Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Devil In Jack

Jack's regression into extreme youth, and it's ensuing hijinks, continues apace. Frankly, I don't know where this will all end, except possibly with my having a nervous breakdown. He might as well just get a toupee (or rug, as he calls it), a motorized sports vehicle with a retractable top and a pair of those wrap-around sunglasses. It's most unseemly in one so ancient. When I suggest he act his age, he replies that he is acting exactly as old as he feels.

The latest events began when I was slumbering in the sun and felt a light pressure against my side. I heard Jack's muffled voice saying "be keerful sonny, the blue puffball's after ya". I opened my eyes slightly and turned to see that indeed, a ginormous blue sphere was pressed into my side. It was hideous, the mother of all puffballs, and obviously a mutant of special colour. I trumpeted a warning and charged directly into a tree. When I recovered, the thing was still upon my person, so I dropped my hind end and launched myself into the field, hitting the ground at a tremendous pace. Jack remained at my side and that's when I realized he was the one pressing the object against me and that in fact it was an equine plaything called a "Jolly Ball". I felt distinctly un-jolly and berated Jack in no uncertain terms. He didn't care one whit - just stood there wheezing and chuckling to himself like one demented.

That very same night Jack decided that his tail needed a good rubbing and so he backed up to his waterbucket and began to shimmy back and forth while emitting a low humming sound. The water in the bucket formed itself into waves and finally into an enormous tsunami which shot into my room, soaking my bedding. He said he was sorry and told me I could share his room, which would be fine if there weren't a gate inbetween. Then he lay down in his own thick, DRY bed and was asleep in no time. I stood in a puddle up against the wall till morning when the woman released us.

The last bit is entirely the woman's fault. She has begun to play these disc things that contain music in the tack room, often singing along tunelessly and much too loud. The music varies widely, sometimes classical, sometimes the dreadful rock and roll cacophany and the other day something called bluegrass. I have not heard this sort of "music" before and to my well-tuned ears it sounds like grown men howling and shrieking along with plaintive-sounding string instruments, notably something called a banjo. The themes are dismal and feature coal mining, betrayal, loss, disaster, crop failure and the demise of someone or something called "ole Dixie".

Jack was touched to his core. He stood outside the tack room window and listened carefully and then he began to "sing" along. He brayed and bellowed and groaned and, combined with the bluegrass noise, it sounded like the torture of the damned. The woman finally turned the racket off and went out to see if Jack was alright. He was just fine and was quite annoyed at having his accompaniment removed. Thankfully, she took the disc back to the house, saying she was afraid the neighbours would report us for animal cruelty. I wonder if Jack may originally hail from the southern United States . . .

Unfortunately, she continues to play Doc's favourites, the electricians' group called AC/DC and Molly's favourite, a collection of disco hits. My favourites, Beethoven, Bach, Handel and the other pillers of classical music appear only occasionally. I need to move to Vienna.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Pleasant Walk Ends In A Personal Assault

We have broken some sort of weather record for days without rain - and a good thing after the water-logged days of summer. The pears and apples have ripened and the crows are reeling around drunkenly on the lawn, brawling and screaming avian obsceneties at each other.

Jack and I have been doing some extremely pleasant walking of the humans in this autumnal landscape, self making sure to avoid even eye contact with puffballs. I also hold my breath in their vicinity in case a spore should try to lodge in or on my person. In short, it's the seasonal gift from mother nature before we are viciously assaulted by winter.

There are many ancient apple trees in the hedgerows on our farm, with apples species from long ago. We wander from tree to tree, sampling and comparing notes, like two vintners on a stroll. Jack cannot manage a whole apple so the woman bites off small pieces and hands them to him. I know - utterly revolting but he seems not to mind.

We returned from one of these excursions and were enjoying the evening routine of dinner, grooming etc. when the woman noticed my bed was a tad on the thin side. Well. You know how I feel about shavings bags. They share the top of the list with puffballs when it comes to things that terrify me. So what does she do? Marches in with a bag of shavings and begins to shake them out. I was plastered against the back wall when she suddenly squawked and threw herself on top of me!

