Back at O’Keefe Ranch

Bennett has never met a chicken he didn’t like, and this truth was evident at O’Keefe Ranch near Vernon, BC. There, on a sunny July day, he spent a good hour admiring the poofy silkies, watching the silver spangled hamburgs and contemplating the bearded and booted Belgian D’uccles. When he tired of these exotic cluckers he chased the other, lesser chickens around the coop.

Bennett holds a fresh egg picked up from under a roosting chicken (really!) at O'Keefe Ranch.

Bennett holds a fresh egg picked up from under a roosting chicken (really!) at O’Keefe Ranch, while Avery readies to grab a chick.

Three hours and many animal encounters later — including Avery holding a baby Jacob sheep and many fluffy chicks, and Bennett petting the friendliest farm cat ever — I had to wonder how this was our third trip to the northern Okanagan but only our first visit to O’Keefe Ranch.

Avery cradles a baby Jacob sheep in her lap at O'Keefe Ranch.

Avery cradles a baby Jacob sheep in her lap at O’Keefe Ranch.

Founded by western settler Cornelius O’Keefe, the ranch at the turn of last century was not only a working ranch, but a townsite complete with a church, post office and general store. The ranch has been preserved as an historic site and includes many of the original buildings, such as the O’Keefe mansion, which is open for tours. The General Store is also kitted out with old-time candy and we had a ball troughing on chicken bones, cherry sours and a giant lollipop.

Through these doors lie the best selection of sugary treats this side of the Monashees.

Through these doors lies the best selection of sugary treats this side of the Monashees.

The highlight, of course, were the animals. After our snack, a hayride and a lazy attempt to lasso some faux cows, we circled back to the chicken coop to say goodbye.

Avery hold a chick inside the coop at O'Keefe Ranch.

Avery holds a chick inside the coop at O’Keefe Ranch.

Don’t miss Family Fun Day on August 24, or the corn maze in October.

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