jmgoyder

wings and things

Am I allowed to eat these?

It has been a thrill to watch our two miniature dachschunds, Doc, and his son, Blaze, gradually get used to the domesticated birds here. One of the things that has helped, of course, is that the peafowl, guinnea fowl, geese, turkey, ducks and chooks, are all bigger than the dogs now. Even our one remaining pheasant is around the same size!

When these birds were smaller, it was far too dangerous to let the dogs anywhere near them. Now that they are not only outnumbered but also dwarfed, they have lost their bird-hunting confidence, which is a great relief. Before, when they gave chase, there was no stopping them and we lost one young peacock, one young turkey, one young chicken and a pheasant that way. So, for the months it has taken for the birds to grow big, Doc and Blaze have been confined to one yard while the birds are free-ranging, and vice versa – not an ideal situation at all. It’s lovely now because they even seem to understand that it is okay to kill the wild rabbits (of which there are hundreds!) but not okay to kill the birds.

So the mingling together has well and truly begun and, as long as I am there to supervise this extraordinary reconciliation between the hunters and the hunted, things remain calm. The main thing Doc and Blaze now growl at each other about (they do this a lot!) is the feathers that are everywhere. Now I’m sure they don’t want to eat the feathers because it would be a bit like eating salt and pepper without the steak, but they do like to sniff and lick them – go figure!

They even do this hesitantly! Especially if they know I am watching – ha!

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Back to zero

All of the garden is strewn with feathers shed by the birds, so much so that it resembles a Canadian autumn and/or a snow storm. Beautiful, yes. Messy, yes. A milliner’s paradise, yes!

I keep on losing that feather in my cap – actually I keep losing the cap itself! I’m sure I’ll find both of them tomorrow and, in doing so, find my way back to Husband and Son in a way that replaces sadness with joy.

Zero seems a good place to start.

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Pink and grey galahs

A few posts ago I mentioned there were more wild birds here than ever before. Apart from the fact that there is birdseed and wheat grain everywhere, I think this is mainly to do with the fact that birds attract birds! Two of our white peacocks made friends with some of them.

Here are some pictures to prove that, yes, we now have at least two (maybe six) pink and grey galahs. For those of you who are either birders or photographers, I can’t lay claim to either of these titles yet. In other words, the photos of the beautiful birds are really crappy! You will need your binoculars for the second one!

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The gentle little army of guinnea fowl

Every evening towards dusk, the guinnea fowl all march, like a funny little disorganized army, from the back paddock into the garden. Yesterday, I was sitting at one of the picnic tables relaxing, after putting the gang away for the night, and I took some photos of them coming towards me. Unlike all of the other birds they are reluctant to take bread or lettuce from my hand; they’re far too shy. So they sometimes run right up to me but when I say, “Hi Guinneas” they get scared and run away again, or else get all confused. Once again, I will let the pictures speak for themselves! Oh, and the birds in the background are the peacocks/peafowl.

Of all our birds, the guinnea fowl are Husband’s absolute favourites!

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The elusive duck

Tapper (the duck who all the other ducks and geese adore and want to ‘marry’) keeps disappearing and then – as I mentioned in the previous post – mysteriously reappearing. I never see her anymore during the day but she always comes back at dusk. She waits until all of the gang are yarded and then she takes to the little pond like a duck to water (sorry I couldn’t help saying that!)

I can’t lock Tapper in the yard any longer because she flies out straight away. Well, that’s what I thought until I saw her actually climb out the other evening. She uses her wings for liftoff, but it is her massive webbed feet that get her over the fence. It’s like watching gravity reversed and very funny. So far she has been too quick for me to get a photo. I certainly didn’t know ducks could climb – but maybe she is just multi-talented!

Anyway, one of the Bubbles has lately taken to watching out for her. After all, they were raised in the same box in the kitchen so they’re a bit like siblings. The Bubble pictured below seems most concerned not to let Tapper wander off again but the trouble is Tapper is getting really sick of this. I will let the pictures tell the story:

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The waterbabies!

