jmgoyder

wings and things

Gutsy 9 – my fantastic bird-in-hand

For those who don’t know, G9 is a peachick who, for some reason (maybe because she was half blue/half white) was abandoned by whoever hatched her. I caught her as she was scuttling, terrified, into the old dairy and pretty much raised her with the hands of Ants and Ming.

IMG_1766
IMG_1732

Today, I decided that I would come home earlier than usual from the nursing home. I told Ants I had to go and feed the birds and dogs, and then said I would see him later.

Ants: You won’t come back.
Me: What do you mean? I always come back!
Ants: Not, yes, what car?
Me: Our car, silly!
Ants: How many calves? I need those people for the fireplace
Me: Only ten left to feed. Ming will do it. I know who you mean for the fireplace.
Ants: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, should we ring tomorrow?
Ants: You do it – something is wrong with me.

When I got home, I went straight out to find Gutsy and, as usual, she was waiting for me:

I’d like a word, Julie

IMG_3807

IMG_3808
You’re always out and about and I feel ….

IMG_3809
Oh I think I’m going to cry – how embarrassing!

G9!

23 Comments »

Five seconds

Today, I experienced, for the first time, five seconds of what I always knew was inevitable. For five seconds (and I know it was exactly five seconds because I kissed Anthony five times – three on the nose and two on the forehead – all in quick succession, to remind him….)

Ants!
It’s me – Jules!
Ants!

A syllable for each peck of a second.

This is the first time Anthony hasn’t recognized me and, even though it was only five seconds, it is good to have had that little taste of forewarning/arming because I still have time to develop some tactics and hopefully some wisdom.

When I told my mother about the five seconds of unrecognition (yes, ‘unrecognition’ is a word – I checked) she squeezed my hand but I quickly reassured her that I was fine with this first of what will be many unrecognitions. (It’s kind of weird being comforted by your 79-year-old mother about your 78-year-old husband!)

In what I think will be the near future, the challenge for me will be in how to reassure Anthony that I am indeed Jules, his wife, without embarrassing him. I know this because lately he asks a lot for his mother and many others of his family who are now deceased. Sometimes I say they are all well but very busy but sometimes (for example if he is distressed, as he was for his mother again the other night), I will gently remind him that she is gone.

I was thrilled today to have a conversation with a friend of mine, Ann, who now works as a clinical instructor at the nursing home (she and I both left our jobs at the university at around the same time). Ann told me that she has been showing all staff, including domestic staff, a DVD about Parkinson’s disease that explains, among other things, why someone with PD can sometimes walk, and other times be totally unable in which case encouraging words are useless. Interestingly, the DVD also explains why a person with PD may not respond to a greeting, and therefore appear to be unfriendly. Ann told me that she pointed out to the staff that people with PD need time to process the greeting and should, instead of rushing past with a “Hi Anthony!” and disappearing, wait for his response.

After all, it only takes around five seconds for Anthony to say “hi” back.

On the other hand it only took one second for Anthony to say “Rubbish! Throw it out the window” about the cupcakes I made for him last week!

The kiss Yes, I know I’ve posted this photo before but I love it!

27 Comments »

Simulating home

photo (1)

As you can see we are still experiencing a wintry spring after its false start last week. The weather alerts for Western Australia are a bit alarming with winds of up to 100 kph so I came home a bit early from the nursing home yesterday.

I have begun to arrive at the nursing home by 11am most days now because, with the volunteering, I need plenty of time to wear both ‘hats’. It is working out so well but more about that in another post.

Over the two and a half years since Anthony entered the nursing home, his room has become as close as I can get it to our real home: freshly picked flowers (although I never did this when Anthony lived at home – he did!); daily food treats on plates and a cutting board I keep there; familiar shows on television via the DVD; a well-stocked bar and our own glassware and so on.

photo (4)

photo (6)

And (my latest idea!) Ming’s 2.5 kg weights. I didn’t expect Anthony to be quite so enthusiastic about this but I was wrong – he did around 20 for each arm with me cheering him on and cracking up laughing at the same time!

weights

weights 2

Despite my intention to take Jack, our Irish terrier, in to see Ants, I couldn’t find either his leash or collar that day so I will probably take Blaze instead for the time being.

photo (2)

Even I am beginning to feel more at home at the nursing home than I am at home, which is really weird! Well, at the moment, it is a lot warmer there.

