Archive for May, 2016

Sorry about the title of this entry. It will be explained…

So, I was sitting in my car on the motorway, doing 120 km/h and generally being a bit bored, when suddenly my car made a strange noise. Well, I say “noise”; it was more of a “meow”. Very confusing, but then the car meowed again. Now, I don’t know much about cars, but they’re surely not supposed to meow!

Suddenly a cat jumps up from behind the passenger seat, across me and decides to sit on the dashboard. In front of me. On the motorway. Not, as you can imagine, an ideal situation. Especially as I’m pretty sure I don’t own a cat – or at least I was. I tried shooing it away, but the result was that it chose to lie down – which meant I could look over it so that seemed a workable compromise.

It must have jumped in the car when I was taking a break at a motorway service station. But what do I do with it? As far as I can see it has no ear tattoo, so today I’ll have to find out how to get checked if it’s chipped; it’s clearly a domestic cat, because it won’t leave me alone for a second – hence the title of this entry that was finished off by a cat walking across my keyboard!

Actually it’s kind of adorable… Kind of too adorable, really, because its behaviour indicates that it’s been used to a lot of human contact before it ended up jumping in my car at a petrol station – so clearly there must be an owner somewhere missing the cat. Hopefully they can be reunited soon, because god help me… SO ADORABLE!

Anyway, there we are. Me and a strange cat that car-jacked me. Or did I inadvertently cat-nap it? Who knows. For now it’s sitting on my desk, purring away merrily, when not walking across my keyboard or, indeed, myself.

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To Absent Hens…


So, that nesting pheasant I discovered in my rose border last weekend? Well, she must have been sitting there for quite some time, considering that it takes 23-25 days to hatch a pheasant egg – and she has now abandoned the nest with a 100% hatching rate!

She probably took her chicks down to the lake or somewhere, because she’s nowhere to be found in the garden. (Pheasant chicks are great runners from the get-go more or less, so they can easily follow their mother for quite a stretch.)

But… She made her nest in my garden! Awr… Isn’t that just wonderful? Also, those egg shells… I just love that olive-green shade of a pheasant egg.

I do hope this repeats next year!

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Gardening Friends…

I’m still so very much in love with my garden… And others like it too! I have starlings with a small brood of starlets – or whatever one should call them – and in the evening there are a few bats circling the skies above my garden. And this afternoon I ran into this beauty:


This pheasant hen has decided to nest in the rose border and it really feels quite special to have a pheasant nesting in my garden; I found her as I was cutting aquilegias for a bunch of flowers to bring back to town, and at first I just noticed this slightly worried, cooing sound but thought little of it until there was suddenly an eye looking at me from between the foliage.

When I was a kid I once reared a brood of pheasants in my parents’ back garden. One of my hens was broody, so I bought 18 pheasant eggs and as a good girl she managed to get 17 to hatch. Later, once the chicks reached adolescence, they were released on my grandfather’s farm – and considering how bad a shot he was, if they only stayed on his lands they will have lived to a ripe old age… These eggs, though, will face a more perilous existence; there is a hunting shack behind my garden, and the guy who leases the hunt is a better shot than my grandfather.

Stay in my garden, chicklets! As much as I love a nice, roast pheasant – or pheasant au vin or confit of pheasant or pheasant rillettes – I promise not to harm you.

The eggs should hatch in a few weeks – as far as I remember, the hatching time for pheasant eggs is around 21 days – so the timing is good; the mother and her chicks should be out and about well before my garden is overrun by people for my summer party on June 25th.

I’ve put out a bowl of water for her – dehydration is common in nesting hens, so I’m guessing that might go for pheasants as well – and blocked the garden path past the rose border to remind myself to stay out of her way. She is very welcome here, and I intend to make her stay as pleasant as possible.

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