The Lady of the Manor
Andrea is in her early 30s, working for the man, and trying to go to school full-time for a degree in history (with a concentration in the American Civil War: do what you love, right?). In her spare time, such as it is, she also hikes Civil War battlefields, spins her own yarn, knits it up, and dyes things using a variety of material ranging from roots, twigs, and bugs to modern chemical dyes, oh and reads just about anything she can get her hands on.
The Lord of the Manor
Daniel abandoned his native country of England to move to the Manor and marry into the madness. Currently he’s a kept house-spouse while we wait for US Citizenship and Immigration Services to give him a green card, and spends a lot of time stopping dogs from sucking on Rooney Lee’s head. He is clever and handsome and plays the guitar in a manner guaranteed to make the Lady of the Manor swoon every time.
The Feline Horde
Aida al Nefermau
Aida is a vintage 2003 Siamese cat, and also angry. She is tiny, with a voice all out of proportion to her delicate 7lb frame. When Aida is not happy, the entire county knows it, and Aida is almost never happy.
“Rooney Lee is a zombie defense plan.” – Kate Loioshmommy
Roo will be 5 years old in 2010. He is a
retread rescue that came to me from TAILS Humane Socieyt in Illinois, where he was on death row for inappropriate urination. Here, he is a tiny 8lb tyrant who has not missed the box once since being provided with his very own towel to pee on. He is perhaps best summed up at 800lbs of awesome and win in and 8lb body; this cat is larger than life and dialed up to 11 all the time.
Another rescued feline, Brax came to me as a teeny tiny malnourished kitten with a plethora of infections: ears, eyes, and two wounds in his neck. Nursed back to health, he grew up to be 16lbs of laid-back, cuddly love. He is also the self-appointed enforcer of household peace and quiet and does not hesitate to stride meaningfully into the middle of a pack of ravening dogs. They demur because he is also not afraid of beating them down if they don’t.
Formerly an outdoor cat, Emmaline moved inside after deciding she was tired of scrounging for food and raising one litter of kittens was more than enough. She is affectionate with people but has no truck with other cats or with dogs, preferring that they stay away, and is not afraid to enforce her exclusion zone by hitting them in the face. Emmaline is also amazingly stripey, with no fewer than seven stripes on the back of her neck and twenty-one down each side. I counted.
Emmaline’s sister Noodlehead took longer to decide to be an indoor cat, but has settled right in. Within a month, she was snuggling people, other cats, and dogs…when she wants to. She is very definite about when she wants love and affection, and those who try to impose it on her without her consent face being bitten and clawed. Nonetheless, she is a very charming beast, stripey on one side and spotty on the other.
The Canine Chorus
How to describe Beowulf? Endlessly loving, endlessly hopeful, endlessly patient in his quest for food. He is a kind dog but also not really the brightest bulb on the string. He is also the self-appointed guardian of the property, and informs me loudly every time our boundaries are invaded. He is particularly concerned with squirrels.
La Diva Tinkerbella
Tink is my once in a lifetime dog, the canine other half of me. She is silly and wild and headstrong, loving and strong and intelligent. She is a bundle of contradictions. She is also a bundle of weird medical problems, and is mostly blind, which makes life even more interesting. She is a drama queen of the first water and is always running at 110%.
“zille is seriously shockingly beautiful.” – cottonmanifesto
Possibly the bestest, prettiest, and most perfectest Shedder to come out of Blackthorn Kennel (her breeder may make noises about her not being the perfect working prospect, but really what does someone who has devoted decades of her life to working German Shedders know, as opposed to someone who has had dogs for a grand total of five years and most of that with Dobermans? Who would you believe??). She is a way better dog than a lazy trainer like me probably deserves. She is patient and thoughtful and serious and too smart for her own good (or mine), with surprising bursts of silliness. She lives to play fetch with anything you will throw. She learns things so quickly it will scare you. She likes it when you gently squish her face. Zille has a great big heart and is willing and responsive and just wants to be A Good Dog.
Blackthorn’s Obsidian, aka Sid
The only German Shepherd more perfect than Zille to ever come out of Blackthorn Kennel. Siddy is my Service Doggy-woggy, and does an impeccable job keeping me upright and generally taking care of me. He doesn’t understand the point of fetch (“Why should I bring you the ball? You’ll just throw it again!”) but loves to play tug. He is a great big dork. I luff him.
The Fowl-Mouthed Brigade
Matilda is a black Australorp hen, and is the Top Chicken in the coop. This means she gets first dibs on any food and human attention that makes its way to Chickenland, and she is not afraid to peck anyone who forgets this, including the humans. She also has an unhealthy fascination with human thumbs. Matilda pretty reliably produces an egg a day, sometimes taking a break for a day or two when her sensibilities have been offended.
A silver-laced Wyandotte hen, Lorena is the one who stands at the door to the coop and makes inviting noises when she sees people coming. Also when she sees people leaving. Sociable and curious, she is an adorable feathery charmer. She is a reliable layer, too, although slower about it than Matilda.
A black Ameraucana with a copper-laced neck, Ayinnanku has both beauty and brains. She’s showing signs of being a social climber, as well, and may give Matilda a run for her money when she grows up. She lays us beautiful green eggs. Her name means “favorite eagle” in Mapuche, the language of the indigenous Mapuche people of Chile. Ameraucanas are an American cross of a Chilean breed (the Araucana) that lays blue eggs.
Bebelina was a Welsummer hen who has since passed on.
There is also a rotating cast of bantam chickens too numerous to mention by name.