Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spring Rock Roll Call Part 2

OK, If you've all managed to recover from yesterday's marathon pet and family list, here are the rest of the Spring Rock inhabitants.

Miette,Horton, Ebony and Jocie (Miette is whispering, "I am the boss" in Jocie's ear.

The Ferrets.
If you stick with my blog long enough these little characters will feature strongly in coming stories:
Theodore - (deceased) ancient ferret and partner of
Isabella - (deceased) female ferret and gorgeous person
Miette (nee Twinkle) - pint sized female ferret and prima donna. Miette intends to rule the world and I'm not betting she won't. Miette doesn't realise that a seven year old ferret is considered very old and likely to expire any minute. Miette is eight and a half. I'm trying to keep her from finding out that she's really very ancient.
Albus (nee Umina) (deceased) - giant albino ferret and friend of Miette (Twinkle and Umina were names given to them by the NSW Ferret Welfare Society- yep there is a NSW Ferret Welfare Society- I'm not kidding!!)
Ebony - Beautiful sable ferret who lives by the peace among all (except for St Bernards) policy. Spends more time sleeping than anything else.
Horton - Large white ferret. Ebony's friend. Both came from The Ferret Welfare Society to keep Miette company when Albus died.
Jocie - young sable ferret who makes a tornado look slow. Jocie belonged to Erin and Troy, friends of Justin who have since moved to Queensland.

Shadow (deceased) - Australian Silky rescued by my kids and me from a shopping centre when we lived near Camden and 4 weeks later presented us with 9 pups to show her appreciation. Shadow lived to a minimum of 18 years old and spent her latter years partly deaf with cattaracts, she settled into a comfortable, grumpy old age and ruled the back porch and much larger dogs with an iron paw.
Apollo - (deceased) Maremma and dedicated to guarding the toilet in the laundry
Robbie - (deceased) his mate
Penny - 10, daughter of Apollo and Robbie (deceased). Neurotic Maremma and guardian of the sheep Digger - (deceased) Kelpie type almost useful sheep dog.
Dione - daughter of Tiger and Trixie (both deceased) Kelpie type and totally useless sheep dog

Billy & Shadow
A very unflattering photo of Shadow, but the only one I can find. Taking photos of Shadow was just about impossible unless you wanted one of her nose pressed against the camera lens.

Juno - sister of Dione and equally useless and neurotic to boot!
Billy modelling his bib and ready to come inside now.

Billy - St Bernard. A failed show dog who was expected to win championships with one small flaw - he hates going to shows. When taken to shows Billy would respond by impersonating a depressed and unloved St Bernard and refused to smile at the judges thus failing win any sort of prize at all. So he came to live here and now has a wonderful life terrorising the cats, befriending Shadow whether she likes it or not and helping me up after he's knocked me over.
Chasca & Chocha - Axolotyls. I took pity on Bec and her over stuffed fish tank and offered to share custody, but only two!!! I had to get these two past Graeme who has mild stress attacks when counting heads amongst the pets and coming up with a bigger number than he was expecting (it happens all too often for Graeme's peace of mind)

Poultry of Various Descriptions
Russell Crow - (deceased) White rooster who lived in the garden.
Harley - (deceased) one of Justin's roosters who lived with us on Razorback and came with us when we moved to Spring Rock even though it appeared to be bad for his health.
Feather Duster - Red rooster hatched by Justin as an Agriculture assignment. Lives in the chook pen with chooks, named that way to remind him that he could soon be put to another use if he didn't improve his attitude. Recognises this as an empty threat. Very bad disposition which has greatly improved with age much to the girls' relief.
Various brown hens known as The Girls - harem of Feather.
Pepper a small black Chinese Silky who adores Feather Duster.
Bob (deceased) a Poultry factory refugee who had serious identity problems throughout his life and had an unrequited love affair with a bantam frilly hen.
Jemima (deceased) - female duck given to me to spark an appropriate love affair with Bob and distract him from the chooks. A firm friendship only began to blossom just before Jemima was bitten by a snake.
TD (short for That Duck) (Deceased) - purchased to (unsuccessfully ) be Bob's new friend. TD also lied about his sex (pretended to be female so he could leave the School Ag. plot and come and live with us)
TOD (short for That Other Duck) (deceased) - Christmas gift 2001 as a new friend and mate for TD. Took this role seriously even though TD turned out to be a male - the less said about that episode the better!

