I should have seen this coming, but the weather just had to pick Shy’s makeover date to turn colder. The day after he got sheared, Gene came home in the morning to find him shivering out in the pasture. Obviously that broke my heart just a little bit, so I went out that very afternoon and bought him a designer blanket to wear until his wool grows back. Or until it gets warmer, whichever comes first. Since I couldn’t find a store in our area that carries high fashion alpaca outerwear, I had to settle for a foal blanket. Shy hasn’t quite forgiven us for the whole filing of the teeth without Novocaine thing, so convincing him to get within grabbing distance took a little work. Gene drew on his old skills of breaking horses, and within minutes Shy was happily ensconced in his new coat.
Since then, we’ve corralled him a number of times, just to give him pets, treats, and holds. He’s back to eating out of my hand again, now that he knows I’m not going to inflict fashion on him every time I come near. The only other thing I want to do is add some sort of flap to the butt area of his coat, because his rear view is still disturbing, and in my opinion equipment should always be kept in some sort of tool shed.
Speaking of equipment hanging out in plain view, it’s just about time for little Wesley to go live with the boy goats down at Abigail’s pasture. The first couple times I thought Wesley was just playing with poor innocent little Leia, but no, he’s clearly practicing his more adult skills. Despite being rather indecent at times, Wesley is still the cutest goat ever. He loves to climb in my lap whenever I sit down in the pasture, and he usually falls asleep in my arms. I’ve been letting all the critters graze in the back greenbelt, and Wesley has found a new favorite place to nap back there. During what will probably be one of the last truly sunny days of the season, Wesley took the kind of epic sunshine nap that makes you want to lie down right next to him and take one yourself. I think that’s why I spend so much time out in the back watching the animals; I’ve never been more at peace than when I’m surrounded by napping goats and softly cackling chickens.
But apparently having too much peace in one’s life is a bad thing, because just when I’m enjoying the sight of happily foraging chickens, Marley has to ruin it by playing mind games with me. I’ve been lulled into a false since of security lately, because Marley hasn’t launched himself at the back of my legs in at least a month. Instead, he’s started doing something infinitely more terrifying. He will sneak up behind me, then start twining around my legs like a cat. Then he’ll sit on the toe of my boot and stare at me. It’s like he’s daring me to shake him off. I can’t tell if he’s genuinely trying to be loving and sweet, or if he’s debating whether he should go for my face. So far I just stand there until he moves; being the optimistic type I’m assuming he just wants to cuddle.
Gene has been spending a lot more time in the back yard lately, since he’s got a new hobby. And by hobby, I mean he’s joined me in one of my most epic battles to date, Battle Rat. Winning Battle Mink on behalf of the remaining ducks had one unfortunate downside – by chasing off the minks, who eat the rats, the rats have taken advantage of the void and filled it with more rats. Gene’s not nearly as upset about their presence as I am. In fact, he tends to look forward to dusk with a kind of maniacal glee that makes me glad I’m not a rat. The lengthening shadows of night will find him perched on his backyard blind, pellet gun in one hand (complete with new scope) and beer in the other. He’s invited Abigail’s husband down for a shoot off, but so far it’s been a solo operation. I want to get him a little rat-shaped stencil so he can keep track of his kills on the shed door, but I’m worried he’d run out of space too quickly.