, Kwarme will come in on the little bridge connecting the the inside cages but will stop there and not go farther. After a minute he will go back outside and will meet us at the other door, so we will let him in at the other door. He doesn't want to do what Baracka does, he's too cool for that! Now on the other side of the Ape House we have the orangutans. Kyle has a major crush on Bonnie and will not let Bonnie out of his sight. He will even literally hold on to her hair. It is very hard for the zoo keepers to separate them. At one point they finally got Bonnie away from Kyle.  Keko has really been wanting to hang out with Bonnie and finally got his chance. After Bonnie hung out with Keko, Kyle came back and was mad at Bonnie for hanging out with Keko and Keko was jealous of Kyle hanging out with Bonnie all the time! They are too funny and I love them too much.