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Friday, 10 April 2009

Springwatch 2009 (again)

A strange, uncomfortable day. An open-window day, but overcast with the occasional drop of rain.

With the fall of the cherry blossom, early spring deepens towards Easter. (Now how did that happen? Only two more months to the long summer holidays!)

Carmine Superiore is almost full, with the usual suspects taking up their usual Eastertime activities - clearing and planting their gardens, doing a spot of light home maintenance, bringing in wood from the forest, hauling provisions up the hill, undertaking pest control, and most importantly settling in for some fairly arduous gossip (of which there is plenty).

And all around us there is four-legged rustling in the woods and meadows. The wild boar are once again causing havoc in the outlying meadows. They dig for bulbs and roots and wallow in any place offering a spot of mud. Moves are afoot to give them a welcome they're not expecting later in the year - more of that later in the year!

Last year's frequent visitor, the lone deer, is more and more often sighted up in Ezio's meadow, visible from the kitchen window. There's something comforting about seeing her gently grazing away up there in the quiet early mornings. I take it as a sign of a good day to come.

Talking of signs, there are signs of the marten everywhere, in the form of little piles of doo-doo ("Don't step in the doo-doo, darling"). The Mama cat, who is at the pity-me-pity-me-and-give-me-fish stage of her spring 2009 pregnancy had better hide her little ones good and proper. Martens usually eat only berries and fruit, but they can wipe out a litter in short order - kitten blood is a marten treat.

Of course, the place is crammed with nests, just out of sight, but noisy with chicks of all kinds. Our own two-week-old bionda piemontese chicks, have mastered pecking about and are now working on flying. I can hear the occasional ping from the bathroom as one of them hits his head on the heating lamp. Unhappily, there are now only three of them. Last night brought a scene of French Revolutionary character, when I discovered one hobbling about on its elbows having developed clubbed feet. It happens. Having determined there was only one thing to be done, M. did it (it takes a Prussian), while Mama wept over her remaining round-and-fluffies.

One animal curiously missing from Carmine this year, though - at least from this particular house - is the mouse. I've seen no mice and not a single solitary sign (read doo-doo) of a mouse since sometime last year, when the combined efforts of the cat and M's chocolate-baited traps put an end to all the scurrying about. Although I did catch last year's girl-kitten practising with a pair of AJ's rolled-up socks the other day, so perhaps she knows something we're just about to find out.

And finally, Mama is looking forward to her Easter glass of crémant on Sunday...

4 comments:

Caution Flag said...

You really are marvelous. I do hope you know that. But what is a marten?

Vanessa said...

What no mice? How very suburban of you. Soon the cats will be getting fat and you'll be wanting to straighten your walls with plasterboard and installing security lights

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Thanks for coming over and commenting on my blog. Your life in Italy sounds so fascinating and you describe it so well! I look forward to coming back.

Crafty Green Poet said...

There's lots of signs of spring in there! Well done on getting rid of the mice. We have fewer than we did when we had a rabbit (they used to steal her food) but I just saw one this morning!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Springwatch 2009 (again)

A strange, uncomfortable day. An open-window day, but overcast with the occasional drop of rain.

With the fall of the cherry blossom, early spring deepens towards Easter. (Now how did that happen? Only two more months to the long summer holidays!)

Carmine Superiore is almost full, with the usual suspects taking up their usual Eastertime activities - clearing and planting their gardens, doing a spot of light home maintenance, bringing in wood from the forest, hauling provisions up the hill, undertaking pest control, and most importantly settling in for some fairly arduous gossip (of which there is plenty).

And all around us there is four-legged rustling in the woods and meadows. The wild boar are once again causing havoc in the outlying meadows. They dig for bulbs and roots and wallow in any place offering a spot of mud. Moves are afoot to give them a welcome they're not expecting later in the year - more of that later in the year!

Last year's frequent visitor, the lone deer, is more and more often sighted up in Ezio's meadow, visible from the kitchen window. There's something comforting about seeing her gently grazing away up there in the quiet early mornings. I take it as a sign of a good day to come.

Talking of signs, there are signs of the marten everywhere, in the form of little piles of doo-doo ("Don't step in the doo-doo, darling"). The Mama cat, who is at the pity-me-pity-me-and-give-me-fish stage of her spring 2009 pregnancy had better hide her little ones good and proper. Martens usually eat only berries and fruit, but they can wipe out a litter in short order - kitten blood is a marten treat.

Of course, the place is crammed with nests, just out of sight, but noisy with chicks of all kinds. Our own two-week-old bionda piemontese chicks, have mastered pecking about and are now working on flying. I can hear the occasional ping from the bathroom as one of them hits his head on the heating lamp. Unhappily, there are now only three of them. Last night brought a scene of French Revolutionary character, when I discovered one hobbling about on its elbows having developed clubbed feet. It happens. Having determined there was only one thing to be done, M. did it (it takes a Prussian), while Mama wept over her remaining round-and-fluffies.

One animal curiously missing from Carmine this year, though - at least from this particular house - is the mouse. I've seen no mice and not a single solitary sign (read doo-doo) of a mouse since sometime last year, when the combined efforts of the cat and M's chocolate-baited traps put an end to all the scurrying about. Although I did catch last year's girl-kitten practising with a pair of AJ's rolled-up socks the other day, so perhaps she knows something we're just about to find out.

And finally, Mama is looking forward to her Easter glass of crémant on Sunday...

4 comments:

Caution Flag said...

You really are marvelous. I do hope you know that. But what is a marten?

Vanessa said...

What no mice? How very suburban of you. Soon the cats will be getting fat and you'll be wanting to straighten your walls with plasterboard and installing security lights

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Thanks for coming over and commenting on my blog. Your life in Italy sounds so fascinating and you describe it so well! I look forward to coming back.

Crafty Green Poet said...

There's lots of signs of spring in there! Well done on getting rid of the mice. We have fewer than we did when we had a rabbit (they used to steal her food) but I just saw one this morning!