Animal antics

IMG_0518 In a bid to simplify life a little now that we’ve our baby Charlie to care for, James and I are laying down a few ground rules for our beloved, but rather needy, menagerie. Although the way Margot and Audrey make their way into our house is very charming, we are constantly clearing up droppings in our porch and utility room as a result. Plus, there’s the embarrassment it causes when visitors (of which we’ve had many in recent weeks coming to meet the new addition to the family) arrive and accidentally step in one; and the horror when we inadvertently track it through the house. So, as much as it pains us to do so, we now keep this cheeky pair of Araucanas confined to their (very large) run. If we could trust them to roam around the garden like the other free-rangers we’d happily let them do so, but they’re strangely drawn to our home, as I’ve declared in this blog before.

Beau, our rather highly strung Bengal, is insanely jealous of Charlie and does his best to make his sentiments clear whenever he can. Unfortunately, all baby paraphernalia – cots, playmats, bouncers – are super feline-friendly in terms of size and cosiness and the cat probably assumes, in a way only that species can, that it’s all been bought for him. The other week he not only crawled into the (unoccupied) pram, but was actually sick in it (my mother, very altruistically, dealt with the carnage). A dirty protest, if ever there was one. So now our dining room is crammed with all this extra equipment we’ve acquired in recent months and Beau is barred from access. That way we can keep it free of the naughty feline.

James enjoys lifting some spuds after a hard day's DIY – the house is coming on a treat and we're confident that this year it will be finished, at last!
James enjoys lifting some spuds after a hard day’s DIY – the house is coming on a treat and we’re confident that this year it will be finished, at last!

Even in the garden we need to animal-proof our veg from our poultry and pets. A couple of summers ago, our German Shepherd Darcy dug up several potato plants and ate the tubers without our knowledge for several days. The first we knew of it was when he collapsed due to dehydration and James rushed him to the vet’s. It turned out the dog had continued his raw spud diet despite being ill each time he consumed them. Those were the most expensive potatoes ever – the bill for his treatment, which involved a stay in animal hospital while he was on a drip, cost several hundred pounds. Tomatoes, however, don’t seem to attract any canine attention, thankfully, so they’re thriving in growbags in front of the barn, the brick walls of which radiate heat long after the sun’s gone down.

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This year, we’re trying ‘Golden Sunrise’, which has medium-sized yellow fruits, and ‘Gardener’s Delight’, of the red cherry kind – both varieties are from nearby merchant Kings Seeds. As well as looking forward to a their harvest, one of late summer’s simple pleasures, around this time we also bear winter in mind and order logs now so we can finish off seasoning them and save a few bob on an autumn delivery when the wood’s ready to burn.

IMG_1547Every season has its highlights and autumn’s is lighting the stove for the first time. But we’re certainly not wishing these warm months away – we’ll be outdoors as much as possible with Charlie in tow making the most of the glorious weather. Happy henkeeping all!

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