Thursday 2 October 2014

Passing through

One of the magical events of the year is the passing to and fro overhead of the migratory birds, 
which never ceases to move my heart.
Such tiny beings,
such a long way to go,
such danger to go through to survive,
and twice a year it happens.
We are lucky,
our telephone and electric wires seem to be an overnight stop,
for a particular flock of swifts on their way down to Africa.

Thousands of them.....

...... far too many to get on a photo....

.... all the overhead cables have swifts on them,
restless, fidgety, waiting for the signal to start the day,
lifting off,
setting down,
waiting for the collective signal to leave.

And as I watched the magic of these birds
I thought of the months ahead until they come back up to Europe again,
six months of winter for us,
which I don't mind,
because we have lots to do which the busyness of the summer stops us from doing. 
They will go fast, those months.
They are not to be wasted. 
Being on the migratory pathway for several breeds of birds
always makes me conscious of time passing,
and that I should not put off things which I want to do.


Flip me, but I have been asked to play the piano to accompany the Maubourguet choir I used to sing with,
but left because they chatted too much during the rehearsal time,
and since it is a French choir,
they chatted away in French,
which is alright for half an hour or so,
but then my head used to seize up with the effort of having interpret what they were saying,
although each week I was able to pick out more and more words,
but at that time we had builders in,
and everything just got too much to cope with,
so I left.

But now it would seem that I am to return,
and I find myself hoping that they will keep up their habit of chatting,
because I really would like to be able to speak better French, and accompanying the choir will put me right in the thick of the talking,
because they will be talking to me as well,
which will make me have to talk in French,
which is good,
but a challenge,
because 1) first I have to manage to play the music,
some of which is difficult to say the least,
and 2) I have to listen, and talk, French.
I will be stretched on both counts. 
Not to worry,
I'll have a go,
after all, I don't have to spread my wings and fly for thousands of miles across Europe and Africa,
I can stay put on the farm.

We have made a purchase of a tenor banjo for Lester.
He already has a violin, an electric violin (thanks Dad),
a guitar (thanks John), and a mandolin.
He can play all these instruments quite well,
without the need to do much practice.
I, on the other hand, am still spending at least an hour a day learning how to play the piano accordion I bought earlier on in the year,
and can now play a tune or two.
I shall persevere,
although often feel like throwing the accordion out of the window,
but it is an enjoyable challenge,
and I would like to be able to play it in public,
just to see if I can.


The kitchen is coming along, but I have taken over painting the walls because Lester needs to get the gates for the pig paddocks finished before winter sets in.
He has made two,
eight more to go.
Why so many?
Because we have put in several passageways so that the pigs can be easily moved between the paddocks,
and also will make capture of the pigs easier,
and then there are the blood tests we have to now have done,
and how one sticks a needle into a pig the size of Max, well we don't have the foggiest clue as to how we can do this,
but capturing him in one of the passageways is an idea which we hope will work.
We still have the seven piglets,
and we are keeping them this time,
six for the freezer,
one female possibly to be kept for breeding.


Things I have learnt:
- that watching little birds getting ready to do a very long migration makes one encouraged to continue on with the day to day journey through one's life...
- that sitting amongst French people, no matter that one cannot understand much of what they are saying, must be viewed as a blessing. Better to be here than where we used to be, back our old UK lifestyle, which was slowing killing the spirit of Lester and myself.
- that watching one's partner learn new things is a blessing to one's soul.
- that one must not worry about the possibility of the river rising up over the fields again, as it has done several times these last two winters past, because if it does it does, if it doesn't it doesn't. Things can't be changed by filling one's mind up with worry, all it does is spoil the day.


Maz and Blue having a tussle over a stick.


The Broad said...