Rams of Note
Stumpy (deceased) - White Suffolk ram and all round beautiful person. Main purpose in life was to eat everything that didn't move - the girls came second.
Dinoysisus - Suffolk ram - Very friendly ram who forgets he's not a pet and embarrasses us regularly by coming up for a chat and a pat when we are trying to impress ram buying customers.
Allen the Suffolk ram and Adonis, Wally and Arnie - White Suffolk rams, but lacking in personality.
Farrer - White Suffolk ram with loads of personality (possibly too much actually), who believes he was put on earth to build a bond between humans and sheep. Drafting rams with Farrer in the mix is fraught with difficulty.
A number of vasectomised rams - no I'm not kidding we really did take them to the vet for vasectomies - it has to do with getting the girls in the mood for the A Team (our un-vasectomised rams).
Approximately 400 - 500 unnamed ewes and lambs. I reserve the right to mention any one of these in particular and expecting you to know which one I mean. I suggest that should a sheep be mentioned by number (i.e. ear tag number) you just nod wisely and say, "Oh yes, I know the one you mean."
So there you are. A relatively complete cast of characters. I hope it isn't all to confusing for you. Many friends have had to go and have a good lie down to cure an aching head after being exposed to the list of my pets on mass. You might like to do the same just to be on the safe side.

Spring Rock Roll Call Part 1

Del has asked for a roll call of all the Spring Rock pets and photos. So I thought I'd include the humans who will appear at some stage in my stories and then start from the beginning at that little flat in Cabramatta when Graeme was so young and innocent and didn't realise that his hither to pet free life was about to change to drastically and forever. I've included photos of the present day animals, taken in the days of digital cameras. The earlier pets photos are small and blurry (I lacke photography skills in a big way). I'll dig some out one day and post them for you to see.

This is a very long list so I am going to post half today and half tomorrow. Still, go get yourself a cup of tea or coffee and be prepared to lose quite a bit of your day.

Graeme - Husband of 35 years and pet tolerater (that's the best he can do), except for ferrets, a species he's totally against.

Rosemary - Me!!! Pet lover supreme and the cause of Graeme's sufferings (well pet-wise anyway)

Rebecca (aka Bec) - Oldest child and only daughter. Fellow ferret owner. Bec is another pet lover and once distiguished herself by hatching and caring for 20 baby axolotlys even though she knew they'd be trouble. Following in her mother's footsteps Bec bought two Axolotyls as pets for her Kindergarten class. The Axolotyls became very friendly and millions of eggs resulted. Bec, who has far too many of her mother's genes couldn't leave them to die so spent a fortune on providing them just the right environment resulting in about 20 viable Axolotyl babies all in need of constant attention and feeding.

Grant - son in law and Graeme sympathiser. Also anti-ferret.

Michael(aged 4), Ethan (aged 2) and Liam (aged 5 weeks) -grandsons of mine and sons of Bec and Grant

Joshua -second child and elder son. Computer wiz and master tinkerer. It's Josh's fault that I own ferrets, but I've been careful not to point this out to Graeme.

Frances - the world's best daughter in law. Frances has been brainwashed by me and is now a quiter just like her mother in law.

Hannah (aged 5), Erin aged (4) and Claire (aged 1). Also brainwashed from a very early age and love to sew. (My grandchildren tally balances nicely doesn't it?)

Justin- youngest child and younger son, computer aficionado and Goth. Justin is as yet unmarried but has a new girlfriend, Savannah. Justin is responsible for the presence of a number of neutotic roosters coming into my life at different times. Why Justin specialised in roosters I'll never know.

Savannah - Justin's new girlfriend and a fellow ferret lover. I'm sure Savannah will feature in some of my future stories. My pet adventures tend to suck innocent bystanders in all the time.That's it for the human population.

Now for the pets. This list goes back 35 years remember so there are a lot of deceased pets in the roll call. This is not a complete list of my pets. Just the ones who feature in stories. I promise to update this list from time to time to keep you all abreast of who's who at Spring Rock.

Christie (deceased) - Pinto Pony I took possession of when I was 16 and she was 18 months old. Christie lived to the ripe old age of 36 and enjoyed a rich full life. Christie's favourite foods included bamboo blinds and cups of coffee or chocolate milkshakes.

Mahala - (deceased) Pinto pony (half Arab) and daughter of Christie.

