Our Critters
By Kit Knotts
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Which comes first? The love of plants, the love of animals or does it all come from the love of life! Horses and a dog just come with the territory and that territory has come to include fish and a pretty remarkable bird. Are they our pets or are we theirs?

The horses have been an integral part of my life for many years. As a budding dressage rider I chose Lipizzaners, the famed Austrian white horses, as my breed. We fit and have been very successful together. Though they can't live with us in Paradise (and one of them would love to be a house pet), they live nearby. They are Marc (Pluto III Marcella) and The Kid (Neapolitano Amorosa). Our beloved Sandi (Siglavy II Sandra), many times Lipizzan Horse of the Year, died in 2000 and Pegasus (Neapolitano Pegasus) in 2007. Mouse, a genetic twin of Marc, was born in 2010.

Cheech is our Gordon Setter - floppy, funny, wild, laid back, good in the garden, good with the horses. He is a total ham as you will see in his Gallery.

Then there's Fred. We gradually stopped seeing Fred in 2004 and assumed he went to the Great Fishing Grounds In The Sky, but his story is still worth telling. He was a wild-tame Green Heron, a little guy who was no threat to our koi but a big threat to the gambuzias and mollies that inhabit most of our ponds. Fred had been around for a lot of years. We can't remember exactly when he started showing up when we fed the koi, but he soon learned not only to eat the fish food but to use it for bait! Fred also learned that the traps we set to catch crawfish contain fish too. He followed us around helping to empty them and sometimes led the way to the next trap.

Years ago we slipped into the back of a water gardening talk at a plant show just in time to hear the speaker say, "When you name your fish, you're hooked." We had and we were. Though we had koi in only one pond, we totally enjoyed them and they didn't eat our waterlilies. They died in the 2004 hurricanes.

 The Horses' Gallery

Cheech's Gallery

Fred's Gallery
Surprise Guest in Paradise - A Juvenile Bald Eagle Poses by the Ponds

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