Sunday, 21 February 2016

Animals are wonderful

Mr. Chip found a heap of frozen horse manure today, on our walk. He dislodged a good chunk before I noticed and his day became a perfect one. Beaming from ear to ear he carried on - it does not take much to make a terriers day. Molly finds all hen food delicious and Mindy will soon start laying eggs, the way she steals their dry food. Mandy could easily live on hay and paint from walls. She is constantly trying to get splinters off planks even though I provide willow and other bark for them to chew on!

A good friend of ours had a Staffordshire terrier who loved to eat wasps. He never got stung but his owner got some mighty headaches, thanks to his passion. The time he found a wasps nest in a vent and sat licking them up when they flew out to go to work, he thought Christmas had come early. (His owners grabbed the vacuum cleaner and probably saved him a lot of pain...) He was a no fuss dog, with a big heart.

Elvira, our lovely rescued hunting dog had some peculiarities too. She had a miserable puppy time and suffered a lot, so when she found us, she did not let go. This meant that she never stayed at home alone. When we tried, she just calmly jumped up to the nearest window and started hitting her head against it. It was a very efficient way of telling us what she thought about things. As she loved cars, we took my old Volvo ten meters over the road, to the shop and back. We lived in town then and our neighbours must have thought I was special. When Elvira had enough of life in town, she started wedging herself stuck under a radiator, when we were at my parents house. So she moved in with them and I had to visit every day. The amount of petrol I spent on her makes me shudder and there's a hole in the ozone layer with my name on it.

I keep thinking that we should add a few lambs to our team, in the spring. The problem is that the people in the know tell me that our four sheep will not take kindly to that and could probably hurt them. That's apparently how a sheep flock behaves; they feel threatened and lash out. If it was goats, for example, it might be easier. This has made me think of animals of the past, and our present ones. The thing is that I strongly believe our gang could be different. Famous last words, I know, it's just that Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My are more family members than a flock of sheep. I think after a while they would realise that the treats are still there, we still have time to hang out and that a few more friends has not rocked their little boat. I will have to think about it... Goats would be lovely, too, they just need more activity to keep them happy and that would make our ladies grumpy. They like their naps, under the apple tree and young goats would be halfway up that said tree before we know it. They already have cockerels falling out from there...

Credit: Dasha Dimitrova

The other thing I wondered about was a beehive in the bottom of the field. That would be good for the kitchen garden and quite "old world". Then I remembered our friend, the terrier. I know exactly how that project would work out. A team of feathery ladies would gather, followed by two excited cockerels and they would hang out by the hive all day, snacking away. No explanation in the world would get them to see past the "candy box", unfortunately. And then the rest of the bees would have enough and move, far, far away. It would have been lovely, though, for the vegetables I mean, not the bees....

Molly has always been good at tapping her foot on the door, when she wants to go out or wants a treat. Now she figured out that it works both ways. When the sheep are out strolling in the mornings while I clean their home, I don't have to look out for them anymore. When they have returned, Molly taps on the stable door and I open the door, for them. Very stylish and I feel like the butler.

So between my walks with Darya the hen and my butler service, I still figure I could have time to look after some new members of our little team. I might be dreaming, we will see. These things do have a way of sorting themselves out, in the end. Someone needs a new home, and...

Just read that goats need to have other goats as company or they get depressed. They don't actually graze; they nibble here and there. Goats are much more particular, about what they eat, compared to sheep. If hay, for example, falls on the ground, they leave it. Sheep can stand knee-deep in the stuff and still munch away. I also remembered that goats are wonderful animals, they just tend to smell a bit.

Text by Nina

Next blog post on the 28th February.

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