Duck Doings

We have mentioned recently how John’s old foot injury was playing up so she was spending a lot of time sitting down

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with Ian, her admirer, standing guard.

As things were getting worse we decided she should see the vet. John had been managing with a lopsided walk ever since she was little but now the joint was infected. We were advised there was no real solution and she would be getting more miserable with increased pain. It was decided that her life should end.

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John was one of two Aylesbury females that we bought, sort of accidentally, as young ducklings to provide company for a solitary hatching of another breed. We did not want Saint, the other Aylesbury to feel she was one of a kind so it was off to the Millwood Poultry Sale

We came back with a replacement Aylesbury – Joan

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plus two Saxony ducks –

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– Fleur and Fay

They have quickly made themselves at home with a bit of wing flapping

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and some preening

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Ian feigned nonchalance

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and Saint was not sure

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Cagney was too busy with her brood

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who are nearly as big as her

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August Assortment

This year’s youngsters are growing up…

A Robin from a late brood:
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and one a little older
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It is not being a good year for tomatoes
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they are coming in dribs and drabs rather than a deluge
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The Aubergines seem to be doing ok
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and outside, apples and pears
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are swelling nicely

The flowers on the Venus Flytrap have matured into full seed pods
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we are collecting these to germinate.

Cagney and her adopted brood are doing well
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and Jaunty, the young cockerel we have put in charge of the bottom flock, is relishing his position
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John, one of the female Aylesburys, has had a weak foot following an accident a long time ago. She seems to have been feeling it more recently and spends a lot of time sitting down
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Ian, her Muscovy beau, spends a lot time standing by her.

A Small Copper in the meadow today
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we think it is the first time we have seen one here.

On the doorstep

With things on the go all over the place the front of the house can get a bit neglected – something we having been trying to rectify this week.

Here is a picture taken in April when we got a magnolia

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As we wanted it outside the house, where there is clay below the gravel, we had to build a deep drainage sump so it would not become waterlogged

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It seems to be happy there

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Last month we got a load of stone to build a circular wall round the blue barrel

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The dumpy bag has sat outside the front door since then so we decided to throw up a quick dry stone surround until we could do a proper job.

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We could not resist this pair of bay trees from a local eBay seller

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Then we found he was also selling olive trees

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and

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not to mention

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So we are getting a bit tidier on the doorstep

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Some other nearby flowerings:

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Green

In last year’s drought all was brown but this time round the sky keeps on topping up the green.

In spite of the drought, last year provided a bumper fruit harvest. A mast year is usually followed by a thin one but that is not true this time. The hazel is heavy in the hedgerows and the apples are swelling fast

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The Cayugas rest under an apple tree

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Considering the amount of puddling they do their ground is surprisingly green this year. But we want to give the fruit trees

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better soil and allow the orchard grass to develop more flowers so these ducks will go elsewhere and we are encircling the area with green yew

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We thought we had been doing well collecting the courgettes while small but there are always some big ones hiding

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Purple emerging from green

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Last year we grew some “baby” sweetcorn, on an impulse thinking that “baby” meant small. We discovered it was describing the cobs – as the plants shot up to hit the roof of the tunnel. They were so exciting we planted some more this year. They must be a different variety as the their green is trimmed with tassels of red

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We have not been growing as many beans this year but the broad beans have thrived

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Rabbit World

The main construction of Rabbit World is complete

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After the previous temporary structure was a bit over-stimulating for Jessie

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this version has visual screening

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Inside are accomodation units for different groups

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with the opportunity for wider ranging

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We are keeping the two pairs of does from different litters separate and each of the two bucks has his own accommodation – with times for safe visiting

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They seem to be enjoying exploring

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Fred, the remaining Guinea has also moved in

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and is receiving social calls

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Also today

One of Jaunty’s ladies – who were the first lot of eggs we incubated this year..

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…has laid her first egg

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High Summer Blooms

When August arrives it seems like the beginning of the end.

Many plants are done with flowers and getting on with the serious business of seeds.

Acorns are forming on the oaks

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and the hazel nuts seem to be heading for a bumper year

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But there is still a lot of colour around the meadow. Harebells just seem to go on and on with the flowers always looking pristine

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and Honeysuckle continues to thread through the hedges

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The Meadow Vetchling

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and Birdsfoot Trefoil

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add yellow flashes to the meadow which is now predominantly russet in hue

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Insects continue to be attracted including this Small White

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and Oedemera nobilis – the Swollen-thighed Beetle

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The white Buddleia, that attracted so many butterflies, also draws a Yellow Underwing

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Visions of past times

One of the memories of times gone by was the certainty that a Buddleia in full bloom would be covered in Red Admirals, Tortoiseshells and Peacocks.

Although we have had these butterflies at Gribin Isaf in ones and twos, not until yesterday was that vision brought back to life.

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Conditions this year may have contributed as Painted Ladies have been passing through in numbers not seen before

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but providing habitats must be making a difference – this concentration of butterflies was not to be seen in the surrounding farmland.

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When we dug out the large pond we made a bank behind which takes the sun all day and planted insect attracting shrubs including this white buddleia.

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The Painted Ladies have favoured a nearby thistle patch on a mound sheltering the apiary

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Tortoiseshells were also present

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as was a Skipper

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