Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nightswimming and Rooney 2.0

We finally camped at the land this weekend, but this wasn't your average night of roughing it at a campsite.

With a tractor (that has headlights!) at our disposal, we grabbed our Lone Stars and took a ride down to the pit/pond that still contains a few drops of smelly water. Unlike myself, the dogs have no fear of dark water and swam in circles until we made them leave. Although I was surprised by the level of night "noise" on the land (whippoorwills, coyote, and crickets(oy, the crickets)) the activity around the pit/pond was shocking. We counted at least four different types of frogs, and one type that literally sounded like a group of baby animals crying (utterly creepy). This was interrupted by intermittent screeches that remain unexplained but caused the dogs to stop their swimming and focus on a specific spot in the woods (ew). Turns out I am only camping material if all sounds can be identified - or if I've had enough beer to no longer question the origin of sounds. I'll try that approach next time.

This overnight stay made us realize something that is, let's face it, not that important, but worth a mention anyway. Of all of our tiny cows, Rooney is truly tiny - disproportionately so. We think his particularly small stature led to a more timid nature and tendency to get pushed around by: Seamus, Matilda, Chula, the baby donkey, Winston and...frankly, I saw a bird scare him once. Aside from this characteristic, we've also noticed the lopsided shape of his belly, and the growth of his horns - straight backwards.

The overall package, while endearing, does not create an impressive presentation. Little Rooney gallops behind the others, with his crooked belly bouncing, and backwards horns that give the impression he's stuck in a strong breeze.

Which is why he caught our attention this weekend. Shy little Rooney has established himself as, still a small and slightly awkward guy, but more dominant and very vocal - new and improved. Rooney 2.0.

(Notice his eery, light-up eyes?)

No longer does he cower behind Seamus (or a tree) when approached by a person or animal. Rooney 2.0 trots right past you, stops long enough for a quick look back over his shoulder, and lets out a bellowing "mmmMMMoooOOOOOOaaaAA#$#@%#*&!!!" That is exactly how he sounds. But it doesn't end there. Aside from the startling screams, an improved feature on this model also includes a stream of varied vocalizations. Basically, he talks to himself. He talks while walking to the hay, talks while grabbing hay, talks while chewing, swallowing - you get the point. This dialog with himself is quieter and softer and never ending (mooohheeeewwhooochewchewchewooomooohoochewswallowmoo).

We have decided that Rooney, small and timid as he is, was not receiving the attention he (thought he) deserved. Rooney 2.0 realized that by being a bit more bossy and noisy, he would never be overlooked.

I cannot say that it was a refreshing or restful night at the land. Between the damn crickets, Rooney 2.0's constant muttering, and the donkeys' snorting (both of whom snuggled against the outside of our tent until dawn), it was a night of little sleep. Overall, I would rate the evening an 8 out of 10, in terms of entertainment, and a 1.3 in terms of sleep and comfort. But I give the sunrise an 11.

The sunrise alone is worth another camping trip, so we'll be back out there this weekend.

(Photo credit here goes to Jeremy who graciously took the picture when I opened my eyes at 6a.m. long enough to slur "OHmygosh therskys sooo perdy youhafta gettapictures! snore." Thanks Jer.)

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