Just the way that it should be?

Or should that be, is my life just SLIGHTLY ODD?

A near neighbour has raised a hatch of chicks and now,  at the end of summer they bought the males round for me to turn into dinner. They arrived in a plastic feed sack in the boot of a car so they quickly needed to be dealt with. The quickest thing to do was to put them in an empty rabbit hutch with some food and water, then decide when I have enough time to kill and pluck them, a job which always takes me ages.

 A couple of days later they were still waiting and eating and one morning, I asked one of the resident “outlaws” to let them out. Having a senior moment, or should I say, rather a lot of them, is rather common for me and what I meant to say was to give them food and water. So out they came, now what? Well “what”, came at bedtime when they were nowhere to be seen. Damn, I bet they have got out or been caught by a fox. The next morning they were wandering around, eating veg from the garden and generably being where they shouldn’t. Bedtime again, none present or correct, but the next day there they were as bold as brass, this time one was baiting one of the breeding cockralls who was defending his pen of hens.

 This went on for a few days until one evening I thought to ask if anyone knew where they went to bed. The answer was a delight to my ears, they roost in the hawthorn tree. I have always loved the idea of hens which roost in trees. It seems so natural and easy, but I always clip wings to keep tabs on all poultry, then I decide where they will sleep, what time they get let out and all the other controlling things we do to “look after” our pets. Now the boys have introduced a small flock of home bred pullets to their version of night life. Lively it is too, they often crow at intervals from about 11.38pm until around 4am when there is a distinctive wing clap and soon after the crowing moves around. With no housing there is no build up of lice or mites, they seem safe from foxes, whilst roosting anyway and they must get a primeval satisfaction from being on branches which are constantly on the move. The downsides are that they can get over the wall into next doors garden, they are vulnerable when they are at ground level from before dawn and I do need to eat them before they spend the winter getting tough and eating their way through precious feed.

 The hawthorn tree is a great love of mine, I can see it in the mirror from my bed. I watch the blackbird eating the berries whilst I sit in bed in the morning and the outside world is monochrome. I love the shape of it and I love the way it looks like a picture which changes according to the light, the weather and the activity of the time. A stratigically placed mirror can open up a whole new world.

I took one of the animals to my vet in a local market town. I take anything which will fit in my car rather than pay the call out fees and in the past have had animals at all stages of life from birth to death, carried in the back of my car or van, but the things which don’t fit are cows, ponies and donkeys. So after my consultation I returned to the waiting room for some injections to be dispensed. The Vets surgery is an old shop and the reception and waiting room is the shop itself, the window opaqued to provide some privacy but one can see out quite clearly and waiting outside with a middle aged lady was a  small horse. As the Vet finished writing the directions on my syringes the receptionist told him that George had come for his booster for Tetnus and Equine flu. I asked the receptionist if this is an unusual occurance and fortunately it is rather commonplace. Why does this soothe my equalibrium so?

Now there is no reason why this should be an odd phenomenon but how often do you see a horse waiting in the high street for his appointment at the vet?

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Published in: on Wednesday November 11th, 2009 at 10:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Of predators and the unexpected.

 A few weeks ago,  the Boy was out doing, what boys of their early twenties do of a Saturday evening and had taken his car to a local watering hole so the view to the Northwest was uninterrupted for a short distance. Whilst he was gone, the sheep went rushing up the road from the wood and on hearing the sound of hurrying hooves, one of the girls looked out into the dusk in case there was an errant dog on the loose. She certainly did not expect to see a wild boar, giving chase. She called to me and we went to see if the boar was still around. Alas no, so the next morning we went to wander in the woods to see if there were any traces of it’s meanderings. Still nothing. Only by chance had she seen it. Normally a car would be parked blocking the view.

 Now, I have long since been aware of sightings of these creatures and many have got very close to them, even families of them. I have witnessed the turfs on roadside verges , turned over, but as yet I have not witnessed a boar at large. However the fact that they are obviously here in the hamlet means, come lambing, a greater level of vigilance will be required.

 Lots of areas have a “beast” at large, mostly being members of the big cat family. Hereabouts we have two or more.