25 Comments »

The littlest peachick

Yesterday morning, just outside the back door, you took bread from my hand for the first time,
even though you are the littlest peachick.
Surrounded by your peacock father and his brothers, surrounded by your peahen mother and her sisters,’
you raced all of them and won each piece of bread I tossed onto the ground,
even though you are the littlest peachick.

Your big sister didn’t stand a chance and you gobbled all of her bread bits until I gently brushed you aside,
littlest peachick.

This morning, just outside the back door, I saw you again, but this time you were all alone.
I thought you were a pile of leaves blown together by the wind,
until I saw your little legs pointing upwards like the bare, autumn branches of a bonsai.
I went outside and approached you cautiously, not wanting to see what I already saw, that you were very dead,
my littlest peachick.

Your mother, big sister, and all of the others, came over very quietly to look at your dead body.
Then, just as quietly, they all stepped back, turned around and went away,
my littlest peachick.

IMG_3666

This morning, the farm is strangely silent. Your family, usually so noisy and boisterous, has withdrawn from the vicinity of your death.
Out in the paddock, they nibble halfheartedly at the grass, looking up and around frequently, as if sensing danger, bewildered, as I am,
at your mysterious death,
our littlest peachick.

I see you now, from the corner of my heart’s eye,
high up in a tree that is so beautiful that it has no name.
You are no longer little; you are huge and your rainbow wings span the sky as you fly in and through the marshmallow clouds
of where you are now.

The littlest peachick.

34 Comments »

The Land of Blah

For several days now I have been in and out of the Land of Blah – you know, that place where, even when you stub your toe badly, you can’t be bothered saying ‘ouch’. It’s a funny sort of place, this Land of Blah, but not in a way that makes anyone smile; smiling is kind of frowned on here because it depletes energy and you need energy to get out of the Land of Blah.

I never choose to visit the Land of Blah but sometimes I accidentally wake up there (nightmares can do this), or else I am sitting with Anthony in his room in the nursing home and I am transported into the surreality of his confusion so much so that his blank expression becomes mine.

Sometimes I meet people I know in the Land of Blah and it shocks me. ‘What are you doing here?’ I feel like asking them but of course I don’t because it is a place of such silent mystery and private misery – a paradoxical place of in-between.

I don’t like it in the Land of Blah so I usually manage to clamber out and up into my normal life. And this is what I see: a beautiful peacock family.

IMG_3532

IMG_3557

IMG_3560

IMG_3712

IMG_3716

IMG_3709

Robyn's photo

And the Land of Blah once again recedes into its own grey nothingness.

68 Comments »

The wild birds!

We have a lot of crows, parrots, doves, magpies, willy wagtails, wrens, and other wild birds, who hang around a lot more then they used to here. This is obviously due to the overabundance of wheat (which is what I give all of the peafowl, guinnea fowl, and the gang).

This afternoon I decided to sit down and watch quietly as the wild birds fluttered and tiptoed into the tame birds’ little sanctuary. Tomorrow I plan to take better photos but here are a couple of Gutsy9 sharing a bowl of wheat with two crested pigeons.

IMG_3683

IMG_3689

(I actually thought these guys were doves until I googled their description. I feel really knowledgeable now.)

38 Comments »

The peachicks have chosen a new bedtime tree

Queenie’s chicks have become incredibly assertive. They take the food out of her mouth, fly at her aggressively if she is in the wheat bowl, and now they even choose the bedtime tree. Last night they decided to move to another tree while poor Queenie waited in the original bedtime tree. These two peachicks are absolute brats!

