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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Old Macdonald....

Singing Old Macdonald over and over again to Beloved Baby ('with a wuff wuff here and a bleat bleat there') reminds Granny all over again what noisy places farms are. Not that she needs reminding. Since she arrived back on the island, she and Beloved have acquired 2 new goats, 2 new cats and several new chickens. And all of them are vocal. This is not to mention the fact that the grape harvest is in full swing and the trudging of local growers back and forth on the other side of the wall sets the Beautiful Wimp into frenzies of barking, especially at weekends when the picking goes on still more. This is also not to mention that the politics/relationships of all 3 types of acquisition -within their own species and in regard to previously existing animals - eg dogs and other chickens - requires careful monitoring and constant negotiation. And generates still more noise.

The two goats are very pretty and much friendlier than previous ones (when the Beautiful Wimp is not barking at them that is, as he did at first). And also much more vocal. Both appear to be pregnant. But the smaller, older and black one - meet Caprine Elloise - has asserted authority over the brown and white and most friendly and most vocal - continuously vocal one- meet Caprine Harry - and given that Caprine E has some formidable horns and that Caprine H doesn't, Caprine E has to be carefully watched to see she does no damage.

The young chicks also have among them a bully - one that pecks her fellows at every turn. She's such a bully that one poor chick couldn't take it and died. Another was only just rescued from a similar fate. The bully was removed at the same time and both are now separated from the remaining two chicks- in due course, somehow, they will all have to be reunited but it's not quite clear how. Nasty creatures chickens. A bit like little girls - sometimes - when they're not being kind to each other. Older chicks despite it all can make a really rather nice noise talking among themselves; not just cheep cheep but something more like a melodious warble (granny thought a new species of bird had landed on the back patio until she realised it was the chicks.) The same cannot always be said of quarrelling little girls. Granny has had recent experience of that.

Nor would melodious be the word she would use to describe the voices of the two new cats: meet Feline Milou and her son, Feline Pink Floyd: both acquired ready-named from the local animal rescue place with a little help from the quarreling girls. Looking at the mother cat and hearing her son's name, Granny should have twigged, she really should. The blue-eyed mother looks and is half Siamese; her equally pretty son is a green-eyed marmalade cat, not at all Siamese looking. But what he has inherited from his quarter Siamese ancestry is the Siamese voice. Or rather yowl. Employed at full volume whenever (often) something doesn't please him: as when he's been fed the wrong kind of biscuit - or not fed any biscuit - or is on the wrong side (he thinks) of any door. Hence Floyd. Pink. Ouch. (Not a rock group Granny dislikes actually. But.)

Granny knows about oriental cats: she had Abyssinians for years - but has retreated more recently - with relief - to less demanding, more relaxed moggies. So what is she doing with these semi-Siamese felines - in place of the nice, half-grown moggy kittens she was intending to acquire? Pity that's what: silly old woman her. They were not doing well these two among the less aristocratic moggies at the animal shelter. Feline Milou was even wounded. Would Granny please take pity, was the import. More fool Granny she did: charmed too by how pretty both cats were -this was before she heard them - she took them home.

Compared to this farm with its yowling Siamese, cheeping chicks, bleating goats, barking dogs (at the cats among other things) and sometimes grumpy Beloved, Old Macdonald's farm sounds peaceful Granny thinks. Unless Old McD was grumpy too. Probably.

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