Deci (deceased) - a german shepherd/labrador cross. She was the runt of the litter so of course I chose her. A devoted, concientious dog who spent my early years of motherhood trying to convince me to hand over the baby because she'd do a better job.

Aasta (deceased) - Old English Sheepdog. Gorgeous clown with a general lack of brains. Luckily she had Deci to look after her.

Sapphire, Topaz and Ophelia (deceased) - my cats who came to live with me in the flat. They were joined towards the end of our living in a little flat years by Michaelangelo a street wise tabby who taught these little ladies some very bad manners.

Mum-Puss - ( deceased) a one eyed cat we inherited with the farm. Mum-Puss constantly reminds us that we owe her. She let us move into her home without a protest and has tolerated and even at times welcomed our existence in her world. If only we would do something about ...

Lancelot - son of Mum-Puss and intellectually challenged cat. Lives to eat and currently weighs far too much

Guinevere showing her distain for the photographer

Guinevere - daughter of Mum-Puss and reformed human hater. Now loves to share my toast and marmalade with each morning.

Tristan - young marmalade cat born on my neighbour's property and came to live with me when said neighbour brought him over because I'd told her I love ginger cats. Favourite past-time is hob nobbing with rabbits and coming home with his ears covered in rabbit fleas.

Hedwig - Galah rescued from a disastrous meeting with a grain truck.

Nova Perris Kneebone - A retired racing pigeon who sought political asylum here at Spring Rock after being blown way off course during storm in a long distance race. Her previous owner didn't want to travel the many, many miles from his house to Spring Rock to pick her up and Pigeons being notoriously difficult to post, I opted to keep her here.

Tomorrow I start on the ferrets and dogs. See you then.

Christie & Tiffany - A Love Story

As is the case with most young girls, I spent my days yearning for a horse. Every year birthdays and Christmases came and went without me finding a horse at the end of my bed or under our Christmas tree. The excuses I heard were many and varied, but the one that was dragged out every time was that there was no room in our suburban back yard. Then when I was 16 Christie entered my life. Christie was a Pinto pony, then 18 months old and not yet broken in. We bought her from a friend in Leichhardt (an inner Sydney suburb) where she had virtually no space to move and only a small park up the road for exercise, and moved her to Canley Vale (an outer Sydney suburb) with only a bit more room to move and a vacant block up the road on which to exercise. I broke Christie in myself, with a few minor injuries to my person, a great deal of angst and loads of help from Mrs Shaw, a neighbour well versed in horse lore.

Two years after I married Graeme we moved into a house on an acre of land near Mittagong, specifically bought to accommodate Christie. We were out driving one day when I saw a "Sheep For Sale” sign. Seeing that I had very recently acquired Aasta, an Old English Sheepdog as a friend for Deci our German Shepheard/Labrador pup. It just made sense to me to get a sheep for Aasta to round up. Being reasonably newly married and not yet twigging to the way I could acquire vast numbers of animals – Graeme made no demur and Tiffany came home to stay. When we got home we tethered Tiffany next to Christie in the back yard. We hadn't put up any fences yet and as the weeks rolled by we moved Christie and Tiffany from each eaten out spot to a new lush, grassy spot, while we continued to slowly put up fences.

A month or so after buying Tiffany we happened to put her in a different spot in the yard to where Christie was dining. It wasn’t long before Tiffany began to go down hill. We drenched her for worms and injected her with all sorts of goodies recommended by the vet, but she wouldn't eat. Finally, when Tiffany looked to be on her last legs, we decided to let her off her tether to see if she could find something in the yard to tempt her appetite. Tiffany immediately tottered over to Christie as fast as her weak, skinny little legs could carry her. She parked herself underneath Christie's belly and began to munch grass as if there was no tomorrow. And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Whenever Christie and I went for a ride Tiffany was always waiting at the gate to greet Christie's return.

Someone came through Hill Top one night stealing horses. We woke up in the morning to find that Christie and Tiffany were gone, along with our neighbour's two horses. The gate to Christie’s yard was wide open and her horse blanket was on the ground. Why the horse thieves removed the blanket I don't know (a small streak of honesty maybe?). Graeme and I were inclined to think something was wrong with the scene before us. We couldn't see how anyone but a blind horse thief would take Tiffany as well. I mean surely he/she would have noticed the wool. We looked around our yard and found fresh horse and sheep tracks heading into the bush behind our block, and sure enough, deep in the bush, we found Christie and Tiffany waiting for us to show up. It seems that Christie had simply refused to be stolen and had taken her sheep to a safer location until the coast was clear of horse thieves.

