Friday, 18 July 2014

The Animals Have It


We do our best to keep the vermin/rodent population down on our property by way of traps mostly. Because The H has his gun license but he hasn’t winged a possum or nicked a rabbit since, like well forever. He’s blind at night. Blinded by the lights. Or his gun has a kink in it. (He also never reads this so I can say whatever I want). Like he’s got five nipples, IluvJane4eva tattooed around his belly button, makes a mean chili prawns, is my bessie mate etc. Take your pick.

I digress, my minds like that. I’d be a lot more proficient writer if I could keep on point – which is not a ballet move. And if ‘cut and paste’ had never been invented.

On Tuesday night our large black male cat, Burnt Toast, was snuggled up on my feet atop the lovingly crafted duvet cover I made for the H on our 17th wedding anniversary. A creative masterpiece involving two cal king white sheets sewn together then overlaid with linen doylies, that belonged to my grandmothers and great grandmother, in a random yet symmetrical pattern. Centre stage is a hand embroided ‘J & E’ in duck egg blue. Ohhhh.

I’m just telling you this because Toast jumped out the loo window, as he does around 2 am, only to reemerge half an hour later with a gift-to-moi. A carefully thought out gift, serenaded in with a mournful yowl. The kind of yowl only achievable with something large stuffed in ze cat gob. Next the little sweetheart leapt on the bed and plopped his offering on my feet.

‘OMG it’s a rat,’ I yelled, hoping it was actually a thrush, as I vaulted towards the headboard clutching my knees

The H peered at the small lump, softly illuminated by the waning moon, nestled on vintage white linen. Then he reached over, picked the very dead thankfully RAT up by the tail and proceeded to evacuated it out the loo window.

‘Bloody disgusting cat,’ I said, to the bloody disgusting cat now under the bed having a jolly good cat-wash. Then I crawled back under the duvet, kicked my feet a couple of times to get rid of any rat juice and went back to sleep.

The next day after I fed the horses hay and chickens old salmon skins, I took some cut granny smith apples up to my native bird feeding area in the orchard. I noticed the dish of sugar water was frozen solid. We have been having minus 5 degree frosts so hardly surprising. I nipped inside to get some hot water to melt it. On my return I spied a fat tui, green feathers shimmering in the morning sun, sat on the edge of the white china soup plate, pecking away at the sugar ice happy as Terry. 

There I was, stood mid aisle like an Air NZ trolley dolly about to ask – cookie or cassava chups? Kettle poised. Mrs tui nonchalantly hopped over to an apple and swallowed a couple of beak-fulls. Then she saw me about to interfere with winter and flew onto the nearby peach tree (a sorry specimen which has produced the grand total of ONE peach its whole life). And poof she was gone.

Not deterred, I went ahead and melted the iced sugar disk turning it into a slushie. But obviously I didn’t really need to. The tui was happy, its beak an efficient ice pick. Us humans are dumb. A lot.

I took my chastened self down to our small whitebaiters caravan. A humble guest wing perched on a cliff, with the best view on our place, down over the Shotover river delta and up to Coronet Peak ski field. But before I could sit down on the viewing bench my eye caught something huge and black. Splayed on the ground. L o n g tail. Dead still. 

It was the hairiest most enormous possum I’ve ever seen - caught in the possum trap. (note possums are a huge pest in NZ, the euthanizing of them is encouraged). It seemed tragic to waste its long lush fur. Usually our old dog eats them. Sorry, she does. Straight out of the trap. Bum first. 

However, the specimen before me was perfect taxidermy material for the stuffed animal inclined. It would easily have made, a Russian hat, a stole, a coat for a toddler even.
Crikey, I could pluck it and card it together with some raw wool and knit The H some undies. I’ve just knitted him a phone cover which looks more like something that rhymes with sock. Warmer. I guess I would have if I was an early settler in a rough wool dress, cotton bloomers and my only pair of leather boots. Thank god I’m not. I got my I-phone out of my puffa jacket and took several pics of the possum that would make-a-really-nice-rug. Slippers even. Then I pix’d them to yours truly. Words and pictures by moi – bloody big poss.   

Slightly left of centre and off point again. I went and had my haircut last week. My hairdresser was staggered by the amount of new hair I had sprouting up through the old grey bits.

‘Have you changed your diet?’ she queried. “Added some new nutrients. That’s what it normally is. There’s heaps here. Are you SURE you haven’t done anything.’

I wracked my brain, but didn’t like to mention the first thing that came to mind. I have not consumed alcohol for three weeks. (I’m doing Dry July like all the radio hosts in NZ, actually I started in the last week of June). So I said, NO. Not really. I can’t think of anything. Different. At all. 

Yet she was insistent. Kept asking. I have been thinking a lot about leafy greens lately, does that count? I almost said.

When I got home I didn’t google – alcohol hair growth suppressant. Instead, I poured the H and I a guilt free Ribena and soda, looked him deep in the eyes and said, ‘cheers mate.’


  1. I'll try again! Very interesting post. Your country life in the cold bottom of the country in cheery snippets. I must be spoilt-rotten since I've been bemoaning our 10 degree mornings up here in the neck of the country. -5? I'd stay in bed and never crawl out!

    1. The sunny blue days make up for the frosty-as-hell nights. Yerp she is pretty rural here but. Just had the blacksmith visit with the chickens and dog fighting over old hoof clippings. Gross I know. Also, my crazy children and friends have been doing the #IceBucketChallenge this week - into our frozen pond. They did break a hole first!


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