The weather is getting slightly colder but not quite. And it is time again to think about our big trip.

Part of the excitement is all the preparation  beforehand . I am not quite sure whether I call that excitement or a lot of thinking before going…anticipation. Well it is going to be the usual taking care of the house taking care of the chickens and the cows, ensuring that the hay has been ordered and delivered. Taking care of the dogs sorry the dog. I had almost forgotten that Sam had gone last year.Taking care of the veggie garden. Planting the a few seedlings that will (maybe) be ready when we get back. Ensuring that the house sitter knows the routines and where everything is. Sometimes I wish that I did not have such a menagerie. But that is only a wish, because when I am not going anywhere I love to have them around and looking after them all. Plenty of weeks left to prepare the little goodies to take with us and think up of what we are going to carry. Not much but, it is when we come back that we are going to be loaded…as usual. Lucky Thai Airways is quite generous with our luggage!

Also the small butcher bird that made himself at home… He comes everyday for his little feed. Should I tell the house sitter to feed it or do I let him fend for himself for two months? He did manage well before. I have just noticed also that he got rid of his babies. They use to come all four of them for a feed. No more. What happened? Well, I gathered that he gave them the whole the boot. Nowadays he is the only one. All of them  have gone away , they deserted the nest. Now, he gets all the best bits.

I had noticed over the last few weeks as he brought them for a feed. They would arrive and wait on the veranda each of them singing their head of for a feed. I did feed the lot of them. HE would not give them the bits of meat that I had presented to him. So, I diligently gave the meat to the babies which of course they looked at puzzled then, chirped, sung for dad or mum to give it to them…to no avail. They would not budge. They would wait patiently on the balustrade and not  moving till they had begrudgingly flew down to pick up their meat. One of them had even the temerity to take it from my hand. Great, I thought you are daring and you are going to be part of the clan. At one time they even flew into the living room, my husband was horrified and would choo them away. That little circus went on for a few weeks till, I am sure the parents “told them” enough, you are on your own guys, now it is time to go and fetch your food somewhere else. Presently , he is alone and enjoying the privileges of being king of the roost. Talking about roost, we have just discovered that the surviving chicken that the python did not manage to eat ended up a rooster. This morning for the first time we heard a croaky sound coming from the coop. Peter said:  “Listen, carefully” I stop what I was doing and gave my attention to the sounds around me and low and behold, indeed, it was the young rooster exercising his first song. I was stunned because all along I was almost sure that it was just another hen.

But back to the preparations. We still have heaps to do. We have not booked any flights within Europe. We have not booked our trains tickets for travels within France. So, in the next few days this is going to be out priority. All the families in France and England have been told of our arrival. I did change some money already, that is done. I’ll have to buy heaps of food for the chickens and the only dog. What else is there? Gosh! Have I forgotten anything? I am sure I have, things will start to come to the surface as time comes near. In the meantime, I will be busy at the Gallery doing some voluntary work till the last minute.

I am so looking forward to this break, as I said earlier it is exhilarating knowing that there not long to go. It has been a very demanding last few months. The little cabin that we built had taken so much time. Peter has just managed to install the last few bits this afternoon and I am happy that he will not be doing any more work on it. That project had taken so much of his time, energy and I dare say sleepless nights of fathoming what the next move will be or churning over and over what would be the best approach to the sink, the composting toilet, the kitchen shelf and above all the immense chore of all the water works. DONE! finished and well executed Peter. You earned a great holiday from it all. Now, he sleeps better not having any more ideas or designs..till when… that is what I am scared of with him.  Time will tell!

In the end I talked about lots of other things and got  a little carried away. Till next time!

A week of sunshine and the butcher bird

Yes, a week of sunshine after a days and weeks of rain in our valley. Suddenly a renewed energy has transformed our activities and from the hopelessness of being inside and not being able to go out in the garden, here we are working like bees on the new nectar.

The birds are also out in force and demanding food, I am talking about the butcher bird. This one lives here. Bird in residence. He comes in, sits on the sofa, looks around and starts singing…Singing? I just wonder. I truly thinks that the is begging for food. So I reach for the fridge door and get him a little minced beef. He knows what I am doing. He follows all my gestures and mouvements. He is on the look out for my next gesture. Will I throw him the bit or will he take it out?

After a second of reflexion I decide to throw it and he catches it on the wing. Then settles on the sofa, drops it on the edge and starts to nibble . He forms little balls so that he can swallow them, tear it a little more. But as he does that the meat flies everywhere…on the carpet, on the other side of the sofa and on the wooden floor. But there is one little problem. When it lands on the floor, the dog is watching. He looks at the bit on the floor and pauses for a few seconds before deciding if it safe. Hesitation? Fluttering? He looks again sideways to gage if it might be within his range to grab and quickly fly away from the dog. One seconde later, he dives on the floor and low and behold he eats right there. Cutting the piece with his beak, and when he does this there are bits splattered everywhere. But that does not bother him as he hops from one to other picking it sideways and swallowing them. And at the same time of course watching the dog in it slightest move. But the dog does not move. All is safe.Though the dog eyes him in a funny sideway look. “how come he is getting a bit and not me” surely does he think.

The butcher bird, hops across the sofa to an other side, sits there as if to enjoy the company and the inside of his newly found little place. If friends drop in for a bite or a cup of coffee, “butchie” as he is nicknamed flies in and sit on the edge of the sofa or the wooden table soaking in the atmosphere of the chatter and clinking of cups. He stays there for minutes at a time. Just resting. A sofa is softer than a branch of a tree, has he already learned the soft comfort of a plush sofa?

But it does not stop there at all. Come 5 o’clock he rushes towards the backdoor and perches on the top.It does swing from side to side. Why this hour? the answer is very simple it is the time of feeding the dog. He knows that there would be some extra for him. And everyday the same scene re-occurs, punctual. Does he hear the noise of the dog’s bowl?Maybe? does he have a time in his memory that more food is coming his way? Maybe? But,  he certainly knows that he will be getting more.

This morning the smell of the bbq spare ribs brought in a family of magpies. Will they stay around for food also?

Now, did I tame and trained this little creature or has it trained me and tame me? Relationship is a two way channel that is for sure.