Finally and at last, the ice on the pond has thawed and birds have returned. It’s our spring break.
My elderly, domestic ducks waddle off to the pond with a very officious gait, business-like in their bathing. They quack around with wild ducks, exchanging opinions. Mine are easy to tell apart, they swim much lower in the water and act like they own the place. They return to the yard in late afternoon for dinner- the old gelding shares his with them. It has been a long, frozen winter and geriatric ducks are as happy for spring as any of us.
Our goats have a moth-eaten look, like a toy that’s losing its stuffing just behind the ears. They sleep in the sun all day- shedding takes all their energy and concentration. They aren’t so young anymore either.
The llamas don’t shed a whisker, preferring to wait for a spa day in late spring. We all head together into the stock trailer with clippers, coming out a couple of hours later looking fresh and thin. (Well, me- not so fresh and layered in wool.) The shearing is always followed by a wild bucking romp in the pasture. They go off like popcorn- head, legs and body all exploding in opposite directions.
Donkeys are very conservative about shedding. They would never consider dropping a hair this early- anything could happen between now and summer. Just not prudent! They don’t like being caught nearly naked at the first frost either. Last to shed and first to get a winter coat means there are only 3 or 4 days in early august when they are shed out and sleek. Being shed-conservative probably has its good side, but it’s lost on the rest of us.
Horses are the simple ones. They are like giant house cats, shedding everywhere and all the time. You can trace their path; where they lay down, where they scratch, every step- the shed out hair leaves a breadcrumb trail.
And as for me, I dream that science finds some incredible health benefit from ingesting animal hair. And I try to wear fleece everyday so that I can personally break the fall of all of those poor hairs- not to plunge all the way to the ground at once.
I’m itching for less dramatic/erratic weather and shedding my winter doldrums by planning my summer events. Woo-hoo! Winter is over and we all survived it.
Here is some relaxed and forward advice from Dr. Suess, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Anna Blake, Infinity Farm
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