Tidewater Day Tripping Mielke’s Work Horse Farm Rescue & Exotics by Bonna L. Nelson
I first met Barnum and Henry on a hot, humid night last summer. The handsome, gentle creatures were entertaining young and old alike. They were nibbling on offered grass and enjoying neck and back rubs. Kids, including our darling Isabella, were climbing to the top of the fence enclosure for an opportunity to pet a zebra and a camel. The Talbot County Fair Petting Zoo was the setting. Owners Nick and Diane Mielke brought their “pets” for fairgoers to enjoy. I asked for their business card and vowed to contact them to write their story. You can visit the Mielkes and their menagerie at the upcoming Talbot County Fair, July 10-13 at the Talbot Ag Center in Easton. The week before I toured the Mielkes’ Work Horse Farm Rescue & Exotics, I caught up with them at Easton’s Tractor Supply store during the store’s annual Animal Day. When we arrived, Barnum, Henry and their pal Sonny, the kangaroo, were surrounded by admirers. Kids, parents, grandparents and owners of other animals on display, including sled dogs, Humane Society dogs and cats, and alpacas and llamas, crowded around the Mielkes’ critter enclosures.
Nick and Diane Mielke with Dory. Why? It is not often that we can enjoy seeing a camel and a zebra side by side, or a huge tortoise, or kangaroos up close and personal. Maybe, just maybe, you might see these special creatures during a trip to a zoo or, if you are really lucky, on a bush safari in Africa or on a ride through the Australian Outback. But how many of us get to make those trips to another continent to see wildlife? We are fortunate to have the Mielkes on the Mid-Shore saving, protecting, raising and sharing their special domestic and exotic creatures with the community. Imagine conducting an interv iew sur rounded by anima ls in the middle of a beautif ul, lush, green woods. Peacocks screeched, roosters crowed, geese honked, and