Finding Kupa

It had just rained when we arrived a little late to the Bantam Swap.  Maybe many years ago it was a sweet bantam swap but no longer. The fairgrounds were heaving with the most curious and slightly terrifying mixture of peoples and animals.  Hundreds of animals, birds and people.  Cages piled up everywhere you looked. 

It really was a market, a flash back to an old way. Everything was for sale. People were wandering about with turkeys and geese and ducks under their arms, literally under their arms.  They would buy them, and pick them up and walk away. 

They sloshed through the mud dragging their cages on trolleys filled with little pigs, or baby chicks. There were even a few bantams.  Llamas, horses, a sweet jersey cow.   All tethered or caged.  This llama watched me and kept turning and posing for the camera.  I don’t have enough money for you I whispered to him.  I am so sorry.  He turned his head silently and looked away. 

Goats, sheep. The massively ugly and heart wrenchingly beautiful.  

The animals and birds were wet and terrified. They were for sale.  They waited in tiny cages. Anyone could have them for money.  I cannot find a word to describe how we stepped into another world from another time.  This was the dirty end of the basic desire to grow your own food.  The incredible idea that you can have power over your own food.  As we walked about we became quiet, over come by the  myriad of caged animals and birds.  All watching.  This wee goat was incongruous in his little jersey.  He did not belong in this filthy place.

All the farmers had  driven  their vehicles into the grounds and lined them up in rows and heaved their animals out into the pathways.  This fair could have been staged 100 years ago and only the hemlines and trucks would have been different. As we walked, it became obvious that here were the real people who grew their own food. And there were the people buying these animals to raise for food. These people were not pretty, or well dressed. Their lifestyles were muddy and gutsy and visceral.   They did not have hobby farms or read designer magazines or have good hair. They were selling animals for the money they needed to feed their other animals.  Many languages, many hard tired faces. Much laughter and ribbing across the aisles.  Tough.  Dirty boots and trousers held up with string. I felt the oldness of it. The struggle.  The realness of this market compared to the pretty pictures we see. The pretty pictures I take. 

And then I saw Kupa.  He was in a cage with three other male peacocks.  And he watched me watch him and ducked with my every movement as I circled his cage taking photos of him. He and his men stood amidst the baying of goats and screaming of pigs, the clucking and squawking and screeching of chickens, the shouting of men, the wild laughing of children, the squelch of mud, the honking of ducks and the gobble of turkeys.  This cacophony of hysteria. A man walked past carrying a screaming piglet.  Screaming at the top of his lungs. The peacocks  just stood and watched. Still.

I said to John I think we will take this one home.  Our John, who has said NO we are Not ever getting a peacock,  about a hundred times in the past, quickly agreed. Happy to bring something bright and live out of this fierce market.

The man who had brought these peacocks all the way from Michigan was happy to barter with me and so a deal was struck.  Kupa was carefully transferred to my dog box and set in the car.  This man was gentle with his birds and had a wide laugh. We are hoping that next time he will bring some hens so Kupa can have a mate.

This morning Kupa is sitting in  isolated splendour in the large  enclosure which has been waiting for the turkeys.  Last night when we finally released him into his finished enclosure in the barn, a cat came to look at him and he turned and honked at it. He sounded like a mournful foghorn, a sound from my child hood days. Hmm, John said, thats unfortunate.  Well,  they do get a wee bit noisy I confessed, but  mostly I remember the screeching from the farms at home. What screech, said John. Um, reluctantly, it sounds like this and opened my mouth and at the top of my voice I screeched long and high like a terrified child.  Kupa  snapped his head to me.  The cat turned tail and scarpered.  The guineas peered down from their roosts. John said, Hmm.  Still not convinced that anything that beautiful and that regal and that serene could make such a dreadful noise. And we went to pick the asparagus.

Good morning. All good here on this spring morning. Back home on our quiet little property.  Far from those madding crowds. It feels like a little oasis after yesterday’s market.  Kupa will stay in his house for a month until he knows the barn is his home, then he also will be set free.  To roam the grounds.  And get up to no good. Him and his mate when we find her, the man only had males yesterday.

He is a jewel of a bird, as beautiful as you can imagine.

Now I had better get out there and do all the chores I did not get to yesterday.   The Matriarch and I  worked furiously yesterday afternoon to get the turkey run finished while Kupa watched us from his big dog crate.  So I am behind!

Good morning!



