Posts Tagged ‘animal friends’

Creatures In My Garden

 Two Worlds Collide

With one exception, I encourage critters in my garden. Creeping, jumping, slithering or flying — they are all welcomed!

You see, I am the intruder into their world where life, wonder, grace, purpose and  beauty abound.   Sure, there is struggle, even fierce conflict and death, but not senseless destruction, we humans accept as part of ours.

Yes, I experience conflicting emotions.   From youth my thinking has been guided toward  “If it is small, exceptionally large, or extraordinary, destroy it.”

IMG_0101The rationalization is this annihilation is done in the name of science ( study it), our protection and preservation (it might do harm ),  maybe boastful pride ( a trophy).

In my garden, I can be different.  There is no need to destroy simply because it is here;  the beauty of co-existence brings appreciation for the little things.    There is no need for two worlds to collide.

Stroll Through My Piece of Paradise

It is such a pleasure to be able to rise, fix a cup of coffee and wonder through my own little garden of Eden, in my PJs if I want to!   I may not have material wealth; but what I do have is priceless.

Here is my typical day.

For years I had to get up  around 4:30 am to  start my day.  It’s already been  almost 5 years that the necessity no longer is there; yet the habit persist.  Now I go to the computer and work for awhile til daybreak.

Bully Boy, the rooster, announces  the day is about to begin.

I can gallivant all night and not worry about consequences

Tigger, my big  orange use to- be- tom cat, howls from the porch outside my room , that he wants in.  Why has he been gallivanting all night?  At least I can be sure no Mama cat with a yellow brood will show up on my steps demanding upkeep, legitimately.  No way! No how!

It is 6 AM.   I wait for it to start.  Linda and Ms  Vicki are about to begin their day.  Ms Vicki, our little orange 6 month old Pomeranian is  being (not too successfully) potty trained.   Here’s the routine:

(Just before Linda’s alarm goes off), a piercing “YIP! YIP! followed by two or

three mournful whining sounds, then YIP!, YIP!

That translated:  “MOMMY! MOMMY!  i gott’a pee, hurry pleaaase, open this cage, MOMMY! MOMMY!”

MOMMY! MOMMY! Pleeeaase hurry!

When the door is opened Ms Vicki races madly around the house, all sense of bathroom urgency gone.

Linda coaches:  “Pee pee on the paper for Mommy.  Good girl.”    MS  VICKI, BAD GIRL !!  YOU KNOW YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO USE THE PAPER TO POOPSY, BAD GIRL!

Ms Vicki looks up at her with that  cute little pom grin and watery brown eyes, bouncing around as if to ask, “Don’t you think I am cute, Mommy, I go to the same spot every morning.  (Bouncy, Bouncy)  Can I have a treat, huh? huh?

‘BAD GIRL,  YOU GOTT’A  LISTEN TO MOMMY, USE THE PAPER!”    “THIS  IS NO! NO!  You GOTT’A BE A GOOD GIRL!”

YIP! YIP! YIP!   (Translated:  Yeah! Yeah!  CEEZE!)

Both of  them go about their business, now that the ritual is completed.  I sit, listen and grin…………aw, the blessings of well run home!

A multitude of winged creatures chirp and sing as the dawn breaks.

Stepping onto the kitchen steps, I spray myself with mosquito repellent look at the fish, pick up my bottle of Sevin spray to use against landlubber grasshopper hatchlings; I wonder around the yard, inspecting plants, birdhouses,

What a peaceful sight to begin a new day!

chickens;  all the while sipping my coffee before I set the cup down, and promptly forget what I did with it.

Here’s what I see:

That is part of the beauty of being able to do what I want, when I want, and be responsible just to me ( and my patient, understanding, loving wife.   She has learned to tolerate the new me.)

I Am Allowed To Come Into Their World

As I work in the my yard and garden I am thrilled as birds, squirrels, frogs, butterflies, bees go about their activities, for the most part ignoring me, until I interfere with the routine.

Chickadee

Seven hungry mouths to feed

The chickadee couple has 7 young nestling they are feeding all day.  When I work the  bed near the base of  their home Momma or Daddy will fly in, sit on a limb nearby and warble softly.   That’s my signal to do something else, giving privacy while the pair enters the neatly tailored nest  to feed hungry mouths.    Two down, five to go, in this never ending circle of day long feedings.

I step away, turn and watch the 2 fly in, then quickly  dart out,  headed  on a new  hunt.  Back to work until I am signaled to get lost; so it goes as long as I  work the area.

When I am digging the raised beds of vegetables, the mockingbird who has a nest in the hedgerow nearby flies in, does a little dance with waving wings, eyes me and proceeds to look for bugs; he is not  4 feet away.

