Frank, Ruth & Rosi

Back home in Passopomo after our week away, one morning Rosi gets a phone call from a friend, asking if she would like two goats. Of course she says, and after she has hung up, she turns around to me and says where on earth do we put them? We have half an hour to prepare a box before they arrive – two beautiful Tibetan goats. Rosi kneels in front of them and says what shall I call them – I know, Frank and Ruth. And so it is, Frank and Ruth will join the family of twenty-odd horses, a pack of dogs and a whole bunch of wonderfully strange and eccentric people.

Frank and Ruth like brambles and compost, so we go out in the mornings to cut some juicy young shoots for their delectation. In the photo below, they are actually munching on a branch of orange leaves…


The following morning, Frank and I (you’ll have to work out yourselves when I’m talking about animals and when not) are taking a stroll up the hill to see if we can meet Pippo again and to go shopping. On our way back, Frank suddenly stops by a large wall and points to the side of the street. On the ground in the sunshine is a very young bird. There is no sign of a nest anywhere. We decide to take the bird with us. Obviously it will be called Rosi, in revenge. We don’t know what kind of a bird Rosi is, but a quick What’s App call to a knowledgeable cousin of Katerina’s tells us it’s a dove or a pigeon.

Feeding Rosi is not easy. Most of the food gets everywhere but in her beak and apart from my feeling of total incompetence as a bird mother, which highly frustrates me, it’s actually very funny. She is a hoot, the little punk.


I wonder what it’s going to be like, having a bird hopping around in our van once she gets a bit older. I don’t like to encage birds, so we’ll just have to put up with her shitting everywhere. For now, she seems to know not to poop into her nest but to turn herself so it neatly plops outside onto a tissue. I imagine she’ll soon be sitting on our shoulder, nipping our ears while we have lunch or go about things, probably interfering a lot and generally creating mayhem.



The story of little Rosi is short-lived though. When I get up in the middle of the second night, I discover she has died. My feeding frustration immediately turns into despair at not having been able to do the first thing for her, which is keeping her alive. Did we feed her the wrong food, was it too little, too much, too cold, too liquid or too solid? Why didn’t I hold her in my hand after the last feed, maybe if the food had been too cold, that would have warmed her. None of these thoughts get around the hard fact of her cold little body where there’d been a squiggly, little flapping ball of fluff yesterday. Even the thought that she would not have survived the day where we found her on the street doesn’t console me. We are such inept, inexperienced bird parents, and life is such a fragile thing where one little mistake, one wrong meal, can have fatal consequences.


There is a pile of cut branches that needs burning, at the top of the property. We’ll do that today and place her on top of it so she can fly up in spirit.

Posted in Uncategorizedwith 1 comment.


  • Vera Lees says:

    Dear Ruth,
    we are meant to care but cannot succeed in every deed of mercy. My cat brought the odd bird home and I fed one up hiding it in a basket while in school. But a broken wing did not set well enough and I think I chose to put it to sleep with ether which the pharmacist was brace enough to sell me.
    Vera xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>