Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spring Is Here

 It's been a while since I wrote anything about the Spring Rock Menagerie.  I just haven't felt like writing since the loss of my two gorgeous pups.  It's time to move on and get back to letting you all know what is happening here.

The three cats, Tristan, Ambrosia and Nefertiti are all well and enjoying life now that the weather is warming up.  Don't get me wrong, they enjoyed life during winter, but rarely left the immediate vicinity of the heater or their snuggle beds in the bathroom.  Tristan is going down rabbit holes again and returning home at night with his ears full of rabbit fleas.  Rabbit fleas are more like ticks than fleas in that they burrow in to his ears (they don't go to any other part of his body) and Graeme and I are able to remove them all by using tweezers.

The ferrets are well and enjoying their new hammock I made for them.  It's a hard life when you wear out your hammock.  They too are enjoying warmer weather and sunbathe - either in their hammock on lying on their sleeping bag on the cage floor.  I've pulled back the weather protection so the sun can get in and the ferrets are in heaven.  Life for them in the house is much as it always is - sleeping in their inside cage each night and having a run around the house after Graeme has left it, honouring the Graeme/Ferret Treaty of 2003.

Hedwig and Hermes, the galahs are getting into the whole Spring is the time for love mood and galah hormones are strong in the air.   They build and rebuild their nest on an almost daily basis.  It's never up to Hedwig's high standards so it's pulled apart despite Hermes' protests and work in begun once more.  Hedwig has taken a severe dislike to my pink garden clogs and attacks them every time I go in to feed them.  She still loves the rest of me so I think she thinks the clogs are another female galah come to steal her mate from her.

We've had some major drama in the chook pen.  A fox visited late one night last week.  Thankfully I was awake and went out to deal with the matter.  I couldn't see because I didn't think to take a torch with me in my mad dash for the chookpen, but Graeme, the more clear thinking of the two of us, arrived with not one, but two torches for us shortly after I scared the fox off.  The fox had caught one of the girls but she was only injured.  I placed her in the nesting box for the night and checked her out in the light of day.  I think she'll make it.  She's the boss hen and loves to sit on my lap when I feed the chooks.  From that vantage point she lords it over the lesser hens while she nibbles on whatever offering I've brought the chooks that day.

Once the chooks were calmed down that night, I lectured the girls on the advisability of sleeping in the protected nesting box instead of over near the gate but sadly one of the girls didn't listen and the fox came back later that night.  He/she dug under the gate (the only unreinforced area of the chookpen) and grabbed the hen who liked to sleep there.  We've now placed bricks under the gate opening and the fox can no longer find a way in through there.  We know this because he/she came back the next night with thoughts of another easy chook dinner on its mind and after scratching around trying to dig under the bricks, gave up and went off to find some other sort of dinner.

I take advantage of the milder weather most days and let the chooks out for a scratch around the yard.  I sit on my garden seat under the old apricot tree and guard my gardens from marauding chooks in search of worms. I place the injured hen near my seat on the best bit of chickweed and she and I pass the time of day while the other girls and Eros forage for treats.  Eros, ever the protector of his girls, never eats a tasty treat he finds.  He makes a little "brook, brook" noise and the girls come running from all points of the compass to devour whatever it is he's found for them to devour. 

Spring also means our Blue Wren family are out and about.  This morning was the first time I've seen the new crop of babies out and about with mum and dad.  Three babies were hopping around under the protective eyes of both parents this morning, tasting the delights of the mulch heap, the spring grasses and generally enjoying life out and about on a fine Spring morning.

I never have my camera with me when I see the Blue Wren or his family so I've turned to Google to find some photos of other Blue Wrens for you all.

Male Blue Wren
Female Blue Wren (should I call her a Blue Wren when she's not blue?)

We first met the male Blue Wren a few years back when he moved into our garden.  The first year he seemed to be all by himself.  We didn't see any signs of little brown mates for him.  The next Spring we noticed he had a mate and before long a family to show off to us.  He adopted us as his family that first year and now most mornings he arrives at the kitchen window to say hello.  He taps on the window and flutter about while we exchanged morning news.  If he doesn't find us at the kitchen window he'd fly to the lounge room or family room windows to check on our whereabouts.  It drives the cats mad.  Only the male is brave enough to come close while we are near the windows.  One year his son seemed to be building up confidence to come look at us too, but once his blue colours came in he left the area in search of his own mate I suppose.

The little male follows Graeme around the farm yard near the house and just likes to know what's going on.  If I am out in the garden and near the wormwood bush they call home he and his mate take up spots on the lilac shrubs where they can see what I'm doing.  The male is brave enough to get quite close, but his more timid mate fusses and worries so much he soon returns to her.

He's a good husband and father.  I've noticed that each morning he flies out of the wormwood and lands on our tall potted jade plant in the front garden.  He sits at the top and waits.  Next his mate appears and flies down to the garden and has breakfast while the little boy stands guard.  When she's finished and returned to the wormwood and her babies, the male Blue Wren then has his breakfast.

Last year there was a minor skirmish for the ownership of the wormwood bush.  It seems to be a prime piece of real estate as far as small birds are concerned.  It's very dense and covers a large area of our front fence, so whoever owns the title deeds to the bush has a commanding view of the front garden.  A Willy Wag Tail moved in and tried to take over the ownership of the wormwood.  At first the little male stood up to him all by himself and I was worried he was outgunned.  The Wag Tail was a larger bird and the Blue Wren looked to be fighting above his weight.  I was just about to go out there and explain the rights of ownership to the Wag Tail when the Blue Wren's family came out of the bush and lined up on the fence against the Wag Tail.  It was a short, noisy battle after that and the Wag Tail conceded defeat and went off in search of an easier won home.  There are other wormwood bushes in the garden so I wasn't worried about him finding shelter elsewhere.
Willy Wag Tail,_Australia-8.jpg  

 Spring is a great time of year at Spring Rock. The canola is in flower, my garden is starting to look more like a garden and less like a wasteland and my menagerie goes a little do-lally with the warmer weather and spring induced hormones.