Saturday, 19 August 2017

Hawks and men

 It is starting to feel like autumn is right around the corner.

The mornings are misty and the lawns are wet with morning dew. Although nature is still green and lush, there is that feeling of it all starting to wind down soon. The feeling of nostalgia is creeping in and the migrating birds are probably starting preparations for their long journey towards warmer climates.

Here at our place the birds of prey have started visiting in the mornings. Yesterday, a sparrow hawk sat outside the stable, looking in through the window at 6am, while the young cockerels sat on the other side of the glass, looking out. Even our young, funny boys realised that the visitor meant danger and for the first time in their short lives, they kept quiet. We all decided on a sleep in and they went out an hour later.

It is always in the early days of spring and at the beginning of autumn, when the bird of prey start visiting. It is worrying, and this year it's very understandable. The noise level is constantly loud around our eight cockerels and this must sound like a breakfast gong to hungry hawks. But try telling that, to our lot.

So, we try to keep a look out and of course our four, friendly sheep act as safety features for all the small chicks. They take naps next to the sheep and when something happens, you usually find tiny yellow balls of fluff hiding under a sheep belly. This means that the sheep must stand still or get pecked in the leg by a concerned mother hen. Molly can't always remember this anymore. If she sees me approaching, she starts walking towards me, which all becomes a tad dramatic. So far no one's been stepped on but that's because small chicks move faster than lightning when needs be. I do understand dear Molly, though. She is the shape of a barrel and has not seen her own feet since May. This means that she can't see the chicks and to be expected to remember tiny birds, when all she thinks of is food is just too much for her. She probably sees me as a dry bread delivery service and wants to be first in line when I stop to hand out the goodies.

Ebba the dog has gone the other way and thinks of food as something you have to get over and done with, eventually. Her mind is now focused on finding dear Napoleon - Ebba's small dog friend - as she is in season for the first time in her life, we think. This all sounds like a Jane Austen novel, having a London season and all that but it means that our dear dog is growing up.

So far Ebba finds it all to be confusing and silly but in a few weeks’ time we will know how much fun it really is. Some dogs take it in their stride and some feel like their world is crumbling down around them and start stressing a lot.

Life would definitely be easier without our lovely little flock of sheep and our vast number of hens, not to mention all our cockerels. It would also be a much quieter life, without the 4am wake-up call from the stable, each and every morning! But as a dear family member so aptly put it, "It really is a lot of fun with animals around the place, isn't it?"
That says it all, really and dear Ebba would be sad not to have all these potential snacks bobbing around her all day. Somehow, I feel they all enjoy each other’s company as much as we enjoy theirs. It might not seem like a lot to some people but it means the world to me, having happy animals in our lives. Dear husband likes them too, I hope. Better not ask him.

Have a good week, be well and oh dear! Dear husband and I are celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary this coming week. Time flies when you're busy.... and having fun...

Let's do something nice for a loved one this week, to celebrate.
Source: Shutterstock

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