Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Work in Progress

I'm very sorry but I have a problem with the retrieval of the correct images that belong to the following chapter. The images are now almost 15 years old and they are stored somewhere in my iMovie program.  
As soon as I find them I will go on with the sequel. 

Thanks for your patience

Bye, bye!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Being Separated (January 1998)

For Pipke - November 1997 started off very well. 
We had a beautiful Autumn and it was already freezing. She had no problem with the cold. She had developed a good fat layer and - if she wasn't sleeping in her dogs nest/bed she spent most of her time swimming in her little pond. 
In between she enjoyed walking through the garden together with us to search after spiders and earthworms.
She now weighed almost two kg.
It was at the end of December, and the last few months I hadn't been feeling so good.
I always felt exhausted and I had become very skinny. (I barely weighed 49 kg!) Normally I ran every other day *9 km (*at that time) and now suddenly I even couldn't run one km. 
I got so bad, that I almost couldn't stay awake, I slept the whole day.
The week before, I had consulted my doctor and she had taken blood samples to find out what my problem was.
Very late on New Year's eve, she phoned me with the urgent message that I had to go immediately to the hospital the next morning.
My blood samples showed that I had probably had an internal bleeding.
My first thought was: “oh, and what about Pipke”!
I didn't think about myself! I was only worried for what an impact my absence would have on Pipke and, my doctor couldn't estimate how long I had to stay there.

With pain in my heart I left home to go to the hospital in the early morning that New Years day.
On the way to the hospital I couldn't stop crying because I had to leave Pipke behind.
Although I had not much time - the first thing I did when I entered my hospital room was to install  Pipke's picture on my night table. 
Thereafter - without delay - they took me immediately to the examination room.
I had to undergo many tests and the doctors gave me a full examination, but after a full day of examinations they couldn't find out what was wrong with me. 
The only thing that they could say was - that my blood results were very bad.  
They were sure that I must have had an internal bleeding – but they couldn't find out “where” it happened .
I stayed at the hospital for a whole month, I was only allowed to spend just one weekend home and that only after fourteen days.
When I then came back home after a fourth night - Pipke ignored me completely when she saw me again - it seemed like, to her, I didn't exist anymore.
She even didn't answer when I called for her – she wanted no more snuggles – it seemed as if she was angry with me. She remained cool and impassive.
In fact, this event touched me more than the fact that I was sick.
It even made me feel much worse.
When I had to leave her to go to the hospital again, I was really gloomy: would she forget about me now – was she angry with me because I had left her against my own will?
That same day I had to undergo once more several examinations at the hospital. 
I went through all kind of scanners – I became a real Guinea pig – my body was turned inside out in a manner of speaking.
Now – they had discovered that my blood results had even deteriorated after that weekend that I was at home, and behind my back they had asked my husband: 
"maybe your wife mutilates herself” ? That would declare the blood loss.
(This shows how medical science works these days.) 
If they can't find anything, then it's all in your head.
In fact, this shows rather their inability to cure “everything” and then they come up with the easiest – but not proven – explanation.
My husband was really furious, and I – I knew now “why” they had inspected my arms, my legs and every single spot on my body so thoroughly. 
They were actually looking for “cut wounds”, but of course - they couldn't find even one tiny scar! I didn't cut myself.
Maybe it was good that my blood results were bad, otherwise – they had maybe said that I was a "hypochondriac".
After one whole month being hospitalized I was allowed to go home without an explanation for my blood loss, and until this moment it's still a mystery!
(I had to take very strong iron pills for almost 6 months and it took me also that long to recover before I was able to function normally.)
It felt so good to be back home now. I had missed Pipke so much – but she still ignored me a little. I spent as much time with her as I could  to regain her love for me – and little by little – our bond grew again - even closer than ever before.
I knew now – how it had felt “to have no choice but to miss her”.
Now I knew that she made my life complete.

Due to my illness we didn't take pictures that year! 
Even no picture of Pipke - and that's something that I now still regret.

So - I can't show you much - only these two snapshots taken out the 
*film (*see below) which was taken in December 1998. 
It are the only images of us both that were taken that year - 
the year that I came to the conclusion that 
she was 
"My True Love"!

Wasn't she a sweetie!

I want to close this chapter with this love scene of us both!
I hope you will enjoy it.

Next time we will go further with: Help....Robbers!
We hope you will be there to discover who the rascals are.
Bye, bye!
Till soon.

