Blueberry Lane Herb Farm:
Fall is a lively time at Blueberry Lane Herb Farm. It is a season of change. Vibrant jewel color mums line the driveway entrance. The maple trees proudly wave gold and crimson leaves about. Pumpkins dot the garden in shades of orange and gold. Gourds peek from under huge leaves in shades of green and white. Some have speckles, some have stripes, and some are solid. Homemade scarecrows hover over the pumpkin patch, offering black birds a place to rest. The last of the herbs wait to be harvested. Visitors arrive routinely for pumpkin picking, warm apple cider, and cinnamon donuts while they enjoy the beauty of fall’s bounty.
Matilda keeps a watchful eye on the visitors who try to pet her young chicks. Her loud clucking warns that she, indeed, oversees the hen house. She marches along the fence line like a sentry on guard duty. Tilly helped Matilda keep watch. Matilda cackled, “Tilly, on the other farm I lived on, there were some dogs. They barked and kept on the lookout. Why don’t we have any dogs here?” Tilly wondered, “Gee Matilda, I don’t know. I’ll ask Coral Bell later. She’s going to an antique show with Aunt Pinkie when the farm closes. An antique show is where you go shopping for old things from days gone by.”
After the farm closed for the day, everyone gathered for dinner. Coral Bell served pumpkin soup and spinach salad. It was one of their favorite meals, except for Tilly. She enjoyed a special plate of pumpkin seeds and fruit. Afterall, how would a little green parrot slurp soup? Tilly started an interesting conversation. “Coral Bell, can we have a dog? Matilda thinks we need at least one to watch over the farm and the visitors. Since I started babysitting her chicks last month, I’ve been flying a lot of miles and I get tired. Gee, I’m looking forward to snoozing in my bird cage tonight! Is having a dog is a good idea? What does everyone think? We could adopt from the shelter!”
Rasmus thumped like he was playing the drums. His eyes rounded big and wide, “Tilly, I’m not in favor for a dog. I’m not voting for a dog. Not all dogs like small pets. Just keep flying around the hen house to watch Matilda chicks!” Coral Bell sat up straight and replied, “Hey, getting a dog is a very important decision. Just like when I adopted you, it was a very important decision. The first thing to do is research. Lots of research. There’s all sort of breeds, temperaments, personalities, and sizes. We’ll talk about this more another time. After dinner, you all settle down and read your library books. I’ll be at the antique show with Aunt Pinkie. I want to look for some horse tack.”
Guinevere wondered, “Horse tack? Are you putting Boulder on a bulletin board?” Coral Bell laughed out loud, “No silly girl, horse tack is equipment for horses. You know, like bridles, stirrups, and reins. Maybe I’ll find an English saddle if I’m lucky! I invited my friend and her horse to visit sometime. It’s always good to have extra tack and the antique shows have unusual things. Being nosey, Guin asked “What friend? Who? What horse? A friend of Boulder Hill?” Coral Bell explained, “My friend lives far away. She may bring her horse, Percy, to an upcoming trail ride. Boulder and Percy would get along very well, I’m sure. Horses like to have company too!”
One Two …….. a ‘ One, Two, Three, Four
Paws tapped to the rhythm of the songs on the radio. The old music maker was the newest fascination at Blueberry Lane. Coral Bell shouted over the music, “I’m thrilled everyone is enjoying that old radio. It’s from the 1940’s and I found at the antique show! I thought you would have fun listening to it!” Rasmus stood on his hind legs and turned the dial. His ears pivoted left and right listening for different stations. Each one played a different kind of music. Pedro and Guinevere danced together while Tilly whistled along. They enjoyed spinning around the living room and trying to dance as partners. “Ouch, Pedro, you’re a klutz! You keep stepping on my itty-bitty paws,” Guin hollered. Pedro fired back, “Well, at least I’m not stepping on your long guinea piggy fur. Last time we danced, it dragged all over. I’m so glad this chinchilla from Peru cut it for you! I’m a good barber! Whoo hoo!”
