Friday, October 7, 2011

those amazing animals

We've been in the house we are sitting for three days now - can it really only have been three days? TIme seems to move slow when you have somewhere you really want to be.

I'll tell you about the house. It's about a 40 minute drive from Portland proper, outside of Vancouver, WA - just across the river from Portland. The drive to get here is up winding roads and around more winding roads and up even more winding roads (seriously, there are 9 miles of winding mountain roads) - until we arrive at a green mailbox at the end of a long gravel driveway. The driveway is surrounded by blackberry bushes and other plant life, and at the end, there is a ranch-style house, behind which is a woodshed, a penned in chicken coop, a tree-covered backyard, and two beautiful acres of wilderness (which we have yet to explore).

Our little kitty, Frenzie, had ben staying here for the month we were in St. Louis. She seemed to not remember us when we'd come the day before to get the tour - or maybe she was just in shock from the previous month being left in a place she'd never ben with three cats she'd never met and four people she had also never met. Oh, and a big black labrador. And did I mention they've been doing renovations to their home? So yeah, Frenzie was a little stressed out.

But the night we arrived, she slept in the bed with Hubby - her favorite person in the whole wide world - and it seemed to bring her out of her shell a bit more. The next day she actually came out a little bit and hung out in the rooms we were in. She seems to be okay with two of the three cats - they all pretty much ignore each other for the most part and that's just fine. And then there is Amira - who is apparently her nemesis, as they are both in competition for who can get the humans' affection.

Frenzie is the submissive cat in this relationship, as she is on Amira's turf - but her desire to be with us has been stronger than her need to flee from Amira's attacks. And since Frenzie gets to sleep with a human at night (I am too light a sleeper to let a cat sleep with me), Amira has gotten even more aggressive with her. (Take out the competition!) We've been having to break up interactions with them more and more.

But these are few and far between. We have errands to run in the day sometimes, plus there is no cell service out here, so for Hubby to make and receive work-related calls, he has to go into town. At least there is internet! Whew!

As I said, there are chickens here - part of what drew me to taking this on - other than my general insanity and inability to think things through ahead of time - was that we would have the opportunity to get to know what it is like to take care of chickens. I always say that I'd like to have them, yet I have no idea what that actually means, beyond eggs and cute chickens walking around and boking at things.

It turns out it is pretty easy - especially since Hubby has taken the job on himself. When he goes outside, the chickens immediately begin o follow him around - this is whether he is getting wood from the woodshed or taking out he trash or the compost or actually feeding them. They just follow him like he is the pied piper. He is smitten. Apparently the way to Hubby's heart is to give him attention and be cute. I'm pretty sure that if we had the space for it, he'd be fine with us having some sort of animal menagerie, because he just has the biggest soft spot for all things furry or feathered. And also, babies and children.

Back to the chickens. Hubby goes and lets them out of the coop in the morning and opens the gate so they can wander the property freely. They wander about the grounds all day, mostly staying relatively close to the house and in the backyard, with the occasional meandering out to the front yard. Then just before dark, they put themselves back in the coop and are there when he goes to close the gate. He feeds them, counts them and closes things up, and that's it. Occasionally there is straw to be cleared and thee are eggs to be gathered daily, but that's about it. Because there are two acres here, they have plenty of space to roam and eat insects, rodents, snakes - and they are pretty darn quiet, actually.

There are also horses who live next door, bu we have yet to meet them. Their people are apparently okay with us giving hem apples, so if this rain ever lets up, we will go and introduce ourselves with apples. And explore the property. For now, we're building fires and finding ways to occupy our days while we wait to find he house we will call ours.

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