Felling of willow tree a surprise bonus for ducks

Mrs Downs Diary
Mrs Downs Diary

Rain. Sunshine. Breezy. Torrential. Calm. Windy. Chilly. Scorchio. We have certainly run the full gamut and range of weather options this last week. None of which have been able to offer any sort of planned approach to either harvest or baling the straw from last week’s combining. The standing wheat was starting to shed and the cut straw looking distinctly sorry for itself. No longer glistening and golden; rather dull and bronze.

Then this afternoon scorchio took over. John decided to “have a go” and …...happy days are here again etc etc. What a change in mood and appearance in him as well as the weather. From grim to grin. For the last day or two he had decided to get the hedge cutter on one of the tractors and start that job. There are one or two nasty corners on the lane going past our fields, and so it makes things a whole lot safer for vehicles’ visibility if the hedges are trimmed right back.

I have had the job of warning oncoming traffic that they might run full tilt into a big obstruction if they rocketed round the corners without realising there was a tractor on their side of the road, plus hedge cutter. Nobody minded. All took it in good part when I flashed them to slow down and take care as they drove round the bend. Better that than a head on collision.

But I am temporarily unemployed in my traffic warning role as that particular tractor is now hitched up to a big grain trailer and parked up at the end of the corn field. And my guinea fowl have been evicted from their nesting site as suddenly all the undergrowth at the bottom of the hedges has been cut too, leaving their latest nest exposed. Fortunately I had a broody hen just itching to sit on something. So now she is. The rest of the eggs in the nest have contributed to a very nice omelette for supper.

There are some winners though from the fickle weather. The ducks. At last an upturn in their fortunes after the massacre of most of them several weeks ago by a neighbour’s dog. The felling of the huge willow tree in our paddock that was damaging overhead power lines, has had a knock-on bonus for the pond it was growing next to. This field pond was only ever full over winter and autumn when the tree was dormant. Suddenly the pond is not being sucked dry by an overgrown, thirsty, ligneous plant. And we have had torrential downpours. The result? Ducky bliss.

Now all rivalries between our surviving two ducklings and the original mix of Aylesbury and Khaki Campbell ducks has been resolved. A medley of contented quacks can be constantly heard from the pond. Add that to the bucketful of barley I throw onto the bank of the pond each morning and life could not be better. Until Christmas of course....