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The joys of the countryside! The Heron, fox & hedgehog


Time for a minor rant as it’s been so annoying, trying and downright irritating just lately!
Firstly the dratted weather, can’t stand the heat and we so desperately need some rain, it’s at least six weeks since we saw any and even the grass looks dead. Our grass, being on heavy clay, usually stays green regardless of the dry weather, it’s the first time that I have ever seen it this bad.
I have had to move the hanging baskets because with even the best will in the world and various methods to keep the compost moist it’s not possible where they were.
The previous owner put some brackets up on a workshop opposite the back door, so of course I have tried to use them. It wasn’t until this year when we have a garden thermometer clock from my late Father-in-law, that I realised just how hot it was on that wall!

This time it read 34, but it has been up to 40 – no wonder nothing survives, even the Sedums are giving up the ghost.

A few flowers are trying their best, mostly roses as they do well on clay soil, but it’s amazing looking at the photos of this time last year and looking out the window – what a difference! There were so many more lush, colourful plants last year.

The main problem is the saga of the Fox! We have had the field re-fenced along two sides, one side has buildings and a gate, the other outer side has a Hawthorn hedge and old wire sheep fencing which is past it’s best in places. These are of course the places that the Fox finds!
As we were down to about six chickens and three Cockerels, plus the seven little Pekin bantams I thought it time to replace a few. Finding some ex-farm brown jobs cheap I had ten of those to bolster our little flock.
Lo and behold! One of the cockerels got eaten, unusual it’s a cockerel so I decided that the Buzzard took it. Not long after another Cockerel disappeared, feathers everywhere.
The last straw was when I heard the Guinea Fowl shouting and then the Peacocks hooting. Dashing out I saw the Fox walk across from one side to the chicken run. shouting at him and running (not fast, but as fast as I can) he turned and looked at me and took off up the field. The cheek of it, as he ran, without breaking stride, he bent and picked up one of the tiny bantams. Another yowl from me and he dropped it – and it ran off! It didn’t know how lucky it was.
All day spent hacking back the Hawthorn trees, repairing the outside fence, putting new fencing inside the hedge to make a double row and I was scratched to pieces but sure he couldn’t get through there.
Two days passed and another chicken gone, he had forced his way through another part. The chickens are now kept in the run or the centre section between the gates and are not happy!!
Went to collect the eggs a couple of days ago and opened up the door to the nesting section – four eggs and one dead young Jackdaw! The Jackdaws are adept at nicking eggs, but this one met it’s match in the chickens, they have killed Crows before in the run when they come down for food. It had gone in the entrance to the roosting area, through that and into the nest area, so probably didn’t stand much chance of getting away. People don’t realise that chickens can be vicious, I have seen them run off with baby chicks to eat and frogs too – nasty!

The next major bugbear at the moment is the pond. This is how it looks now, a real eyesore to see out of the kitchen window.

It had to be netted with bean netting (to allow the little birds in to bathe), and to keep this person out.

Then we had some wild Mallards decide to stay and they forced themselves through the netting, landing on it and putting it in the water! We took one piece off and back came the Heron. The story of Herons is that they need a wingspan width to take off, or they won’t land, and if they can see strings they won’t try. Someone needs to tell this one all that.
It landed on the bridge railings (strings across the top), on the grass and walked up, ducked under the string onto the bridge (more string), landed on the flower boxes and squashed them all (more string) and had the gall to jump up between the strings before opening his wings!
Enough is enough so I contacted a workman about having it renovated as the land has sunk and we can’t get enough water in to make it deeper. He came, looked, said yes he could do it and would get back to me with a price – which he eventually did (he’s not good on communication). I accepted his price (several thousand, but what else can you do?) and am still waiting for an email to tell me when he is likely to start, after a fortnight of not hearing I’m not holding my breath!
On a lighter note, plodding about outside in the middle of the night trying to track down a strange squeaking noise, (I do a lot of plodding about in the night!) I discovered that it was one of the trees gently moving and two branches rubbing together. Having solved that puzzle I saw something brown dash across from the barn toward the back of the house. Dreading it was a rat moving in early from the fields, I was delighted to see it was a hedgehog. We put down some cat food, courtesy of OH’s fishing shed, and it was gone in the morning. Now does that mean that we are feeding the hedgehog, a feral cat or that blasted fox!

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Oh, H... the perils of country living.... Our pool is much smaller and we use to have the heron as a visitor..... Decided to give up the fish and since then not a sign.
Many years ago we also had a family of foxes who visited only at night... You could see the marks of their claws on the fencing where they scrambled over into the garden. Over a couple of years they must have decided to give up on our garden as there were no food rewards. Haven't seen them for a very long time.

12 Jul, 2018


Oh what a war you are having! Im ever so glad we don’t keep fowl. I’d love some Partridge...but I’d never get a wink of sleep!

