wanted to be friends with someone real, real bad, for reasons you can’t even really articulate, but everything you do or say seems to cause a greater rift between you and them and you have no earthly idea how to close that massive chasm of simultaneous hope and dread?
Spring is experiencing this existential crisis right now with the goats.
She keeps making overtures to Harvey, Bonky, Nibbles and Moe (AKA “The Firm”) but always, somehow, she makes a misstep and the fragile tendershoots of friendship crumble to dust beneath her pawtips and like The Phoenix rising from the ashes, the cycle begins anew.
To be honest, I don’t know if she wants to meet them or MEAT them … and I don’t think they know either, which is probably why after she makes some friendly bum-and-nose-sniffing overtures, the terrier wailing begins, The Firm gets panicky and the chaos ensues. She’s gonna get the daylights headbutted right out of her if she doesn’t figure it out.
(Not to worry, goat-field time is always supervised because I don’t want her to get ruined by litigious goats).
She’d probably have better luck making friends with the squirrel that likes to taunt my dogs from the walnut orchard. I like the squirrel; it exercises my dogs for me every day. It has this nifty little path from the orchard on the one side, across the power lines in the front yard and into the pear and apple trees in the goat field and it leads the dogs on a merry chase back and forth, chattering away while it harvests walnuts.
Climbing the trees to make “friends” with the squirrel is not as successful as it sounds, actually.
This tree climbing dog does not want to befriend the squirrel, it wants to murder the squirrel, for the squirrel is stealing walnuts. Fae, like a feudal lord, believes that all the bounty in her forests belong to her, and that harvesting any of it by lowly fluffy tailed serfs is punishable by death. Preferably beheading.
For though there be thousands of walnuts with which to play, and to make weird faces at …
… Fae is hunting for That Elusive Magical Walnut, the Special Walnut, the Walnut That Will Change Her Life. The power of the walnuts can be found in their bland uniformity, that they are indistinguishable, one from the next, so the Special Walnut could be hidden anywhere, amongst any of its nutty comrades, and therefore, All Walnuts Are Precious.
If you ask me, *Fae* is the “Special Walnut” around here. This is her face when she is guarding *A* walnut from everything.
When it comes to friendships some creatures are simply antisocial. My blue turkey hen, for example, has a serious hate-on for my small dogs. She will take any opportunity to chase them around the yard (also good, free exercise, IMO). But lately Peetie has decided to become the champion of small dogs pursued by rabid turkeys and has taken to bodyguarding The Littles so they can in turn guard walnuts in peace.
This turkey has only herself to blame. I had no idea Peetie was a superhero, but at least we’ve finally found a use for her!
(She doesn’t want me to tell you that right now she is sporting a pair of boy-cut lady’s underpants with a hole cut out for her tail, and a belly band wrapped around her waist to keep it in place, because she is in season and Winter wants to “help her out” in the worst way and we are trying to foil his efforts)
Addy, friend to everything except ducks and newborn poultry, is currently making woo (not Woo) with the water droplets from the dog pool, as tossed by the Food Lady with the help of the Chuck it. I’m going to have to recruit a friend to help me though, because my camera/lens combo is way too heavy to manipulate with one hand/arm – especially my chronically injured elbow arm – and it’s nearly impossible to get photos of her doing her water ballet as she chases the airborne droplets. I did manage to snap a couple:
This one pleases me. She wears the same expression I imagine I do when someone offers me pie.
But when it comes to friendship, nobody holds a candle to these two. They look like a buddy-comedy pilot advertisement.
And then there is Gemma. Who refuses to make friends with the Grim Reaper. Do you guys realize that Gemma has outlived her PROGNOSIS VERY POOR diagnosis by THREE AND A HALF FREAKING YEARS??? She is the most ornery creature on the planet. She guards her life force harder than Fae guards a walnut.
