Monday, June 15, 2009

Furry Friends

The Gopher Wars still continue, though I think the gophers are winning right now. They have gotten several roses, geraniums, gazania clusters... We have not gotten a single gopher. Meanwhile, there are other battles with other critters: the little furry something chewing through the walls of Oak House in the back where the McCs live; the deer sisters who are coming into the pasture now that the horses are gone (more about that in a moment); the Terrible Seven chicken thugs tearing up the vegetable gardens, compost heap and anything else that catches their attention, the blue jays that eat the handful of cherries before we can get to them... We don't do anything about the big cats in heat, obviously (though it is one of the worst sounds ever -- like children being killed!) nor do I do anything about the lizards that keep eating my strawberries. Spiders and snakes, we like and leave alone. Best of all, the bats have found a new home, it seems.

Win some, lose some. Nature has a way of keeping you grounded. (No pun intended.)

Speaking of losing... We are losing some good friends from our valley.

Horse Girl (and her mom) who used to live on this ranch moved deeper into the valley last year, but they had kept their horses here. Now, Horse Girl's graduated from high school, spending the summer in Iceland with her father's family, then off to college in San Francisco in the fall. With all these changes, Mom decided to move to Lassen County. Her animals have already been sent to their new ranch, while Girl's horse, Miracle, is up for sale.

"It's not a good time to sell any horse," Mom complained several weeks ago when Miracle was still here. She was penned up in a tiny corral and we had been wondering what was up. "But that one has an eating disorder! She can't stop eating and now she's five hundred pounds overweight!"
"FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS!?" We laughed.
"Yeah, so we have her on a special diet of nasty pellets."
"Must be torture to be surrounded by all that yummy looking grass. If it were me, I'd risk possible electrocution on the fence to get at it." What's a little shock for a tasty treat?

But then, again, I'm BAD Dog. Good Girl Miracle hung in there and a few weeks later, she was back down to her old hefty self. But as of last week, still no takers.

"We found a farm for her. It's a farm for Haflingers," Mom mentioned to us the other day. "Guess it's our last resort if we can't sell her. She'll be happy there, surrounded by other Haflingers..."

We imagined something between a retirement farm and a half-way house for Overeaters Anonymous types.

Horse Girl and Mom still have a couple of weeks before they leave this valley for good, but they've taken Miracle to their place until then. I miss her and the way she'd nudge into me for another apple. I miss Mom's brown horse, the goofy Tanzer who would dance with me in the pasture, Pooka the Chihuahua who got eaten by a Big Cat, butt-wagging Magique, big fluffy (and sometimes dreadlocked) Patches and the rather scruffy Scruffy. And I'll miss Horse Girl who is off to a Big World with Big Adventures and Mom, the Natural Born Caregiver.

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