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Wrong answer

January 21st, 2010 · No Comments

C&D love the book Pelle’s New Suit.  In the story Pelle discovers that his clothes have gotten too small.  He shears his sheep and then exchanges favors with his family and neighbors to get the wool cleaned, carded, dyed, woven, and finally sewn into a new suit.  The story serves as a nice example of self-sufficiency and community cooperation. 

So I felt pretty clever when I turned to Carmen late Tuesday afternoon and told her I had been working on getting a field trip set up for her new Clover Kids group.  We could have a “sheep to shawl” presentation with someone who would show us their fiber animals and then demonstrate all the steps required to take the wool and make a final product.  In fact, the woman I had spoken to that afternoon kept goats and said if we paid her a visit she would let us feed them a few treats.

No, Mommy,” she said with just a smidgen of exasperation in her voice, “I said I wanted a HORSE.”


I was thinking that in the past year David has requested pet ponies, chickens, bunnies, butterflies, donkeys, snails, starfish, sea horses (“sea hossies”), green anoles from our garden, hermit crabs from the beach, and just about anything else slow enough for him to catch and small enough to fit in a jar.  We’re working on the butterflies at the moment (Painted Lady caterpillars) and when we find a snail it’s usually dropped right into a jar.  The snails live until they’re forgotten and dry up or get accidentally tossed out (like when the green anoles were released back into their favorite lemongrass plant).  I thought about getting aquarium snails, but I’m guessing our living room will get too hot in the summer to prevent them from turning into escargot. 

Carmen suggested a puppy earlier this week, but she made it sound more like a consolation prize.  And I’m not sure she wants something that chews on her hands and barks at nothing.  Her idea of a dog is something like our neighbors’ lazy greyhounds, Early and Little Girl, or another neighbor’s lumbering aged golden retriever, who patiently tolerates pats and tugs from little hands.

For a few days this month we kept a couple of green anoles.  They lived in our lemongrass plant and when temps dipped below freezing they rode along with the plant inside.  After a day or two they got adventurous enough to wander out.  I was afraid I’d have two little lizards in my master bedroom so we caught them for our jar and watched them change colors as we moved the jar around the house.  We tried to feed them a mosquito (another stowaway), but they refused to perform such tricks.  When the weather warmed up they went back outside with the plant.

At C&D’s age I eagerly took in anything that had four legs and wandered down the street looking lost.  We had a generous yard, though, and my grandmother had flea shampoo on hand.   We also kept a cat (Fluffy), a coop full of hens (and for a while a naughty rooster named Junior) and at one time or another geese and ducks from the country and green talking parrots from Mexico.  Rabbits lived in a hutch until they got sick or eaten or both, I don’t remember.  A litter of kittens from my mom’s Aunt Lucy ran away or met their demise under the wheels of a car, I think.  When I was five my mom drove me (in her Chevy Nova with vinyl seats that got sticky in the summer) to someone’s house to select a puppy I named Flash after the dog in The Dukes of Hazzard. 

(I won’t forget the plants, either, all hand-watered and fertilized every now and then with a blue powder mixed in water.  No wonder I majored in Biology in college.)

They were good company, all those animals, and lots of fun.  Even though we’re not turning our house into a zoo anytime soon, I think I understand when C&D declare they can potty-train a pony.  That wish to nurture is a phase of childhood, or maybe just a bad case of genes.

This week we were talking and Matt said something about goats.  I said out west of here one could buy one for $50, or $35 for a cabrito goat.  “I’m impressed,” he said, “that you actually know how much those cost.”  Well, yeah, I answered, I remember seeing the signs we passed when we rode our bikes out and around Fort Bend County.  Didn’t he remember? 

If you harbor secret desires to own one, I guess you naturally keep track of how much a pet goat would set you back.

Tags: Dynamic Duo · Go Joyce Go · Home Ec

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