Monday, 7 November 2011

Shenanigans in the duck pond

OK. A bit of an exageration. We don't have ducks but we do have geese. Neither do we have a proper duck pond. We shall convert the big pond down in the woods eventually. For the moment this is what we have on offer for the geese:

And yes, I do know that it is a bit on the small side but it is the best we can do for the moment. Anyway, they let us know when the water level drops below half, and anyway, of late it has rained. Therefore there are puddles. Especially out on the front of the drive. Super duper puddles actually. Splendid for the three to go have a splash in. Am having to go fetch them back in, because the little lane runs beside the puddle. Wouldn't want them to wander off. They respond with good humour though. With a quack and a honk they waddle off good humouredly back down the drive.

It is the chickens which have led them astray. The geese regard themselves as part of the chicken flock and are often to be seen wandering about with them. When the chickens roam, so do the geese. It is lovely to see. They truly are free range, all of them.

Two males and a female, that is what we have by way of geese, not the two females and one male we thought we had. But there seems to be a problem in regard to the mating ritual as can be seen by the attempted couplings of either the male to the male, or the male to the female, or all three together having a go. And all in the 'duckpond' because that is where water fowl mate - in water. It is a bit of a squash. They make a lot of noise. It is a joyful sound.

Geese flew overhead last night. Quite low they were. Thought it was our three taking off into the night. Not sure why they don't take to the skies. They race up and down often enough, flapping their wings furiously as if getting ready to take off, and then they come to a halt, all effort expired. Thought it was a bit late in the year for the wild geese to be going south over the Pyrenees and then down on to Africa. Glad we heard them though. We missed the leaving of the swallows and wagtails. They did do a gathering around here for several days and the air was full of their coming and goings. And then they went. For the last three years they have parked up on the electricity and phone lines before setting off so I have had a chat with them and wished them bon voyage. We find it a wonderful thing that these small creatures fly such long distances. We have a love in our hearts for the effort they make.

Meanwhile, finally, we put the fire on, not because it was too cold, but because we had got all sogged up when to-ing and fro-ing with the animals, the rain being heavy and the mud being squelchy thus making us feel damp. And then there was Gussy looking misty eyed at Hubs, begging him for the comfort of heat. Bools just sat all forlorn. He is good at doing that.

So the fire was lit for the first time this year. As per usual, though, we have been too busy to sort the wood out, so most of it remains on the wood heap, the contents of the wood heap being the wood from the house when it was stripped out prior to the roofs going on. It has rained, so the wood is wet. Not to worry. Did the same last year, but managed to get through the winter with sufficient wood. We are not hot house people. I think it was that first winter training we had. When we had just one caravan with a gazebo beside it. When Hubs worked on his PC during the day with his office in the UK, with only the thin plastic wall of the gazebo between him and the outside world. When my 'kitchen' was the other end of the gazebo. When I wouldn't shut the caravan door and stay warm in the caravan while Hubs froze out in the gazebo. When I wouldn't even put heating on in the caravan because it was not fair to be warm while Hubs froze.

This was the gazebo in its pristine state. Within a month it was covered over with tarpaulins because it leaked like a sieve. Not to worry, though, because it gave us a yardstick on which to measure how cold we can become before we need to put heating on. Living in that caravan and gazebo hardened us up after the softness of the centrally heated environment of the UK. It was tough, but it was necessary. One can't run a smallholding if one is going to be a wuzz about the cold.

Ooops. The chickens and geese are telling me that it is time to pay them some attention, so off I go into my day. Hope you have a good week, ........


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Life as always is never dull for you. The geese flew over us last night as well and I heard more this morning. Think the weather pattern is confusing them all! Take care Diane

Vera said...

Hello Diane. Hope you are managing to get sorted out now you are living in France together, and fingers crossed for you house in the UK selling soon. Someone said today that the 'geese' were cranes. But they sounded definitely similar to the Canada geese I used to hear back in the UK. Doesn't matter what they are though, it is still lovely to see and hear them.

John Gray said...

dont sweat it
geese are ok with clean water from a bucket........I "hide" extra buckets around the field and my 7 wander around having great fun finding them!

( gonna get out more me thinks!)

Jean said...

Great post, love to hear about your flocks.

I know what you mean about hardening up. When we are chez nous in the winter we just wear more jumpers and thicker socks, just like it was when I was a child and nobody had central heating, just one warm room in the house.