In the grip of a fit of pique yesterday, I didn't mention a surprise visit from strangers on Saturday. I didn't hear a car, but suddenly there were people at my door, a couple of young grownups and some children. It was more than a bit alarming, as this is not an urban area and strangers, especially those on foot, are suspect. "Yes? May I help you?" Turned out they were the new neighbors up the road who had walked down to introduce themselves. (Whew.) Katie and Beau brought three of their four children, a baby girl in a backpack carrier, a kindergartner-sized girl, and a younger boy. An older girl (maybe 8) had stayed home. They had moved here from the Bay Area, looking to raise their children in a country atmosphere. They had certainly come to the right place! It was nice to meet new faces and we had a lovely visit. The little boy, Clayton, became a permanent fixture on my lap. I have a feeling I'll be seeing them again.
Even Lazarus didn't live forever. I had wrongly predicted Poppy's demise too often, but somehow I knew yesterday morning that the waiting and watching were over. She was down in the big pen, having stayed out again the night before, but I didn't want to admit it to myself and kept looking to see if she'd raise her head. Sheila and Poppy had been roommates since Sheila was a baby, and it was heartbreaking to hear Sheila crying for her friend in the morning. The gate between pens was open, but not one of the girls went to graze under the big oak during the day and stayed close to the barn. Weighing my options, I decided to do nothing. The danger of starting a grass fire was too great to take a chance with the lawn tractor, and it would have been only to move the body from one field to another. The cleanup committee started gathering about dusk, and as many as 20 were at work when I put the girls to bed. Poppy, the Poppy I knew and loved, was gone and it is somehow satisfying to know she is fulfilling one last destiny.