The circus sideshow stars:
My thirteen-year-old, tree-climbing, squirrel-hunting, tug-of-war-cheating yellow mutt. His age doesn’t slow him down, but it’s just a number, right? Because no one believes me when I tell them he’s that old, anyway. Especially when he’s running amok with the neighborhood kids or climbing trees. Sigh. He’s my sweet little ball of sunshine, gentle with everyone and everything (except squirrels).
Oh, this dog….where do I even begin? She was a hurricane from the very start. A freight train with no brakes. All muscle and inertia, she is a mass of wiggling kisses and love, and I never really believed that it was possible for a dog to have a sense of humor until she came along. And that face! There is just nothing like a boxer face. Except another boxer face.
I’ve had this bird for 20 years now. And she will probably outlive me….yep, didn’t read the fine print on that one. She is an African Grey parrot with the approximate verbal skills of a three-year-old child. If that three-year-old curses and belches like a sailor. I have no comment on how or where she picked these things up. Aside from that, she chatters all day long, yells at the dogs, serenades us with songs that she’s learned and also songs that she’s made up, and constantly startles us when she interjects into our conversation with a witty remark. It is endless fun to watch her toss food out of her cage to one of the dogs, wait till said dog is busy eating the bait, and then slide silently down to where she can reach that beak out and pinch the poor dog in the butt. You’d think they’d learn, but bird seed is just so darned good.
Millie currently wears the Queen-of-the-Yard sash. She rules the roost, but is also the sweetest, cuddliest girl; she didn’t get voted most popular for nothing! Always on my heels, she is my little, speckled shadow while I am working in the yard, and if I rest too long in any one spot, she is immediately in my lap.
Miss Gertrude Featherbottom
Gertie is a saucy little thing. If you are doing something that she does not approve, you will be sassed! She is an incessant talker, a champion layer, and a mischief master. She’s sweet to me (the keeper of the food), but she’s a little brat to the Texan; they have quite a love/hate relationship and he’s got the ankle scars to prove it.
Ellie-bellie is a princess. She approaches everything with the self-entitlement of a gorgeous, busty blond who is used to getting by on her looks. She does not like to get her feet dirty. She does not squabble with the other girls over treats, she comes straight to the source and expects me to hand-feed her. Accordingly, she lays the most perfect, petite lady-like eggs; not every day like Gertie, just when she feels inclined to be generous.
We often refer to Clem and Eloise as ‘the twins’, for obvious reasons, but their similarities end at their color and breed. Clementine is something of a….lumbering oaf. She is HUGE and inherently ungraceful, and when she comes running down the driveway to greet you, you can feel it in the ground like a herd of stampeding cattle. When she squawks, it doesn’t sound like a sweet clucky little chicken….good lordy, it sounds like an angry goose on steroids. In fact, up until she laid her first ginormous egg, we were convinced she was a roo. To say the least, she is the awkward sister.
So fancy for a barn cat–look at that tuxedo. He was the Texan’s first-ever cat, and still loves to be held like a baby. But only by the Texan. He doesn’t have time for my attempts at affection.
We busted Brix out of the slammer not long after we got Stewie. Stewart was going through a rebellious, teenage-angst phase, and we thought he might simmer down if he had a lady-friend. Especially one with big blue eyes. Strangely enough, it totally worked. Brixie is a sweet, sweet girl, and because she is part Siamese, she is a chatty-catty; always talking, always saying hello.
Blue is actually my mom’s beloved cat, and when she moved and couldn’t take him with her, we, of course, took him in. He is the last living (15+ years) of three kittens that my mom literally found under a bush. He is the old-timer, but still as spry and quirky as ever.
This guy is one of two rescued ferals that was going to be euthanized because he was not fit for rehabilitation. I took him in because he’s actually a really, really sweet cat, but has been absolutely terrorized by people. After several years, he will actually finally come up to me for pets; he likes his cushy, quiet life.
Gandalf the Grey
Gandalf is the other feral. This poor guy, we think, had his hind quarters and tail run over, with no medical care afterwards. He is missing half his tail and his back legs and hips are pretty funky (though he gets around just fine). He too, is just getting to a place where he’ll let me pet him, and he talks at me with the most adorable, tiny kitten voice I have ever heard on a grown man-cat.
If you follow our blog, you know that we often have many friends and family dogs coming to stay with us–and they spend enough time here, that I thought I’d give them credit as part of the pack.
Milo, aka ‘the Frog’, belongs to my brother’s family, but comes on doggy-vacay frequently to the Farmhouse. This dog is pure comedy, 24-7. He is best buds with Abbie and Chance, and they act like it is Christmas morning when he arrives. He is even gentle with the chickens, though, the same cannot be said for the chickens. I often look out in the yard and see Milo being hotly pursued by a certain ginger-hued hen.
My mom’s sweet boy (can you believe he was a rescue?!)–he is absolutely the gentlest soul I have ever met. When my mom comes to stay, he and Willie come, too.
Willie is a sweet, but fiercely protective boy. He doesn’t leave my mom’s side. Despite both of her labs being bird-dogs by nature, they are both (through careful, watchful training) so good with our chickens. It is incredible to see.
Steve the Dog
This is Steve. Not Milo. I understand your confusion. Steve comes to hang quite a bit when his owner has to go out of town for work. The very best? When Steve and Milo are here at the same time:
And now, I give you a never-ending stream of animal shenanigans: