Dear Sir(s) and/or Madam(s):
I would like to direct your attention to the picture at right; it is a lovingly constructed brooding box. Of particular note is the bright blue swimming pool, complete with basking rock/swim deck. You’ll notice a heat lamp, and if you’re unusually astute you’ll also notice it’s not illuminated. Perhaps you are wondering why no life-sustaining heat is pouring forth. Perhaps you are also wondering why I’m sending a letter with a picture of an empty brooding box to the US Postal Service. I’m sending you a picture of a dark and lonely brooding box because IT’S YOUR FAULT IT’S EMPTY!!!! I capitalized those letters on purpose, for I wish to indicate that I am, in fact, shouting at you. I would also include a frowny-face emoticon, but I shall keep this letter professional. Allow me to explain the reason for my ire, and the reason for which said ire is directed at you. For the last three weeks, I have been calling numerous feed stores, asking when their shipment of cute, fuzzy ducklings will arrive. In each case, I was promised a specific date, guaranteed by the hatcheries sending the ducks. And by “sending”, I mean utilizing the US Postal Service. Those promised dates, marked in ink on my calendar, have come and gone. Let me re-direct your attention to the photo at right. Notice the lack of ducks happily basking in the glow of the heat lamp, or paddling contentedly in the wading pool. Notice the lack of food and water available, because do you know what nothing eats? That’s right – nothing. Let me pose another question: how is it possible for the USPS to delay four separate hatchery orders to four separate feed stores in a span of three weeks???? Do you think ducklings enjoy being in a cardboard box for extended periods of time? Do you think I enjoy being responsible for the fact that the four feed stores within fifty miles of my house have changed their phone greetings to “___ Feed Store, no the ducks aren’t available yet”? Since federal law prohibits me from expressing my dissatisfication with your operating procedures to the extent that I would like to do in this letter, I will close by requesting that you pull your collective heads out and deliver me some ducklings already. Fly like an eagle my a$$.
All the other critters are their usual content selves. Princess Ariel and Woolimina are ecstatic with their new surroundings, and Woolimina isn’t skittish anymore. She runs right up to me the moment I walk through the gate, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I always have Wheat Thins, or at the very least, a few Ritz crackers with me. Speaking of Ritz crackers, I made the mistake of assuming that Harvey and Claire, the now-gigantic bunnies, would happily share a cracker while I prepared their evening meal. Have you ever heard a bunny hiss? It’s like hearing a cute fluffy kitten drop an F-bomb — it just ain’t right. Both bunnies take meal times very seriously. Claire, in particular, has graduated from throwing her food bowl at me if I don’t make with the lettuce fast enough to charging at my hand. And hissing. Thank god for distracting Wheat Thins.
Sadly, the bunnies aren’t the only ones who blatantly disrespect my authority. The two Polish Crested roosters, Sean Paul and Marley, have decided that they rule the backyard. Until about two weeks ago, they would wait until your back was turned, and without warning you’d feel a feathered talon ball bouncing of your butt (they can’t jump that high). Lately, though, they don’t wait until you can’t see them coming. They just attack whenever they feel like it. I tried wearing unbuttoned flannel shirts outside, so that when they squared off with me I could take the ends of it and flap my arms, pretending like I have giant wings. I must have ruined the illusion by yelling, “You want a piece of this?” It seems as if they do, indeed, want a piece of that, because their response is usually to hang off my jeans. Chivalry is not dead on the farm, however, because King Julian routinely comes to my rescue. Just this afternoon Marley was having a go at my shins, and King Julian came flying out of nowhere and knocked him over. I’m officially a part of his flock now.
It’s been a wondrous week here on the farm. I started out the week as usual, trolling Craig’s List to see if anyone was selling a critter I couldn’t live with out (specifically a miniature pot-bellied pig, but don’t tell Gene.) I found something even better though – someone nearby was moving, and needed to sell their female pygmy goat. The price was too good to pass up, so naturally I emailed the seller, set up a pick up date and time, then asked Gene if it was okay. He said yes, so today he took me to Port Orchard to get Princess Ariel! When we got there, we saw she was standing by a miniature sheep, which the seller said we could buy for an additional fee. He then said if we didn’t take her, he would have to take her to the butcher because they were moving soon. He added that he would eat her, for dinner, and possibly again for breakfast the next day if there was any left. Despite that gloomy proclamation, Gene held firm to his “no means no” stance regarding sheep, even doomed ones. When Gene put Princess Ariel in the transport crate, she immediately started crying. It was a heart-wrenching sound, full of despair at the prospect of leaving her companion of two years. The sheep was also despondent; she was running back and forth the length of the fence, bleating and crying as she tried desperately to get to her best friend. Naturally I was beyond heart-broken at this point, so with growing horror I asked Gene if we could please, please take the sheep too. He still said no, and since I didn’t want to cry in front of some guy I had just met, I got into the truck and started crying there. Gene got in the driver’s seat, and it was only in retrospect that I realized he didn’t start it. He sat there for minute, then sighed and told me to go find out if the guy would take a check, and we came home with a sheep too!!!!
the world’s luckiest sheep.
We named her Woolinda Woolimina, and she is the happiest sheep on the planet. Catching Woolimina was somewhat challenging, as she is much more skittish than Princess Ariel. Gene and the seller chased her into their pen, which was a somewhat creepy partially walled off area underneath his house. My contribution, since I can’t successfully grab a sheep with either of my broken wrists, was to guard the entrance so she couldn’t run out again. I got the bad job, since one of Woolimina’s horns points straight out, kind of like an ugly unicorn. I didn’t feel as though I was in a position to complain though, since I wanted to catch her and get her in the crate before Gene had a chance to change his mind. It was also kind of fun to watch the seller chase her around using his cell phone as the room’s only source of illumination. He chased her up onto a ledge, and when she jumped off, Gene literally snatched her out of midair by her wool. It was so cool – like something you would see in a rodeo, if bulls had wool and didn’t weigh so much. They got her into the crate with Princess Ariel, and they both immediately stopped crying and started cuddling. Even Gene had to admit we were doing the right thing. At least I assume he thought it, and just didn’t choose to voice it. He did ask me what I intended to actually do with a sheep, and I assured him that if the apocalypse came, I would be able to make socks and sweaters for everyone with our new renewable supply of wool.
|Party of 12|
But these two aren’t the only reason this week has been wondrous. I was getting cabin fever being stuck in the house, since I can’t drive yet, so Gene took me to one of my favorite places, the local feed store. Naturally I dragged him over to the chick display, and asked him if I could replace the one chick who didn’t make it out of the eight we had bought a few days ago. I then pointed out that it seemed strange to have three of one breed, but only one or two of the other breeds. We left with four new chicks! And even better, the feed store bumped up their duck delivery schedule, so now I get ducklings next Friday!
|At least they’re eating healthy.|
In non-animal news, my seeds have sprouted in the new indoor greenhouse! I know I said that in the last update, but now they’re even bigger! I planted another two flats of seeds yesterday, and will do several more as soon as we get another set of lights. When I checked in on the seedlings this morning, I noticed that upon closer inspection, some of the leaves appeared somewhat chewed. Then I noticed that my prized bean seedling had been reduced from its once-glorious 12 inches to a two-inch ragged stem. It didn’t take me long to realize what had happened – all I had to do was look toward the doorway to see two kitties smashing their faces against the mesh, trying to get in for some more snacking. Apparently I need to make extra-sure the door is zipped all the way shut.