Monday, 11 June 2007

Des res for otters

Some days you do something that you suspect will be an absolute one-off. Yesterday was one of those. It was beautifully sunny, with the sound of bale wrapping coming at you from all sides, with neighbouring farms taking note of the dreadful forecast for the following day, and getting in their hay and haylage as fast as mechanically possible. But most of my day was spent in shadow, on a slope, underneath ash and oak, building a log cabin. Not any old log cabin but an otter holt with four internal chambers; bedroom, nursery, and two reception rooms (or perhaps kitchen, bathroom, office and conservatory). The holt was built with mega logs three and four layers high, kept back from the mighty hedgelaying last winter. You have to be careful that the internal rooms interlink - no panic chambers here - or you get a space with no way in (also no way out). The holt was covered in long poles of ash and willow, and the whole covered in twiggy branches and wired down to keep it stable. There were chainsaws, sledge hammers, pruning saws and loppers, logs, poles, stakes and brashings, midges, red ants, hornets; the usual macho outdoor stuff.
There are otters locally; this is Tarka country and I have had their spraint crumbled educationally beneath my nostrils to release the pungent fishy odour. The prospect of otters mating and producing young on the farm is in the category of "one of the most exciting things I can imagine". Turning away from the new housing plot, it was good to imagine that sanctuary might have been provided for a pair of first time buyers. I only apologise for having taken so long to build the off-plan dream.

5 comments:

mutterings and meanderings said...

Wow!

I adore otters.

I had a major Tarka obsession when I was a kid... I read the book, I saw the film, I had a Tarka toy with little leather toes...

I always imagined that one day I would have a real otter of my own!

mountainear said...

I do hope you get your otters - how could they resist such a des. res.?

I remember, as a child, seeing the otter hounds working at a distance in a stream a field away. My fury and sorrow were indescribable. Its good that these lovely creatures are now able to make something of a come-back in parts of the country.

The thinker said...

I am green with envy at the thought of having resident otters. I've been enjoying watching the badgers and foxes (especially the gawky youngsters) gambolling around the garden in the light evenings but Otters!! ...

Arthur Clewley said...

I hope they come and live in your holt mopsa. Seeing an otter cross the road in front of the car then lollop in that ottery way along the verge one night a couple of miles up the dale was the only time I've seen a river-resident otter and very exiting. Those bloody mink can be found around these parts too sadly, as actually seen in the Ure on springwatch last week

Mopsa said...

Keep your fingers crossed folks and I'll keep you posted. No Ring of Bright Water spade vandalism round here; I cry every time I see that.