wings and things

Learning about loss

This morning Ming had to put our beautiful Malay rooster out of its misery because it had been injured by one of our dogs who somehow got to him despite pen arrangements.

Malay was one of the chicks that hatched here under a shed and grew up to be majestic, proud and confident. He was able to fly up into a tree if he sensed danger. He must have been taken by surprise and I feel a sense of devastation and guilt.

Blaze (miniature dachschund) and Jack (Irish terrier) have never attempted to kill any of the peafowl or guinnea fowl, or even the geese. They go for the chooks, so I have decided that it is too risky to have chooks anymore. The wild foxes get them too despite all my protective methods (fox lights, sturdy yards etc.)

I am learning a lot about loss lately.


The excursion

This morning, the nursing lodge bus came out at 10am with ‘the men’s group’. It was a great success!

Staff, residents and volunteers

Morning tea

Godfrey’s gang did their contortionist act but were outshone by an impromptu perfomance by the turkeys

Anthony and me


Love story 110 – Inseparable

Less than two years ago it was unthinkable that the day would come where Anthony would have to go into a nursing lodge. I vividly remember making a secret appointment with our doctor to discuss his deterioration and, after arranging Silver Chain respite help that day, Ming and I went into town. During the conversation with the doctor, he mentioned the inevitability of nursing home care and Ming, nearly crying, said, “No, we will never put Dad into care.” The doctor gently said to him, “You don’t know what is coming.”

And we didn’t. All three of us could never have predicted how bad it would get – hallucinations, immobility, stroke-like episodes, falls, loss of hand/eye coordination, confusion, nightmare horrors, sleepless nights, sleep-filled days, loss of appetite, subsequent dramatic weight loss, confusion, cognitive problems, ablutionary problems … and the list goes on. Ming transformed from a devoted son to an intolerant son and I transformed from a devoted wife to a physical and mental wreck. But I only see that now – in hindsight.

The things I wish:

  • that I had stopped asking Ming to do occasional ‘night shifts’ with Ants while Ming was still at school;
  • that I had discussed nursing home/lodge possibilities with Ants earlier (he was assessed as a candidate for ‘high care’ over four years ago); and
  • that I had broached the subject of death with both of them earlier.

Bubble and Baby Turkey are inseparable but I think this is because, initially, there were four Bubbles and four Baby Turkeys and (except for these two) the foxes got all of them when they were littler despite my vigilance.

Ants, Ming and I were inseparable too until Parkinson’s disease began to steal pieces of our jigsaw. Ming took a few leftover pieces, went into his room and shut the door; I tried to find some of the pieces of a blue sky, but they all looked the same; and Ants never liked jigsaws in the first place.

This photo was taken a few years ago when we were inseparable.


I am not a vulture

Bubble: My feelings are a bit hurt, Julie.

Me: Why, Bubble?

Bubble: Well, Ming’s friend said I looked like a vulture.

Me: Oh Bubble, don’t worry about that. You don’t look anything like a vulture; you look like a turkey.

Bubble: Are you sure, Julie?

Me: Of course I am, Bubble. You are much too kind to be a vulture.

Bubble: Thanks, Julie. That’s a great relief because I am not a vulture.


Marching orders and mutiny


Bubble (whispering): Baby Turkey, I have a plan. We’ll humour the old grouch for a few minutes and then we’ll pounce.

Baby Turkey: What does ‘pounce’ mean?

Bubble: You’ll see.

Gang: Oh no – not again!

Geese: Since when did Daffy lead the way?

Daffy: I’m the one most terrified of Godfrey.

Godfrey: That’s it – Hup, two three four, hup, two, three, four! Come on, turkeys, keep up!

Bubble: You grab his wings and I’ll peck his eyes out.

Baby Turkey: Oh, is that what you meant by ‘pounce’? Yes – let’s do it!


A turkey called ‘Bubble’

Yes, I am over-posting, sorry. I am wide awake with anxiety for a friend who has been in a car accident and for the people in Colorado. I don’t know what to say about any of this so I revert to talking turkey trivia….

In the forefront, you can see Bubble approaching me for a hug.

Now, Bubble is right next to me on the table, looking very huggable.

Bubble was rather cute when he was little.

It was Anthony who wanted turkeys and here is a picture of our first Bubble who didn’t survive. And, a few months later, Anthony began living in the nursing lodge.


Afternoon antics


The wonderful incongruence of friendship

Odd friendships (Emery 2 and Baby Turkey)

Intimidating friendships (Bubble 1 and Uluru)

Alliance friendships (Tapper and one of the guinneas)

Fashion friendships (Tina Turner and Phoenix 1)

Uneasy friendships (Queenie and Phoenix 1)

Terrifying friendships (Doc with the two Bubbles)

Supervised friendships (The Bubbles, Baby Turkey and Jack)

Childhood friendships (Zaruma 1 and Bubble 1)

Avocado tree friendships (Phoenix 1 and King)


‘What about me?’

Bubble: It’s not fair. She always forgets about me and I was here long before that show-off, Baby Turkey.

Zaruma: I hear you, bro – I was hurt to be left out of that ‘I thought this was a bird blog’ post too. Julie seems to have forgotten that we were here first.

Bubble: Well, not technically, Zaruma. Perhaps I should have told you this earlier but you and I are actually named after the original Bubble and Zaruma.

Zaruma: Yeah, I’ve heard about those guys.

Bubble: They were heroes.

Zaruma: What happened to them?

Bubble: It was terrible. The first Bubble got bitten by that rotten dog and the first Zaruma died in his sleep. Julie and Ming cried and cried.

Zaruma: Wow, I didn’t know.

Bubble: There’s a lot you don’t know.


‘I thought this was a bird blog!’

Angelina: It’s a bird blog primarily, of course, but Julie keeps going off topic.

Queenie: I’ve noticed that. She keeps blogging about silly old men!

King: Like me?

Queenie: Darling, never – your tail feathers will grow back soon!

Baby Turkey: I have now held this pose for several hours but Julie still hasn’t noticed!

Diamond: Me too.

Guinneas: I’m sure she’ll get back on topic soon. We always do.

Phoenix 1: She hasn’t taken much notice of me lately either, which is a bit hurtful.

Godfrey: I suggest we all start biting her. Watch and learn.

Emery 2: Noooooooooooooo!

Tina Turner: Yes – Godfrey is right!