Wednesday November 15, 2006

When we first moved to the country eight years ago, I absolutely loved seeing and hearing the native critters.  Of course, over time, that love has grown a bit cooler.  Oh, I still love hearing the coyotes at night, as long as they are far enough in the distance that I know that my sheep and goats are safe.  And it’s fun to hear a fox barking for her pups; again, only if she’s far enough out that I know that my chickens are safe.  Loving the wildlife also took on a whole new meaning when we had to start calling the cat food we purchased for our cat “possum feed” or “coon chow” because more of the stuff was eaten by them than our cat!  Keep in mind, we feed our cat right on our front porch!

I’ve shared the wild turkeys with you before, but this guy has also been responsible for eating a goodly amount of cat food.  Many a morning we’ve heard the pitter patter of feet coming up our front porch steps only to catch him eating from the cat’s bowl, with the cat cowering in fear under the steps.  Peacocks are BIG birds!!!

He’s been around for a couple of years now.  He showed up in our barnyard one summer evening.  My grandbabies were here, and the eldest, then just 3, called him a Copeak.  We’ve called him that ever since.  We’d never seen, or heard, him before that evening; but for the last two years he has made his presence known in our area almost every day.  Here, on my front porch rail is one of his favorite morning roosts.  From his vantage point here, he watches the world go by.  From time to time, a car will “threaten” his territory and he’ll rise up on his legs, stretch up big and tall, honk, and then let out that weird peacock “ka-whock, ka-whock”.  The honk at the beginning always cracks us up!

Peacocks, we’ve discovered, molt in the late summer.  My kids delight in finding his long, colorful feathers out in our yards or fields, and always bring them in to me.  Most prized, of course, are the feathers with the colorful eyes.  I began collecting the feathers my children brought in.  For want of a safe place to put them, I began placing them in this Hull vase on my china cabinet.  As soon as I have enough to make an arrangement, I plan to do so.  Something sort of funky Victorian in nature.  Until then, this is a good place to keep them from getting broken.

This last summer, the peacock got a bit braver and started spending more time in our yards.  Or maybe he was just lonesome.  Afterall, the peacock is not a native creature to our neck of the woods.  We’ve often wondered where he came from.  Is he the lost pet of some peacock aficionados?  Is there a forlorn flock of captive pea hens nearby missing their mate?  Who knows.  Many days this summer, though, we found him wandering about our front or side yards.  He’d never let us get too close.  If we tried sneaking up on him, he’d fly away.  One day, when he was unintentionally frightened by one of my boys, he flew away and came around the corner of the barn just as I came around the same corner from the other direction.  I almost hit the deck!!  Having a bird that size fly past your head is a bit nerve wracking.

Our dearest hope was always to catch him with his plumage fully open.  We saw him fan his feathers once or twice, but we never had a camera in hand when it happened.  Did I mention earlier that we thought he might have been lonesome?  Poor guy!  One day, not finding any of his own kind to woo, he decided to strut his stuff for my chickens.  The chickens?  Well, they weren’t too impressed.  However, we were finally able to get our picture of his full fanned out tail.  Isn’t it spectacular?  The blue of his body is just so striking, too.

I’ve seen this goofy bird, in the middle of our road, bring traffic to a screeching halt.  I’ve seen huge, double-trailer big rigs, laden with grapes, slow to a near crawl to avoid hitting him.  The peacock?  It never ruffled his feathers a bit.  In fact, he’d stretch out his neck, belt out his silly honk, and then give his most threatening “ka-whock, ka-whock” at even the largest of vehicles.  Brave bird!  A couple of neighbors have threatened his life when he has knocked over statuary in their yards or turned their satellite t.v. dishes to where they no longer receive their signal.  Fortunately, no one ever carried through on these threats.

Well, as I said earlier, my love affair with the native wildlife has cooled over the years.  In fact, I’m fond of saying out loud “good coyote” when I see one dead in the road. Unfortunately, our brave peacock met his match in what we assume was a coyote earlier this week.  My children returned from a bike ride reporting that there were peacock feathers scattered on the road from our driveway to the next.  No sign of a body, so I doubt he was hit by a car.  In fact, the feathers  looked  very much as if they’d been torn from his body.  How do I know?  Because I sent the kids back out to pick up the longest feathers of course!!!   We laid them on the drive way overnight for the ants to clean up, but then it rained.   My thirteen year old used the wire cutters to cut off the very tips (that still had a bit of the bird attached) and then we laid them out on towels to dry in my garage.  Remember that vase with just a few feathers I showed you earlier?   It is now full to overflowing.  Time to work on a feather arrangement for the parlor.

Our noble peacock, R.I.P.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your households!
Proverbs 31:27

Remember to pray for Karen!

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