By Adeena Hires
Welcome to Deanna Michels’ hobby farm - or as her husband Ken likes to call it, “Deanna’s Funny Farm.”
Here, you will find a wide array, from small and furry to large and loud, some of which are rescue animals.
Michels has always been a self-described animal lover.
“I cannot remember a time not having a pet of some sort,” she said.
At the age of 3, she had guinea pigs and rabbits that she loved and cared for.
That passion for small animals soon led to pet lambs and a big brown rabbit named Thumper.
Currently she has miniature donkeys, bunny-rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats and a horse. Over the years she has also had cattle, potbellied pigs, goats, peacocks, gerbils, hamsters, goldfish, guppies and hedgehogs, to name a few.
When asked what her favorite animal is she said, “I have loved them all but have really enjoyed the miniature donkeys.”
Michels’ passion for miniature donkeys came to be about seven years ago, after the 2015 Okanogan Complex wildfire ripped through cattle pasture lands. She and Ken decided it was time to sell the cattle. Seeing an empty pasture below her house, she decided a miniature donkey would be the perfect tenant to nibble on vegetation and utilize her empty barn. Calling them “yard ornaments,” that number has blossomed to several miniature donkeys since then. Some she keeps as pets for herself, while others have found new homes across the county.
Michels said she has had a lot of fun with her grandchildren and all the farm pets. She said her two daughters “don’t let their kids have very many animals because they can always go over to grandmas.”
But it’s not just her grandchildren who enjoy visiting all the furry critters.
Recently a class of 12 students from Tonasket Preschool Association visited the Michels farm. Michels made bunny cupcakes and goodie bags for the children as it was around Easter time when they had their field trip.
“It was a lot of fun watching their different reactions as some kids can never been around these types of pets before,” she said. “The rabbits and donkeys were definitely their favorite.”
"The kids had a blast," said teacher Anna Bergh. "Deanna was so sweet and thoughtful. She had little goodie bags for them afterwards and cupcakes as a treat.
"They loved getting to hold all the baby bunnies," she said. "They enjoyed getting to see the farm and the different animals Deanna had." ♦
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