Chicks, Ducks, and a Bunny…Oh My!

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Growing UP, Happiness, Ideas, Imagination, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mother, Mothering, Pets | Posted on 17-10-2016

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Who buys her daughter baby chicks, baby ducks, and a bunny…in the middle of the city?

My mother…that’s who!

Imagine the squeals of delight one Easter morning! The joy! I was the happiest of happy!

We didn’t live in the country. Nor did we have the proper pens and enclosures yet built. We housed our extended family in our laundry room off the kitchen. Added some heat lamps. Purchased feed. Received a donated rabbit hutch for the backyard.

Our farm was set!

Like Fern from Charlotte’s Web, I fed, watered, nurtured, and talked to my animal friends every day. Their peeps and nibbles and sweetness made me overjoyed. My friends thought I was so lucky…indeed, I was!

One baby duck, Quincy, didn’t make it and died after a week. It was a tough life lesson. The other duck, Abraham, thrived.

When the chicks and duck outgrew their soft downy feathers and grew into their adult feathers, it was time to move them from the laundry room to the backyard, into coops and hutches.

One chick grew into–gasp!–a rooster and became the 5:00 a.m. alarm clock for the neighborhood, with his loud cock-a-doodle-dooing. Abraham was so well mannered, that you could leash him and take him for a walk. The rabbit was simply happy with carrots and came out for snuggles.

Our menagerie of animals represented my childhood: colorful, joyful, interesting, and full of life, love, and experiences. My mother was the ring leader, with her big heart and personality, always unconventionally fun and cool. I am so lucky to be her daughter.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

The Sheep Connection

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Animals, Attitude, Communication, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships | Posted on 22-08-2016

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One of my favorite things at the county fair is to visit all of the farm animals. I say hello to each and every one of them, without leaving any out. Goats. Cows. Rabbits. Chickens. Horses. Bunnies. Ducks. Geese. Pigs. Llamas. Alpacas. Sheep.

The goats look at me longingly and always get lots of lovin’ from me. They have warm eyes, big hearts, joyful spirits, and like to “kid” around. I talk to the bunnies and poke my fingers into the cages to pet their soft fur. They are often shy. I scratch the pigs’ snouts. We could chat for hours. I talk to the llamas and alpacas and they rudely stare back. Sometimes showing me their yellowed teeth. Llamas are assholes. I compliment the chickens and roosters on their beautiful plumage and they are agitated. Some of the horses are sweet, some are aloof. Their stalls have bars: communication barriers. I am especially kind to the cows, especially the beef cows, because I know their lives will end soon.

And then there are the sheep.

I walk into the sheep barn with eagerness. I walk down the rows greeting them with a friendly Baa Ram Eew (giggle) and I reach out to give their fluffy curls a scrunch. I compliment those who are freshly shorn. You sure make beautiful wool! I exclaim.

Each summer, it’s the same. The sheep snub me. Like the llamas, they are assholes. I pick up clean straw to hand-feed them. Like an olive branch offering.

This time, there was a sheep connection!

I met lovely sheep who smiled at me. I talked to them. And they listened. They looked into my eyes. My heart reopened. They invited me to scrunch their wool, so I did. I gently moved their bangs out of their eyes.

I like to make connections with animals and people. If the connections fail, I keep trying. I’m an optimist (sucker) that way.

Animals have personalities like people (or is it the reverse?). I forever encounter people who are kind, thoughtful, funny, loving, honest, and respectful. I also encounter people who are rude, selfish, aloof, condescending, cold, and mean.

I try to have an open mind and an open heart and be kind and forgiving. But I am often disappointed by people who are condescending, selfish, cold, and mean. Sometimes I wonder:

Is it worth reaching out even if I will be let down? If I do get let down, do I continue to forgive and give another chance?

Next year at the fair, I may skip the llamas. But, I will keep visiting the sheep. As proven this summer, through kindness and forgiveness, I made new friends and they warmed my heart. Renewing my faith in sheepmanity.

Ewe never know when you’ll make a connection.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Baby Ducks

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Childhood, Death, Family, Life, Memories, Mothering, Pets | Posted on 19-04-2014

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When I was a child, my mother bought me two baby ducks and a baby chick at Easter. Because. She. Was. Cool. Like. That.

And, naturally, we lived in a neighborhood, not on a farm. And back then, urban chickens weren’t exactly the rage. Imagine my delight when I got to pet and hold and nurture baby farm life! The babies would gently peck at the grain in my palm with their beaks and bills. And I would rub their softness against my cheek.

They lived in a cardboard box with a heat lamp, in our laundry room off the kitchen. They were my pride and joy.

Only a few days after getting them, one of the baby ducks named Quincy died. It was one of the saddest days. But I had Abraham, who I later trained to walk on a leash.

