Tag Archives: shooting

Poetry, pollinators and poultry

The Puzzled Game Birds

They are not those who used to feed us
When we were young–they cannot be –
These shapes that now bereave and bleed us?
They are not those who used to feed us, –
For would they not fair terms concede us?
– If hearts can house such treachery
They are not those who used to feed us
When we were young–they cannot be!

Thomas Hardy

I was going to put this in the last post but I couldn’t remember who wrote it, or enough of the words to search for it. Fortunately, with it being Hardy, I’m able to quote it in full, which is a useful side-effect of having old-fashioned tastes in poetry.

Apart from that minor triumph of memory it’s been a flat sort of day.

We decided to set the bird feeder up now that things are getting more wintry, but found that the central post had filled with water and rotted away half-way up. That was rather vexing. Fortunately we have another bird feeder which we had donated a few months ago so we just need to set that up – a job for Wednesday I think.

The guinea fowl chick has started to put in more of an appearance now, instead of hiding all the time. It’s another of the patchy white type that we managed to breed when we had a a latter-day Dr Moreau looking after the poultry. Admittedly he wasn’t quite as savage as the Doctor, but his breeding did leave us with a lot of unattractive poultry.

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Mother and chick

Apart from that, the sun has drawn out a few late butterflies and bees; we’ve planted some new Verbena Bonariensis given to us by a neighbour (they’re always welcome, as they’re a good plant for pollinators); played a ball game with made-up rules and picked beans for seed.

We’ve also used the Applemaster to produce apple rings (which are currently drying in the new dehydrator), so we should have apple rings for tomorrow morning. In theory we’re building up a stock for National Apple Day on Saturday, but so far none of the batches has lasted longer than a day.

A tale of two partridges

We had a red-legged partridge at the bird feeding station yesterday. They can tell when the shooting season is over and gradually begin to appear around the yard mooching for spilt grain and chicken food. We’ve not had one by the feeder before so it’s a first for the list.

The grey partridges they reared for the shoot all disappeared by last autumn and everyone thought they had wandered away or fallen prey to predators.

However, since the end of the shooting season we have started seeing them again.

They have a brain the size of a pea. They have no formal education. But they seem quite intelligent to me.

 

More food

It’s a shoot day on Saturday, though from the casual attitude of the pheasants we saw this morning they haven’t it’s clear they haven’t been told.

I’ve no strong feelings either way – I like birds but I also used to enjoy shooting. The lack of feeling is further intensified by the fact that I don’t find pheasants particularly enthralling. though I am quite fond of partridges in both their varieties. We have a number of red legs about. They potter down to the barns like middle-aged married couples in thee summer evenings to browse through the poultry food.  There were as many as three pairs at one time this summer,

We’ve also raised grey partridges this year. Also known as English partridges they have been going through a rough time over the last  few years with a 91% decline in numbers between 1967 and 2010. Hopefully we will be able to do something to stop the decline.The farm has spent a lot of effort on hedges and headlands and the gamekeepers have been working hard so there is a good chance of improving the population.

As we wait and see at least people won’t go hungry on Saturday as I’ve been cooking Honey and Treacle tarts for lunch. I don’t always get on with celebrity recipes, though I won’t go into it here, but this one worked well. I didn’t have any black treacle and I upped the ginger after my practice run, though that could be down to my powdered ginger being a bit old. I might tone down the orange and have a go with root ginger next time. And I cheated by using ready-made pastry cases. Life is too short to make pastry.

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Nearly forgot to say – the recipe makes a bit too much filling for a bought in pastry case – I’m going to cut it back by around 15% next time and see how it goes.