I found out a month or so ago that our Muscovy ducks employ a method of reproduction that we humans may consider “conventional”. Almost unique, they are among only three percent of avians that do not use the “Coital Kiss” when mating.
Every morning our drake Boris likes to ahem, attend to his ducks and this morning was no exception. After completing his duties he was seen strolling across the orchard in a self appreciating manner, his ample appendage trailing behind him. He remained in his revere until one of the hens got her eye one of the biggest worms she had ever seen…….
Well, my eyes were watering, Boris was running too quickly for me to see his!!
A boring, common as muck dandelion in the fleeting sunshine this morning. Add a little sparkle from the tumbling burn behind and a here we are, just a little more interesting…….
Spring has finally sprung up here in Darkest Northumberland. Well it is the first day of Summer after all……
I had a quick visit to the osteopath in Durham this afternoon to have some running repairs. Durham was wonderful as ever.
On the way home I took a detour onto the North Durham moors to see the last of the snow. It is years since I drove along the road from Castleside on the A68 to Edmudbyres Cross, the highest point of the road to Weardale. Wild and unforgiving countryside, I had almost forgotten how beautiful it is up there. When we were kids we used to come up here for picnics in the ancient Ford Anglia, “LTY 459″‘ (three gears and no synchromesh, but a big metal sun-visor!) Incidently we drove up to the Ardnumurchan Peninsular in that car, it only took twelve hours…..!!
This is Waskerley Reservoir where along with Hishope and Smiddy Shaw reservoirs, we used to play and paddle before the Health and Safety zealots got involved….
Anyone can be a Vet Student!
Lauren has just finished a couple of weeks of lambing placement at a local farm and will occasionally break her embargo on photographs of herself if she is accompanied by one of her newborn charges.
I was looking at some pictures yesterday, taken at the end of January when we had our last decent fall of snow up here in Northumberland. Among them was this photo that Hilary took of Jack and Colin the Cream Legbar cockerel having a tense moment over who had right of way along one of the pathways dug into the deep snow in the garden.
After a brief standoff, they both made a dash for it!
And order was restored……
I have lost count of the number of times I have passed these trees just up the road from the cottage and thought that there was a good picture to be had.
I have tried on many occasions and taken a few ok shots but a last minute dash the mile drive away after doing the animals, a tricky walk over the snow covered brash in the recently felled forest and bingo , got it!
I drove home from the cottage the “long way round”, the countryside is so different in the snow.
These fields, more or less abandoned in the autumn due to the very wet ground conditions looked so stark in the thinning snow and heavy sky. I hope we have a dry spell of weather soon or the local farmers are going to have a rough year.
Duck-duck is thoroughly enjoying the sun this morning after yesterdays snow and freezing temperatures.
Doris, the eldest of the muscovey ducks laid her first egg this morning. Lunch was a no-brainer today and the egg was delicious, looking forward to tomorrow……
The thaw has started, (pause for blubbing) but the winter albeit brief, was longer and more enjoyable than the summer!
The hens were just getting used to the snow.
But one of the Legbars is still not so sure and was roosting in the damson tree this morning.
“Still looks deep to me…..”
Boris and Doris on their travels.
Probably back to South America…..!
We woke to another four inches of snow on Tuesday morning and a slippery drive up to the cottage and the animals.
The hens and ducks needed to be dug out again.
And there is always someone who has to be in charge of operations
Oh yes, and the audience….!!
Lots of snow overnight up here in Northumberland, fortunately Jonny who had a very last minute course to get to in Clitheroe, Lancaster, set off at 5.30 and missed the worst of the weather.
The drive to the cottage was interesting but without incident, well done the landrover!
The cottage is out there somewhere…….!
We had to dig the poultry out, but the ducks still didn’t look too impressed, a foot of snow is still alien to these south american Muscovies.
Jack however still shows dedication to his duties whatever the weather..
Otherwise, a winter wonderland…!!
Happy at last..!!
We finally had a fall of snow overnight here in t’ Dark North, accepted into polite society at last!
Jonny and his friends decided to drive up to Slaley Forest and go sledging. Helen was miffed not to be invited, so after feeding the animals at the cottage, Hilary and I drove over with her to see what the lads were up to.
Hmm? Seems to be going well, bodies everywhere…..
Anyway, they said Helie could join in so Hilary and I took the terriers for a walk on the edge of the moors.
It was a bit bleak up there. Wonderful..!!
By the time we got back down to the kids, Helen had perfected the art of snowboarding on a plastic sledge, too damn clever by half!
I couldn’t resist turning back the clock, some forty years.
Wee, what have I been missing, got to get me a sledge! Not sure about plastic though, didn’t have that last time I went sledging…….
I snowed a little overnight, but not quite enough for a nice wintery snow shot…..
We heard a commotion in our neighbour’s garden this morning, the local crows were making an enormous fuss over something.
When we looked out of the window we saw that a sparrow hawk has decided to tackle a crow! Not it’s usual prey of small birds! They rolled around the lawn battling it out for a good ten minutes, one gaining advantage then the other all accompanied by the cries of the crow and and it’s alarmed companions, until at last the larger crow managed to break free and fly back into the trees.
The pictures show the hawk, a juvenile looking somewhat chastened by it’s choice of prey, immediately after the crow escaped and an hour or so later while it was perched on the fence still recovering it’s strength.
Yesterday morning we drove up to the cottage after promises/warnings of snow across the North East, only to find the roads a bit icy and fields clear of snow.
Until we went into the orchard and looked up our field…..
This weather always brings out the best in the hens, they all rush to the door and try to get into the house!
Colin was somewhat perturbed to see that there was a rival in the house!! It took some time to sort out this little problem……..
I don’t think that the ducks have yet been properly introduced!
Boris and Doris are brother and sister we think, Duck Duck is the latest arrival, just a youngster.
We had a hard frost overnight, very cold first thing this morning but more than compensated for by dry weather and lovely bright sunshine.
A walk beside the burn was inevitable……..
The bright, low sunlight at the cottage yesterday morning was wonderful after all the recent wet weather, well worth the price of the sharp, frosty cold air.
Yesterday it stopped raining!
We were blessed with dry weather, bright sunshine and cold breezes in the morning and the hens quickly went down the bankside to bask in the warm sun, they have had very few opportunities to do this all year and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The ducks seemed happy to stay near the run and splash around in their feed bucket bath…….