You are an amazing woman, Vera! Good luck with the French. I can speak French but would love to speak much better than I do -- the difficulty being that I have not immersed myself in situations where I am surrounded by people speaking the language. My husband is not in the least inclined to learn any more than he already knows (blessed little!!) and so I find myself having to translate for him while at the same time having to speak rather haltingly myself! But I was rather pleased at how well I was able to cope this past summer when I had to consult my local GP and an eye specialist, who spoke almost no English! Anyway, I have no doubt that you will master the language, as you have so many other things!

northsider said...

Hi Vera, I believe birds migrate because their diet is mainly insects. So they have to go where the insects are. I am not looking forward to winter.

Vera said...

The Broad, well done you for managing to speak in French to the GP and eye specialist. I wouldn't have known where to start! Hope your health is better now.

Northsider Dave, oh I didn't know that! I thought they just followed the sun! I must admit that I am having to push thoughts about winter arriving soon away. Keep busy so I don't think about it, that is what I am doing!

rusty duck said...

Your last sentence re worry hits home for me. It is so true. I only wish I could do it!

Mizumatte said...

oh Vera you are best inspiring woman I know ( and I know quite many ladies, because I work in the hospital). but what to do if your mind seems to love worreing though your soul don't. Take care and play all the way from bottom of your heart.Jaana

Vera said...

Jessica, I don't always manage to stay on top of the worries either!

Jaana, it is our natural way to worry, and one of my lessons in life is not to let worry be the governor of my mind. Sometimes my soul wins the battle, sometimes my head does! Ah well, at least for some of the time I am working with my soul rather than my head!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

oh i LOVE seeing the girls! thanks for that pic. and yep we have tons of gates and passageways - its make it easier to herd everyone about. so many blessings for you today!

Vera said...

OhioFarmGirl, thanks for the blessings, which were gratefully received!

Rhodesia said...

Sorry I am behind on comments. My computer died a month ago and it has taken a while to get another one minus a French key board which I did not want!! Finally back on line but having to learn a whole new system!

I have been trying to catch up with your posts and it seems you are busy, busy, busy as usual.

Blood samples from pigs are not easy but maybe things have changed. we used to anaesthetise and with a long needle take direct from the heart!!! I hope for your sake they have discovered an easier method.

My French is still useless though I can sort of write it! Nigel has improved no end since living here.

Take care Diane xx

Tim said...

Vera, your Swifts are in fact Swallows [or possibly a mix of Swallows and House Martins...]
The Swifts left a couple of months ago, now, and do not settle on wires, they stay aloft until the are past Timbuctu and into the forests of Central Africa.
Migration is both about food and climate...
we have our winter Robins back...
don't get them in Summer...
they've gone back to the UK or Low Countries.

A huge mixed flock of Swallows and House Martins....
in their thousands....
arrived here a couple of days ago...
they'll be from the north of the UK...
they've gone now...
so should be with you in a few days.

And the Cranes have begun their migration... so they'll be coming over quite soon...
larger numbers yet again, they've had a very good season.

Vera said...

Diane, Lester speaks French far better than me, so I let him do the verbal translating, but I am better at writing French for some reason! I guess that makes us a good team! Hope you get to grips with your PC soon....

Tim, Oh crikey, another big thankyou to you for yet more info!!! Looking forward to receiving those swallows and / or house martins soon. Love that they have already stopped over at your place and are heading down towards us. I didn't realise that robins migrate, I just thought they went somewhere else during the summer, which is, of course, migration! We have white cranes here, not sure if they are the cranes you are talking about. They appeared on our field the other day, but only a small flock.
Once again, you are a source of valuable knowledge to us, and thanks for taking the time to give us the info. VX

Tim said...

if they were smallish, white, and a small flock, they were most probably Cattle Egrets...
or, if they had black wingtips and were crane sized...
were probably White Storks...
who pass through earlier.

The Common Cranes... as they pass over your area.... number in their tens of thousands...
and make a huge racket with their bugling calls.
They fly at night, as well as by day, when the weather is right....
especially when passing over the "Pair-o-Knees" into Spain...
so, if you awake suddenly in late October / early November....
listen carefully...
it might be them wotz woken you!!