Goodbye to the last of the gerbils.....
This morning I bade farewell to a beloved extended member of the Tan family. Gerbils are rodents that are incredibly fascinating to watch but not very friendly. Our family's adventures with animals started with the gift of a pair of gerbils about four years ago. We were passive mid-wives in the delivery of 5 pregnancies and probably at least 30 gerbils - watching them from birth, through parenthood, incest and finally death. The kids have learnt so much by being able to witness this circle of life.
Along the way, we've also had the privelege of caring for a host of God's creatures from the animal kingdom. One of my favourite hamsters was a gentle fat little guy we called "Xiao Long Bao". Then there was the guinea pig we got from the SPCA we named "Fei Zai". I never knew guinea pigs could communicate with all those different types of squeaks. There was the ' Food! - I want food now! ' squeak and the ' I'm lonely....come play with me' squeak. Amazing.
The chickens were quite stupid though. After feeding them day in and day out, they still didn't recognise who I was. I didn't know how to clip their wings so they kept escaping (yes, they can fly somewhat) from their designated corner in the garden. For the time we had them, the back area of the house was like a bomb zone. Never knew when one was going to step on chicken poop.
Then Tim went on this aquatic creature phase. It started with some fish he'd caught in the longkang somewhere. There was this tilapia that just kept eating and eating, growing and growing. We finally released it back a bigger longkang because it got so big and fat. Then there was the dozens of koi. Most of those koi are unfortunately, now buried in various parts of the garden. We discovered a 'lesser heron' (that's the proper name) had been stopping by to try and eat them. We kept finding dead koi with sharp stab wounds on their body. One morning, the lesser heron got trapped in the netting. We put it a cage and observed it for a few days. That beak is something else - great for stabbing people.
We also had some happy times with these crayfish we caught at Upper Peirce Reservoir. They hang out at the rocks near the waters edge. Just put a piece of sausage on a satay stick and they come crawling out of the rocks to eat it. Then you have to be super fast and grab them with a net. It's really fascinating watching creatures and their eating habits. I had to buy live prawns & feeder fish to keep the crayfish diet happy, exciting and balanced. It's a bit like watching National Geographic but at home at your own fish tank. We also had too many luohan. They were vicious - and enjoyed eating tiny bits of leftover steak!
Well, most of our extended Tan family members of the animal kingdom have come and gone. Only Baobei remains. She's turning two years this month and still as 'manja' (needing to be pampered) as ever. Think she knows that she's the daughter the the family and loving it!