There was once a time that I thought I was Mowgli. I lived to keep the jungle law -
"only kill to eat or to keep from being eaten." When I was twelve I had my aunt convinced that I could talk to animals. Seriously. I even looked like Eliza Thornberry. I still feel just as connected to the natural world and love all life... however I'm not so sure anymore if they love me back. These past few days have been a series of little battles among animals and I.
Since I don't have any specific pictures of these events, I'll randomly stick some in that are from our WildCam - a motion-sensitive camera that you rig up outside and it takes pictures of anything that moves.
The end of last week I went into the kitchen to eat a spoonful of peanut butter as any healthy person would do, then noticed that the goats were all looking down at the barn. Then I noticed that our horse Mickey was staring off with his ears perked, pacing every once in a while. I knew one of our other two horses had escaped. I waddled out onto the deck and saw Houdini's grey ass farting around our 69 Chevy truck. After finishing my peanut butter, I pulled on my boots and tried up my hair and trundled out, only to notice that it wasn't only Houdini, but Sparrow out, as well. I mean, there is a reason we named him Houdini. The moment he was born he stumbled out of his stall and just lay in a meadow till we found him.
Most horses are pigs so I looked around and grabbed a bucket we use for soaking stained laundry and pretended that it had some food in it as I walked out of the garage. The two had galloped up the hillside and to the house. As soon as they saw me they ran down towards the driveway, tearing up lawn the whole way, having no idea where they were going or what they were doing. They aren't shod (that means they have no shoes) so the pavement can be kinda hard on them, so I tried to lead them back onto the sand. They raced past after trying to get at the empty bucket, and Houdini repeatedly tried to run me over. I dully registered, as he reared and bucked about me, that I probably should be scared. I guess knowing him since before he was born helps - Houdini's all hot air.
Just when I thought I had them they took off down my neighbor's driveway and stood around by her front stairs, eating her potted plants. Hoe embarrassing! Luckily my neighbor wasn't home. I got them interested in the bucket again and when they began to walk after me, I ran... and so did they... and as they galloped after me, likely to run me over, I started cracking up and barely made it into the stall and into a tree in time. But alas, at the last moment they turned and raced past the gate. They're creatures of habit and since they weren't used to entering from the gate that I had, they seemed to not notice that it was there.
I eventually got them in and fixed the grain barrels that they'd knocked over in the barn, the jerks. Then that night as I fed Mickey I whacked the back of my skull on his stall window. It sucked but wasn't as bad as the one time I walked into his door, hitting the metal latch so hard that the skin on my forehead busted open and I collapsed seeing stars. When I recovered enough to see I noticed my brother, then with a broken ankle, hobbling up the path, completely oblivious to me dying and I couldn't call out for help. Not that he could have helped anyway. Afterwards, everyone winced at my forehead and claimed I was trying to compete with Harry Potter and his scar. Mine was cooler - his looks like an N. For NANCY.
On Friday I decided to make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Everything was just fine. I put in the 2 1/2 cups of oats and noticed some sticking to the bottom of the Quaker Oats box - you know, the cardboard kind with the wannabe George Washington on it. I thought that was odd and poked on it then noticed a weevil wandering about inside. My eyes widened in horror and I looked to the oats I'd already poured onto the dough. Yep. Covered in the little black specks of BEETLES. I almost gagged and frantically grabbed handful after handful of the oats to pull them out. The little jerks were wiggling about on the dough, too. I was almost crying. I know they're just a little extra protein but seriously - I don't want to know that I'm eating a beetle. I combed them all out as far as I could see and found new oats. Now eating a cookie is a huge gamble. I guess it helps curb my sweet tooth, though. When I threw out the bad oats I cackled and proclaimed "I hope you have fun at the dump, you jerks!" I'm worried that my grandma heard.
The next morning I woke up and looked to Ben - my teddy bear. This bear is magic. My sister and one of my best friends, whom we all call Piglet, are able to get high by smelling this bear. They claim it smells like me when I'm asleep and that you can get high off of that scent. I guess that means that whenever I'm asleep I'm actually blacked out from a sleep overdose. So yes, Ben is very special and is named after Ben the grizzly bear from Grizzly Adams. And what do you think was on the poor guy's head??? A BEETLE! I grabbed the bug and chucked it out the door then opened my window... and noticed another beetle crawling about there. I grabbed him/her and chucked it outside, too. Obviously, this was a declaration of war.
