Late last year, I wrote a post describing some of the stranger animal stories we had experienced in our first 3 months. In the 9 months since then, nature has had ample opportunity to provide some more random moments, so I figure it’s time for another installment.
Just like the last one, they are not always happy endings, or complete stories – just snapshots of unusual moments.
The flying egg
An interesting fact about ducks is that sometimes they will just lay their eggs wherever they happen to be. I’ll be walking around, doing whatever, and a duck egg will just be randomly sitting there on the grass.
Every evening on dusk, our ducks gather around our cabin to let us know it’s dinner time. We feed them out of a big aluminium bowl, and when they see us come out with it, they get pretty excited.
Sometimes a few of them will literally jump up with excitement. They’ll just leap up about a meter in the air, flapping their wings, and come back down again. That’s all well and good (it’s pretty cute), but one day Richard went out with the bowl when a duck flew up in front of him and laid an egg in mid-air. Unfortunately I missed seeing it with my own eyes, but I did see the egg that smashed on the ground.
Yes? May I help you?
We’ve recently taken up pig hunting at The Outpost as the feral population has started coming too close and causing real economic damage for us. One evening, Richard looked outside and spotted one just happily trotting through the paddock in front of our cabin.
He took a couple of shots, and seemed to have missed. But at the top of the hill we noticed the pig was running quite erratically. That might have been a ploy to make it harder to shoot, but there was a chance it might be injured. So we headed out there to finish the job if we needed to.
We went out on the quad, and spotted her down the hill. When we got there, we found a track under the fence that looked like the pig version of State Highway 1. It was well used, and led into an intimidatingly spiky tunnel among the gorse.
We stood there, listening. We could hear them snuffling. Richard approached the tunnel. The pig poked her head out and oinked at him.
The most descriptive way I can put it is it was like we were Jehovah Witnesses, come to knock on her door on a Saturday morning, and she was telling us politely to bugger off. Richard shot her, but at least 5 or 6 more pigs scattered underneath the gorse. We sent some hunters out that way yesterday and they pulled out another 2.
An excuse to meet the neighbour
A few months ago, we noticed two large Hereford bulls just hanging out in the bit of bush down from our cabin. That’s them at the top of this blog.
It wasn’t long after a major deluge. We figured the rain had maybe washed out a fence somewhere, they’d taken refuse under the trees, and ended up by us. It left us with a bit of a problem: we had no idea whose boys these were.
None of our lifestyle block neighbours have bulls. Most of them (including us) have heifers. Thankfully, we have good fences that kept the boys within the bush and off our girls. But cows loose in the bush is still not great news for the bush (not to mention a biosecurity hazard).
We called the beef farmer on one side. They weren’t his. We hoped the bulls would find their own way home, but we kept seeing them. They had to belong to one of the properties on our other side, but we’d never met any of the neighbours over there.
I made up a little flyer and printed off a few copies. We drove along the road to the next driveway and popped them in the mailboxes there, and waited.
Within a couple of hours, we got a call confirming the neighbour they belonged to. They ended up getting the boys back through the bush and we didn’t get a chance to meet.
But this story meant that when we saw the same neighbour offering a puppy free to a good home, we felt confident enough to approach them and raise our hand. We’re picking that puppy up later this morning.