With this years Vendange finished, I took a couple days to simply sit in the garden. Sometimes reading, sometimes watching the antics of the ducks. Sometimes simply listening. And noticing, the not very quiet countryside.
Life is never dull here, and certainly not quiet. We moved to the country only to discover it is as exciting, chaotic and noisy (!) as city life, just in a different way.
The lack of quiet was first noticed when we took over the Caretaker’s cottage of a small Chateau when we first came to France. This Chateau was in the middle of nowhere. And I mean no where. Surrounded by fields. An empty farm but for equipment on one side and neighbours on the other that lived in Paris most of the year.
Prior to this we had essentially lived in cities, or very large towns. So rural life was quite the change on many fronts. We soon took to the delight in the dramas of the garden, and animals. Every day some new adventure came our way. With 8 animals initially, but always it seems fluctuating upward and that’s not including the wild critters who resided in and around, how could there ever be a dull moment?
The first thing you notice living in the country is the bird song. Seriously, who was it said the countryside is quiet?! They obviously never lived in it. Birds twitter, tweet, hoot, screech, and peep infinitum. Keep your doors open and the birds are quiet happy to come in and tell you about their day.
There was a time for awhile we had a little red squirrel living in our attic. He was collecting nuts and just as we would go to bed he would start rolling the nuts he had collected down the eves into his hidden storage areas. I kid you not. It made a racket.
Unfortunately, one day we heard this loud ‘wummpphh’ in the garden and saw a big bird taking off. That night we noticed that there was no more rolling of nuts down the eaves. A truly sad moment of nature’s realism.
We discovered in looking after free ranging chickens that they often liked to wander in an open doorway. They have curious souls and are always up for checking out new areas. There had been quite a few times I would be sitting and working only to hear an excited clucking from behind me if they found a crumb on the floor. (They are better than a vacuum cleaner.)
Chickens make this particular clucking sound when they find food. It’s a really happy sound. But what I found very funny is that the sound alerted the others to the possibility of food and there was a mad stampede. Have you ever seen a chicken run? It’s more of a lope, side to side, like a ship, but with short legs. You can’t help but smile.
And who can forget the waterfowl? Our ducks are the biggest gossips you have ever heard. Natter, natter, natter. Honestly, they remind me of the old fashioned image of women gossiping over the back garden fence.
They have various different quacks and sounds they make, so they can really have a full conversation with you. They wander the garden and can be heard no matter where they are, whether happy, worried, or preparing to fly (which involves a very prolonged conversation amongst them all before they embark.)
I would be remiss if I didn’t add in the cats. Although they too can be found in cities and towns, for us our cats will always be linked to the countryside. Gigi, our first cat, was brought on board as we had a very real need for a mouse catcher. And she was absolutely brilliant. Her daughter Noisette has taken over the mantle since moving to our new place. (Also in the countryside, where we still get to enjoy all the above sounds.)
All of our cats are extremely vocal. I figure it is because they started off life in a vast rural area. To be heard, or noticed, they had to yell. So now, when they wish to eat, or get my attention whilst I work in the garden, they are quick to tell me, repeatedly, that I need to come NOW!
Quiet in the countryside? A definite misnomer.
More Musings Along a quiet country life theme…
If like us you really love the antics of animals, and just like anything to do with them, then do check out our Shop. We have an eclectic collection of various animal items…
(Simply click on an image to see more.)