The taming of ‘The Beast’

Burning desires!

Four weeks and a flue thermometer later, I can say with reasonable confidence that we seem to have achieved a harmonious relationship with The Beast. As I mentioned when we first ignited the brute, it has a voracious appetite, particularly when it’s windy. Our latest discovery is that this appetite is not quelled by a diet of little and often, but more of your ‘Cow pie’ proportions, on a less frequent basis. I have to say that alarm bells rang initially as I anticipated that the whole of the community woodland across the river would be needed to satisfy The Beast’s desires! However, we’ve now realised that filling its hungry maw to capacity not only achieves a higher temperature and consequently warmer radiators, but the longer ‘digestion’ period results in fewer demands for extra feeding, hence no extra fuel! At least we can rest assured that our carbon footprint is of daintier proportions than the anticipated seven-league-boot variety!!!

Of course there’s always someone who feels that the fire isn’t quite hot enough…

Flame-grilled cat

It has to be said that now that we’ve settled into a more relaxed fueling program, life at Garybuie seems to have taken on a quieter, more contented end-of-year kind of pace, with leisurely daily routines carried out in clear, calm weather with bird-song the only accompaniment. Of course a lot of this newfound serenity has to do with sex – or lack of it! It’s an occupation no longer on the agenda of most of our birds – with the exception of Snowball, another beast with voracious appetites – and consequently over the last few weeks, there’s been a distinct lack of quacking, huffing, flapping and slapping of feet attempting escape! The Muscovies still spend most of their time outside the kitchen window and both the ARs and MacRae’s gang spend their time together with Lucky and Chance, the orphans, in tow. In fact there’s such a lack of interest in anything female on the part of Francis Drake and MacRae, that Lucky and Chance have the nightly dilemma of which duck-house to sleep in, sometimes with one in each! Make the most of it girls, come springtime, choice will be a thing of the past!

Living in harmony - for a change!

One character however, who still refuses to choose her new home in Snowball’s coop is Delilah, still preferring the shed with the younger birds or a branch in the beech tree!

Nightly transport

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