There is a thicket just below our balcony. It is a small area on a slope that was devastated by the storm in August 2015 when some old ash trees and wild plum trees fell. At the time I intended on dealing with the dead trunks and branches, clean up the mess and plant some new trees and shrubs.
Now in December 2020, I still haven’t done anything about it and I am quite pleased because it has regrown into something wild and untidy simply wonderful for all sorts of animals of which the birds and butterflies are the most visible. Yesterday I saw a sparrow nest on the edge of it in a bramble bush. I was thrilled.
Now a doe has made her home there too it seems and I met her last week when I was taking some straw bales down to the new kiwi bed. As I was turning around the corner on the path, I heard a commotion from behind the box wood and there she was.
I stopped dead in my tracks, no daring even to breathe…she was so close! We stared at each other and in my mind I was telling her she had nothing to worry about me, I would not hurt her. She looked as if she was thinking about that, then she jumped forward up the slope towards the side of the house and the gate and disappeared. She was big and very probably pregnant. I could see where she had been lying as well as the path she had made there day after day…I believe she is the one nibbling at the spinach in the garden above. I hope she has not been put off by me and will keep on visiting, never mind the spinach.
The next day I met with a female pheasant on my way to the tunnel. She didn’t seem bothered at all by me and my wheelbarrow so I stopped to look at her. She was only a couple of metres away. She was so beautiful and plump and was definitely as curious about me as I was about her. The way she tilted her head as to scrutinise me “What are you doing here?” she seemed to be saying.
She was probably one of thousands like her having been let loose for hunters a few days before and was therefore unaware of the urgency of staying well away from humans….I’ve heard her since but haven’t met with her again.
The donkeys are more predictable I thought. Or are they?
Last Thursday afternoon we decided to take them to the neighbours’ top field for a couple of hours. They had not gone out for a while so it was time for a treat. The grass is tasty there and plenty of it, so there we went. Then when the sun came down at around 5pm we went back to get them but when we called ….nothing. Not a sign of them.
The field surrounded with tall trees is made of two parts on the side of this hill that we can partly see from our house, and another area below overlooking the lake that cannot be seen from the top of the field or the house. They were grazing there and ignoring us completely. The message was clear. It would have been useless running after them so we left them there overnight, something we’ve never done before. In the past they have always responded to being called and happy to come home. Not this time.
I knew from the weather forecast there were no rain that night but I also knew they would be cold and missing their shed. The next morning when we went to check on them they were standing by the gate, heads down, waiting. Seeing them like that looking so miserable, was somewhat heart breaking. The only thing I kept thinking on the way home is I want to learn how to communicate with them. Apparently human beings have lost the ability to connect with animals and the natural world about 11000 years ago. Some of us have reclaimed it but very few. The good news is that more and more of us are now being called to reconnect with themselves and the natural world around…..