Wet and sticky

This past couple of days I found myself taking advantage of the few hours of early afternoon sun, putting up poles to support the netting that I have put over the outdoor free-range enclosures in which my show bantams, canaries, doves and Mandarin ducks thrive.

The reason the enclosures, topped with netting, were put there in the first place was not to hamper the domesticated birds, but to have reasonable control of the predators that seem to show up from nowhere seeking a fly-through, easy-to-catch, fast food lunch.

In addition to the fangs of nighttime prowlers, neighbourhood cats, skunk, weasel, mink, fox, rats and coyote – not necessarily in that order – we also have the fly-by free lunch seekers such as crows, vultures, ravens, several species of hawk, and an occasional owl. It’s a jungle out there. It is not an easy task to keep those in my care happy and healthy, but I love what I am doing, and it gets me up and out of bed in the morning.

On completion of the actual well-insulated building, I had put up the surrounding 10-by-10 chain link enclosures one at a time, each several months apart, circling the sunny side of the main building. I didn’t realize I needed the overtop netting until a head count woke me up to the fact that each night, and occasionally daytime, a creature went missing.

First was a female Mandarin duck, second was a Chukar partridge, and third and fourth on following days were two white silkie bantams.

To support the netting, a criss-crossed east-to-west, north-to-south airplane cable, corner to corner, was suggested. This, stretched tight with a turnbuckle, held the stretched netting well and looked neat and tidy. So went the best made plans of mice and man – until it snowed.

When I looked out my bed-sitting room window, as dawn broke one morning, in the first week of November, early snow had arrived. It was wet and sticky, eight inches deep, and not a flake of it reached the ground beneath the netting. It all clung stubbornly to the netting, weighting it down till it hung in the centre, not more than three feet from the ground. Any effort to shake it through was useless. By 3pm the sun came out and the soggy wet snow soon lay on the ground.

Lucky for me I had a selection of right-length poles that were salvaged from the recent tornado. They worked like a charm when placed in the centre for support. It snowed again, another eight inches, two days later and the netting did not sag.

Since I have said what I’ve said with some allotted space left, here is the latest from the depths of my chuckle bucket titled A Woman’s Revenge: “Cash, cheque or charge?” I asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet, I noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse.

“So, do you carry your TV remote?” I asked. “No,” she replied, “But my husband refused to come shopping with me, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.”

Sounds like what my Little Lady would have done.

Take care, ’cause we care.





Barrie Hopkins