Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Life at 75 ... is eventful!


A couple of weeks ago, I turned 75. Three-quarters of a century. I am a semi-retired writer (well, one has to do something!), living on a quiet, 35-acre 'farm', with few outside interests that cannot be followed via computer, and a healthy lack of interest in what is going on in other parts of the world. For me, politics means an infestation of fleas. So, I ought to be lazing in the sun with a daiquiri, penning the odd book or three ...

Not. Since the fatidic birthday (photo taken tactfully full-frontal, as the side view explains why I weigh in at 100kg...)

Gerolstein has been a hotbed of action ...

On the debit side

(1) the wonderful 1950s Fergie broke down! He has served us 20 years with not too many hiccoughs, and it seems this is but another (expensive) one. Massey Ferguson de Gerolstein is a tough wee fellow, though almost as old as I. And he works much harder!

(2) The farmbike threw a wobbler. These machines are notoriously friable, but ours -- used daily to scoop up the horse droppings of the day/night -- has been pretty well-behaved. However, he is resisting going backwards (I know that problem, too) so off to Sefton Garage for a service.

(3) The gardens are under fire from Mother Nature. The peahens are determined to wreck the flower beds, and are risking permanent eviction. The roses have developed yellow-leaf blackspot from some unknown critter. As soon as Wendy planted spinach, broccoli and kale in our new planter boxes, we were invaded by white butterflies who seem to be able to get through two layers of micro-mesh ...  And, as we sat today eating our lunch, four little black calves appeared in the garden, bucking with joy ... what next! A quick txt and they were off home, tail between their mutual legs. 

On the 'houses' side

(1) we gave my kitchen an update. It's going to have to see me out. I could never afford another ... but it is lovely and fresh ..

Painters still to come ... and ... maybe a new back door, after 20 plus years of wind, rain and animal attacks..?

And last night a picture fell off the wall in the hallway ..  smashed glass everywhere ... 

The fallen lady

(3) On the animalistic side:

January total: 9 horses, 4 cats, 7 peafowl.      February total: 8 horses, 8 cats, 9 peafowl.

We have had a couple of ill boys, but the minus one in the horse category was a happy event. Ever since Mr B (Dynamite Paul) had to be retired as a racehorse after only 6 races, we have looked for a home for him. But it didn't happen, and it didn't happen .. well, honestly, we were too picky .. and he joined the little band of 'pets' -- specifically Mikie and Rocky -- in our paddocks. 

But ... this week old friend John came to do the kitchen and told us he'd had to hand on his riding horse to his wife, Gina. Did we have a nice, friendly retired racehorse who we wanted to sell? No. We didn't. But we had one we would GIVE him ... one condition, on both sides: he had to get on with Charlie...

Mr B and Charlie: Love at first sight!

Meanwhile Boofie (22yo) is recovering from laminitis, Johnny (10) from overweightness ... and they are confined to quarters. They were very pissed off to see the calves dancicng on the green grass!

2003. Two kittens. 2021 two elderly madames. Minnie sleeps a lot (like me). Thoroughbred ChiQi has become exceptionally demanding. She has developed a Catti LuPone-like yowl which shatters my eardrums. She knows this and yowls, while looking like an elderly angel, every time she wants (a) to go out (b) to come in and (c) to be fed. 

To them, some ten years ago was added 'Socks'. He, literally, walked through living room doors one summer evening. Being a playful young male, he was not 'dignified' company for our girls, so he moved into Wendy's house, where he has become somewhat of a recluse. He is let out to gambol (and can he gambol!) from 6am to 10am, when playtime is over and the girls are allowed out. 

Number four? Lily, or weekitty, is an orphan of the storm, like Minnie. The last survivor of a Gerolstingean feral litter of a few years back. She, neutered, innoculated, fed royally, is domiciled pro tem in what used to be our Guest Bach ... She likes to play pattycake, but forgets she has fingernails like Florence Foster Joyner ...

Four. A slightly overlarge family but ...  And then came Lollipop. We are used to giving occasional 'visitors' a feed outside. But Lollipop became a regular. And Lollipop has not been neutered and a wee while back she appeared on the sewage tank with three little Sherberts ... mama (who is little more than a kitten herself) sits and keeps an eye on the triplets when they emerge, usually at dusk or dawn ...

Last night, all three came to have dinner together (with mother) on the porch. Even a prowling peahen didn't dare approach!

Then the fowl. Oh, the fowl. First, there was one. A few years ago there were something like forty of them here. Nigel, the peacock-snatcher worked hard to carry off many -- for export all round the country -- and we'd got down to eight. Bearable. Seven boys and one girl. Then Mr Hoppy succumbed to his illness. Seven. Mademoiselle had one chick last year, and one this year. They stopped being cute at about week six, and became public menaces at three months. I began planning exportation. And blow me down ... one night, I saw two wrong-sized peahens .. foreigners! Go away! We don't want any hangers-on. Especially breeding stock. They haven't gone away. They have adopted our crowd, and seemingly intend to stay. I intend they shouldn't. Nigel is coming to visit tomorrow ..

Mr P, the ur-paterfamilas, of course, will stay ...

(4) On the other sides

The draft cover design for my forthcoming book arrived ...

Then, brother John is intending to return home after nearly half a century in Britain. I am delighted, but first there is a huge amount of paperwork, house-hunting etcetera to be done. I am on the case!

But right now, this feller needs a drink ... so he'll grow more gorgeous blooms ...

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