I was the first ‘Olive Mill Animal’ as I was here before these people and those blasted dogs even arrived. I was only young but I had managed to secure myself a place in the barn, sleeping in the hay at night and making a living catching and eating mice and baby birds. I was restricted to the barn area because the people before had their own spoilt cats that got to live in the house, but at night they would come out and chase me off, they didn’t like me being around.

 After a few months, a big strong man came here looking for me, and we had a brief romance. I fell madly in love, and within weeks I fell pregnant for the first time. As with all men, as soon as he found out, he did a runner, and I never saw him again, leaving me to bring up three babies all on my own. You wouldn’t believe how hard that first year was, I never felt well, and the babies were draining all my energy. It was just then, when I was at my lowest, when the new people decided to start giving us some extra food. They used to leave it out for us and then we would go and eat it once they had left, we didn’t want to be caught and sent away.

 After a few weeks we began to realise that the people were happy for us to live here, as they continued to feed us sometimes, and when they had visitors, the children always gave us lots of food.

 After the babies were grown up and I stopped feeding them, in the spring I was swept off my feet my yet another young man, and soon after I gave birth to another three little babies. This time there was no happy ending and after a few short weeks, the babies left with their uncles to make a new life for themselves, I guess they didn’t really like it here. That only left me here, with one of my elder sons, Denise, who goes off from time to time but sometimes comes back for food. Everything was great until a man came along to try and win my affection, and Denise took it upon himself to fight him off. After that things turned ugly, Denise sexually abused me and then left home, once again I was pregnant and alone.

 This time when the babies were born I decided I would tell the people that live here, so hopefully they would give me and the babies some more food. So I had the babies in the barn, in the hay and shouted loudly at the people to come and see. They came, they saw and they cuddled the new babies, but by now I wasn’t worried, and I knew if I played my cards right I would get food and milk too. So for the next few weeks, we lived the high life, and then in the summer I was able to fend for myself and my family when the birds move back in and have their babies, they are very easy to find and eat. We always eat well at this time of year.

 Now that I get fed more, and therefore have more healthy babies, every so often I have to tell some of the older babies to pack their bags and leave home, as soon as they are old enough to start their own families. To be honest the people seem to find this strange and they are always looking for the babies even after they have gone. Occasionally the children will visit, for a homemade meal and a quick visit but these days it’s not very often, they are out living their own lives, and raising their own families.

 I have just managed to finish feeding this year’s babies and I guess we will be huddling down for winter very soon, but soon enough I’m sure I will get a visit from a man, and then I will end up carrying his babies for a while then the whole vicious circle starts again. I suppose I could try and move away but I just thank my lucky stars that I have a warm and comfortable place to stay at night, and some regular food through the harsh winters. If having babies every year is my price to pay for that, then that is the burden I have to take. Speak to you soon.

Barb

This is me, when I was younger

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