Guinevere crinkled up her nose in protest. She was anxiously waiting for her fur to grow out again. Meanwhile, she kept dancing, kicking up her heels, and shaking her shoulders to the rhythm blaring from the radio. “Come on Rasmus, be my dance partner now,” she shouted. Together Rasmus and Guin tried some country western line dancing, and Pedro joined in. Tilly kept whistling along until they collapsed on the floor, huffing and puffing in exhaustion. Finally, they went to bed. They looked forward to enjoying their new old radio the next day.
Ding Dong…..Ding Dong
It was 10 AM. The postman was right on schedule. Guinevere heard the mail drop through the slot in the front door. She immediately darted over to get the mail so she could be the first one read the rescue group newsletters. She liked to read the weekly town flyers and the occasional postcard. This time, there was a letter in a pink envelope. It was addressed to “Mr. Rasmus, Blueberry Lane Herb Farm”. It stirred Guinevere’s curiosity. The postage stamp had a heart on it, like a left-over Valentine’s Day stamp. Even more intriguing was the back of the envelope. It had a seal with the letter “D” on it. The envelope looked very personal. Guin knew if she gave the letter to Rasmus, he wouldn’t reveal any tidbits of information! She folded it up, stuffed it in her pocket, and wondered who it was from.
Pedro and Rasmus turned on the radio, and Tilly flapped her wings to the beat. They started up another dance party thinking Guinevere would join them. After some time, Rasmus wondered what Guinevere was doing. She was not one to miss out on the fun. Rasmus turned down the radio volume and sat still for a few moments. He rotated his tall brown rabbity ears this way and that way. Where she could be? Was she in the barn helping Coral Bell polish Boulder’s tack? Was she in her room playing dress up? Was she writing her book report? “Tilly, stop whistling for a minute.” Tilly chirped, “I’m not whistling Rasmus. I’m watching you think.” Rasmus hopped around, “Then what’s that whistling sound? Is it the tea kettle?”
Rasmus peeked in the kitchen. He spied Guinevere standing on a chair. He spied her balancing on her tiny tippy toes. He spied her leaning over the counter. He spied her little guinea pig arms waving a pink envelop over a whistling tea kettle. “Guinevere, what are you doing?” bellowed Rasmus. Ever so startled, Guin dropped the envelope and jumped off the chair. The envelope floated through the air. They both scrambled to catch it, and Rasmus beat her to it. The damp pink envelope wilted in his paws. The ink was runny from the steam, but he could see it was addressed to him. With squinting eyes, Rasmus scolded, “Guinevere Margaret!! Why did you steal my mail? Why is it soggy? You make me so mad!”
There was her middle name again! Guinevere’s teeth chattered from the guilt of being caught. She rubbed her front paws together, then she rubbed her ears. Then she covered her eyes. She stammered, “Um….oh….well, I was cleaning the envelope for you. It was dusty. I was doing you a favor.” Now Rasmus doubtfully said, “Horse feathers! I don’t believe you. You were trying to open my mail. Did you know it’s illegal to open someone else’s mail? You should go to jail! As a matter of fact, they wear stripes in jail. Go play dress up in stripes and see how you look!”
Guinevere knew Rasmus was very angry because he never spoke so harshly to anyone. She realized she was in quite a pickle, so she fled up two flights of stairs to her bedroom. She tried to remember what stripe clothes she had, just in case she needed them.
Rasmus hopped on the porch; the screen door slapped hard behind him. The pretty seal was a shiny golden “D”. He rubbed his paw over it in admiration. Then he carefully lifted it, taking care not to tear the soggy envelope. Slowly, he slipped an invitation out. He gently set it down to read it. He could feel his cheeks getting warm with blush. His bunny friend, Daisy, invited Rasmus to a Harvest Moon Dance in appreciation of Rasmus rescuing her from the park that spring.
Rasmus had never been to such an affair. He had never been invited to any sort of party by a pretty doe. Questions swirled through his mind. What should he do? What should he wear? How would he get there? He decided to consult with Pedro and Tilly.
Rasmus shyly showed them the invitation. Pedro thought, “Senor Rasmus, you must wear your best bow tie. Remember, you told me you always feel like you are on top of the world when you wear a bow tie? Well, you’ll want to look like a gentleman, right?” Rasmus nodded in agreement.
