Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Memories March: Our House was a Zoo

Obviously it wasn't a proper zoo but, it was close enough. Maybe it was more like a farm. I have so many happy memories of it being summer and all these animals were roaming free around our garden. I think it gave me the best child hood ever to have owned chickens and ducks, a turkey and peacocks. It was especially amazing on Pia's party every summer. We don't really do this anymore but, it was so good. As Pia's birthday was in December when it is way too cold out, we'd celebrate it in the summer. We would have a barbecue and all our friends and parents of friends would come round; it would be a big garden party. The turkey I mentioned earlier would sit on the feet of the people around the table, convinced it too was a human. He was referred to either as Billy-no-mates or Billy-Christmas. Just like to point out we didn't actually eat our own pet for Christmas dinner! 

The cutest thing ever was when we looked after the smaller lambs from nearby farms, runts I think they were called. We had lambs two years running. On the first year we had a white one called Evie Baa. When we went away for a weekend, our next door neighbours (Caitlin, Ciaron and Connall) looked after her. They had a house rabbit and the lamb and the rabbit were good friends and slept side by side. They were the sweetest pair. The second year we had three and kind of adopted one each. My lamb had black wool and was called Zac, Pia's had white wool with little black woolly feet, it was called Ruby and Iona's lamb was entirely white coloured and was called Rainbow. Too cute! They would all live in the shed outdoors even though we treated them more like dogs than farm animals. We fed them milk out of  tiny baby bottles and when friends came over we would make obstacle courses and races for them. I am trying to convince my mum to let me look after another lamb soon. I think we missed spring-time this year but there's always next year!

Peacocks resided in the tree above the shed. I can't remember if we owned peacocks at the same time as we had lambs though, it could have been at separate times. The peacocks were beautiful. I still have the feathers that dropped out of their tails in my room. I honestly had the greatest time when I was little, I mean, who has peacocks in their back garden? I just wish I had more photos to include. I'll add to this post if I find more. We owned chickens and ducks many years running although unfortunately not anymore. Pia even had an up and running business selling chicken and duck eggs to to the parents at primary school! I can remember one duck had an injured leg and it couldn't keep up with the others, instead it made friends with the big white rabbit that we kept in the same area. They would sit behind the feed store all day together. One time a duck from the pond near to our house followed us home. It was clear that it was not wild and had been abandoned there so, we kept it. I used to have to climb into the chicken pen to put them all in their little house for the night. Me and my mum went out every night in our dressing gowns and wellies to go and do it. There was big excitement one morning when we discovered a little mouse trapped inside the feed store. All of my sisters spend a good thirty minuets looking at it and we were all late for school. Sometimes the chickens would be allowed to roam free around the garden. You can imagine it now: Pia's party with family and friends over and chickens, ducks, peacocks, a turkey and lambs on the loose -  not to mention the inflatable pool and little bouncy castle we had up. Such fun times.

Another thing that made us late for school was definitely worth it. We had been keeping chicken eggs in an incubator for a while and one morning they started to hatch. We were running in and out of the room between eggs hatching to find stray socks and get dressed. It was incredible watching baby chicks hatch out of their shell. At our primary school which we were currently attending, a friend (and farmer) that we knew let the youngest class look after baby chicks so they could learn about growing or something. The school didn't know but when those chicks were going to be collected, they would be going to our house for us to look after. We had to keep it a secret. And then there was the time we kept baby ducklings in the bathroom. Yet another cute thing. We kept them in a cardboard box with curved edges. Cute as they were, they stank so badly that they had to be cleaned out twice a day. Every now and again we would put them in the bath tub where they'd swim. 

That last paragraph just triggered loads of other things I thought I had forgotten. I think we may have also raised some chicks in a big box in the study. I remember me and my sisters naming them, not quite sure which were female and male. As they grew up, it turned out we had called the manly cockerel of the lot 'Lilly-Rose-Petal'. I don't know for sure but, the peacocks we owned we may actually have had since chicks and been looked after by a broody hen. I can't really remember. One time an adult peacock escaped into the nearby high school field. The head teacher had to get some of the boys to catch and return it. I currently attend that school now and I'm not sure if I'm glad that, that head teacher left... 

I think that's just about all! Sorry, I thought this post would end up being a short one. 




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