We  talk as he hunts, well, I do; he  watches me out of one eye.  When the bug is safely in his beak, he kind’a squats and lifts off to feed Mama as she incubates eggs in the ragged nest they call home.

bluebird eggs

Five sky blue eggs promise babies soon

Mr and Mrs  Bluebird are back  for the 4th year.  Initially,  I junked their handmade, weathered old box shack and installed a fancy cedar store bought bungalow, which they inspected and promptly left;  I could hear angry tweetering  as they flew to the nearby pear tree.

He liked it; she said “Well, live in it  with the chickadees, or by yourself!”  as she haughtily preened her under wing feathers.

I dug the old  house out of the junk pile, re-nailed it together;  set it up about  15 feet from the old site.

Took awhile, but  it is filled with a pinestraw nest that, as of  this morning,  holds 5 sky blue eggs.

The couples sits on the phone line as I work in the area and softly chirp a bluebird  thank you, sir, melody!

The red headed woodpeckers nest in a rotten limb  hollowed out in the oak tree across the street; a pair of doves coo softly each   morning and evening, a nest made of loose  sticks must be hidden nearby;  this is a couple in waiting for the emergence of 2 0r 3 chicks from  tiny white eggs.

A pair of robins, and two brown thrashers busily scout the back lawn .   Somewhere in the thick hedges surrounding the property there must be nests with birdies.  Parents  are hunting as a pair, it seems.

Every evening, as the day begins  to cool, a pair of blue  jays chase a crow across the sky; poor crow never learns; he  suffers the  humiliation daily.

We are hungry. You are late!

The fish in the pool swim forward every morning.  Their gulping sound (yep! they are demanding little finnies!) inform me I am not getting food to them quickly enough.

Lately, the finned prima donnas  have been demanding that I fix the leak in the pool, the water is lowering at an alarming rate.  These  swimming beauties do not accept the idea that I have to let the pool sink to it’s lowest level to see what  has to be patched.

This morning, I think, I fixed it.  They seem to be rejoicing that the shrinking water world is once more filling up.

The blooming purple pitcher plant smiled as its  roots once more are submerged.

squirrel feeding area

A station all our own! Oh boy! Just keep it stocked.

Six or eight  squirrels are thrilled with their own feeding area–until I do not stock it.   Then it is back to raiding the bird feeders along with the flock of cow birds that have invaded.

You forgot! A guy's gotta eat!!

For the first time  I am feeding woodpeckers, chickadee, robin, bluebirds,mockingbirds, wrens along with the usual crowd.    The soft sound of the crowd remind me when coffers are empty.

How can I forget the red throated hummingbirds who return yearly to feed and nest.   They were a day late this year, but they are back!!

WOW!  what an experience to step outside in the cool of the pre-dawn hour to be serenaded by an  awaking chorus of free creatures, inviting me to share their world.

They will live today, confident that food will be found, that life will go on; it will involve work, it may even entail danger, but in the cool evening hours they will sing again, a song of thanksgiving for all life has given.

I am saddened to realize the real message from these creatures:

You have tried to conform us to your world, you have almost destroyed us and yourself.

Come into our world; it is busy;  it  overflows with purpose; yet, it is simple.

Ours is a world full of beauty and hope.

Don’t Call Me A Dumbcluck

Dumbcluck always seemed an appropriate designation for a chicken.   When I got to know a few, up close and personal,  my thinking changed completely.

Domesticated pet birds provide endless  entertainment;  our bantams  give us  eggs; it takes three of the little globes of protein to make a serving, but –hey, they are from my  own little flock!  They give this country boy, living in town, bragging rights.

Linda gets especially close and friendly with this feathered  menagerie.

Each youngster is named.  Each one’s  nom de plume is chosen to reflect its personality.

Yes, chickens do have definite and distinct personalities!

Let’s see, in our flock of regular breed bantams  is  Napoleon,  Big Boy, Henny Penny, Lil Red, Mama’s Girl and the infamous Bully Boy.

When the kitchen door opens,  all around the  yard heads  jerk to attention.   They are hoping a treat might be forthcoming.

A black fluff ball that moves like a bulldog

I hear Linda  call, “Come to Mommy, Big Boy!!”

The first time I heard her call, I came running , a big , silly grin on my face!

She gives me that  disgusted  look (reserved just for me);  “Not you, you old  fool!”,  looks past me, to  this big black fluff, moving with the rolling motion of a bulldog.  Racing  toward us is  Big Boy, the silkie rooster; he is followed by his harem.

About  four  feet in front of Linda he stops, turns sideways, lifts  his head high,  stretches his neck and crows!!

Arrogant, aggressive!! One mean bird. I am Bully Boy!

It is always the same ritual except for me, (I stay put) and Bully Boy, the half-bred.

None of the flock allows us to touch them;   all gather  round , except Bully Boy, eager for whatever morsel is being offered.

(Frt - Bk) Screech, Lucy, and Tiny Mite

The half-breed, has big plans; he will dominate the flock one day; for now he bids his time outside the circle. Bully Boy’s  arrogant, combative,  attitude broadcasts his intentions, loudly and clearly!!

These small bundles of energy are the first echelon  in our feathered kingdom.

