The good new is my llama is fine. In fact, the vet said he was the nicest male llama he has ever worked with, and this man is the resident vet for a nearby llama farm so he’d know. He attends 160 llamas a month. He did have to cut away six of Dalai’s fighting molars that pose potential risk, which meant he had to drug my poor llama. By the time I got there, he was leaning against the fence, his chin on the upper post as if the bar was all that was keeping him upright. He was smiling this slurred llama smile, never taking his eyes off me, as if he just consumed a pint of Jack Daniels and I was looking better to him all the time. The vet, laughing at the animal’s moony grin, told me where I could purchase a female llama for breeding, if interested. My birthday is coming up….. how did he guess?
I was thinking my animal concerns were all behind me, until I found out I’d lost my only chicken. Damn the luck!
Mark was quick to point out that I have five new chickens in the pool table room downstairs (no pool table yet, so I guess it should be called the “chicken raising” room for the time being). But, what I have peeping downstairs are simply baby chicks. I don’t think little fluffs like that qualify as true chickens.
Yesterday, I noticed the door to the chicken pen was opened. I wasn’t sure why or how, but all the roosters were digging in the dirt and eating worms and everyone was sticking close and looked happy enough. I thought I’d let them enjoy freedom for an hour while I de-haired my white angora. It’s cold, so you’d think a thick wooly angora coat would be nice this time of year, but my rabbit is overdue for shedding and all her scratching and licking have me thinking I better get to it. Bits of fluff are blowing about the cage and her coat is starting to felt. Gotta remove some of the excess fur now if I want to use it and it will make her more comfortable – besides which, I want her to look dapper for her upcoming date. I’m going to mate her with Nimbus this week. I took Cumulus to the house for a bit of hair pulling, and an hour later returned. The roosters had moseyed back into the pen. But my one and only beloved chicken, Pot Pie, was nowhere to be found.
Mark said that with five roosters, she was probably getting more action than she could handle so when she saw the door open, she thought “I’m getting the hell out of here!”
Ha. Not any chicken of mine!
Pot Pie is tiny, a little white bannie chicken. I’m thinking she got picked off by a hawk or opossum. Maybe a neighbor is making chicken soup – I heard a neighbor talking about a chicken soup reciepe just this morning. No one is beyond suspect! Perhaps a dog decided she might make a good chew toy, but there were no feathers anywhere to suggest a tussle. It’s as if she just disappeared. I took a walk around the area through the woods looking for signs – feathers, a bird crouching in the trees – anything. No chicken leftovers anywhere. I even visited our resident owl in his little cove in the tree. No chicken breath coming from up there. Pot Pie was simply gone, like a chicken twilight zone episode.
So, after school today, Neva and I are going chicken shopping again. I figure, I’m bound to lose another chicken here or there until I get the kinks worked out in this chicken raising thing. We need more future egg-ammo if I’m ever to progress from the raising period to the egg laying period. I plan to buy another six or seven chicks today, providing the feed store has some interesting breeds for sale this week. I’ve also read about Guineas (which were originally called Ginny Birds – talk about a match meant to be). They’re funny speckled (freckled?) round game birds that eat the ticks that bother horses. I need a gaggle of those, don’t ya agree? So I’m on the lookout for Guinea chicks too. I’m thinking some other game birds would be interesting, like pheasants or peacocks. Turkeys are dumb, so I don’t want those hanging around. But ya never know what will suit you until you try, so I never say never.
My husband is gone for the weekend. He has been invited to be an assistant teacher at the Campbell Folk School for an antler basket class. He is developing quite an artisan’s reputation already, and his natural gift for teaching made it a pretty good bet they would phase him into instruction once they got to know him. He’s gone off to spend the weekend at the school. He is excited because he gets his materials, his meals and a room, as well as a small stipend for his assistant efforts. He could come home, but he’s decided to try the full Campbell School experience. By staying, he can work late into the night and accomplish more (artistically), and he can enjoy the company of other students (and great cooking) at breakfast. He also has made fond friends of the teacher, and I am glad he has the opportunity to foster new friendships. We all need buddies with similar interests and humor. Anyway, it will be a mini paid vacation for him.
Kent has gone to stay with a friend. That leaves me and Neva to do what we fancy. We will buy some chickens, then we are off to by a 5 foot used rabbit hutch in a place called Ringhold (something I saw in the bargain trader that I want to purchase as a backup house for our baby rabbits in a month). We will gorge on Chinese food, and later we will go to a movie, just us girls, and eat popcorn and candy until we pop. I told her she could sleep with me in my soft bed in front of the fire, and she can even take a long soak in my Jacuzzi bath (this is all very exciting, because Mark doesn’t allow our kids to step past the threshold of our bedroom –never – not even to borrow a brush or to say goodnight. They must talk to us from the doorway. He is all about protecting his adult domain from child-cooties. I think it is silly, but if the man wants his own space, a cozy corner of the house for us only, who am I to question it?)
Anyway, I will have a few leisure days alone with my daughter, and I hope to enjoy them by doing nothing with a full commitment to laziness. I have homework, but that can wait. I have some reading I want to do- The 2007 America’s best Essay compilation – but I’ll do that while she sleeps. We will eat what appeals to us, (Maybe go to dinner at the restaurant Denver works at and leave a huge tip). We’ll do only what we feel like doing, and it’s a sure guess that we will talk. No one can carry on a more vivacious conversation than Neva. I guess we’ll name chickens too.
Valentines Day was fun for her. She got a stuffed rabbit and a box of candy from a boy named Cody that has a thing for her. She was thrilled. Another boy wanted to be her valentine too, but she turned him down – told him “No way – I’m taken”. I reminded her that it is an honor to be liked and I expect her to always be kind to people who like her. She has to remember that others have good intentions even if she doesn’t like them in the same way. She rolled her eyes and said, “I’m nice, but Steven is pushy and he won’t leave me alone. He grabs me sometimes too.”
Pushy? He grabs you? Then, by all means, put him in his place. Want me to show you how to sock a boy in the nose?
All I could think of was how quickly she is growing up and how much others enjoy her company as much as I do. It won’t be long before she will lose her interest in hanging out with me. So, this weekend, with the inevitable fleeting quality of our time together on my mind, I will enjoy my daughter. Life is short – its blessings are sweet. Gotta enjoy those meaningful moments as they come and treat them with the reverence they deserve.