Next, Tilly offered advice, “Oh, I know! It’s traditional for the boy to bring the girl flowers. Except if you do that, I think you’ll eat them. Hey, first you need to accept the invitation. Do you want to go?” Rasmus thought for a moment, “Well, I guess so. It would be rude not to accept. Daisy made an effort to send me an invitation. The envelope is very special looking. It must be important to her.”
Pedro was feeling nervous about giving Rasmus good advice. He was so nervous that he nibbled on the envelop while Tilly was talking. “Pedro, drop that envelope! We must have some Meadow Loops you can eat instead! I want to keep the invitation and envelope in my special memory box. And without holes from your nibbling!”
Meanwhile, Guinevere was eavesdropping on the trio from the staircase. She listened to the conversation out of pure nosiness. She wondered if she would receive an invitation from a secret admirer too.
“Senor Pedro, it’s a good thing we have the radio. You need to keep practicing your dancing. Oh, you better get used to dancing with a girl, so Guinevere will have to be your practice partner,” Pedro said with a wink. Then Pedro shivered, “Oh, mis estrellas, ¿qué haría si una chica me invitara a un baile? No podría ir. Soy demasiado tímido! ¡Tendría que esconderme debajo del sofá para siempre!(“Oh my stars, what would I do if a girl invited me to a dance? I could not go. I am way too shy! I would have to hide under the sofa forever!”)
Rasmus flopped over on the floor as he imagined practicing with Guinevere, the nosey-nellie of Blueberry Lane.
Jingle Jingle Jingle
Boulder Hill and his pony cart stood at the front porch. Coral Bell outfitted him with polished tack from the antique show, complete with brass bells. A glowing lantern dangled from the cart; it would guide the way to the Harvest Moon Dance. Rasmus was feeling quite handsome in his signature bow tie and a jacket. On the way to Daisy’s home at Penny Square Inn, Rasmus looked up at the stars and wondered what the evening would be like.
Daisy greeted Rasmus with a warm smile. A pink satin bow adorned each of her soft white ears. She hopped into the pony cart and settled down for the jaunt through Pottersville. Truly it was a lovely evening. The big round harvest moon cast it’s golden light while the stars twinkled in their own delight. Boulder Hill pulled the cart through windy pathways, over the wooden bridge of the creek, and finally right up to the doors of the Pottersville Community House.
They met lots of friends and made new acquaintances. They danced, played hop scotch and games. The bunnies enjoyed a buffet of seasonal treats, such as wild sorrel mixed with spinach and arugula, pumpkin chunks, and bits of apple. Fresh cilantro and parsley bouquets tied with willow were a favorite snack.
On the ride home, they cozied up in the pony cart side by side. The fading moon and lantern light guided Boulder Hill back through the windy paths and over the creek to Penny Square Inn. When it was time to say good night, Daisy had very special sentiments for her friend. “Rasmus, remember when you found me last spring? Remember I was hiding in the lavender patch in the park? I was so frightened and hungry being all alone. I never thought my humans would abandon me, but they did. When you rescued me, I was ever so grateful. I’m especially grateful that your Aunt Pinkie adopted me, and I love living at Penny Square Inn. I have a sweet life now. My favorite time of day is at night. That’s when I snuggle on Aunt Pinkie’s lap in my own quilt. Would you believe she made a quilt for me? Just for me! We snuggle until I fall asleep. Each morning I wake up knowing I am safe and loved. Thank you for rescuing me and saving my life. I hope my invitation to the dance shows how much I appreciate you and your friendship.”
Rasmus listened carefully. His big tall brown ears took in every word Daisy spoke. Rasmus realized the impact of his actions. He realized how much a forever home means to an abandoned or stray animal. He promised himself he would always advocate for those in shelters, lost, or abandoned.
Very humbly he replied, “Daisy, I believe we are on this earth to help others. Life would have little meaning if we didn’t do that. I could not possibly turn away from anyone in need. Let us make a promise to always lend a paw to help the homeless, sheltered, and the abandoned. Just as important, let us keep finding ways to teach others about remembering these animals and advocating for their care.
Rasmus and Daisy nuzzled their noses together with a promise to start planning the next event to help shelter animals and promote adoptions.
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