Month: October 2018

Spring has sprung

Following a quoll attack last year, (or that of a feral cat; the jury is still out on that one), we were down to just three bantam chooks, one of whom is ‘Granny’ and well into the equivalent of chook menopause. Or so we thought. We saved a young bantam rooster from certain death a few weeks ago, thanks to a neighbour’s generosity, and acquired another bantam shortly afterwards after other neighbours left her behind when they vacated their rental property.

Granny surprised us by producing eggs again, and when it became clear she was preparing to sit, we asked Rooster Boy’s former owner if we could buy some fertile eggs to put under her so we had a chance to increase our little flock, and its genetic diversity. Although five hatched – almost six but one died trying to break out of the egg – the hazards of free-range living were soon apparent. Granny did her best, and she is a good and vigilant mother, but she lost two chicks almost immediately, probably to a hawk or a raven. She still has three though, which are now growing apace, and which she’s keeping close, so fingers crossed they will all survive.

In the meantime one of Granny’s flighty offspring has also hatched five chickens, but is proving to be a negligent mother. She barely batted an eyelid, much less raised the alarm or put up a fight when a raven swooped twice in one day and picked off two chicks, no doubt to feed its own hungry family. We know from past experience that once these predator birds know where to find breakfast they will return to pick the chicks off one by one, so we aren’t anticipating this little family will grow up to adulthood.

As for the orphaned bantam, well she’s still an unknown quantity. She’s been sharing a nest with Sandy Chook, the third of the survivors, but appears to have won the battle for sitting rights. In a few days she will emerge with brood number three, and time for her parenting skills to be put to the test. Fingers crossed she will prove to be a feisty mother willing and able to look after her chicks. Time will tell.

Back on track –

It’s embarrassing to realise just how many months have passed since writing my last blog post. Another rocky road paved with good intentions and all that. As for progress on the book, well best not to ask really, as there’s been none. Or none to speak of.

The reason for the long silence was a need to be far more involved in organising the 2018 Tamar Valley Writers festival than was my intention or expectation. Such is life, which doesn’t always go according to plan, and it certainly didn’t in this instance. But hard work notwithstanding it was worthwhile, and there was plenty of fun and laughter along the way together with new friendships formed and interesting experiences to be enjoyed.

But, the biennial Festival is now over. It was a rip-roaring success, thankfully, and having laid the groundwork – yet again – for future festivals, planning and organising the event in September 2020 should be a whole lot easier. That is the theory anyway, and while I’ve not stepped down completely from the volunteer board, my workload won’t be so intense or so great. That is my aim so all I have to do is ensure it’s also the reality.

The Festival experience has its advantages though, not least of which, (in the programming role I had) is exposure to lots of writers, their journeys to publication success, and rubbing shoulders with a few publishers, so all grist to the mill given I shall be hoping for interest from the latter in due course. It always helps to have a contact, however tenuous, to hopefully pave the way.

With a clear run now until planning seriously begins for 2020 early next year, I have time to recoup my depleted energies, refocus on my own writing, and resume work on this project in particular.

At last!