12 Jul, 2018


You poor soul - its enough to try the patience of a saint.
We gave up fish and like Meadowland haven't seen the heron since. Do you have plans for the new pond - more fish/heron wars or stick to frogs and hopefully newts?

12 Jul, 2018


Thank you all for your commiserations! Hopefully one day we will keep the fox out as it seems a shame that the chickens can't have the run of the field - though of course lots of chickens live in a run all the time.
We like the chickens about Karen, me not so much when they scale the gate and are scrapping in my flower beds, but I did suggest not bothering after we lost a lot and OH said he liked them. I would like a few more Guinea Fowl to keep our odd one company and I keep trying to lure the wild Partridges onto the meadow where they would be safe from the tractors etc.
We still have the really big fish in the pond, loads and loads of small ones have gone, but there are still a few of those as well. Hopefully the pond man will have some suggestions. So Stera and Meadowland we are going to keep the fish, some belonged to my daughter's OH and when they moved they came to us. Very sentimental he is over them as they were his Father's, so have to guard them with my life!

12 Jul, 2018


What a story ! I enjoyed the read but I do feel sorry for you with that fox killing your chickens. I know it's their nature but it must be annoying to say the least.
I hope the chickens will be safe now.

Your poor plants. Summer is always too wet or too hot. Not my favourite season at all I must say.

I wonder if you'll find the answer to your question about what you're feeding. I hope it's the hedgehog :)

12 Jul, 2018


Fingers crossed for your fish - if they've lasted this long they must be canny enough to avoid the heron!

12 Jul, 2018

I ve also read just strobe lights keep fox s away or a big dog.

13 Jul, 2018


Thanks Hywel, not my favourite season either! It's baking hot again here today and I have given up outside for now, will wait until the sun gets round a bit further and I have a bit of shade to do some weeding in - plenty of that to do, amazing how they still grow in the drought.

Fingers crossed here too Stera. We had to take some weed out of the pond yesterday as it was restricting where the fish could actually swim. OH hauled it out and I went through every bit to rescue any trapped creatures including 1" long fish, lots of those in the pond so there is hope yet.

Thanks 3d. I had a look at the article and it looks good, in the US though, but might consider the Strobe lights, though will frighten off just about everything including the birds we want!

14 Jul, 2018


Do those ultrasonic scarers work - anyone tried them?

14 Jul, 2018


I checked those Steragram comments say they don't always work. They suggest male urine around your boundaries to at times that don't work either or a biggish dog they said dogs will kill the fox but they did nt say which kind of dog only mentioned not a small dog.

14 Jul, 2018


I did wonder Stera if they worked. I think you probably need quite a few of them and they are not particularly cheap.

3d - Male urine does work, until it rains of course! But we have 1.5 acres so that's a lot of urine! OH could never keep up, let alone getting him to pee in a bucket!

15 Jul, 2018


Yes a lot of urine you would need for that size area what a shame.

15 Jul, 2018


Yeah 3d. The quantity is mind boggling! Perhaps I could troll up and down the road asking the men neighbours for a sample!

16 Jul, 2018


When my mum was first lady in waiting for Lady Montegu and my aunt worked for the Rothchild's in service years ago in Hampshire you would have had no trouble if you had lived there the army Black and Tans were based their they use to have a horse driven muck cart who emptied the army barracks lavatory's the man driving the cart had no trouble being served he was always first when he stopped at the pub as the muck buckets would splish splosh all over him from the back of the cart the customers would all run out because of the smell on the driver true story. So what about your local pub.

16 Jul, 2018


Honeysuckle I'm a fan. I read every one of your blogs and enjoy them so much I have to re-read them to my OH. Your exploits, animals and weather sound remarkably similar to ours. hope you solve the riddle of the saucer and find the culprit. Now who would abscond with a saucer? Maybe the hedgehog is decorating his abode?

16 Jul, 2018


Oh Wow 3d.! I'm old enough to remember the muck carts that came and emptied the outside toilets. I married (the first time) in 1969 and my Mother-in-law still had an outside bucket loo until about 1972! We're backward here in Norfolk!

Thanks Lori for reading my blogs. I sometimes think that no-one will be interested in my rambling on about our plot and animals, so I appreciate anyone who reads them!
Our weather does sound similar, but we don't get the bad winters that you get I'm sure.
Now if it was a pretty saucer, edged in gold, perhaps it might attract some attention, but this was the thick, 1970's type mustard coloured plain sort - really heavy so weird.
No food out last night, but tonight I am going to put out a little and tuck it right under the huge Yuccas which are right down to the ground, so hopefully a fox wouldn't get under as they have lethal points. Might be me who ends up with holes in my arms!

17 Jul, 2018

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