Many years ago I was driving to get some homebrew supplies and there, in the bracken at the side of the road was a big black cat, heading into the undergrowth. A few yards on, were a group of sheep grazing as if there was nothing untoward at all. I was so shocked that I had to stop the car to decide if I was seeing things.

 I realised that the animal I had seen was exactly what I had thought. It was around the height of the sheep and the tail was long and carried down, following the line of the rear legs with the last few inches carried parallel to the ground.

 There have been many sightings of both this cat and a brown “tabby” coloured one over the years and a handful of photographs taken, one being a close up image taken as someone walked along a forest track, camera poised to shoot another image. Unbeknown to both, the two beings were so close that they shocked each other the person regaining enough composure to snap the camera shutter closed as the feline snarled. 

 Obviously there are birds of prey, mainly buzzards and owls, though other hawks and falcons nest here too. Herons and Egrets, haunt the streams and ponds.  

 Then there was the White Stag. It was spotted from time to time and occasionally photographed before it “came to hart”, when it was at its’ prime with a full set of antlers. It haunted the woods to the north of the land, quite close to here and was seen quite regularly even becoming caught in a tennis net at one time. Before it matured there were sightings of a white doe to the south.

 Then a year after it was at its most magnificent it was killed on the road. I drove out one morning and saw the top of its head and antlers emerging from one of the deep drainage ditches. There was no mistaking which deer it was or that it was dead.  Gradually word got around and the whole story was recorded.

He was hit and killed about 3 miles away from here at a juntion. The body then disappeared for a while during which time I saw it, before turning up near the center of the woods several miles away, minus the head which had been hacked off for a trophy to grace someones wall no doubt.

 A great numbness was felt by lots of folk as the animal had been a sign of light energy coming back to this area of  heavy dark energy. Other sightings were told of white deer around the land but within a year all reports seemed to have ceased.

 I cannot say if these animals are indeed still around but I hope there will again be a white stag born to give hope for the area in the not too distant future.

Published in: on Monday October 26th, 2009 at 5:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Flown the nest

One day last week, or maybe longer ago, I became aware that the bluetits sounded more like adult birds quarrelling and chattering.

It was a momentary recognition and no sooner had I walked from the room than it was hastily tucked away in the dim archives of my mind.

Then last weekend, I realised that I have not seen the parents as they squeeze in and out of the boarding beside my window, to and fro with meals of bugs to satisfy their insatiable infants. No squeals of “ME ME ME”.

 They have all flown and I hope they are still nearby as I need them.

 They consume the insects who are hell bent on eating my vegetables, and who join the throngs whose sole aim in life is to annoy the cow, causing such misery at milking time, with the cows tail swishing to swat them and making her kick at them, spilling milk over the dusty ground and often over me.

Published in: on Saturday June 20th, 2009 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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I have a family of Bluetits living in my bedroom wall.

A while ago I spied the adults  landing on the top of a downpipe which had become detached from it’s mooring and couldn’t work out where they were planning their home. Once it had occured to me that they might all get washed away if we had a real downpour, I re-attached the pipe but they had obviously already found the hole in the wall where the lapboard had lifted, the downpipe was just a landing board.

Now the babies are beginning to get more noisy as their vocal cries for food are  being rewarded and the pitch of the cries have come down to a level which is easy to hear, tho’ easy to miss if engrossed in something else. At first the cries were so high pitched as to be nearly inaudible so I am not sure when they hatched. Anyway the adults are spending their days busily searching all the cobwebbed undersills and crannies around the walls and windows  of the house and places around the garden.

Nesting birds are a very welcome addition to my patch. We have ash and sycamore trees which line the boundary and spread a sticky residue along the outhousing from where blackfly seem to permeate and then move on to my veg patch.

 Last year, unbeknown to us we had a family of wrens in the garden. One morning we saw them just as their children had fledged. They practised flying around using a variety of objects and buildings to provide landing pads. We watched for a while, admiring their skills and feeling honoured that we could witness this sight. Then to our horror, Tactless the cat ran out and caught one of the young, we grabbed the cat but all too late as we examined the bird, it was limp and dead, but worse was to come as another birdchild flew straight at the cat and met its end. For us a whole morning was ruined, but for that family, a whole lifetime wasted.

 This time I will be much more watchful of  the damned cats.

 

Published in: on Monday June 1st, 2009 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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