Sunday, April 29, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
It was perfect timing, as the woman with the chooks had just had an argument with her husband about having too many chickens. She originally wanted $20 per chook, but when I said I wanted the Reds, she decided I could have the whole pen for $100. She had taken them from an old guy who had to move into the city when his wife died, and was looking after them for his sake, but wasn't really interested in breeding with them.
They are EXACTLY what I wanted, so I am very pleased - a gorgeous plump, solid Bantam, with rich russetty feathers, and black tails with a green sheen. They are a bit shell-shocked to find themselves in a hugely overgrown, full-of-weeds, ex-dog-pen, which is about 4 times the size of their previous home, but they are loving the chance to eat & scratch around in all the greenery as the pen they came from was all dirt.
Wombat thinks they are wonderful, and I would spend all day sitting watching them if I didn't have so many other things on my list... I can't wait until we get nest boxes set up for their eggs! Rosie laid the first egg last night, but she was up on the perch at the time, so it fell on the ground and broke... still, an egg is an egg, and I am very proud of her!
This is the most common view of them I get at the moment! They are starting to make tracks and trails through the long grass, and it won't be long before they overcome their shyness.
I am sure I will get better photos over time, but these will give you a rough idea!
We had to have a chook called Rosie, because Wombat loves the book: Rosie's Walk. You can see Rosie and the chicks behind the tree. The other one on the left, I think is Ruby... more about her later...
Rosie is a real "mother hen". I'm not sure if the three younger chooks we got are all hers (there are two young roosters and one young hen) but she looks after them beautifully, keeping them together and making sure they get enough to eat. On the first night, Yeti was convinced I had only got 7 chooks because he couldn't find number 8 when he went to check them during the night... we worked out that the smallest chook sleeps cuddled up so deep under Rosie's wing that he can't be seen! Rosie and the three chicks tend to form one little group.
Then there is Rufous and his harem. Rufous is a wonderful family man - the girls (and young ones) all hide in the background while he boldly checks out any new situation, and when he is sure it is safe, he calls them to join him. He is always at the front, looking out for all the others.
I think he is the handsomest rooster I've ever seen! I haven't heard him crow yet, but I'm sure he will when he settles in.
If Rosie is Rufous's number one wife, Ruby is the leader of the harem and chief concubine. She's a real show off - the total opposite of Rosie! Where Rosie hangs back and keeps the chicks safe until Rufous calls, Ruby runs after him at the first opportunity... she's always second to do anything, and always proving she can do it better than anyone else!
Last night Yeti built a roost for them... Rufous jumped up, followed by Ruby, and then the other 2 hens. The young hen flies like a champion - the best flyer of the bunch - and she was soon up there with them, but the young boys couldn't quite manage the jump. Rosie stayed and encouraged them, showing them how it was done, and Yeti threw a couple of old cushions in for them to jump off, to give them a boost(he had built a ramp, but they wouldn't use it, so he will build a half-way step today). When everyone was finally settled on the perch, what did Ruby do? She jumped up to balance on top of the sheet metal Yeti had put up to shelter them from the wind! There she was swaying back and forth clucking "Look at me Rufous! Look at me! Nya Nya all you others, bet you can't do this!!!"
Lol... I'll name the others in time, but I am waiting for their personalities to emerge, and to get a better idea of who is who! At the moment, Rufous is easy; Rosie is the hen who stays with the chicks; and Ruby is the plump show-off. The chicks are easy to tell apart and will probably get names next - 2 boys and 1 girl - followed by the other 2 hens...
Wombat is just waking up, so I don't have time to proofread this - sorry for any mistakes - and sorry for going on about my new pets, but if you can't tell, they make me feel all warm and fuzzy-feathery!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
- my new 'qualify as a solicitor' course has started and it is very intensive... I also can't allow myself to fall behind and then spend all day and night for a week catching up before exams & assignments (my previous study habit) as now I have a Wombat to worry about...
- I am redesigning my home website - Fractal Myth - and I am hugely pleased with the results... I will invite you for an inspection when it's finished...