After a brief (read: exhausted) hiatus I’ve embarked on another home improvement streak. In part this involved installing baseboards in my living room, rather than leaving them artfully leaned up against the wall in a precarious and bendy fashion in the kitchen. I first had to scrub the daylights out of the entire living room, because a) this house is old and therefore slanty and b) Gemma likes to leave pee bombs strewn randomly around the house, often in the wee hours of the morning when my pee-radar is off duty (and dreaming of clean floors) which then meander fore and aft around the floor like lazy midwestern rivers of piss, pooling in corners and leaving trails of cold urine for my unsuspecting feet to slosh through when I get out of bed. Although I spend a pathetically inordinate amount of time wiping up pee trails, some of them are sneaky and escape my notice. So the entire living room had surprise old dried puddles of pee under sofas and collecting around the bottoms of my curtains. I took everything out, washed it all, scrubbed the floors and walls and installed the fresh white (and slightly bendy) baseboards. And when I finally sat down in a sweaty pool of Food Lady to admire my handiwork, I realized that all I had effectively accomplished was to supply Gemma with a 6 inch tall bulls-eye at which to aim her piss efforts.
So I then installed a small xpen in my office, where Gemma spends 99.92% of her time sleeping, and in that Gemma is now confined at all times. She hasn’t really noticed, because as I say, she spends almost all her time sleeping, with brief forays into wakefulness to eat anything you put in front of her nose (which is the only one of her senses that actually function now) and to pee on my floor. But *I* feel bad about it, because what kind of life is life in an xpen 24/7? Thus I have now made a point of making her come outside with us for at least 10 minutes a day so she can experience a different environment … kind of like a prison warden. And like a prisoner, Gemma spends her allotted exercise time shuffling around in a big circle because she can neither hear nor see and let’s face it, Gemma never liked being outside anyway.
I sometimes really do think she is going to outlast everyone. Including me.
The other task I accomplished was to fence the poultry off from the rest of the yard, for so very many reasons. There’s the reason where I am tired of tracking bird shit into the house on the bottom of my shoes. The reason where I am sometimes inadvertently terrified by the sight of 50 damn farm birds standing on my porch screaming at me to bring them more food, because they are voracious and insatiable velociraptors who KNOW the bird food lives in the kitchen. The reason where twice in one week Addy jumped out of my truck on our return home from a hike and killed a baby bird, and the one where Winter killed a duck and stashed it under my house and has been pulling out disgusting gooey rotting duck bits to snack on for the last couple of weeks. But mostly I did it because Old Lady Dog Piper has developed a phobia of the poultry in her senile years, and is scared to go outside if they are milling around.
I feel like, having reached the ripe old age of almost-15, Piper deserves to go outside to relieve herself (are you listening Gemma? No wait, of course you’re not, you’re deaf) without creeping around in terror of turkeys and other assorted poultry. So I spent another hot, sweaty weekend pounding metal posts and putting up fencing so that the borders between Chickens and Dogs are safeguarded. A wall, if you will.
She is so much happier now!
And on the topic of aging … in three days, Dexter is going to be EIGHT YEARS OLD. Eight insane, powered-by-adrenaline, years old.
Piper barely looks like she has aged a day, but Dexter is half her age and twice as grey. With his giant bushy Einstein eyebrows and everything. And still batshit crazy (why is that expression even a thing? What’s so crazy about batshit? Someone enlighten me.)
Still love him though. He will get something delicious for his birthday celebration. Although what he should really get is a vibrating collar so I can teach him not to vanish whilst we are out hiking. I’ve had a few scares with him recently – he must go far, far away to poop (this is a family trait, weird as it is – but what about Dexter and his family is NOT weird??) and then sometimes he has no idea where we are when he’s finished taking care of business. He can hear certain pitches, but can hear almost nothing at a distance. Between him and Piper, I feel like I spend half my life screaming their names at the top of my lungs in a variety of pitches – kind of like a poor man’s Pentatonix – as I try to find the perfect harmonizing that reverberates properly in their broken ear canals!
Anyhoo, this had been a snippet of life in Turkey Territory with my band of Very Special Walnuts. Now back to photographing other people’s dogs for the rest of the month. But here’s a photo of TWooie being extraordinarily happy, because he chased the squirrel and found some goat poopies to roll in, and because despite the fact that he is an evil little shit, I love the butterball and I love when he looks happy.