Monday, 30 August 2010

Super Rat Breeder

I have had a thought! Yes , honest!
I'm worried and here is why....

Having written here in my Blog that I have killed 9 rats in 7 days this morning there are no dead rats although one of the traps has been sprung.

Now does this mean that the rats have the Internet and are secretly following my Blog?

Or am I killing the thick off spring from each new generation so that only the super intelligent ones survive. You know the ones that work out that they can get the food out of the trap without setting it off or the even more clever ones that would actually go hungry rather than risk it?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Slightly Quackers

Both rat traps made kills last night again. That is 9 rats in 7 nights. You would think they would be seen all the time but it is very rare that I get a glimpse. When I do it is of very healthy, bright eyed and clean furred animals. A pity that all they want is to kill and eat my chicks and / or pinch their food.
To cope all hens and their chicks (except Blondie) are securely locked into the hen house each night and their "pop" door is screwed shut. The human access door is wedged shut with wood and steel barriers against the floor. Still each morning there are fresh gnawings where the rats are attempting to eat their way through the wooden doors.
As for poor Quakers and Blondie they now have a high level guinea pig house inside the duck house and each evening they are lifted by me into this house and locked in. Then I have to lift them out each morning. Meanwhile the only remaining adult Drake refuses to come home to the Duck house preferring to take his chances with the Moorhens out on the ponds each night. Evidence (poo) shows that the fox(es) visit most nights but so far he has avoided them.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Jackdaw Jamboree

What a row this morning coming from the home made owl box 15ft up our telegraph pole at the very bottom of our garden!

The cause was 5 Jackdaws shouting and flapping on, in and around same. It would appear that many natural things are confused by the similarities between Spring and Autumn and the Jackdaw family who hatched in the box last Spring have returned and are having a re-union.

Over night both rat traps operated correctly!! Last evening, just as dusk fell, I secured the fowl against rat attacks and noticed a gigantic reddy orange moon rising almost due East over the Church. I moved onto our bank to get the best view and whilst there carefully scanned the wheat field (still not harvested and probably ruined) for Barny. A small noise and flutter in my far left peripheral vision drew my attention. Barny was perched on a sheep hurdle not 60 feet away watching ME!

Further news:- The rams have returned...presumably their work is done for another year and the lambs will be with us come Christmas.

The Fox (es) still visit nightly and leave messages to let me know they still lust for my hens.

Roe and Muntjaq deer are almost common place and we see at least one nearly every day.

The Moorhens (all survive) are now full size and indistinguishable from Mum & Dad.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Barny Pops in!

Settleing down to relax infront of the TV after dinner last evening my attention was drawn to the garden, viewed through the Patio Doors, as Barny swooped down, apparently from our roof, flew inches above Lionel (our Tom cat) and landed on my new bargain "end of season" glass garden dining table. We have not seen him since late June. I guess he has been on his holidays and just wanted us to know he was back and check out the state of the garden.

The three remaining young chicks moved in to the main flock hen house yesterday with there adopted Mum (Snowflake no-ring). I don't know what triggers that action but both broods this year have decided themselves, apparently at random, to not return to their secure brooding pen and just move back in with the other hens. It makes life simpler for me but I do have to take extra care to make the house rat proof (well as much as possible). I am slowly catching and killing the latest rat brood (one each day for the last 3 days) but no chance of catching the adults who are just too clever and too fit and, actually quite beautiful. Well they have a good healthy diet! LOL! I just wish they would stop eating my babies.

Meanwhile the foxes are still about although i only see the evidence left marking what they believe is their territory. And the Roe and Muntjaq Deer are still about most days. Rabbits everywhere!! The Kites are still about but they are much quieter and the swallows are still here although they can be seen shivering most days.LOL!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

5Star NHS

Yesterday Jan's quarterly visit to the Specialist was booked for 1500hrs so I dropped her off in the purpose made "drop off" zone right outside the clinic and went to park the car. When I arrived she was already in the "nearly" ready seating area and she was in and out in record time with a thumbs up from the consultant and an extension to 4monthly visits.
My CT scan session was booked for 1600hrs so we took a leisurely stroll through the Spinal Injuries wing to find that there was a designer clothes sale dress and an amazing coat later we were off to the CT.
The staff told us straight away that there would be a delay as they had an emergency from ITU so we knew we were to be there for the long haul. So we sat back with our books to be entertained by the sheer efficiency of the whole operation as the waiting area filled up and the patients were processed with care and attention but incredible efficiency. What team work! The ITU patient had a large amount of equipment, seven nurses and two porters...all of which was fed into and out of the CT room.
Well done Stoke Mandeville!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Ruby Wedding Day!

Today marks the 40th anniversary of my marriage to Jan.
The Bridesmaid's car broke down, the Best man forgot the rings, and several other things were not as planned.
It rained....
It was cold that evening.

We made it through and Jim took us out to dinner on Friday and there are a few pictures on Facebook

Looking back to our early years together

Fred the computer and Jan in my flat in Wembley.

And what have we done with those brief 40 years?

Three amazing children

And lots of fun in London,
the Maldives

Jan has been a post office counter clerk, dinner lady, a cub leader, and a group Scout leader. She has gained a Mathematics / Science based degree with the OU.

Together we have re-built our bungalow and built a sports car from a kit. We have raised countless chickens, rabbits, ducks, tropical, cold water and marine fish and kept a pony, several dogs and countless cats.