The chick grew quickly. Her downy fuzz was soon replaced by spiky feathers. And whaddya know, she turned into a rooster. Who proceeded to cock-a-doodle-doo at 5:00 a.m., much to the neighbors’ dismay. We had to quickly find him a home at the petting zoo.

But we had the duck for awhile and he was awesome.

Thinking back, my mother had the best intentions to buy me baby animals at Easter, surrounding me with love and animals.

Years later, I bought my son baby ducks at Easter. He loved to pet and hold and nurture them. He fed them with his little hands. He helped me pour in fresh water. He “helped” his Dad make a cage outside. We lived on five acres; a perfect home for ducks. It was blissful!

Except. Not so much.

Our yard backed up to a forest, with a variety of wild animals who happened to prey on ducks.

One fateful morning, when went to feed the ducks, they had, sadly, died. Tortured, really. Turns out a raccoon or fox had climbed into their fence and bit off their heads. It was shocking.

Like my mother, I, too, had only the best intentions to surround my son with love and animals.

That was our last foray with baby ducks. We seem to do much better with large dogs. 🙂

DUCK_PETTING

A Tale of Three Tails

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Humor | Posted on 19-08-2013

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My daughter is a tail-wearer. This makes me happy. Her newest purchase was at the county fair. It was refreshing to see her proudly pin the fluffy-faux raccoon tail to her shorts as she darted off to the next roller coaster with her little brother. In a sea of teen girls–all with matching uniforms: tank tops, short denim shorts, and Keds–she was different.

That is the first tail. The second two were accidents.

We were visiting my father and stepmother. They had a black and white cat named Friday. One afternoon, my daughter headed outside to play and as she opened the screen door, Friday darted out. Sadly, his tail met up with the automatic closing screen door and wham. Two inches broke off of his tail, just like that. It seems that tails don’t grow back like starfish legs.

The next accident happened last week. Our dog Otis had found a comfy place to snooze, right next to my daughter who was sitting in the reclining chair. As she put the recliner back into upright position–“yelp!”–Otis’s tail got pinched. Turned out it was a sprained tail, requiring a vet visit and all. An $80 vet bill and some medicine, and his tail is back to normal.

Turns out that Friday passed away this year. But rest assured, it was not tail-related.

I think my daughter ought to stay away from cat tails and dog tails, and stick with raccoon tails. Ya think?

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“Mom, You’re An Animal Murderer”

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Childhood, Children, Life Lessons, Memories, Mothering, Nature, Parenting | Posted on 27-06-2012

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That’s not something you hear every day. Yet, I’ve heard it twice.

Kill two birds with one Mom.

The second story goes like this. It was a sunny day, the kind of day where you hear the birds sing. A handsome Robin flew into our garage and perched on the rafters. We noticed him when my son and I unloading groceries from Costco.

I opened up the garage so it would fly out.

My bad.

Instead of flying out to freedom, the bird got caught between the garage door and the ceiling. He was crushed. And fell to the ground. Dead. Legs-in-the-air dead.

My son’s mouth dropped open. He was pissed. “MOM! YOU’RE AN ANIMAL MURDERER!” he yelled. I felt like crap.

See, I’m the type of person who couldn’t slaughter my own meat if I were a pioneer woman. So killing a bird with my two hands (and a garage door opener) made me guilt-ridden.

But oh, there’s a first story.

A perfectly white homing pigeon visited. It bobbed around our driveway and would perch on the fence. We fed it bird seed. He was gentle and nearly ate out of our hands.

Every morning, we’d scamper outside to see if our pigeon was still there. He was! He liked us. He was our newest pet.

Then one day, the kids were piled in the backseat, I backed up the car, I killed that pigeon. I stopped when I heard the “thunk.” And I knew. My heart sank.

We all clamored out. Red oozed onto white.

The chorus yelled, “”MOM! YOU’RE AN ANIMAL MURDERER!”

Another bird, another burial, another guilty Mom, another life lesson.

YOU’RE Getting a PUPPY???

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Animals, Attitude, Family, Family Pet, Life Lessons | Posted on 20-05-2012

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“I’m getting a puppy!”

Instead of being a naysayer, how about being a yaysayer. Here’s what I mean…

When you tell people you’re getting a puppy, these are comments you might get:

  • “YOU’RE getting a PUPPY?!”
  • “Do you KNOW how much they pee and poop?”
  • “They will eat EVERYTHING.”
  • “Do you KNOW what you’re getting yourself into?”
  • “Are you SURE you want a puppy?”
  • “It will wreck your house.”
  • “Better hide your shoes.”
  • “It will turn your yard upside down.”
  • “Ugh. Why do you WANT a puppy?”

Naysayers and Debbie Downers. All of them.

I mean, imagine if you tell someone you’re pregnant or adopting a baby. And imagine these SAME comments for a human child. You would probably drop these friends like a hot potato. And, oh, by the way, have you ever HELD a hot potato? They are freaking hot.

