At the farm yesterday, Lillian said “Can we go and find the lizard?” (i.e., the lizard we had found and then released again a week previously).
Again I was prematurely pessimistic: “Well, we can go and have a look. But you know we probably won’t be able to find it!”
We went down to the vegetable patch where we found it last time. We lifted up the same sheet of galvanised iron, and there it was!
We took it back up to the house.
This time we kept it for a day. We made a home for it in a cardboard box. Then we made another one, because it fouled the first one with a big runny poo, which is quite a mystery because when you inspect its underside there is no sign of it having a bottom. We tried feeding it insects; it seemed to eat a mosquito but didn’t want to eat a blowfly.
Lillian played with the lizard a lot, becoming increasingly comfortable holding it, picking it up, stroking it, cuddling it, letting it lick her with its long blue tongue, etc.. It was becoming quite a pet.
Teresa thought that Julie, the chihuahua who is used to getting all Lillian’s attention, was quite jealous – how could Lillian ignore her in favour of a… reptile!
Naturally the question arose as to whether it could come home with us. Even Teresa liked the idea; the lizard had grown on her. But we convinced Lillian that we didn’t know how to look after it, and we could have it as a pet on the farm, and find it every time we go.
After the excitement of finding the lizard again had receded a bit, I said:
“You know what? I know where there are some… ducklings!” I had seen some wild ducklings on one of the dams when out walking earlier that morning.
So of course we went down to try to catch a duckling. Lillian thought to take the blue fishing net with us. Walking to the dam, we saw two adults and about ten little brown ducklings, huddling together. They were all standing absolutely still, hoping we wouldn’t see them, even when were were only metres away. Then as we swooped they scattered honking and chirping in all directions. Using the net we caught two of the ducklings as they tried running away through the grass, but then I accidentally let one get away.
So we returned to the house with a duckling to add to our collection.
Then Teresa noticed chirping sounds coming from the swallow nest on the verandah. We thought maybe there were some chicks there. I climbed up onto the woodpile and stuck a finger in the nest. Out flew two baby swallows! One just made it to a nearby tree, then fell to the ground. We quickly caught it too.
So now we had a lizard, a duckling, and a baby swallow.
Since we also had two dogs with us, Lillian thought the farm was becoming like a zoo – a farm-zoo. Our own farm-zoo, in fact.
After holding the swallow for a while, we put it back in the nest.
Later we took the duckling back down to the dam, and sat and watched it for a while. Its parents ran off into the distance. Lillian was worried that if we left, the duckling might get eaten by a fox. I said that as long as it stayed on the water, it would be OK.
What an exciting day! At dusk, as a wombat wandered by the verandah, it was no big deal. Just a wombat.
Before we left the farm today, we put the lizard back under the sheet of iron that seemed to be its home.