After rescuing the pair Ken, our neighbour borrowed Christie to try and find some trace of his horses which had really been stolen. Tiffany tried to go along too. After the night’s adventures she wasn’t going to let Christie out of her sight. Ken’s wife Lynn and I ended up having to tackle Tiffany to the ground and lock her up so that Christie could travel more than a kilometre (Tiffany's trekking limit) in the search for the lost horses. When Christie returned, Tiffany ran over to greet her baaing little joyful baas only to be met with an irate friend. Christie had a tantrum, grabbed Tiffany by the neck and shook her, while she neighed at the top of her voice. Their first argument. After the initial outburst, things settled down and the friendship didn't seem to suffer at all.

Two years after Christie met Tiffany, Christie was sent to stud to meet a very handsome Arab stallion named Demetri. We told Ray and Sheila, the owners of Demetri, that Tiffany would have to come too or she’d starve to death in the two months it took to be sure that Christie was successfully mated. Sheila gave us a funny look (I'm used to funny looks where my animals are concerned) and agreed. If only we'd known.

Christie was given a roomy stable near the stallion's yard so that there was room for Tiffany too. As Sheila told us later, this was fine by Demetri who lived in the stable next door and had access to the adjacent horse yard shared by both stables. During the third week of Christie’s visit Demetri wandered over and obligingly opened Christie's door then waited for her to come out and play. Christie was tucking into some very tasty hay at the time and nothing, but nothing gets in the way of Christie getting her daily rations. Tiffany on the other hand thought the open door was an invitation to explore new territory. She slipped past the stallion unnoticed and walked under the spacious horse fences to explore the farm and meet new friends. Tiffany eventually arrived at the foals' food trough. This was more like it! A full trough of the most delicious mix a sheep could ask for! Tiffany lost no time in tucking into it.

It was about this time that the fun started. Christie, having finished her meal, looked around for Tiffany (to have a post snack chat I suppose). Tiffany was nowhere to be seen. All Christie saw in place of her best friend was a stallion standing in the doorway with a silly grin on his face (to be honest I added the silly grin bit). Well Christie knew what to think ... this stallion, no longer dignified by being given his name, had obviously done something with her sheep and Christie was inclined to think whatever he’d done wasn't good! She charged out of the stable, grabbed a hunk of Demetri’s neck between her teeth and shook as hard as she could, screaming abuse with every shake and demanding to know what he’d done with her sheep!

Then Demetri, caught off guard, let out a yell as if he was being killed. He was too much of a gentleman to fight back so he limited himself to calling for help to get this mad mare off him. Ray and Sheila heard what sounded like death and carnage among their horses and rushed to the scene. Tiffany, hearing the ruckus too, and always keen to see a fight rushed into the middle of this one ready to come to Christie’s aid should a small woolly duelling second be required. Tiffany arrived at the scene of the battle long before Sheila or Ray by running under all those horse fences again. Tiffany arrived to see her beloved Christie engaged in battle with a stallion and immediately threw herself into the fray in defence of her horse. Tiffany was seriously outclassed in size and kicking action but this didn’t prevent her trying her best to come to Christie’s aid. Unfortunately she was soon kicked in one of her back legs for her troubles and retired, limping to the edge of the yard where she continued to offer support and advice to Christie in the form of anxious sounding baas. Ray eventually pried Christie off Demetri and restored order. The vet was called to look at Tiffany's leg, but no real damage had been done. We heard none of this until we arrived to pick the girls up to take them home. On saying their farewells, Sheila added that while the sheep was always welcome they never wanted to see Christie again!!

This love affair lasted all of Tiffany's life. When Tiffany died at the ripe old age of 12, Christie lost interest in life and almost died too. She stopped eating and just moped around, even though she had her eight-year-old filly, Mahala (daughter of the much maligned Demetri), for company. By constantly drenching Christie with glucose, pestering her on and off all day every day and generally making dying an unattractive option, I managed to convince Christie that life was worth continuing. She’s lived to be a spy 36-year-old pony. Towards the end of her life Christie settled into a happy retirementand wandered around the farm with Mahala. Her only problem was horsy Alzheimer’s. She didn't know any of us any more and ran away if we got too close. Or maybe she was just avoiding me, knowing that when her time finally did arrive, I'd do my best once again to make dying an unattractive option.