PS: click on the link above to watch the film images.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for watching!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Little Critters Great and Small

When we moved into our new house, there were standing two grazing sheep on the meadow behind our garden. There was also a little shed for them close to our fence.
For us this was already country life.
One year later our neighbors sold the sheep. To fill the void and to restrain the weeds so that the meadow would not drive wild, they bought two goats.

It was a nanny with her kid. The mother's name was Wanda and the little one got the name Irene. It was a lively little female, a real rascal. It jumped and ran lively around. It was endearing to see how the mom took care for her little one.  
The first time Pipke saw them, she really wasn't at ease. She looked at them astonished. Their bleating frightened her even a little. But after some time she got used to their noisy bleating and she was no longer afraid of them.

A few months later the neighbors bought also a few gees, all kind of chickens, and ducks.
It once started with two goats and now it had become a real menagerie.
Actually now the shed became too small for so many critters.

A view of the first old shed on the left in the background.

Somehow, now there was no more place enough to house and shelter them all.

Near the old shed in 1996.

My little granddaughter and I feeding and pampering the critters

Our neighbors knew that my hubby's hobby was carpentry and therefor they asked him to build a new and larger shed for them near the woodland.
And so he did. 
For them nothing was asked too much.

The *proud carpenter accompanied by Pipke 
at the new shed still under construction. 
Although - also I worked on the shed! I assisted *him with the laying of the roof tiles and to carry too heavy load. 

He always could count on me when he needed help, he even didn't need to ask for help.

A view from in our garden with in the background the new build shed.

Some time afterwards the menagerie was expanded with a billy goat and two horses.
It became now a real animal paradise! 
We really lost count on them.

When my hubby went to Pipke's pen in the morning, all the little critters were already present.
They could hear Pipke quacking, and to them that was the sign that there would be someone to feed them.
It was crowded and very rowdy then: screaming gees – quacking ducks – bleating goats, and neighing horses! The real sounds of the country side.

The very rutting billy goat has not been idle, he had done his thing with much devotion.

The result of his devotion was that: after only a few years there were already fourteen goats in total. The last year there was a season that there were even five newborn billy goats among them. It was so beautiful to see the newborns having their first romp in the meadow.
Unfortunately for the little critters: billy goats weren't at all welcome.
Now there were too many of them.
Already before, I had said to the neighbors: “but why don't you let castrate the father billy goat, there are already so many goats, it will be almost impossible for you to take care for so many”!
But - they wouldn't listen - and of course - it were their goats - not mine.
I had nothing to say on this.
Not long thereafter they decided to slaughter all the newborn billy goats.
(What happened with their father that I don't remember so well. If I'm not mistaken they sold him to a farmer who bred goats.)

They had asked someone who knows “something” about slaughtering animals to do the job for them.
The neighbors would help them to catch the animals.

I will never forget the afternoon that the slaughtering took place because it was such an horrible scene.
From a distance I saw the neighbors chasing after the animals to try to catch one, while the mothers started to panic and tried to defend their young. They even tried to attack the man while he was grabbing their little ones.
One by one the little ones were taken to the shed where the slaughter took place. Even from such a far away distance their scream sounded really horrible.
To hear and to behold all that cruelty was heartbreaking
My heart was bleeding for the critters.
I couldn't watch it no longer - I couldn't stand the screaming of the desperate mothers and their newborns any longer – so I went inside the house with tears in my eyes.

I felt so helpless and so angry - I wished that I could have done something to prevent this massacre.
I felt pity for these young billy goats.
I had seen them as tiny babies, so full of life and playful.
It was such a waste of young life. They wouldn't reach the age of one.
Oh, If it had been mine then …... but ..... they weren't mine.

A few years later another slaughter took place but, at the day that that happened, I didn't want to stay home.
I did not want to witness the suffering of animals one more time again.
At the end of that day there were no more goats alive.
An era had been closed.

From then on my friendly bond with the neighbors had received a severe blow.
I totally didn't agree with the way they treated their animals.
I no longer saw them as real friends. I just tolerated them. 
I never could understand that they could behave so cold, cruel and insensitive towards animals.

Now it was not nowhere near as lively as before in the meadow.
Luckily all the other little critters and the horses were still there.
They had more luck than the goats: the poor critters!

I want to close this chapter with this image -
 an image which I will cherish for ever!
It was such a happy time then.

September 16, 1997
Good friends 
Happy days!
I wished that I could turn back the clock!

Next time we will go further with: Being Separated . (January 1998)  
Bye, bye! 

Hope to see you again

Sunday, September 29, 2013


June 1997 started off rather dramatically.
One day something terrible happened. While I was shopping in the nearest big city, as usual - my hubby went with Pipke to the meadow to look for earthworms.

