Rape, pillage, subterfuge – foul play among fowl

Mrs Downs Diary
Mrs Downs Diary

We are into the barley and harvest has started. Glorious shining stalks glistening like gold in the afternoon sunshine. And coming in at 14.2% moisture, which if we were sending it into the grain merchant would mean no drying costs incurred.

As it is we shall be using all of the crop for animal feed and the sound of barley being rolled will once more dominate early mornings.

The timing is a little unfortunate for John as Geoff, his brother who usually helps at harvest, is only recently out of hospital, and I am accompanying my oldest daughter and her family to Spain for a week. As Ollie, my grandson is severely autistic, non verbal and an accomplished escapologist, it will be an interesting break.

Definitely not relaxing but certainly interesting. The new regulations on fully charged electronic games, iPads and laptops may prove a little stressful as Ollie enjoys playing with all of these things, and is not very amenable or understanding, of why we may need to restrict their use to conserve the batteries. Could be fun. Or not.

As usual I have left John with enough food to last a month. He has already been invited out for a few meals, but if everyone else is busy with harvest too, grab a bite when you can is the order of the day.

Geoff has been for major surgery on his lung. He gave up smoking fifteen years ago, but a shadow on his lung proved sinister and needed excising. All looks well however and the operation was successful. Like John, Geoff keeps himself fit, so the prognosis is good for a swift recovery.

But it does mean John is a tractor man down and now even his reserve, moi, is unavailable. The weather is looking good and with no breakdowns (fingers crossed) he hopes to be finished by tomorrow and then the wheats are some weeks off before they are ready.

With my ducklings ( sob) gone, that is one less job for him to do. The two surviving ducklings were traumatised for a day or so. Would not leave their shelter. Now though they have attached themselves to an adult Aylesbury duck that was using their run for a period of rest and recuperation. She is the sole female and the four drakes have been giving her such a hard time that she could hardly waddle. I tell you the poultry world is a den of vice and violence.

The guinea fowl however are thriving. A vast confusion ( proper collective noun please note) of them trail round the yard following one of their two preferred foster mums.. There is also a cross over period whilst one of these hens goes off to lay an egg in what she thinks is a discreet, secret, nest. But I have every nest closely watched and this is the time when the rejected foster mum pounces and triumphantly leads the gang of in another direction. Rape, pillage and subterfuge. We’ve got the lot here.