Thursday, August 25, 2011

Animal Observations

We went to my parent's house for Sunday supper. Not only was it fun to visit with them, I got to see the turtle mom's been talking about for a few weeks. She keeps a bowl of scraps by the kitchen porch for various critters and, in her words, "an army helmet showed up at the back door." Now, every day, the turtle lumbers onto the porch to eat his fill of strawberries, lettuce, stale bread, and whatever else mom puts out. They learned the turtle was a 'he' when they saw him en flagellate with a lady tortoise, who trapped him when she snapped the shell closed on his toes! Dad splashed cold water over her shell and she released him and 'sped' away. (They can really speed when they want to). A chipmunk also seems to be the turtle's companion, hanging out on the porch with him. But maybe he just likes the daily buffet.

For the past two weeks, a red-headed woodpecker has been on the 'bird tree' (a cedar stob we hang the feeders from), feeding one of her kids (who is as big as she is) by plucking out a sunflower seed, prying it open, and feeding him the meat. She is also demonstrating how to peck holes in the stob. The kid waits patiently for his meal and practices his holes under the watchful eye of the parent. I'd love to put suet out, but the 'coons even steal all the suet that they supposedly will not eat (guess they didn't get the memo).

Speaking of 'coons, we still have the two mommas and the five babies between them. Three and two. One mom and two of the little ones were eating the dog food in the yard, and the third wandered onto the terrace to drink from the koi pond. When he realized he was alone, he began to whine. Hearing it, the mama ushered the other siblings underneath the screen porch and then hustled up to the terrace. Seeing that the baby was fine, just alone and disoriented, she kinda brushed his fur and urged him on. If there had been a thought bubble over her head, I swear it would've read, "Oh my gawd...you're fine....come on, dummy..."

On a most sad note, we lost our 17 yr old domestic horse a few weeks ago. Leroy came from Santa Fe, and we rescued him after he had spent a life in hard service in a working cowboy's string of horses. He hadn't been well cared for. He helped Excy round up the 'wild ones' for a few years, but when a stallion challenged him, he apparently decided he was getting too old for the work, and so he was retired to the corral where he lived with our two adopted mustangs and they all were close friends. Apparently he got kicked hard in the upper shoulder during some rough-housing. The vet confirmed the leg wasn't broken, and so for a week he was dosed, and since he couldn't walk or move to keep the flies off we aimed a fan into his space. Excy checked on him every few hours. Towards the end of the week he seemed to be a bit more comfortable, but by the time he was checked on and we watched a movie, he had fallen and died, and rigor mortis had set in. The vet said it was probably the pain and shock of the fall that killed him. It took Excy and a helpful neighbor 8 hours to get him out of the corral and down a hill and buried the following day. The two boys in the corral seem to be better now but they sure missed him at first.

This has been a sad year....not just with the loss of human loved ones, but with the loss of two beloved cats, one raccoon, Francis the Fox and her family MIA, and now the horse...I am hoping that's all...

8 comments:

Ms. A said...

What? What happened to Francis the fox... did I miss something, or is my brain worse than I thought?

So sorry for the loss of Leroy.

Belle said...

I am sorry about your losses. But it is lovely to read about the turtle, chipmunk, woodpeckers and racoons. What lovely stories!

Roan said...

I loved the turtle story. It is almost as sad to lose animals as it is our loved ones. It has been a sad few months here. I'm hoping we've seen the end of sadness for a while.

e said...

It is hard to lose the unconditional love of pets and animal friends. I hope the rest of the year is good for you.

Traci said...

Animals are as fascinating as humans are. So fun to watch. And you wouldn't be human if you didn't get attached, especially since they've been a part of your life (loved ones included.)

Peruby said...

Well no wonder you had some depression. That is a lot to deal with in one year. I am very sorry for your loss but glad you shared with us.

Lois said...

It has been quite a year for us as well, hoping it one can wind down gently, with some compassion. We have a family of possums that wander through our urban garden at night, and giant raccoons.

Retired English Teacher said...

I also wondered what happened to the fox. I'm sorry to hear about the horse. How heartbreaking.