He encountered there our neighbor who was working in his vegetable garden near the meadow, and as always they both began to chat.
My hubby had the fork in his hands and - of course Pipke was eager to search for earthworms. While they both were chatting my husband planted the fork into the soil to enforce the earthworms to come up to the surface. Transfixed in the conversation, my hubby didn't pay attention to Pipke, when suddenly – she came much too close to the fork and so he injured her – he perforated her beak by accident!

She cried out (in her case quacked out) from pain, and ran away. My hubby was shocked, how could he be so unwise to pay no attention on her.
He ran after her and he lifted her up. He saw that her beak was now whole covered with blood. He tried to stanch the bleeding by pressing on the wound but; without success. So he ran very fast back home - while she ran after him.
Whatever he tried to do - he couldn't succeed to stop the bleeding
Pipke needed help as fast as possible
He had to go to a vet with her – this wasn't looking good – but he had “no” car to bring her over there – I was in town with it.
Then there was also the problem that, at that time we had not yet a cell phone .
He knew that, when I went to town, I always lunched in the same lunchroom, so he called the lunchroom. He described my appearance to the waitress who answered the phone.
From the moment that the waitress saw me sitting at the table she recognized me and so she came to my table and asked my name. When I confirmed that I was Fran she asked me to phone my husband as soon as possible. The fact that my husband called the lunchroom made ​​me really very worried. Therefor I phoned him immediately.
I was shocked when I heard what had happened. I took my coat and as fast as
I could I ran to the car. I didn't know how bad her situation was but while I drove back home – I imagined the predicament! 
What if it was so serious that it would not heal! What if it was impossible to restore her beak. The worst scenario went through my head: “Pipke missing a part of her beak”. Don't let that be true!
Would she survive with such an injury.
Where could we find a vet who knows how to handle a duck. A duck isn't a normal visitor to a vet practice. Usually they are more skilled in treating small pets as cats and dogs.
One thing I know for sure, I never drove faster back home! I still can't understand that I got no speeding ticket.
Meanwhile my husband had already phoned a vet who lived in our neighborhood. We could bring in Pipke as soon as we could.

Of course, when I came home also I was shocked when I saw Pipke.
All over her body - her feathers were covered with blood and her beak was still bleeding a little and that after already a few hours. I rinsed her beak with cold water and inspected the wound. There was a thick part of the skin hanging loose, but I couldn't see how deep the wound was because she refused to open her beak and I didn't want to force her because she was already traumatized. I really hoped that her beak wasn't totally perforated.
Thereafter we drove immediately to the vet (not the one who treated Pipke later in her life) but actually she (a female vet) didn't know what to do with her: “birds were not her specialty”. She couldn't tell us what to do.
So we went back home, in fact – without a treatment and hoping that the bleeding would stanch by itself, and luckily that happened.
The day after, we rinsed her wound with fresh water as much as we could (to avoid that it would inflame) and for the rest of the day we kept her indoors. 
She slept the whole time in her plastic dogs bed/nest .
She really seemed exhausted from the blood loss.
It took some time but - luckily the wound healed well.
Since that happened, Pipke had a black scar at the top of her beak, and even now my hubby still feels guilty about this, but I always told him that it could have been much worse.
Luckily her beak was not perforated “whole through”, that would have been a real disaster. Although - there exist ducks who survived with a missing part of their beak but that was only possible because of the intervention of humans.
Once we saw an animal program on TV about a duck. She had had an accident, and now she missed a big piece of her beak. In this case the vets had to “invent” a whole new piece. It was really a miracle that they succeeded. They made a beak prosthesis for her and she survived this ordeal thanks to the vets. Without a beak she would have died from starvation, it wouldn't have been possible to eat.

July 1997
Well recovered and taking a nap in the shade

Although we were extra careful since the incident, sometimes accidents happened when she was working with us in the garden. Sometimes – the broom fell on her – or we touched her with the rake. She was always sitting far too close to us – and yes – it did happen to both of us that we stepped on her tiny paws and once it was very serious, so serious - that she couldn't stand on her paw for a few days. 
Oh – we were really worried then. We both cursed ourselves for days!
Luckily, she was still young when that happened and she recovered well, although later in her life, her little paws would become her weak point.

She would be there to assist us with gardening for the rest of her life.
This dramatic event eventually ended better than feared.
With this happy ending I'm going to close this post.
Next time we will go further with the chapter:
Little Critters Great and Small.

Bye bye!