113 Comments on “Finding Kupa

    • Oh you are absolutely right and those guineas are VERY loud if they lose one another or see a hawk! It will be fine. Noise does not bother him, I had just, kind of, not told him they were noisy! c

    • Thank you, Jim and Mary, after his time in the barn I am really hoping he will add a lovely flash of colour to our landscape! c

  1. Oh Celi, I was literally waiting for this post, I was so curious, and it didn’t disappoint. I love your description of the market- I think I’ve been in a few places like that. I’m always amazed at how dissimilar people doing basically the same thing (whether it’s raising kids, farming organically, or blogging) can be. And I cannot believe you came home with a peacock! I think their call is such a sad lonely sound. It always makes me think of faded aristocracy. Perhaps you will now rewire my associations. Have a lovely day!

    • That is an excellent point Siobhan. We are all so different. (dissimiliar people doing basically the same thing) I saw a woman on her phone, smoking in a car the other day with two toddlers firmly and safely strapped in the back seat in their little baby seats and I almost shouted out my window at her. We all do things so differently. And we all firmly believe that we are correct. I love the sound of the peacocks, they remind me of NZ, lots of farmers have peacocks at home. c

  2. Well, you found your Bird! Congrats, and better you than me… 😉
    Insightful musings about the market yesterday…we all need a dose of reality sometimes. It’s a gritty life for those who do it out of neccessity, rather than choice.

    • Our little farm yard is a noisy place in the mornings, i am sure the peacock will just add another note to the madness. I am thrilled with him. I hope he chooses to hang about.. and you are right Marie, it is good for me to see some real farmers every once in a while.. c

  3. That Kupa is a lucky bird. Market days here are like that, except not normally in the mud because the markets are covered. I find the rows of cages disturbing because I’m a sucker for pretty little animals and I don’t grow my own food. We are the exception to the rule in our hamlet where everyone has a “living” larder except for us. Pathetic, I guess, but as I’m not up to killing them I don’t eat them. ( That’s not quite true, but I try not to do it often)

    • It really did have a European feel to it, there were Mexican people and eastern European people, so having different languages spoken behind and around me reminded me of London. And right here in America which in a way was kind of heartening.. morning Roger. c

  4. Your description reminded me of something out of Dickens. The sounds, the sights and the descriptions of the people. It really sounded like a scene from the late 1800s.

    Kupa will be a lovely addition to the farmy. Maybe since he arrived the same time as the lambs are due he will see himself in a guardian role for them. Do you expect him to blend in nd befriend the other animals or stand aside in his regal way?


    • It will be interesting to see Ronnie, though peacocks are cousins of a kind of Guineas so he may befriend them, however peacocks have often struck me as solitary birds, they do not move about as a flock.. ,morning ronnie.. c

  5. I’m sure if I went there I’d come home with a car load full and more on the roof! What an experience. I do hope you’re able to find Kupa a mate because baby peacocks are so cute! xx

  6. The description of the market makes me wonder if you wished you could rescue every animal there. I have never been to such an event, but I expect that I would find it quite intriguing if not a bit disturbing. So happy Kupa now has a new home at the Farmy in your wonderful care.

    • I have to say Audrey that the beautiful gentle timeless Llama still haunts me. He might haunt me for a while I think. We will see how the retirement visits go and maybe I will get one. They are popular visitors evidently. but I will have to save and I am sure Jess will tell me to buy one from a breeder not in a marketplace!.. c

  7. Beautiful. Touching. Spectacularly described. Interesting, isn’t it, that in the end, you chose an animal not to eat at all, but to watch and marvel at simply because he is a splendor unto himself. Good for you.

    • these birds are so perfect and beautiful charlotte, and as you all know i have always wanted a peacock in the garden! c

  8. I love your description of the market and could picture every detail while I was reading! It made me a little sad to think of all those animals in their cages, fearful. But, such is life, I suppose.

    Kupa is beautiful and I look forward to seeing pictures of him when he’s out and about in all his glory.

    Have a wonderful day! ~ April

    • So far our day has been lovely.. and now i really must do some running chores then i will be back to mooch about and see what you are all doing! c

  9. Oh Kupa is a beauty! Peacocks are just such gorgeous creatures – screaming and all. 😉 I can just envision this market, you described it so well. It sounds like one of those places that I would have either gotten away from quickly, or came home with a dozen animals because I felt so bad for them. Incidentally, Mike is the one who picks up the pet supplies at the local store for that very reason.

    • Hmm, I don’t like pet stores either and zoos are a no go zone for me, I know they do good work behind the scenes and everything but still they unsettle me.. c

    • I hope so, the poor fella is sat on his perch in the barn looking out the window right this minute! But he has to stay in for a while, until he knows where home is.. Morning Mad! c

  10. I always think peacocks are shouting,
    “Neil, Neeeil,”

    so always thought if we ever had a pair I’d call them Neil and Neila.