Serama are promoted as the smallest chickens in the world; weight range for a  ‘champion grade’ rooster is from 8 to 12 ounces; hens range from 6 to 10 ounces.

None of mine qualify as show material but they  stand  up front on my  list, as favorite feathered pets.

Our three, Screech, Tiny Mite, and Lucy  amaze us with their intelligent, resourceful actions.  They are said to descend from tiny birds from  Malaysia.

It is sad, that a few weeks ago, all but three of our flock was destroyed by two ranging dogs, set free to roam the neighborhood.

Pets in my Life

Animals have always been important to me.  Growing up on the farm I was surrounded by living creatures.  Those  destined for slaughter or sale were never named.  Somehow, giving names, humanized them.

The ones staying with us long term were a part of the family;  naming was appropriate .   There were Big Jim and Pet (mules used to cultivate the crops), Bossy and Bessy ( cows  supplied milk and calves for meat), Porky ( a sow [female hog] gave us pigs to sell or to butcher).

But boy oh boy, did we ever have a parade of dogs and cats!!   Everyone of them was  named;  it was assumed they would be around for awhile, even the ever present supply kittens and puppies (there was no spaying and neutering) each got it’s own designation.

Fast forward to adulthood and my becoming a parent.  I did, of course, name my offspring.  I assumed they would be around for awhile and the designation “hey, you” or young’un just did not seem appropriate.

With the kids came pets.  Over the years we boarded cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits,  fish, birds even

Affectionate, loving disposition

few snakes and rats.   Now those kids have young of their own who are sheltering furry loved things.

Time passes, people come and go, but pets will always be a part of my life.   Let me introduce a few who live around me right now.  There’s a pretty good assortment.

First and main pet is this one.  Her name is Linda.  I stoled  her from a loving father and mother almost 24 years ago; she seems to like our territory and has claimed it as her own.   She  feels  she can tell everybody and everything around the house what’s what; we pretty much let her have her way.   Thank goodness, she’s paper and potty trained; likes a pat on the head/ behind every now and then; not hard to keep happy, most of the time.   Feels  obligated to care for us all.

Wanting to be fed and petted. See the beautiful fins.

One  group of pets came to us  by accident, but have given a lot of pleasure.  Years ago,  when I repaired  a fish pond outside our kitchen door I put feeder gold fish in  to control mosquitoes.  The next year we noticed little minnows–they were reproducing!!  A strain of fish, with beautifully flowing fins has developed.    These little creatures respond to site and the  sound of our voice, coming to be feed or petted when we go out the door.

Inside there is a small container with a pretty blue sailfin siamese beta and his mate.  No young,yet.   He just looks  so lonely by himself;  she is the only fish he will tolerate in his bowl.

They maintain this order: Screech, Lucy, Li'le Bit

We live within the city limits;  roosters are suppose to be a no no.  Since everybody has a few chickens and nobody has registered a complaint, yet, there are several chickens on our lot.   The 3 serama bantam are my favorite.   A pair roost outside our bedroom window on the air conditioning unit; another rooster is right down the way on the next air conditioning  unit; they start to crow around 4:30 every morning.

During the day the trio marches around the property, always one behind the other, in this order:  lead rooster (Tiny Mite), hen (Lucy), last the single rooster (Screech);  sometimes  Big Boy (a silky rooster)  invites  himself to join the group, just to hang around.

Tabby and Reynard: move over, you're in my place!

Tabby is a cat that has been part of our  family over 15 years.  We got her as companion for Reynard, a beautiful intelligent little male  Pomeranian when they were each very young.  Age and infirmity took Reynard from us.

Recently, we made the decision to bring more little friends into our lives.   I have always loved orange cats.  The hunt was on.

When I filled out adoption papers for a gorgeous neutered orange 8 month old kitten at a local Humane Shelter, I honestly answered  we had agreed to allowed Tabby to be declawed (front only) fifteen years ago, I was denied adoption.

I assured them, I agree with current  thinking;  declawing is cruel; I will never do it again.   Sorry, you already did it once.  YOU ARE DENIED!

” But that was 15 years ago”, I whimpered, “I am so sorry!”

More opened-minded counselors at a facility in Columbia willingly  allowed adoption, as long as I signed an agreement to never declaw  Tigger, a beautiful neutered orange tabby, who adopted us recently.

Tabby is not nearly as thrilled with this arrangement as her human family is.  She has insisted as part of the peace pac, I allow her to express her frustration in a blog.  She invites you to share her  feelings.

To complicate matters more, Ms Vicki, a 14 week old, orange, female Pomeranian showed up the same day Tigger came  home; poor Tabby feels her world has fallen apart for sure!

There are caged birds of various kinds, as well as the creatures who  frequent  our property; not  pets in the strictest sense.    They are acquaintances, I guess, who bring joy and pleasure as we watch them fly, scamper, hop, and crawl around our little part of the world.

They are all loved.