A week of non stop rain has finally come to an end. We had started to think about building an ark once more! Yes – we needed the rain as it was incredibly dry, but once it started it just couldn’t stop; day after day, we woke to grey skies and puddles. And it turned much colder; the windows and doors remained closed, and once again we reached for sweaters and scarves. Every now and then the clouds would part and a chink of blue would appear casting a golden glow over the sodden ground and saturated stones.
A stack of jobs were finally finished inside and work I have put to one side was completed, so it was actually a very fulfilling and productive week. Even if we all longed to be back outside in the fresh air a little more. Every day I toured the garden, dressed in a raincoat and wellies, checking on seedlings, pulling at the odd soggy weed and picking up fallen branches. Most evenings we set out for a walk around the village with the dogs, sticking to our 1km lockdown boundary.
We also decided it was time to rescue this really old terracotta pot. It has sat in a corner, hidden from view since before we bought the house. There was a scrubby half dead shrub inside which had obviously been a resident since it was tiny. Now the roots were a good inch thick and fanned out to the very edges and we were terrified it was going to break. We cut it carefully into portions with a small electric saw, and then took out each root, one tiny bit at a time! We think the pot is from the 19th century, so I am glad we managed to keep it in once piece. We might even get to appreciate it now, although I have no idea where to put it. For now it’s just been left outside the front door; it’ll probably remain here for the next decade!
On Sunday the forecast was for a change with blue skies, soaring temperatures and plenty of sunshine promised. I planned an at-home picnic and I planned a blogpost around it. But alas, nothing went to plan yesterday.
As always the first job of the morning is to feed and let out the chickens and say good morning to the ducks. Except yesterday morning nothing was as it should be; we sensed all was not well the moment we entered the garden. The ducks were missing. Our worst fears were confounded after an hour long search. It seems for sure a predator (99% likely a fox) took them overnight. There is not a trace of them, not a feather, nothing. To say we are gutted would be an understatement. The two Indian Runners we raised from one day old chicks, they lived in Millie’s bedroom for the first weeks of their lives.
Even as a farmer’s daughter and growing up with life and death amongst animals all my life it hits hard. Our property is well protected with walls and secure fencing all around and in six years we have never had any suspicions of any foxes whatsoever. And today it all seems so calm and peaceful, the hens and our two roosters going about their day as normal. How the fox or whatever it was got to the ducks with the pond close to hand is a mystery.
Needless to say no one felt much like a long leisurely lunch yesterday and besides, despite the rain having ceased, the grey persisted like a cloud of doom over the garden until late in the afternoon. “I’m not sitting outside on the wet grass” seemed to be the general consensus of opinion and the grand picnic plan was shelved. We’ll do it again, perhaps when the lockdown ends and we’ll take our bikes and head off somewhere all together – now that alone will feel like a grand adventure.
But in bad times come good things too. We have chicks, seven in total hatched over the weekend.
We’ve also had many visits from the hoopoes who are nesting all around. As no one has been outside much due to the rain they have got closer and closer to the house. In fact nearly every time we are at the window above the kitchen sink we see them. The dishes get forgotten and it’s a frantic dash for the camera.
What a wonderful old fashioned courtship. A true love offering.
And now it’s another week, I slept fitfully last night dreaming of Monsieur Renard stalking our garden. But today things looked much brighter as they always do in the morning. There is not a cloud in the sky, I opened every single window and door throughout the house.
Today we took down and dusted off the ‘day coop’ and moved the chicks and Mama Hen into it for the daytime hours. Of course, every night they’ll be locked up securely inside the broody coop, but for now they’re enjoying their first taste of real fresh air!
We are in our 8th week of lockdown, with plans for the start of a slow and controlled de-confinement to start as from next Monday the 11th. Stay safe everyone and keep smiling. xx