  11. YAY, YIPPEE, I am so excited that you have your peacock C and even more thrilled that you are going to get him a lady friend. I do hope Kupa settles in nicely on the farmy.
    Not sure I would have coped seeing all those animals in cages – I know they were only put in for market day but I really have issues seeing animals in cages – I could never have birds – it would kill me to see them locked up like that!
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy

    • I have the same problem and began to feel oppressed by them all staring out at me, but we did find Kupa and we know where to find him a mate, so it was well worth it. c

  12. Too bad you could not bring the beautiful llama home — that’s a striking photo and any animal would have a good life with you and John. I hope that Kupa settles in well with the rest.

    • I feel badly about the llama, next time I go I shall sit down with the llama people and have a chat. Of course John has said, no way! No llama. But if I went further down this therapy animal road and was able to raise and train one as a retirement home visitor, then he or she could probably pay for his own hay. Isn’t it interesting how our lives take these twists and turns without us even realising we have taken a major turn in the road.. But at the moment I know next to nothing about the animals and it would be irresponsible to buy one on a whim.. Morning Sharyn c

  13. C, If I could find a way to get her to you I have the perfect llama to be your therapy animal. I would donate her to your cause, she would also be a fantastic protector of your sheep. I will be thinking on this today. …


    • Jess, wouldn’t that be amazing. She could come to the homes with me and have her own flock of sheep to live with. But where are you? I am in Illinois. Could we meet you half way or something? But you may be too far for her to travel without harm. What a fantastic idea and even if we are too far apart to make it happen, I thank you so much for such a perfect thought. Just imagine the smiles..c

  14. If we eat them we need to see what we are killing and we need to know the killing. Plants are so much easier to do away with.
    Vibrant description which shook me by the scruff-of-the-neck.

  15. C.

    She would be fine to travel; sometimes shows are cross country! Her name is Breezy, you have seen pictures of her before. She is sweet, easy to handle and has silky soft fiber if you ever have a moment to spin. We live near the Southern Vermont border. How far are you from the Indiana Border? If we met in Ohio…near Pennsylvania…would that work. Ooh, I should let me husband in on this. I am such a fan of therapy animals, you have no idea, they can bring such joy and offer a bit of peace to many.

    • I have to look at a map, my US geography is shaky in that direction. Oh no and now you have told me her name! now what am I to do. I shall go to your site and look at her and then i will be sunk i just know it! I shall look at a map. Our stock trailer is a pretty local affair but I could borrow one. Well I am getting ahead of myself. First check the map, I have one under the stairs i shall drag it out! jess you are such a wonderful person. c

  16. This so reminds me of one swelteringly hot and miserably humid day in Hong Kong, when I became totally disoriented and ended up lost in a “live market” in Chai Wan. Chickens stuffed 20-30 per cage, rotating head over back over feet in a constant rotating motion, pigs strapped in cages squealing, fish trying to escape tanks where the water overheated in the sun, butchery right before your eyes, blood sticking to the bottom of your shoes as it coagulated …. me with my little camera, passed out cold in a faint face down on the bloody, damp concrete…. Living in Hong Kong is a lesson in the separation of food from pets. I’m happy for the peacock.

    • That sounds absolutely awful and also what an extraordinary experience in awfulness. Just that little paragraph of yours made me stumble.. thankfully the version we saw on saturday was sweet in comparison! c

      • It’s not awful, c, it’s just the way it is. Food is food there, and food is fresh. As my friend, Pinky, always said, “When was the last time that you gave a frozen chicken a cuddle?”. 🙂

  17. Oh Celi – you are the only person I know (‘know’) who would ever buy a peacock without setting out to do so. Also I really hope you find a way to get Breezy even though it seems impossible. If anyone can, you can!

    • Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could find a way for Breezy to find her way here carol anne. She could join Celi’s Travelling Farmey! What a magnificent offer of Jess’// we will have to think on it! c

  18. You picked the gem from the soil…..I hope he transitions to your place easily 🙂

    • he is still sitting quietly and watching but they are good strong birds so i am feeling positive! c

  19. There is a once-a-year beast fair near here, La Foire de Lessay, which is reputedly the oldest in Europe. We went once, and found it as distressing as you seem to have done. We haven’t been since.
    I’m glad you found your peacock, but can I suggest you get some earplugs for John?

