We’re still at the farm in Elland, and aren’t in any hurry for it to come to an end.
We use the kitchen and laundry in the house, but we sleep in the granny flat Most of our meals we eat out on the patio where the chickens, wild birds and dogs continue to entertain us throughout the day.
Some of the animals have real stand out personalities. Izzy, the smallest of the chooks is such a plucky little bird, (at the moment almost literally.) She’s the leader of the chooks in getting up to mischief, and we’re constantly chasing her out of the garden. She knows she’s not supposed to be there too. When she’s scratching in the garden, we only have to stand up and she’s running for her life. When she’s not in the garden, if we stand up, she’s more inclined to follow us to see if we have any tit bits on offer. She also taunts the dogs sometimes by approaching their food bowls. The dogs seem to have no problems with the chooks sharing their water bowl, and will happily share breakfast on the lawn with all the birds. Their food bowls though are seemingly, strictly out of bounds, again, something Izzy seems to know only too well.
But she does taunt them. She watches them as she sneaks up to their bowls, and one move from them and she’s again running for her life. Hence the almost literally, ‘plucked chook’, at the moment, I think she was a little too slow on one occasion, but that was before we arrived, (and I’m only guessing that’s how it would have come about). Her feathers are now growing back, but plucky little thing hasn’t learnt any lessons. She continues to taunt the dogs. I fear one day she’ll get a little more than ‘plucking’!
The dogs too are so funny. They love to walk up the driveway and back with us, which we usually do twice a day (1.4 kms in total each walk). Riley, the little foxy generally seems to be ‘boss dog’, and Abbey doesn’t seem to have any problems with her designated place – most of the time! Abbey won’t touch either food bowl until Riley’s had a nibble. So, Riley nibbles first at one bowl with Abbey watching, then after a few minutes moves to other bowl. Only then will Abbey start to eat. They have a larger sized kennel, which was obviously meant for Abbey, and a slightly smaller one for Riley. Riley, though takes her pick, which varies from day to day. If Riley takes possession of the larger kennel, Abbey will squeeze into the smaller one without any complaint.
Abbey always carries a soccer ball when she walks with us, which Paul kicks for her to chase. And this is the only time where it seems Abbey becomes, ‘she who must be obeyed’. Riley’s clearly not allowed to participate in the game in any way. It’s fun to watch them though when Riley decides to put up a challenge. Abbey drags her by the ear, or the front leg, or the back leg, or the collar and neck away from the ball. Once Riley realises she doesn’t stand a chance with the ball, she’ll go and pick up a pine cone to carry. If she only carries, it seems to be allowable, but sometimes she drops it at our feet obviously intent on us throwing it for her. Then it’s on again. Mind you, Riley seems to love every minute of it, and just like Izzy the chook, she knows when and how to taunt Abbey to get the best reaction. I suspect the ball is Abbey’s game, and for Riley the game is to taunt her pretending she’s trying to get in on the act.
So, the animals continue to amuse us. There’s a lot more here though than the animals keeping us contented and happy. I could write a book….. From early morning with the sunrise chasing the mist from the valley, to sunset with the sun again bringing a special life to the valley as it drops in the western sky – it’s all shear magic, and the type of place that must inspire poetry. This chapter in our ‘book of life’ will be always remembered fondly.