Saturday, January 8, 2011

Elswood and Nimrod

A year ago or so, I was supply teaching in a class.  The teacher had left me a great day plan, which included a literacy lesson on the Smartboard.  Now for aged supply teachers, the use of unfamiliar technology can strike terror in our wee little stone-like hearts.  Nothing compares with sitting in front of a group of expectant children, waiting for something to upload, open up, start up etc.  Five seconds of dead air becomes an eternity, and ten seconds a classroom management nightmare.  Soon you have ten little teckies (self perceived) running up (unbidden) to poke and push buttons (indiscriminately of course).

However, this particular day all was well.  I was able to log on to the laptop, toggle through the required screens and actually reach the desired website on the big screen.

For those of you who teach, this a great website to look at, as there are a variety of good lesson plans and activities available.

Initially I had read the text Owen and Mzee, Best Friends, by authors, Craig Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, Paula Kahumba, and photographer, Peter Greste,  aloud to the class.

Owen and Mzee: Best Friends With bold photographs from the original book and new simple, sweet text, Owen and Mzee is perfect for young children and families.   Amazon Books

Now for those who do not know who Owen and Mzee are, Owen is a young hippopotomus  and Mzee, a 130 year old giant tortoise.  Mzee was a captive in a zoo in Haller Park, and definitely a loner.  The tsunami of 2004 left Owen an orphaned survivor.  The 600 pound youngster was rescued from a rock in the Indian Ocean near Kenya.  It took the concentrated efforts of hundreds of natives and a large shark net. Unsure of how to care for this baby, he was placed in the same enclosure as Mzee.  Owen immediately bonded to Mzee.  Initially, Mzee was not a particularly willing friend.  However over time Mzee grew to accept the hippo, showing him what to eat and where to sleep. The two were left together for two years, until a young female hippo, Cleo, was introduced into the compound.  Cleo was aggressive and rough with tortoises and soon they had to be removed. The friendship that had caught the world's attention abruptly came to an end.

To see a great video of the two buddies click on the following link. 

Youtube clip of Owen and Mzee

So where am I going with this?  Well I was thumbing through the photo albums looking for appropriate pictures for another blog entry and I came across our own version of Owen and Mzee.

I wish this photo told the tale better.  Had we been able to gaze into a crystal ball we would probably have taken more and better pictures.  But here is the only existing proof of my story.

If you look in the bottom right hand corner, that gold coloured patch of feathers going through the manger is a rooster.  Elswood, was a gift from a friend.  Free gratis gifts such as roosters are often not worth much and Elswood was no exception.  He was too mean, miserable and generally nasty to stay in the chicken coop with the other chickens so he was banished to solitary confinement in the barn, while I figured what to do with him.

Nimrod was a weaned calf.  We sold his mother (can't remember why exactly) and put him in the barn to get feed and get over that missing-mama phase.  I cannot recall the calf's personality, but the name suggests he may have had a less than stellar personality.

Right from ground zero, these two hermits hit it off.  Normally roosters do what their name suggests, they roost at night.  I would go out to feed Nimrod his hay and grain, and Elswood would be snuggled up beside him.  For the remainder of Nimrod's life in the barn, he and Elswood were inseparable.

The time came for Nimrod to go to market, and so he did.  Elswood was on his own once more.  It was only a few days later, on one of my daily visits (yes, still trying to figure what to do with him) I found Elswood dead on the floor (dilemma solved).  He'd been fine the day before, a bit mopey perhaps.  Did he die of a broken heart, missing his bovine buddy?  I can't say, but it does make for a tale of pathos.  Friendships are strange things and sometimes the most unlikely of mates form bonds that do deeply affect each other.

And that is all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

1 comment:

  1. Aw, how sweet a story. Too bad you don't have a snuggle picture!


Much appreciated comments from my friends: