My father held a couple of chickens for the eggs. Most other animals in and around my parental home stayed only temporarily. For some time I had a rabbit, a handicapped carrion crow, a hamster and a couple of ducklings. Also newts, lizards and fish. During the time I studied in Groningen I only had a few stick insects and sometimes I took care for my landlady's canary.

Many more animals turned up after I moved to a small tumble-down dwelling, that would become the core of my later 'property'. My first companion was a black cat. Then I got a small group of chickens, four rabbits, and, within a year, two goats joined the party. It became rather pleasant, in particular because of the rabbits, that could dig burrows in the garden. There appeared to be two females and two males. Quite soon, large numbers of small rabbits emerged from the surface. Then, it became urgent to separate the ewes and rams. But within half a year about fifty pairs of long ears were running around. It became hard to provide sufficient food.

Animals stayed for ever: chickens, cats, some beloved dogs, sometimes rabbits, guinea pigs, geese, goats or sheep.

Around 1990 we hired a horse with tilt-cart to wander around with the kids for a whole week. This turned out to be a fantastic holiday, that had to be repeated, initially with a hired cart, but after a few years with our own fjorden-horse Katja and our own cart. We needed more land for a meadow and a second pony for company. Sometimes even three horses were grazing in the meadow, for some time even a huge Belgian draught-horse. After a long horse-life Katja died, twentyeight years old. Her two companions Dunja (2010) and Famke (2012) are still there.


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