    • Morning Viv, it is so OLD though isn’t it. i mean people years for the old fashioned life until they see something like that then it is OK, plastic wrapped and in a box is fine thank you!! c

  20. Sounds like it was quite a place, Celi, and I’ve no need to go there despite what I said yesterday. I’m familiar with that kind of environment, although not nearly on so grand a scale. Still, I’ve no need for a refresher. Kupa was a great find and I hope you can get him a couple hens. I’d offer to pick them up for you, on a return trip from Zia’s, but I’m already traveling with a dog and parrot. Add another animal and I would need some sort of traveling zoo license, not to mention a bigger car and a heavy-duty air freshener. Have a great day!

    • He will be back next month, so I might brave the crowds and go early and hopefully get a hen..The inside pavilion had many many caged birds of the parakeet and canary and budgie variety. I poked myhead in the door and that was enough, it bothered me more than the horses and goats outside!! c

  21. Peacocks I know about, Celi! 🙂 I’m delighted that Kupa is at your home now. What a wonderful addition and I’ll look forward to pictures, hoping he integrates well with the other animals. We live close to an Arboretum and Botanical Garden…the peacocks roam neighborhoods, and although we are a good maybe five miles from the garden, we have had peahens in our neighborhood. They lived on my roof and in a tree for quite a time. They were destructive and wonderful all at the same time! I have mixed feelings looking at the beautiful animals in these bartering cages…but I get it…I like to pretend our food is dropped from the heavesn…manna! Good day to you! Debra

    • Morning Debra, we had a roaming peacock, a white one, visit us in Kent (UK) every now and then, he was quite timid as they are, but looked profoundly heavenly.. I get a lot of dreadful scraping up in my gardens just from these wandering roosters and their hens! but it is all part and parcel of keeping the bugs under control! I love that you have visitors. I cannot wait for Kupa to sit in a tree! c

  22. Perfect addition to the family! I loved visiting stately homes in England which frequently are inhabited by peacocks screeching from the tops of towers and at Syon House I think they sit on the glass house. One of my first jokes as a small child was

    How many eggs does a peacock lay?

    Answer: None, only a peahen lays eggs. I do hope Kupa has a wife to hang out with soon 🙂

    • I also loved the peacocks dragging their trains across the vast lawns of the stately homes! perfect match.. c

  23. Celi, that beautiful looking peacock has fallen on his feet this time! What a beautiful story. Has Kupa got a good pair of lungs on him?

  24. A powerful and poetic post Celi, I remember stopping in Morocco a few years ago at a market, and it was like something out of biblical times (or how I imagine them to be!!) the dust, the clothing, the animals, the deals. It was both captivating and disturbing.
    So John really hadn’t heard a peacock before your impression? I can tell you it sounded good from here

    • hilarious, they all looked at me askance!! he will hear it for real eventually! poor fella is in for a shock! c

  25. Your description made me remember that I am much content to be a plant based eater. I am so grateful I do not have to raise animals for food. I don’t begrudge those who do it; our family grew up on wild meat. I’m just glad I don’t eat meat anymore!

    Our Soul Safari group in S. Africa watched a group of lionesses stalk wildebeests. All of us were animal freaks – none of us knew whether to cheer or cry when the wildebeests got away. Talk about three jeeps of ridiculously soppy humans! 😀

  26. A lovely bird and a beautiful post. It is hard to believe that such a sound comes from a bird that looks like the peacock does. I suppose nature didn’t want too much beauty all in one place.

    • Morning Bill, good point. It is an awkward marriage though this profound velvety heavenly look and then the raucous honk! or screech tho his warning (that you are getting too close ) sound, is a sweet ‘tock, tock’.. c

  27. And now you have a peacock! Crazy! There is a freerange one roaming the lane near his little country cottage not so far from here, always a slightly bizarre sight. There is beauty but I’m sure that market must also have been a place of hurt and pain too, so sad. 🙂

    • it was basic.. you know i still cannot find the word that means ancient, true, basic, real, painful, repulsive and stunning all at the same time.. c

  28. An amazing description of what must have felt like a surreal experience, Celi. We sometimes forget or don’t realise how harsh the nitty gritty of surviving on the land can be. I’m so glad you found Kupa, he’s very beautiful. As, in an odd way, was the turkey who seemed to consider himself a swan… xx

    • isn’t that turkey out of this world with his head tucked in and he was huge! an amazing and quite terrifying bird.. c

  29. well, this is very exciting! i can’t wait for more pics! and oh boy, the quiet little farmy will never quite be so quiet anymore! welcome kupa!

  30. Lots of luck with the bejewelled Kupa – the latest addition to the farmy. Your description of the market is so poignant and the llama look so very sad.