Yesterday I accidentally flooded a corner of the emu yard. I’d left the hose running in one of their troughs and gone off searching for Tapper (the duck who keeps disappearing and returning from nowhere). When I came back, this is what I found!

The Emerys were in a state of absolute bliss!

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Funnier stuff

With my camera charged and working, I took a lot of pictures this afternoon but this is my very favourite, because it shows the fledgling relationship between Doc and the Bubbles. I think compatibility is about to happen – yeeha!

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0.1%

Last night, I couldn’t sleep which is unusual for me. Husband was back at the nursing lodge and Son had gone (first time since surgery), to a friend’s place for the night. He took Husband’s 18th birthday present with him – a bottle of Bacardi – but we won’t go there!

I wasn’t lonely, because I love being alone; and I wasn’t scared of the dark or the wind, but I just couldn’t stop my mind galloping. So I turned the light on and finished reading a book called Waterlemon (no, that’s not a typo) by Ruth Ritchie in which she describes her journey through the ordeal of her husband’s bicycle accident, subsequent brain injury and recovery.

What struck me most about this story was not her courage in dealing with the events (with two small children and two ‘step-children’), or her courage in supporting her lovely husband throughout the long days, weeks and months of his convalescence and homecoming, but her courage in actually naming the family members who were unsupportive. I mean she actually named these people, all of whom were from her husband’s family.

As I was reading, I started to get a bit worried about how open she was in her slicingly angry, but accurate, descriptions of these people. I wondered if they might be hurt to read about themselves portrayed in such a manner. After all, all stories have two or more sides, don’t they?

But, because Ruth used transcripts from real telephone conversation and emails, I realized her story was legitimate; not only that, once her husband recovered enought to come home again, he obviously didn’t object to the book being submitted for publication, despite his ‘family’ being so exposed.

So, yeah, this has really got me thinking about how, despite my honesty in this blog, I have been, unlike Ruth, pretty lax in mentioning the amazing 99.9% of Husband’s family, and his fantastic old and new friends, and my own family, who have given him/us support, love, assistance and so on. But I have also been pretty wimpy in not mentioning the 0.1% of his family who have, over many years now, broken his heart over and over again in ways that I cannot even bear to express.

The beautiful thing is this: I finally unwimped myself and banished that 0.1% from our lives and wondered why on earth I hadn’t done this earlier, years ago. It’s actually not that hard to say “go away!” Godfrey does it all the time!

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The birds who love to be photographed

Okay so the camera has been found, its battery charged and Son just helped me put both together with a muttered, “You have evolved from a caveman into a caveman.” I didn’t think that was very kind and, when he took the battery out of the camera and told me to try again all by myself, (looking at me as if he were a headmaster in a Harry Potter movie) I did it all correctly and he gave me a gold star kiss on my nervously perspiring forehead. “There is hope,” he said, leaving the scene.

And speaking of scenes, where are all the wild birds I saw yesterday? Gone. Well, not gone actually, as I know they’ll be back but why can’t they be here now when my camera is ready?

Then, I suddenly realized what I could do. I could photograph the birds I purchased from doudou, who is not only a great blog friend, but who made the emus especially for me!

http://doudoubirds.com/

They arrived yesterday in a big box and Son, Husband and I gradually unwrapped them all (it felt like Christmas!)

So this is a picture of Emerys 1, 2 and 3 (uncannily like the real ones when they were smaller), and the next one is of a pink and grey galah (the real ones are nowhere to be seen today!) and a bluejay, which reminds me of my five years in Canada as a child. We don’t have bluejays in Australia, so it is lovely to see the galah and bluejay getting on so well!

It is refreshing to be able to photograph such cooperative birds and even Son thinks these pics are “okay”!

Thanks, doudou!

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Believing in birds you can’t see

There are all these new birds here – I counted over six pink-and-grey galahs yesterday, a multitude of blue wrens, some wild ducks, and more crows and magpies (which I took for granted before) than I have ever seen before. It’s becoming a wonderland of domesticated and wild birds living in relative harmony, and even our three dogs are okay with things. Now that is a small miracle!

The title of this post is not me trying to be profound; it’s me unable to find my camera – arghh………….

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