Tag: spring bulbs

Spring – a time of new life

It’s always a relief when September arrives and we can finally wave winter goodbye for another year. While it’s true the lengthening days don’t always mean a sudden (and welcome) rise in temperatures, the bulbs are a colourful herald of summer, and iris, daffodils, freesias and bluebells are a cheerful sight, as well as a sure sign the garden is waking up.

The swallows are back from their winter retreat, flying around, checking out last year’s nests, and building up their strength after their long flight as they prepare to start their families. Lambs and calves in the paddocks are more signs spring has arrived. So are the loud, proud and daily announcements of our chooks after the girls have laid another egg. Some of them go on a bit, as though their achievement is somehow unique, and then there are always the ones that are particularly motherly and simply cannot wait to sit, and hatch some chicks. We have to keep an eye on these free-ranging bantams, and watch where they nest. Chooks are canny, and are past masters at remaining hidden as they sit motionless on their eggs in a trance-like state, seemingly oblivious to everything around them.

The dark side to this cycle is that the seasonal pattern is well known to predators, and despite their much lauded vigilance and protective characteristics when it comes to their offspring, sometimes the predators win. More than one hen has vanished without trace over the years, presumably taken while on her nest. Or, as happened this week, when a newish and very protective bantam lost her chick to a rat or feral cat. The murderer then went on to dine on the three tiny eggs the same bantam’s teenage daughter had laid in a nest close by. We can only hope it won’t return for seconds.

On the roadsides there is evidence of other casualties; a flurry of feathers suggesting its plover or magpie parents lost the fight, as well as the bodies of roadkill: hares, rabbits and frogs, usually, but occasionally there is a duck from the Indian Runner flock up the road, or a guinea fowl from the same farm.

Lambs can sometimes fall prey to predators too, and reports of unrestrained packs of neighbourhood dogs are not uncommon in this semi-rural area, but thankfully this hasn’t been an issue so far this year.
So while spring is certainly a harbinger of renewal and new life, like every season it has its darker side, and it can also be a season of untimely death.

Rodents’ revenge

One of the less delightful aspects of living in a semi-rural suburb are the uninvited guests that tend to arrive with autumn, and then hang around during winter. They are of course, rodents, and we no sooner get rid of one lot than another lot soon realise there’s a vacancy, and move in. As considerate, if reluctant, hosts we do the hospitality thing and leave them ‘food’. Normally this does the trick and they do the decent thing and take off to die quietly away from the premises. But currently we have one (or several) of the little beasts who hasn’t, and consequently we’re dealing with the most appalling stench, which naturally is emanating directly above the kitchen/dining/living area.

When first noticed a couple of days ago, I thought it must be a gas ring not properly switched off on the cooker. Not so. By yesterday the reason for the stink was perfectly obvious. Retrieving the corpse however is next to impossible given the distance from the manhole ceiling entry, and the extreme difficulty in reaching it.

We shall just have to wait for rodents’ revenge to take its course, and hope the vases of paper whites, jonquils, daphne, and bowls of pot pourri hastily assembled with my extremely limited stock of essential oils, will serve to combat the putrid fug.

A couple of days with a nice warm breeze to blow through the rooms would be good too, but given the forecast I suspect that isn’t going to happen. Sigh.