I sprang into action, piaffing on the spot and trying to rid myself of the crushing weight. We formed a tangle of limbs, scrambling to free ourselves of each other. "Sheaffer, stand still for heaven's sake!" she gasped. We finally fell into seperate heaps on the floor. She SAYS she caught her toe on the edge of the mat, which caused her to be propelled directly onto my person. I say it was a savage and unprovoked attack. For what reason, I cannot fathom, but I do know she is mentally unhinged.

Jack watched all of this while steadily inhaling his gruel and when it was over said, "Lissen Tornado, kin you and the Rodeo Queen take it outside nex time?" No sympathy there. That's what happens after living in the cold, cruel world for over four decades.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wildlife Goes... Wilder

I hardly know what to think. One minute I hear the humans saying "the city" is in the process of engulfing us and the next minute various flora and fauna are causing my mane and tail to turn white overnight. This all took place in a twenty-four hour period and has left me on a level of extreme high alert.

It all began when the woman and Molly returned from a forest ride just as it was growing dark. Molly was let into the paddock so she could roll and stretch before going in for the night. A few minutes later the woman returned and as we saw her exit the house we began a chorus of complaint and demand - "dinnerdinnerdinner!!!" - something like that. Penny exited the house so fast she appeared to be jet propelled. She hit the wall of shrubbery next to the wheat field and promptly emerged in pursuit of an unfamiliar, heavily furred canine form. They made a beeline for our paddock in the now near-darkness.

Both forms ran nearly under Jack and self. Doc bellowed and began charging at them. Molly began shrieking "save the food, save the food!" and all of us tore around the paddock madly giving voice. When the dust began to settle, Jack coughed and said "ya buncha pinheaded peabrains, it's a fox, doncha know!" Oh. That explained the red fur, voluminous tail and generally intelligent air. Penny carried on with the pursuit and we finally went inside to work on our delayed dinners.

As we were eating our unfashionably late meals, the woman casually mentioned that she was told there is a mountain lion living in the forest from which she and Molly had just returned, said forest being a proverbial stone's throw from here. What?! A fox is one thing but a large feline predator? This is sheer madness. I feel like a homesteading pioneer donkey, fending off the more violent elements right on my own barnstep. The woman pointed out that we live inside at night and that no mountain lion/cougar/puma could possibly make off with someone of my generous girth. I'd rather not be put to the test, thank you very much.

The last part of the wildlife trilogy occurred today when the woman took Jack and self out for a promenade. Imagine my shock when I discovered a gigantic white sphere - the size of my dinner bucket - next to the path and within sight of our paddock. I froze in my hoofprints, snorting loudly and repeatedly and moving my head up and down to try and size the thing up. An alien spaceship, no doubt about it. What else could materialize out of thin air and simply sit there emitting a pale, sickly glow ? Jack was eating a few fall leaves and gave those his full attention. When he wanted to move on he said "sonny, them things grow every year - they caint move or nothin." How does he know these things? How can I be sure? I plan to keep a very close watch on it. The woman called the object a puffball and said I should be able to recognize one of my immediate family. It's the sort of boorish response I've come to expect.

Frankly, I'm exhausted. A sojourn at a cottage would be nice. I wouldn't have to worry about the wildlife - it's all right here in my own back yard.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Abandoned - Again

There appears to be a pattern unfolding around here. Herself just gets back from somewhere, we get her nicely settled into looking after our needs and whoosh, she's gone again. This time it was to something called a "cottage". It sounds exactly like the sort of retreat I needed to restore my shattered nerves so of course I was excluded.

I understand this cottage to be some sort of semi-rustic abode, situated at the side of a lake, in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no one else around. A donkey haven, but sadly free of donkeys. Annie the horse's humans were there and my two humans and a dog. Why a dog and not a donkey? I cannot not possibly guess. The wildlife appears to run riot, generally hooting and hollering and waking everyone up at the crack of dawn so perhaps there is some sort of rough justice at work.

Like Ratty and Moley in "The Wind in The Willows" there was much pottering about in boats, dozing in deck chairs with a book propped up for show and consumption of vast quantities of food and drink. An aquatic waterfowl called a Loon and it's offspring, a Loonette, I presume, cruised by at intervals and made high-pitched cackling noises at the humans. My sentiments precisely.

Annie's humans sent me a box of gummi goblins, or maybe they're trolls. In any case, they are small ,vaguely person-shaped sweets and the meagre few I've sampled are delicious. At least someone was thinking of me.

And now I hope we're back to regular programming for the near future.