IMG_3603

IMG_3604

IMG_3608

IMG_3611

But Queenie doesn’t mind.

23 Comments »

Pool party

Late yesterday afternoon, I sat outside to watch, feed and water the birds. As usual, Gutsy9 joined me at the picnic table and stretched her neck out for me to stroke and when I stopped, she either bit my toes or gave me the cold shoulder.

IMG_3448

IMG_3499

IMG_3445

G9 is a bit jealous of the new peachicks which is probably why she has suddenly become all lovey-dovey again (she went through that teenage aloof thing a while ago). As soon as she hears the back door open, and my voice, she rushes at me making the little chirpy noises she used to make when she was a baby.

For those who don’t know, I discovered G9 outside over a year ago, obviously abandoned by whoever her mother was, so I raised her myself. During her first day with me, I had to meet friends for lunch so I took her with me, hidden inside my shirt and, for the next few weeks, she spent most of her time either on my shoulder, or on the keyboard of this laptop, or in a canary cage with the door open. I took her to the nursing home to see Anthony, took her to my mother’s house for Christmas, took her to the vet when she got underneath my office chair and I accidentally injured her toe, then, eventually, took her outside to integrate with her kin.

IMG_1747

IMG_1753

IMG_1772

To begin with, the other peas treated her like an alien because she was so humanized! But over the last year, she has actually become a bit of a leader, especially in the bread-stakes. I only have to open a packet of bread and she hears the rustle of plastic and zooms straight to the back door, sometimes crashing into the window, with all the others following, hoping for bread.

But now, with Queenie and the new peachicks, G9 seems to have become a little insecure, and very needy of me, almost as if she is nostalgic for our mother/baby months. It’s hilarious! She watches me watching them and pecks me quite violently sometimes.

IMG_3453

IMG_3464

Oh yes, the pool party. The following photos are of what must have been a committee meeting but it did kind of look like a pool party.

IMG_3465

IMG_3466

IMG_3467

IMG_3468

They all chatted for about an hour and the conversation seemed quite serious. I think it was about protecting the new peachicks but I’m not sure. G9 sat with me and watched rather jealously, so I snuck her a bit of bread from my pocket.

30 Comments »

Bed-time magic: how a peahen puts her chicks to bed

IMG_3403

IMG_3405

IMG_3407

IMG_3408

IMG_3412

IMG_3414

IMG_3416

IMG_3423

18 Comments »

The smile

Not quite sure how a light-hearted bird blog transmogrified into Julie’s gutspill but I am hoping to turn that around again soon. Tomorrow is Ming’s second court hearing so I guess I am a little bit anxious because I have just found out that this is when he will plead guilty. Apparently there is no risk that he will be whisked off to jail tomorrow so that is good and I am no longer sure what the hell I am crying about any more. Sad and happy tears look exactly the same, so it’s confusing.

Queenie camouflages the chicks so well that they are almost invisible to predators. I wish I could do this for Ming but he is a little too big and obvious!

IMG_3357

Yesterday afternoon I took two beers into the nursing home and Anthony and I had a drink together (the way we always used to at home). I apologised for my melodrama yesterday and he just said ‘Any time, Jules – I know you.’ Mmmm!

Then we had a rather weird but lovely interchange:

Ants: I just want you to come home.
Me: You mean here?
Ants: Yes, here – Bythorne.
Me: We’re not at Bythorne now, Ants, we’re at Wattle Hill Lodge.
Ants (trying not to look confused): That’s right.
Me (trying not to notice his confusion): Exactly – this is our second home.
Ants: So why are you leaving?
Me: Because I have to take dinner home to Ming.
Ants (hallucinating): Is that Ming there in the corner?
Me: No – he’s at Bythorne.
Ants: So where are we now?
Me: Wattle Hill.
Ants: So where is home?

At this point, I felt a bit lost, so I knelt down in front of him and threw my arms around him and said (rather profoundly I think now haha!) “Wherever you are, Ants, that is my home.”

And I finally got a bloody smile!

46 Comments »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,619 other followers