I think the snarly comments are made by people who may lack boundaries, who simply like to blurt out their opinions. Regardless of their impact.

Some people are well-meaning and try to be helpful. They like to point out things you may not already know. As in, “You may want to put your shoes up high because puppies like to chew on shoes.” Haven’t we all watched Marley and Me? We KNOW the damages puppies can cause (we also know the love puppies and grown dogs can offer).

And some people are reality-based. As in, “Puppies are a lot of work. You have to train them to pee outside by taking them out every 10 minutes.” Gee, thanks for the pee tip.

While other people are just mean-spirited and want to burst your happy puppy bubble. As in, “Are you SURE you want a puppy??” When you’ve already told them you’re GETTING a puppy. Of course you are sure. And you are excited. (Again replace the “puppy” reference with “baby” and the comment is even meaner.)

As a future puppy owner, aren’t we simply expecting people to say:

  • “That’s awesome!”
  • “I love puppies.”
  • “Puppies are the best.”
  • “Your family is gonna love a dog.”
  • “Aw, so cute. I can’t wait to see a picture.”
  • “Very cool.”
  • “I want a puppy.”

The next time you hear someone exclaim, “I’m getting a puppy!” Maybe ya might want to hold in the meanness for a second, and high-five the person instead. And shriek, “COOL!” #yaysayer

I Could Never Be a Wildlife Photographer

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Beauty, Humor, Life Lessons | Posted on 16-05-2012

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I am in awe of nature. But I don’t always have the patience for it.

I love to watch nature shows on TV. You know, where the brown bear catches a salmon. Or the cheetahs attack the weak wildebeest. Or the dung beetle rolls on, well, a big ball of dung. Or the birds of the Amazon puff up their feathers and perform their mating rituals.

Knowing my luck, I’d travel to Kenya on a wildlife tour to see cheetahs…and this is what I would probably see. Uh, yeah. I would need a T-shirt that says, “I went to Africa and all I got was a photo of grass.”

That further proves my awe of the photographers and camera crews that have the patience to capture all of this wonderfulness to enlighten those of us who will never get the chance to experience–and film–spiders hatching, elephants trekking for new water holes, tiny tree frogs up so close you can see his pupils.

I mean, imagine how long you would have to camp out, with your tripod and camera and open shutter to capture lightning. Especially because, like, we don’t even have lightning where I live. Talk about patience.

I had a teensy little experience the other day to photograph wildlife: a robin feeding her young. I know, nothing jaw-dropping or exotic.

But it touched me, just the same.

My next door neighbor’s waterspout is a perfect place for a nest. The same robin parents come back every year to build a nest. It’s part of our family’s Spring ritual to check out the craftsmanship of nest-building. And then to hear the babies chirping. The parents use our back yard as their grocery store. Where, apparently, worms are on sale.

Oh and did you know that both parents are involved in food shopping, meal preparation, and feeding?

So the other day, I saw the baby birds peeking out with their eyes wide and beaks even wider. Methinks, “Grab the camera with the telephoto lens and transform yourself into wildlife photographer.” Yeah, I actually said that to myself. #dork

I placed my body up against the fence, about 10 feet away from the nest. Close enough to get a good shot. But not close enough to freak out the parents.

I waited. And waited. (I had to pee.) And waited. (Kids were arguing in the cul-de-sac. SHUT UP!) I waited some more.

I waited 18 minutes…which felt like an eternity.

The babies sat there, in their nest, with their beaks open. They, too, were waiting. “Where is my dinner??!!” (I was starting to wonder the same thing as my belly started to grumble.)

Here is what I saw.

Besides learning about bird behavior, methinks I also learned a little more about being patient. And being appreciative. And just being.


read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Snakes in Toilets: Peek Before You Pee

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Childrearing, Pets | Posted on 06-11-2011

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Three words for ya: snakes in toilets. Yet another reason why you should check the toilet before you sit (or squat). I have read articles over the years about just this. Snakes give me the willies. Especially snakes that travel through pipes and emerge to say hello…in your bathroom.

Just check out some headlines and articles I have come across:

Trouble for the Tidy Bowl Man

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/02/24/Southpinellas/Trouble_for_the_Tidy_.shtml

2.7m Sewer Snake Found in Toilet Bowl (2.7m is nearly 8 ft. long, y’all!)

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/1025022/2-7m-sewer-snake-found-in-qld-toilet-bowl

Spotted: Pythons!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2011/10/spotted-pythons.html

Fortunately, I live in an area with no poisonous snakes. And often, I have read that the snakes found in pipes and toilets are not poisonous, but rather, pets that have either escaped or that have been released on purpose. But still, I don’t want to ever encounter one.

Regardless, it’s become a habit of mine to peek in the toilet first. Quirky habit, maybe? I don’t care.

And if my kids ever ask to have a snake for a pet, I will say—one word: NO. How about a guinea pig instead?