Bloody goats

Bath canal 15-21 Apr 15 (23)My bank informed me that I’d won either £100k, £1k or £100 in their monthly prize draw; would I present myself at my local branch with my ID and then I’d be given the good news?  I got a cheap(ish) flight which the lowest prize would nearly cover, reasoning this was a good excuse to pop back for a few days and see my loved ones.  I’m glad I’d set my sights low by not even considering a major win (I’m never usually lucky!) and emerged from the bank, delighted with my £100.  The only other thing I’ve ever won is a £25 premium bond.

P1140468The goats continue to apport over to our side of the fence.  First there were one or two, then three or four, and on the last occasion we had seven of the blighters.  This took on a bit of a sinister turn as Ricardo inexplicably drove off, something he never usually does, leaving the goats to wander alone. Alerted by the cacophony of bells, we saw the seven intruders.  Going out to shoo them away from our plants and flowers we were stopped dead in our tracks by the sight of three huge dogs that began barking menacingly at us. I’d seen one of them before, the big shaggy one who sometimes plods along with the goats, but instead of Ricardo’s two dopey Andaluz sheepdogs, he had put two huge mastiff type animals in charge of the herd.  We retreated indoors.

Wildflower meadlow 10 Apr 15 (5)P1050771The dogs hung around trying to find a way to get at the Wayward Seven, which we found unsettling, so we waited until the goats and dogs had finally disappeared down the valley before venturing out again.  In what was becoming a familiar routine, we steered the trespassers around the perimeter of our land, down the hill to our front entrance where we could just see them landing on the road below.  Or so we thought, but next afternoon we saw these footprints and discovered four had decided the grass was greener.

P1050836The oak copse was an excellent place for them to hide and they took some persuading to sod off, having gorged themselves on our luxuriant grasses and wildflowers.  So perplexing how they got in! We went through the same old procedure, up and down, checking the 4ft fence for gaps.  None.

P1050695P1050689Could they have jumped over? Our land is higher than the Parque land. I know goats are noted for their hurdling ability, but they would have to have had quite a run at the fence in order to clear it, but they just amble and browse feed. Joe put some dowelling where the fence slightly dips, and also some diagonal bits of wood at odd intervals.  Ever since then, we’ve been on high alert for the tell-tale bells so we can catch the little bastards red-handed.  No such luck yet.

All other fauna are very welcome here, even the rat that seems to do his shopping at our new compost bin.  We’ve found lots more little holes in the bank; I wonder what sort of animal makes those? Then there was the fat toad we found languishing by the front gate, who was very reluctant to move out of our way.  Soon he and his cronies will be starting up their mating rituals and we will be treated to the yearly chorus of ‘knee deeps’ from every corner of our land. Amazing really, since we are at 850m and far from a river bed.

Hawk overhead 18 Mar 15 (2)One afternoon we heard an unusual screeching noise and just over the fence right in front of us was this hawk.  Having excitedly announced it had located its prey, it flapped around for a while and pounced – which can’t have been a total surprise to the poor little rodent in view of the row the hawk had been making!

Praying mantid 28 Apr 15I don’t know how we avoided stepping on this praying mantis as we did our usual evening stroll through the wildflower meadow.  I just caught sight of it swaying around in Joe’s wake.  Being so well disguised, it proved hard to get a proper close-up and the nearer I got, the more aggressive it became with its front legs punching the air.  Can you make it out in this photo?

French lavender & bumble bee 17 Mar 15Carpenter bee on wildflowers 14 Apr 15 (1)We had an unpleasant episode with our honey bees a few weeks back.  We live harmoniously with all the bees here – from the honey bees, the huge carpenter bees to the bumble bees, and they are never remotely interested in us.

Bees on mandarin flower 4 Apr 15 (1)However, some very aggressive ones flew at both Joe and me in separate incidents.  Usually running away does the trick, but it didn’t work this time and they embedded themselves further in our hair. Shooing them away is not the thing to do, because that gets their ‘help’ pheromones going and others fly to their rescue.

Killer bee 18 Mar 08I escaped without being stung, but Joe got stung on the bum. This was followed by one on his face and a nasty one on his forearm. One of these times I was in the UK and he sent me a picture, wondering initially whether this was a different strain of bee than the usual.  But we don’t think that’s the case now, having read that overcast, humid weather can make bees irritable, also if there are problems with a queen. It is apparently advisable to wear light clothing and a hat as bees have a primitive dislike of dark, hairy shapes.  All is quiet now and they’ve gone back to their usual occupation of gathering honey and dive-bombing our cars with yellow poo.

Sunset Harry on prowl 8 Mar 15With all this scary wildlife around us, it’s lucky that we’ve got Harry the Horse to guard us. We see him every evening at sunset, patrolling his small patch of garden.  Luckily, his needs are few and he seems content to spend most of his days just standing there, watching the world go by.

 

 

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