A young buck is startled in the rain. I still feel bad - I feel like we ruined this poor guy's life. Look at his face. :o(
Later that day I was cleaning out Mickey's hooves to go horseback riding. He randomly decided that he'd had enough and slammed his foot down... right on top of mine. I should mention that near as we can figure, Mickey is half American Quarter Horse and half Morgan... though he must have a smattering of draft in there because the dude is huge. I shoved at him and squawked and as the pain became unbearable I shouted "get off! get off! get off!" and yanked on my foot. He shifted his weight as quickly as he could (that's the good thing about horses - they never want to step on you) but I had a mean bruise.
The ride was alright, though, even if Mickey was painfully barn sour and sweated so much that my jeans were soaked. My fault for riding bareback.
The next day one of our cats, Black, was just too cute so I was carrying him about and snuggling him. I brought him over to my big brother who was visiting since when we were kids, Black was always his cat. My brother was washing his truck so I sat down by the fake well when all of the sudden, out of nowhere, Teyla the Savage came racing at me. I shouted at her to get back and was just asking my brother if he could grab her so that she didn't scare the cat when she'd shoved her face into Black's and decided that she hated the idea of him being bigger than her (since he was in my arms) and started biting at his head as he slapped her. I let him go and he dug his claws in then leapt away. I'd been in my bikini top so my bicep was sliced and diced. Friggin Toot.
After that, my older brother and Alex decided to go horseback riding. I ran on ahead to hide somwhere on the trail and see if they could find me. It's like playing Runner - it's great. As I sat around on a log and waited for them to catch up, I realized how much I love running about outside like a savage. I realized that once I have a kid I won't be able to up and do that anymore. I got really depressed until I realized that I'll just take the kid with me and have it grow up as a savage, too. That's when the horses finally caught up so I high-tailed it to a better hiding spot, which happened to be a pine.
I scaled up to some slightly comfortable branches and waited for my victims, planning out what I'd say when they found me. A line from Winnie the Pooh came to me. It's about Heffalumphs... or Woozles. Pooh says, " ...When you look up, they drop on you." I was gonna say that. But I never had the chance. They rode up and stalled out by a pond. My brother got pissed when Houdini wouldn't walk up to the pond so he spent about a half hour trying to show him that it was perfectly fine and trying to lead him to it. In the meantime, I was getting sleepy and noticed three labs trotting over a hill and down to another pond. They were all wagging their tails - a yellow lab, a chocolate lab, and a black lab. A doggy parade!
I had fun watching them play in the water until they heard my brother shouting at Houdini that he was an idiot and they started barking. Our dog Comanche, who's half lab and half retriever and not very socialized, was with the horses so I worried he'd try to pick a fight with the other dogs. I shouted to my brother and sister that the labs were coming but then the dogs noticed me and ran over, baying at me in the tree. I felt like a raccoon.
But I'd met one of them before and could tell by their eyes that they were safe, so I climbed down and greeted them. Their chocolate lab friend had apparently ditched them. I took them over to the pond they were playing in earlier and played fetch - throwing the sticks into the water. The yellow lab was this fat grandpa guy with a snazzy pink collar. The black lab was a sweet, slender girl who quickly bonded with me to the point that she wouldn't go farther than five feet from me. And so, my animal war seemed to end with these new friendships.
The horses and Comanche (and of course, my siblings on them) eventually came over and Chee Chee was jealous and kept sitting down beside me to claim his human. When it was time to go home it got awkward. My new friends didn't seem to understand that I was trying to ditch them. I did everything I could think of - chucking sticks and pinecones for them to fetch then racing away. But it didn't work - they always came back. And I couldn't exactly walk them back to their property over the ridge, either, because I was still in my swimsuit and shorts and... had covered my face in mud like warpaint. The third time I raced away and heard their collars jingling after me I slowed. Just then my new friends noticed a fresh pile of horsepoop, compliments of Houdini. They wagged their tails and rolled in it. I grimaced then seized my opportunity and sprinted off, running the rest of the way home. When I was almost there I heard a dog running behind but it was only Cheech. I hope I get to see my new friends again someday.