March lamb

The day this paper is dropped off at your doorstep, the winds of March will already be with us, and as the saying so goes, “Time marches on.”

At the same time also, you will be aware as to whether March has, as the prophecy, come in like a lamb and will go out like a lion or vice versa. My thoughts, at this moment of writing, wander in ageing appreciation that each day, whether lamb or lion, is one day closer to spring.

I must admit that I am looking forward to the coming of spring.

The ups and downs of the recent turbulent weather have created a problem either age-related or laziness-based, one or the other, perhaps a little of both.

One day I am short stepping across a slippery driveway with a basket of eggs swinging in balance against gusting winds and the next day I am challenged with the changing depths of drifting snow, which is anywhere from ankle deep to half way up to any portion of my body that you care to mention.

On the other hand, the lengthening hours of light reflecting off the snow leaves a pleasant brightness in my birdie bungalow, encouraging the canaries to sing their little hearts out. The roosters crow and the hens, they cackle, thinking that spring has already arrived. And, indeed, therein it already has.

Each day, without exception, I spend not less than four or five hours puttering around while doing all the necessary little this and thats that seem to crop up on a daily basis.

I usually have the radio on, playing softly in the background. This keeps me in tune daily with the provocative conversations of the citizens’ advocacy program Dale Goldhawk Fights Back, provides the latest news, and keeps me updated on the popular country tunes of the 50s and 60s.

The birds love the music as well, and they will burst into their own individual up and down scaled raptures as though doing their best to compete.

At the moment, things are going quite well in my aviary.

A selection of bantam eggs are, at this moment, chipping in the incubator and a half dozen pair of canaries have already started building their second nest of the season, some with eggs due to hatch next week.

The young of the first batch are already fully feathered and are as large as their parents. They are starting to eat on their own as they mingle with each other even though they will skip back to their parents to beg for a tummy-full once in a while.

Come April, when the weather warms, they are going to be fun to watch when I release them to the outdoor flight cage that covers the full 20-foot length of the building and 12 feet across the end.

This flight is two feet wide, four feet high, and is suspended three feet up off the ground. It is made of one by one-half inch mesh that is supported by stretched aeroplane cable fastened along the side of the building just below the eaves trough.

They’ll be fun to watch when they experience their first sprinkle of rain.

 Take care, ‘cause we care.


Barrie Hopkins