Harmony (the farting chicken) and I have been giving the wildlife pond it's spring clean today. This entails me fishing around in the pond with my kiddies fishing net scooping out any leaf fall, loose algae, twigs, chicken feathers, bark chippings kicked into the pond by the chickens etc. At the same time, every net full has to be carefully gone through by myself in order to rescue any pond life I have accidentally caught, but primarily to make sure I return any of the too many newts which live there. Not an easy task when the newts like to hide in the same crap I am scooping out and range from the fully grown right down to babies mere millimetre's in length.
Harmony's task (self imposed) is to stay by my feet and wait for me to check my net then occasionally throw the contents down for her so that she can double check. Course, she doesn't do much in the way of throwing any pond life back. She's more of the eat it, eat it now brigade.
If she thinks I am placing too many net fulls in the trug and not enough down her way, she reminds me by either pecking at my feet or tapping on the side of the trug three times. This "three taps" signal is one which I taught her when she joined us last year and which she soon learnt meant I was indicating I had found something tasty for her, such as a worm. Three taps and she's there like a shot!
Bit of a shock, though, when she started using it back at me. Three taps on the side of the trug from her roughly translates into,
"Oi. Don't forget I'm here. I want some. It's my turn. Stop chucking it all in the trug."
Being a relative newcomer to having pet chickens, I have to assume that other people's pet chickens also make their wishes known in this kind of way? Yes?...No?... It can't possibly just be my lot, that would be daft!
Anyway, the highlight of this morning's labours for Harmony was when I dredged up a full Hydrangea head from the bottom of the pond, (just to clarify, we haven't got any Hydrangeas in this garden).
The whole thing was chock full of "greeblies" (bottom of the food chain in a pond) and I presented it to my little helper. One very happy little chicken indeed.
I also devoted some time to thinning out the pond plants, a task I am much more careful about than I used to be.
Has anyone else out there who might have popped into my "blog-scape" ever begun to pull a plant out of the shallows at the edge of their pond and, after a while of tugging and the plant's roots still coming, then wondered vaguely to themselves "how come the root on this plant is waaaay longer and tougher to get out than it should be?" Has anyone else then looked up to call the hubby for a hand; and suddenly noticed that the same type of plant which was happily growing tall in the deep centre part of the pond, is now distinctly much, much shorter and worse, continues to become so each time you tug at the plant you are doing battle with at the pond's edge?????????????
Please tell me that I am not alone in this...........please!!!!