Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



All of My Friends

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ranch Pets


Bambi and four of his pets
Baby antelope kisses








A ranch is a different place to grow up.
Miles from any other humans, one never worries about what the 'neighbours will think'.
Also because of the distance between homesteads, one has to become very self-reliant.
One doesn't drive half an hour to borrow a cup of sugar or a can of soup.
One makes do.
And learns to plan ahead.
Kids growing up on a ranch make their own entertainment.
Well, at least they did in the 50s and 60s.
Electronics hadn't been invented yet.
There was one channel on the TV.
And talking on the phone wasn't the private enterprise it is today.
Entertainment consisted of visiting with your family.
Playing games. Also with said family.
Swinging from ropes in the hay loft.
Riding.
Reading.
And, of course, playing with your pets.
On our ranch, there were all the usual pets one would expect.
An assortment of barn cats. The end result of years of 'spur of the moment' cat sex.
Dogs. All brought in from other ranches and, unlike the aforementioned cats, strictly controlled.
Some a little harder to hide in your bedroom. (ie. Ponies. And yes, I tried.)
Assorted baby animals, found by me and subsequently (good word) turned out of the house by my unenlightened mother.
Pigs.
Calves.
And then, at least on our ranch, the animals you wouldn't expect.
Wild animals who had been injured or orphaned.
And just needed some care and a place to stay.
A litter of coyote pups. Discovered by my father after finding a dead, female coyote.
A seagull. Found near the road, unable to fly.
Countless frogs.
A snake or two.
Several mice.
Jackrabbits.
Did you know that a baby porcupine is really, really cute?
Well they are.
Moving on . . .
And several baby deer.
These wilder 'pets' didn't stay around long.
As they grew, they began to pose some problems.
Wild animals, no matter how cute, simply don't domesticate.
Regardless of how hard you try.
Or how much you talk to them.
One baby deer, unexpectedly named 'Bambi', got quite aggressive, especially with my toddling baby sister.
I don't know what he thought she was.
But he didn't like it.
And tried to express himself with sharp hooves.
He, like most of them, after tearful good-byes, went to petting zoos in the area.
But, for a time, they belonged to our family.
I still think that befriending them and spending time with them was better than any form of electronic entertainment.
And I'm always right.

12 comments:

  1. Hey...me too...at least, that's what I tell the hubs. "I'm always right." I don't think I've convinced him yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. My accepted expertise is a work in progress as well...

      Delete
  2. That deer loved Smarties/M&Ms. Maybe that was why SHE (she was a doe) got so aggressive. Or maybe it was that female desire for chocolate that drove her to protect her source.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a SHE? Who knew? Well, obviously you did...

      Delete
  3. I think George is on to something there with the chocolate.

    I would have loved to live with so many animals. Even in our small house, not on a farm, I was responsible for the acquisition of a bird, a cat and a dog. Well, my father technically provided the dog, but I was all for it :)

    One question: do baby porcupines have already developed quills? or are they soft at first? Or were you ever adventurous enough to find out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I kept my distance, mostly because of my cautious dad. The quills were hard. I guess they're soft when the babies are first born, but harden mere hours later.

      Delete
  4. I'll bet those wild beasts were fun, though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Those were the days! I try to explain it to my children, they just don't get it. Thanks for taking me back!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your assortment of pets sounds wonderful, even the unconventional ones. Pony in the bedroom? Giggle.
    I've only ever had cats, dogs and goldfish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. Moms don't like ponies in the bedroom. Something about them leaving behind a big mess. Who listened...?

      Delete

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