Hope to see you again.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

In Loving Memory of my Best Friend Pipke

May 25, 1995 - September 14, 2009

They say that time's a healer
but as time goes on,
I seem to find it just as hard 
to face the fact you're gone.
You'll never be forgotten
and every day I shed a tear, 
but it's only because I love you
and wish you were still here!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Bet

In the first years after we'd built our house, we did the lay-out of our garden ourselves. We had a landscaper to help us with it. He delivered the grass mats and the plants and he also gave us advice how and what to do. He was a good aid for u because, we didn't know that much about plants or gardening at that moment.
Of course, he was also there in the year that Pipke was born, because at that moment we were still buzzy with planting new plants. He saw her as a duckling of only two weeks old.
He was a huge tall guy – a kind of macho type with a high “testosterone” level – but from the moment that he saw Pipke – his testosterone level halved.
It seemed almost like "an icicle that melted" in no time.
He looked at her with such a tender look - you wouldn't think that such a macho could be capable to show so much affection.
Every time he delivered our plants he took the time to observe her, and you could see that he enjoyed it very much.
Now, Pipke was almost two years old, and she had developed a special manner of playing. She loved to play “Cowboy and Indian” with my hubby. She really enjoyed it – every time it was laughing out loud.

Probably, I don't need to say “who” played the roll of the Indian, of course: Pipke did!
She wore the feathers on her head! She was: “Big Chief White Feather.”
My hubby was the real old country boy: “the Cowboy.”
One day the landscaper delivered us new plants and as always he took the time for a chat and to observe Pipke. "What is she grown up beautiful" he said. "It's really a pleasure to see how cheerful and active she is." 
Of course - he could often see her working together with us while we were working in the garden.
"Oh" my hubby said: "then you have seen nothing yet! Would you like to see how we play Cowboy and Indian.” 
(He looked very amazed as if he didn't want to believe it.) 
“Well - we shall give you a demonstration!” While Pipke was laying on her belly on the lawn, my hubby went to the backside of the garden and hid himself behind the garden house. As always Pipke followed this all very alert and a little mistrustful – you could see that she wondered where "the villain" was going to hide himself.
Very alert she waited and, after a while she went to look for him in the back of the garden.
Then suddenly my hubby came peeping from behind the wall and yelled: ”pang – pang – pang” , while he imitated a pistol shooting cowboy pointing his finger towards her.

From the moment she heard the yell and saw him shooting at her - she stormed full speed ahead - quacking loud and fierce. She started to fight with him and bit in his hand. (He held his hand low just above the ground to fight with her.) 
She grabbed him where she could - in his sleeve and in his pants. She chased after him through the whole garden while my hubby stopped from time to time to let her fight. Of course – after a while he let her win the fight.
As a sign of surrender he put his hands in the air and went to sit on his bum. She then stood there next to him very proud as a real conqueror. He was not allowed to move or she would attack him again.

The landscaper couldn't stop laughing! He couldn't believe what he saw and he said: “I am going to bet with my employees that I know a duck that plays Cowboy and Indian. Can I come back to proof it to them?”Sure”, we said, “then we will give another demonstration.”
A few days later, he came back with his crew and we gave them a full demonstration.
Our little Indian played her roll with full persuasion.
The look on these men's faces … they were really astonished.
The landscaper laughed exuberant– and although the work crew had lost their bet - they too laughed. They too were now enchanted by Pipke. She'd conquered their heart too.

(Note: We had captured one of these "Cowboy and Indian" scenes on film but unfortunately the footage went lost during my relocation to an other domicile.
So - to my regret I can't show it to you. The scene was really funny! We had sent a copy to a Belgian TV program that you can compare with : America's funniest home videos.
To give you an idea how she enjoyed fighting I will show you this small film picture.
Although here she behaves rather calm on this scene that I show here.
As you can see, here she stops fighting after the "time out" sign!)

Big Chief White Feather and the Old Cowboy

However - that same year, our landscaper installed a large pond on his domain, and he placed a whole duck family on it. He invited us to visit him. He wanted to show us his ducks on the pond. 
It was a beautiful natural pond with a lot of water plants situated at a very quiet place. The ducks were really cute. It was a very small breed of ducks with various beautiful colors.
We took no pictures of the ducks but, here on these pictures that I found on 
Google images 
you can see how they looked like.

You could see that the landscaper was really proud at them, and the smile on his face! 
Almost no more macho to detect!

This shows, what a great influence “one white duck with a crest” can have!

I hope've you enjoyed it!

Next time we go further with: Emergency Call 911.
Hope to see you!