Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An open door...

Growing up, except for the occasional stray, we never really had pets as such. Of course living in the country we were always exposed to cows, chickens and pigs, but even kids learned early not to form long-term attachments to any of those. At one point I did attempt caring for rabbits in a pen my dad and I built by the wash house. They were a very happy couple and I was totally fascinated but soon after discovering that the intended end-result was dredging in flour and frying in lard I set the whole lot of them out in a field of mustard greens one day and never looked back.
The next time the life of an innocent was left in my hands was the day years later when my best friend and I rented a barely habitable hundred year old farm house in rural North Carolina. We'd convinced the owner that in return for very cheap rent we would carefully restore the property. Foolish man. Anyway, a mutual friend thought it would be great fun to give us a goat as a housewarming gift. Not knowing any better we tethered the young billy to a post by the kitchen door and left for what turned out to be an all night celebration in Greensboro. To our horror, when we returned home we found the goat dead; tangled in its tether. We knew it was just a tragic accident but our friend insisted that the goat had taken one look at its new surroundings and did the only honorable thing and hanged himself.
The point is I guess I'd never really had time for or the need for anything that couldn't feed, bathe or take itself for a purgative walk. Today I can't imagine life without Ralph, Alice, Sister Martha Delaney, Norton, Trixie and Pitch; not to mention the occasional family of opossums, flying squirrels, raccoons and barn owls. They have inexplicably enriched my life and the door is now always open.

3 comments:

  1. Always happy to see and follow a fellow gardener and someone who has a luv for all of nature. Just added ourselves as one of your new followers. Have a good one............Julian

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  2. This was so sweet and endearing. I too, cannot imagine life without our beloved Teddy, our golden retriever. They really enrich our lives far more than I think we stop to realize....thanks for this little post of recognition for "those critters" that cannot express themselves:) Have a fantastic weekend!

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  3. Love the story of the poor goat. You know I admire your writing. I recently read an article about F. Scott Fitzgeral in which it was noted that all the great southern writers had a goat story in their works. There you are!! You got your goat story. However, I am saddened by his untimely demise. I originally thought you were going to say he had pulled the house down.
    Love the pic of your sweet pets and I know how dear they are to you.
    I am your newest follower. Ginger :)

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The jewel is in the lotus...

The jewel is in the lotus...

maturing seed pods...

Sister Martha Delaney in the Lady Banks

A corner of my studio...

"Moses in the bulrushes" was worth a few more years on the shelf...

"Moses in the bulrushes" was worth a few more years on the shelf...

Chipped, stained and cracked...

Chipped, stained and cracked...
I couldn't walk away from the "bottomless bowl"...

The kitchen garden...

The kitchen garden...
New construction will eliminate the kitchen garden that's been such a joy for me and a family of fat opossums.

Norton came to me as a screaming orphan at about 3 weeks old and was adopted on the spot by my hound Alice...

Sister Martha Delaney came to me as an orphan at about 3 weeks old and showed an aptitude for climbing from the very beginning...