- Wombat is behaving very strangely - not a cheerful Wombat at all! I think the frustration of not being able to communicate his desires is getting to him - he is at the point and grunt and cry if you don't understand him stage. We are having several huge tantrums a day, which is very tiring. Of course, he does seem to be growing a whole LOT of teeth all at once, so there could be a pain factor involved, and I did take him down the street and let a doctor stick a needle into him last week, so he's not entirely sure Mummy has his best interests at heart... especially when she insists on forcing him into a nappy when he wants to run free... or won't let him play with mosquito repellent / broken glass / any other dangerous or poisonous substance that takes his obsession. Tonight he screamed and screamed at the dinner table and I had to take him away - why? He wanted his Daddy's corn-on-the-cob. I had cut some off my cob for him, but he WANTED the whole thing - not to eat, just to examine & play with. Yeti let him explore it for a while, but then took it back. Wombat explodo!!!
- mother-in-law is also frustrating me - she suggested I was being the gestapo the other day because I wanted her to keep her bedroom door closed - there is a leadlight bookcase in there with broken glass panels - she wants to just cover it with contact, but I can see Wombat smashing the whole thing... anyway, while being her usual lovely self, and very sweet to Wombat, she makes me feel like a rotten mother just by being around when he cries - which he's doing a lot. We are talking about moving later this year and getting her a place of her own by the sea, which I think we would all appreciate (though the thought of trying to pack up all our junk while looking after Wombat terrifies me! there's SO much of it!!! I am such a hoarder and Yeti is as bad)
I know every mother goes through these battles, and I know I am what the Baby Whisperer calls a subjective parent who shouldn't take all this so personally... I just get inordinately annoyed at having an audience ;P especially when Wombat has gone from an (almost) angel baby to a holy terror overnight - and I'm pretty sure it's at least partly my fault.
We are going to take Wombat for a picnic today - see if we can cheer us all up a bit.
Anyway, dawn is here and I have to go hang a load of nappies before Wombat wakes up... I also think he is angry with me because I have been getting up early (4-5am) to study, and sometimes if I haven't finished what I am doing, or he wakes up too early and it is too cold to get him up, I leave him to play in his bed for a little while - he has a nice collection of cloth books and stuffed toys there... I never leave him to cry, but on occasion I have let him whinge a little bit, hoping he would go back to sleep... I think this has made him feel a bit neglected :(
Before I go, I was honoured by Alkelda the Gleeful from Saints & Spinners dedicating her most recent example of 'Children's books that never were' to me.
This inspired me to write an entry for her. I don't have time to create a book cover, so this photo will have to do - my first FELT TOY! (I got a big bag of felt scraps cheaply on ebay... I have always wanted to experiment with making felt toys!)
Here is WOMBAT!
(this one is Mummy Wombat - Daddy and Baby Wombat are on their way)
My Wombat stole her from me several times while she was being made, and delighted in bouncing her around by the thread... but when I handed him the finished product, he threw her across the playpen... and when I gave her back to him, he chomped her head - several times :P Maybe I had better attach some elastic to her so he can go back to bouncing her!!!
Children's Books That Never Were. (Schelle's Contribution)
(Alkelda, you may want to rewrite this - I don't think it's as good as yours! But then, I don't know if you will have heard of Ruth Park's Muddle Headed Wombat series...)
The Extremely Intelligent Wombat by Ruth Park
From the editor:
Dear Ruth Park,
Thank you for your recent submission. Unfortunately, while I think your book has merit, I do not think we can publish it at this time. Our young readers are simply not ready for animal characters which are smarter than they are. It is damaging to their tender self-esteem. I would like to suggest that you consider rewriting your book with this in mind. Perhaps you could call it something like 'The Muddle Headed Wombat'?
If you must have an intelligent character in your story, I would advise making that creature physically inferior in some way. Perhaps something small and ineffectual? A female mouse would be perfect, especially one that complains about her frustrations all the time.
Having a Quoll for the Wombat's sidekick is also a problem. No-one knows what a Quoll looks like, and by the time the book hits the shelves, they are very likely to be extinct. It may be worthwhile considering changing this character to something that children can easily relate to. A cat to go with the mouse is a good idea. This character should also have some trait that allows children to laugh at it. You might make it look scruffy but be very vain about its appearance, for example.
I am sure a writer of your talent will have no difficulty reworking the Wombat's adventures to emphasize his incompetence. It is important for children to feel that they are superior to the natural world and not threatened by it. The world is not ready for a Wombat superhero - though that does raise some interesting marketing possibilities. If you are agreeable to dumbing down your character to suit the tastes of the general public, I may be able to interest our publicity department in producing a range of soft toys to match. This could be beneficial to us both.
Please consider my suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.