Sat, Sep 01 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Pena
There are some things that we accept as routine or commonplace when we are young but sort of throw out the window, so to speak, as we advance in age. One of these is the owning and care of pets.
When we were a reasonably young and up and coming family we had our share of animals about the premises. Living in Bonita we, of course, had to have horses. Over the years we had two, a doting mare named Trixie, who was like a ball player on the other side of greatness, just biding his time, and another horse named Cochise, quite the opposite who, no doubt, thought that he had to live up to his name. We had a corral and horse barn in the back so we also boarded a few horses for some of the neighbors who had run out of space.
In addition to the heavy stock we also had our share of small domestic creatures, cats and dogs and even skunks and gophers. The latter two we must say, were not exactly pets but more like that family member who always seemed to be underfoot. They were well fed, with a veritable chow line, the skunks getting a daily fare, courtesy of the dog’s and cat’s leftovers, and the gophers with their rich diet of tomato plant roots and other vegetables that we foolishly thought we could plant and then watch blossom to fruition. Ah, but what the heck; all creatures have to eat.
Not exactly pets, but sometimes treated like family members were Zula’s chickens. I have often written about being the owner of the only two story chicken house in the county.
And since no one has ever made a counter statement I will continue to make this claim. Zula, you know, was raised on a farm and the old saying, “you can get the girl out of the country, etc.,” manifested itself in the old girl. At one time she had nearly 30 hens in the chicken house all of them producing an egg a day. She would admonish them with the threat, produce or it’s the Sunday chicken pot for you. To be on the safe side she had one big, red rooster to rule the roost and see that production was up to par. She admonished him by also threatening the chicken pot. So he did his job. Too bad. He would have made a fine chicken stew.
In later years we had to discontinue the egg business. But, one day, on a visit to our old feed supplier in Jamul we noticed a tray full of newly hatched golden chicks. Zula could not resist. She bought three of them, dubbed them the Golden Girls and they became our egg suppliers in our advanced years. The Golden Girls were extremely faithful, producing one, sometimes two eggs a day. This went on for several years. At breakfast, each morning, we were greeted by one big golden egg, the only problem being was, “How do I want my egg this morning?”
With the demise of the Golden Girls this household was, once more, bereft of pets. When Zula was pretty deep in the Alzheimers visitors would suggest getting her a pet. Since I knew I would be the caretaker for the pet as well as Zula I nixed that suggestion. There would be no pets; that was the rule of the household. And that held true until recently. It seems that rules were made to be broken.
It all started with my Sacramento daughter, Margaret. She was here on a visit and informed me that there was a black cat hanging around the garage. It’s OK, I told her, it will go away. No it won’t she replied, I have been feeding it. This started about a month ago and since that time neighbors will see me come out twice a day with a cup of cat food and a container of water.
These same neighbors who know about such things have surmised that my black cat is a recent mother and somewhere on the block there is a feline maternity ward with a gaggle — or whatever that flock is called — of kittens.
They also have related to me that though the mother is black the kittens could be any color. Mmm! I wonder if any of them are Golden?
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