  31. Fabulous post. Incredibly evocative and yes, Dickensian. But as you say, this is all part of the gritty reality of life with animals. Kupa is a beauty. We used to have neighbors with peacocks, and they would occasionally appear perched up on our fence or strolling in the yard, but mostly we just heard their screams of ‘Help! Help! Heeeeeelp!’ all the time, and once I got used to knowing that it wasn’t an abused person in peril crying out, I grew rather fond of the call.

    • Morning kathryn I have tracked your comments right through up to the present day and it is always lovely to see you over here, it is like speed dating! Thank yoiu so much for all that and I am dying to see johns face when Kupa finally wakes up and starts to cal for a mate!! c

  32. I think what captured me most was the contrast between the “visceral” gut-wrenching description of pants held up with string and the roughness.. and the heavenly glorious photographs you interspersed between words.. The animals looked so innocent and helpless, it actually made me quite sad for them. I was thinking, well, maybe I should become a vegetarian after all.. oh, well, those photographs of yours are quite stunning, the colors, the light.. the angle of the shots, all of it!! Perfect! xo Smidge

    • Thank you smidge, when I started putting them together there was so much white that i thought to myself Smidge will like these.. c

  33. Congratulations on the new addition to your farmy! A handsome fella, I’m sure. You described the swap so well, I felt like I was there. I have seen these people in my lifetime, but it’s been a long time.

    • Morning Patti. These people were very real, very hard working, they had some logic to their lives really, not sentimental.. very old fashioned. c

  34. I love peacocks. When I was a kid, we used to go on school trip to the bird zoo and the peacocks were always my favorite with their elegant poses and magical colors.
    Can’t wait to hear all about Kupa’s adventures

    • They do pose so elegantly Sawson, it will be interesting to see how he does with my some what motley crew! c

  35. A most moving post.. an excellent read.. great photos… Interesting that I wrote about a Brain Damaged Fox in a zoo today Celi.. and thanks for popping over …

    • Morning Helen, yes, seeing that fox just after writing about the caged animals in markets was an interesting parallel, gosh that fox was a stunning image! c

  36. What a vivid and real description of the market. I felt I was right there with you. My American cousin Chuck had peacocks on his land in California. They dropped their beautiful feathers on the ground, and I was allowed to pick some up to bring back to NZ with me. Of course I had to declare them at Customs, and then they were taken from me for fumigating (at my expense) and I had to drive out to the airport to collect them 2 weeks later. But they were still beautiful, and always reminded me of those magnificent birds (and yes they do screech, but you learn to screen out the sound and enjoy their beauty)

    • Just like you to bring back peacock feathers from a trip to california Juliet, do you still have them in a vase in the house somewhere? I do look forward to his tail feathers! c

  37. there is nothing nicer than to see the tail of a peacock spread in greeting to make you smile 🙂

  38. the sight of lovely animals (and the un-lovelies too) behind tight bars, quite sad. i’ve typed and erased word after word. i’ll leave off just saying: happy to see that one crazy-screeching Kupa has made it to the farmy. He’ll soon discover how good life can be. Congratulations, and good morning’ Celi!

    • i look forward to the day when i can let him out to roam, but i have to be careful i do not want to lose him.. c

  39. Wow. I felt overwhelmed by just reading your description of the Bantam Swap. It would be tough facing all those birds and animals in cages, but you came away with Kupa, a glorious looking peacock who now has the BEST home. It will be fun to see how he adjusts and how he feels about getting a mate. So, Llama in your future, or goats?

  40. Your farm got a little more magical with your little prince. So glad you rescued him (although it sounds like the owner was kinder than some). Oh the Llama. It almost sounds like you stepped back in time to the middle ages or something – what an adventure.

  41. I LOVE that you bought a peacock!!!!! Fabulous. Absoulutely perfect. I have some friends here in MN who have a few peacocks – they’re wonderful. Back on Orcas Island, growing up, we used to hear them across the street from the cemetary where my grandparents were buried – when we’d go to “visit” them there, we’d hear the peacocks and now they always remind me of those lovely times…

  42. A peacock!?!?!
    Now, that’s what I call a surprise. I’m certain he will like it on your farm.

  43. Cecilia,
    He is stunning! I think my neighbors might draw the line at having a peacock here on the Farmlet… as would my husband! So, unless we move, I will have to enjoy yours and Julie’s peacock tales.
    ~ Lynda

    • Mine has been remarkably quiet so far, since that first day, but i am sure he will find his voice! c

  44. Pingback: Rural round-up | Homepaddock

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