Monday, 2 August 2010

This is how it feels...

Sometimes life on the farm feels like one gigantic revolving door, the type you used to get in swanky hotels, where lots of people would crowd into a sweaty cheese shaped compartment and shuffle, very slowly round until the gap was big enough for them all to tumble into the foyer. The farm may not have a foyer, but that doesn’t lessen the tumble, they just hit mud as opposed to posh Italian tiles. But just as the first group are tumbling in, unseen on the other side are another group falling out.

Ten new point of lay chickens arrived on Saturday, and on Monday two of the old flock died and a duck went missing. Then a pig gave birth to a piglet. A piglet. One. Pigs are supposed to have about twelve and she had one. And it’s tiny, honestly it is the world’s smallest pig. Running next to mum it looks like a spider. Okay maybe my revolving door theory falls down a bit here, but in my eyes one pig came in and eleven others refused to enter.

Actually it’s the duck that’s got to me. I’ve known her since she was an egg. She was a Valentines Day presents for Debbie a couple of years ago. I’d got three for her, and now we’re down to two, which is really confusing because they go everywhere together. They’re never apart. If a fox got one, you’d have thought it would have got them all. I’ve seen otters around, would an otter take a duck?

The river that runs along side the farm is the West Lyn, and whilst you couldn’t exactly go white water rafting along it, it can become quite bolshie, and over the years has eroded away the riverbank causing trees and bushes to sag down into the water. Maybe the duck got tangled up and trapped?

I’d never walked the riverbed before, in fact I hadn’t seen most of it. All the fields that back onto the river are edged with banks and trees to stop the stock from escaping, and me from peering over. I can get down to it at the far end of the farm, but other than that there simply is no other access. Not keen on walking all the way down and then all the way back up, I decided to start at one end by nipping across a neighbour’s field, which, incidentally, is the favoured approach of the ducks too. The river is about ten foot wide and from what I could see, varies in depth between a couple of feet and a couple of inches. The plan was to stay on the couple of inches part.

I waded out in welly boots and began walking up stream. I had no idea the river twisted and turned quite as much as it did, and within a minute could no longer see where I started. I discovered waterfalls I never knew existed, crystal ponds and clever dams. And I also discovered bones. Not duck bones, but very white bones none the less. It was quite eerie, especially as I have this terribly inventive imagination, and couple that with a heightened sense of cowardice I’m quite capable of spooking myself anywhere, and the only times I have ever come close to rolling the quad bike is when I’ve been convinced there’s a Scooby-Do ghost hand behind me reaching out for my collar.

The bones were old and undoubtedly sheep, but I lost interest in staying dry and splashed all the way to the end. I didn’t lose interest in looking for the duck, but I didn’t see anything that resembled her either. She was gone. But I do have the last fertile egg she laid. Maybe, just maybe that revolving door is still turning.

1 comment:

  1. Doubt it's any consolation, but domestic ducks do go feral. The local pond houses a fine Aylesbury drake along with the usual Mallards, Tufted, Pochards and a pair of Shovellers.

    A rare breeds farm in Suffolk gradually lost its Silver Appleyards to the call of the wild, but a Mallard drake decided to move in with the last female and stay on the farm