I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Brownie and the Black Feather

On my walk the other night I went through the back gate. Annie was up on the fence, as I went by. She has  a badly scratched up nose. She has had this sore nose for a week now.
  It's healing but it still looks kind of sore. She won't let me touch it. I think it's getting better on its own.
"Wanna come with me Annie?" She looked mighty comfortable and didn't move, so I left her and continued up the road.

As I walked past the "other woman" I sensed a feeling of unrest.
And I thought I heard a small grumble coming from her hood vent.
I'm really sorry that she has to stay outside now (Really, I am.) but until we build another garage, this is the best we can do. I don't think she's happy about it.

I walked on up the hill to the well and choose the low road to the orchard...
 The road, on the left, goes to the top of the hill where I love to walk. (This was our escape route during the fire last summer.) The road on the right goes down  to the old orchard, (what's left of it) and to our septic leach system... and to the other knoll where all the Manzanitas grow. It's a much shorter walk.
 I always take the lower road in the summer because there is less dry grass. Even though the weather is nice and cool this week, I never walk in the tall grass until late fall when I know that there's less chance of a Rattler lurking in the weeds.
The sky was so beautiful.
The hills to the east, toward the Sierras, were laughing in the overcast, coolness of the day.
I said hello to Maggie who is buried up on the hill near the road. She was our last big dog, a beautiful shepherd mix, before we got the two little Corgis. Actually, Carl, our first corgi, came to live with us while Maggie was still alive.  
When she died, The Prospector buried her up here and asked me to make a sign for the site.
  That was almost four years ago. She was a wild little puppy when we first got her and I always feel like her spirit is bounding around with me up there. I don't walk up to the grave this time of the year (the grass is too long) but I always say something to her. She was a good dog.
I turned around and started back.. When I got about two thirds of the way back to the house, I saw something long and black on the side of the trail. My heart started beating a little faster, but I was quite a distance from it and well... rattlers aren't usually that dark. I just couldn't see it clearly.
I walked down, slowly, and  realized it was a feather, a huge black feather...
 underneath the utility pole. It was a turkey vulture wing feather sitting there moving a little in the wind. It wasn't in the deep grass, so I picked it up. It was huge.  The vultures like to sit up on the top of the pole a lot so I guess one of them dropped this feather. We have found them here before.

I walked down toward the house and the blond hussy (the 38' Chevy). This time she didn't say anything. I think she should be happy that we, at least, cover her. After all, she is going to get a complete overhaul one of these days (money, money, money...) and I can't even get the Prospector to pay for my orthopedic inserts.
Oh, I'm sorry. Now, I'm the one that's venting.

When I got down to the back gate, Annie was still up on her perch. I took the feather and teased her with it.
She humored me for a few minutes and then...
Lost interest.

I went by the goat yard and Brownie gave me a  muted "Hello.", so I walked over to the fence, reached over with the feather and tickled his nose.
That's when he made this face. Hilarious! 
 I pulled the feather away and started to leave... 

So he gave me his cute goat look.
 "Why did you stop?"
 "Farmlady. Please keep doing that."
 And he made that silly toothy smile again...
 What a ham!

So I played "feather" with him for a while
And he got downright silly about it. He tried to eat the feather. We had a great time. He loved all the attention.
This morning I took an old brush out there and gave Brownie a back rub. (Yes, I'm spoiling him.) His hair is growing back and he's looking pretty darn good. He's still too skinny, but he is gaining weight and his body looks so much better. He seems to be thriving in his "last goat standing" status. I was always told that Nubians didn't like to be alone. That they need other goats. Well, this guy is just fine. He's a character. That's for sure.
 I dearly miss Murphy, but Brownie is our survivor... par excellence. He is playing this solitary life for all its worth. He's still our outspoken, show pony. I'm sure there will be more stories to tell.


  1. gosh I love your posts..your kitty is so pretty,,her fur looks so soft..unlike my MsKitty O'shea whosw fur is knots and deep undercoat....your walk past your precious dog....sigh...I know
    and you have taught me a bit about snakes.....and I remember that fir last year...my my have we known each other that long already?
    I just love brownie...his toothie smile melts my heart.....
    we Have turkey bats in Galena Il
    they look just like the ones in the cartoons of long ago...but I have never had a feather....wonder what it means..your present?
    and your blonde...oh my that cracks me up...truly
    In a way she resembles the car in
    Midnight inParis...and Hemingway
    gosh I loved that movie...
    well take care...I just got home from my country retreat....such good people there....
    must be that country air
    take care

  2. Fall / Rattlesnakes ???? Last October I went out at 10 o'clock at NIGHT, hear a strange noise thought the battery on one of motion sensor lights was making noise .......... underneath my Blue Recycle Bin was a 3 ft long rattlesnake ........... about 20 ft. from my back door and I didn't get him, he went under the little house out back, I keep waiting to see him now or her and a bunch of new babies, so far only found one King Snake. King Snakes get to live here ... rattlesnake I hope has moved away. But don't think Fall is safe ...............

  3. haha what a ham indeed...at least someone enjoyed it....i guess i really should not talk about how beautiful the hussy is, so i wont...but thanks for the walk...smiles.

  4. What an adventurous walk you had. Never seems to be a dull moment on the farm. That old vintage car is a real treasure.

  5. Thanks for taking us along on your walk with you!
    xo, Cheryl

  6. Those Brownie shots are classic - what a ham! I'm afraid I've lived in NZ (where are are no snakes) for too long. Whereas once I lived in "snake country" I now get shivers up my spine at the very thought of anyone walking in long, dry grass. Please take care!

  7. Thanks for sharing this post. Your photos are so beautiful. I know you enjoyed your walk as I did with you. Brownie is a cute goat, and your cat is pretty. Have a blessed day. Madelline

  8. So it's been that long since I first encountered you and your lovely life. I remember when Maggie died and how it struck a chord in me. That was when I started tagging along with farmlady. Thank goodness for the humor of a goats smile! That Brownie is a real ham! Don't get too jealous, but the blond really is a beauty. Except in a classic old lady beauty, like Jessica Tandy.

  9. Watch out for those rattlers. Yesterday I had just finished about 3 hours of planting in our "kitchen garden" on the south side of the house, and went inside to eat a late lunch. Rich went over to set up some watering for me (big help!) and there was a rattler just going by where I had been sitting, on its way from under the front porch to under the deck. He killed it. It was medium sized. I am sure hoping it was the one that bit Ishi twice. Glad it is gone! Tina

  10. Omigosh your Brownie sure is a clown & he does seem to be thriving in his "only goat" status!


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