We had a boat on the canal and built a heated in ground swimming pool.

No wonder we feel a bit tired now and then.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Rat attack

Blondie has not been brooding the ducklings for some time so yesterday evening I sent her back to the main hen flock with disastrous results.
The Ducklings were attacked (by rats I guess) and one has been killed and the little one appears to be very worried.
I let Blondie back but have no idea how I can protect them from further attacks.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Fawn quacker!

Yesterday I investigated a strange noise to find one of the ducklings practicing quacking! He has not got it quite right yet but keep trying I am sure you will get the idea soon.

Our neighbouring wheat field has not yet been harvested and today it had two extra ears...which moved.

Of course I did not have my camera so have resorted to the wonderful interwebby thingy again to bring you a likeness of "Saville" the new member of the Roe family!
After a short while I noticed Mother Roe and the two of them made their leisurely way along the path formed by the tractor wheels through the wheat towards the woods. Every so often baby jumped over some clump of wheat so I could see that he is about half adult size. Then they were joined by Dad who had apparently been walking down the hedge on the airfield side. I stood so still that a rabbit walked past my feet and went on about his business without noticing me. Dad Roe dawdled a bit and Mum got to the edge of the wood turned and gave him a look....he scampered up and all three dissolved into the trees.
A pretty good way to start the day.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Fowl Day

Picture to the left shows the latest batch of chicks in the top right hand corner out for their first walk yesterday between heavy rain showers. Meanwhile the flock inspect the nursery area for left over food.

The older chicks now are fully integrated and sleep on the top perch, but still under Mum's wings.

Why are Green Woodpeckers so neurotic?Hens from my Phone; Internet photo of woodpecker

Friday, 13 August 2010

Noisy Kite!

No not gone, or at least back this morning sitting in a tree close to the nest and calling.

I also saw the Buck Roe deer in the distance yesterday but he saw me so did not stick around.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Quiet Kites

I am pretty sure the Kites have left their nest. There had been a lot of noise and activity recently and I guess they were encouraging the second chick to fledge.
Anyway a day or so ago I saw 4 kites very high up above the village, way above the Luton flight path so I guess they are enjoying the freedom that wings give you! All quiet across the wheat field this morning.
A few days ago Vic found a destroyed wasps nest. It had been dug up out of the ground and the only animal we have heard of that does that is a badger so we may have them wandering about too. Never seen any hereabouts though.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Wet sunny morning

Yesterday it poured with rain all day despite the weather forecast for a few showers.
This morning everything glistens with a thousand tiny jewels of water in the bright sunshine.
So there I was scanning the wheat field from the end of my garden, searching out every bush for a sign of my wild neighbours and listening to the recorded distress calls of various birds, that the RAF broadcast to try to clear their runways, when I realised that one of the young foxes was standing beside me, not 40 feet away, doing much the same thing.
He nodded "Good Morning" and trotted off into the field!

My poor fowl!

I just can't let them roam free so they have to stay shut in until I can supervise their exercise.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

A Good Night's sleep

Delighted to report that Snowflake (No Ring) has got the message and took her brood off to bed without any intervention from myself last evening. I was able to shut her and her family in with maximum security available from the foxes.
Maron (green ring) also got the idea and took her teenagers into the main hen house for the first time so I guess that group are fully integrated back into the main flock. How long before she re-starts laying?
Meanwhile Blondie still has the 3 remaining call ducklings who show no sign of interest in our one remaining adult Drake. Yesterday, whilst I supervised their afternoon walk, they all made a break for the wheat field....but I was quick enough and got them back without incident.
Autumn approaches....we swept the chimney, re-fire cemented the cracked bits and heated the old girl up to operating temperature. Now just need the modern equivalent of "Zebo" to make her look good.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Survived the night.

All 4 baby chicks are present and correct and eating this morning.

I had a real fight, - injury visible but no actual blood!

Snowflake (no ring) does not like me telling her to go to bed and take her chicks. It took me over 30 minutes to get her and her chicks into the bed chamber last evening and I don't think it did any of us any good. I will have to try a new method this evening.

Apart from Snowflake's excessive aggression the chicks are so little and timid that they make no effort to climb into the bed chamber. Have you ever tried lifting chicks on the end of a garden cane which is passing through chicken wire and dropping them into a slightly open doorway whilst holding the door closed to prevent a raging beast from battering down said door?

I have.

Viewed from the lounge late yesterday afternoon:-

Mother Green Woodpecker feeding 2 almost full grown youngsters whilst Moorhens and Rabbits graze.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Still Going Strong

All 4 new chicks have survived their first night out of the cardboard box in which they were brooded. They are so small that they have real difficulties getting back into the bedroom after playing in the run but I see that Mum has taken them out to play again this morning. I can see I am going to have fun getting them back tonight.

Meanwhile the Red Kites are very active and making a lot of noise so perhaps another of their chicks is about to fly.

A small Muntjac deer scuttled past me as I watched the Kites this morning and there are still rabbits everywhere.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

More Chicks

Snowflake (no ring) has successfully hatched all 4 eggs although it was touch and go with the last one which I was about to throw away this morning as it was all dried up. However it managed to give a healthy chirp of protest so I managed to damp it a bit to soften the membrane and help the little thing out.

I did not hold out much hope as Snowflake (no ring) is very aggressive / protective and I thought she might attack the late arrival.

All well this evening and all 4 doing well.

Tom's Solar Powered boat 's glue has set and it worked when the sun came out!!!