Monday, 30 July 2012

Freedom of Association

The 24th (Tuesday) sees Mum and Dad thanking everyone for their anxious wishes for “Curmudgeonly Aunt Dog Freedom Day”. I won't keep you in suspense. It went like a DREAM! Nobody died! Nobody even got a bit chewed. Kittens romped, puppy bounced about like your one off the Dulux advert and I chased about sniffing them, following them and (as far as Mum and Dad could tell) shepherding them like a Mum. There were a couple of heart-stopping moments for Mum when the chase looked a bit more serious but I checked when they said "Gently!" and in fact only ever seemed to be trying to stay with the scampering kitten, never to grab and bite. We chased happily all through the downstairs of the house, out onto the front terrace and out into the back yard (former cattle-yard) where they all met the chickens. Mum and Dad got plenty of sweet pictures and these are on Flickr (see back up thread for link). Mum and Dad gave it an hour and a half and then declared nap time for small animals while humans breathed huge sigh of relief and sat down for a coffee. There was then a shopping interlude (buying fence posts, like yer do) and the building of Stalag Chicken II (You're not getting out into the lane no more, d'yer hear?). We did another 'session' pm and then just relaxed all the guards in the evening and 2 humans, 3 babies and I all chilled out in our various ways. Peace and harmony reigns! 

There is just one interesting development which we will have to watch and that is that small 1.3kg pup, no taller than you can spread thumb and forefinger tips and looking like a ball of fluff, has decided he can charge the (relatively) huge, tall chickens and they will run away in alarm. One good puck on the little black nose would sort him out but the 'hins' are not volunteering and William is protecting them by shouting encouragement from the rear. We'll have to watch that!
Weds 25th
We harmonious animals are all still peaceful, although kittens are incurring the wrath of womankind by trying to join them on dining table during supper. I think not, me ol' mateys!
Yay! We finally got the warm weather, so maybe that Jet Steam thing has fired a bit of high pressure our way too. "Animals in Harmony" had another successful day. I am trying not to call it Jollity Farm as per the Bonzo Dogs (see for details). Nobody died or got chewed. The Pup came out as far as the bunnies with me and Dad to say hello. He squeaked and writhed on the grass at them through the wire. They came up to the wire amazed at this weird new animal. At quarter past ten we hustled the kittens back indoors a bit quick when a short eared owl flapped silently down the eastern field. They'd been playing in the half light. They only weigh 780g, an easy lift for a birdie that big.

Hin1 and Hin2 laid nice perfect eggs in nest boxes as per their standing instructions. Hin3 decided to drop hers from the 7 foot high roosting beam before she came down in the morning. Bomb gone! Clean that lot up, Dad!  Hin4 is currently in habit of hanging on to hers till 10-ish and then laying it in the nettle patch. She was a bit frustrated to be 'caged' inside new Stalag Chicken and unable to reach nettle patch, so she clucked a quick "Blow you!", flew over the fence and went there anyway. She may be broody, hence extra determination, or it might just be a habit. Chickens do 'routine' and 'habit' very well.

With a chance finally to work the fast-drying soil of the allotment, Dad started the process of changing it into raised beds which if he'd done in the first place might have meant less drowned sulking crops this 'Summer'. We didn't Know, though. That's what everybody does here. Nobody tries to do veg’ on the flat. It rains too much, didn’t you know?

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