Our ‘big aim’ in the new house with the land is to improve it. We want to encourage wildlife, particularly the birds, hence our planting hedges and trees.
Some years ago I was given a card that said “Live every day as if it was your last, one day you’ll be right” There’s a lot of truth in that. When you think about it, perhaps we should consider what legacy we leave behind us, as we go through life.
I don’t mean money, although we all want to leave our dearest looked after. What I mean is ‘have we left the world better than we found it?’ One thing I was rather proud about was leaving my allotment plots in much better condition than I found them.
The soil was far better and on plot 5, at least a an extra spit before hitting that blue-brown clay. On plot 29, the mares tail was nearly defeated and the sandy, gravel layer where the previous tenant had his sheds gone to productive deep, rich soil.
Anyway, back to the holding. One of the sad things is that twice now our cat has trotted in bearing a dead bird. I’m happy she’s keeping the rabbits and mice in check but would much rather she left the birds alone.
Now I’m not quite sure what these birds were, swifts or swallows. Thanks to the RSPB I’ve identified them as House Martins They whiz around in the air catching flies and have that swept-wing that says ‘speed’. The wings are black, or maybe dark brown, with brilliant deep blue feathers on the top of their body.
I thought they never landed so couldn’t work out how the cat was getting them until, early in the evening, one flew over my head and into our cow shed. It hasn’t got a door, just an opening and I think it was pursuing an insect.
At the back of the shed, the poor thing flew into the large window we’ve put in the back. It fluttered away on the window sill so I was able to pick it up and release it outside. Obviously that was where the cat had been catching them.
So the unexpected consequence of our renovating the shed and putting a window in was to turn it into a trap for the house martins. Our answer is to put a bead curtain up over the entrance doorway for now, which should stop them from flying inside.
It goes to show that whatever we do impacts on the world, sometimes not as we planned or expected. I’d no idea that putting a window into the cow shed would result in the death of two of these beautiful creatures. But I still feel guilty.