The nights are drawing in ever earlier, now while I enjoy cosy Winter evenings it does make the working day a lot shorter and therefore more has to be packed in to a certain timeframe. The birds need feeding at least an hour before the sun goes down, this is so that they can digest what they have eaten before they roost for the night as the lack of activity in the hen can cause the grain to begin fermenting which In turn can have a knock effect in the gut. If I feed around 3.30 that means I only have an hour before I have to go back out and shut everything away, this then interferes with cooking the dinner, normally we would eat around 5.30/6 but during darker days it’s more like 7. Generally, slow cooking is the answer, either a stew, casserole, hearty soup or a piece of meat that can be left to its own devices until we are ready to eat.
The piggies are getting much bigger now and more demanding, Alvin practically launches himself at the gateway and was very nearly over it the other day, the only thing I had in my hand at the time was the feed bucket full of feed, as a reflex action I went to bop him on the nose with it and the feed went everywhere, not a good idea. I have tried creeping up on them so they don’t get too excited but to no avail, they know when it’s feed time and the racket they make let’s everyone else in the area know too. We are coming to the end of apples and veg now so I have asked family members to save their veg peelings for them and any fruit and veg that has gone past it’s best if they are not going to use it. We recorded Downtown while we were away so I have not seen it yet but I am told that some of it was filmed at Cogges and that the pigs looked like ours, Oxford Sandy and Blacks, that’s because the pigs at Cogges are loaned to them by the same person we had ours from so they are related to TV stars lol.
I have embarked on a week long worming programme for the poultry, the wormer has to be carefully weighed and then mixed into the feed over a period of seven days, there is no egg withdrawal period thank goodness as we are selling them as fast as ever. The numbers are going up very slowly and quite a few of the birds are finally growing feathers signalling the end of their malting period, they had better get laying then as we are discussing if it is worth the cost of feeding them. People keep telling us how wonderful the eggs are, we never get to eat any because they are always sold, I can’t remember the last time I had an egg, it always seems to be a seesaw game, no eggs, customers go elsewhere, then lots of eggs and no customers. Short of leaving a radio on for them to listen to and building a fire for them to sit in front of, I have done pretty much everything I can to make sure they are happy and healthy enough to lay each day.
This weekend Hubby began the task of concreting around the stable block to prevent the rain just running in, he has also concreted a new step outside the small doorway with a pipe running underneath to carry away any excess rain, we have to wait for it to rain now to see if it has worked! There is still a long run to finish and a very large conifer to chop down in the process but at least we have made a start on the worst bit before it is too wet or frozen.
Today I have cleaned out the flue ways in Rosie the Rayburn, firstly because she has been lit for a few weeks now and build up of tar has occurred, secondly, as it was quite mild this morning it seemed like a good day to do it before he weather turns cold and we need to crank her up a notch or two, we have set fire to the chimney before and I don’t want that happening again. I did make a ‘schoolboy error’ as hubby would say, I used the Hoover and the plastic attachment, you know the one that can get down the side of the car seats, put it down into one of the flue ways which are about 2 inches square, pulled the Hoover nozzle out and the plastic bit was stuck down the flue :s I did asked myself out loud , what an earth possessed me to think that was even a remotely good idea lol, twenty minutes later after trying to retrieve it with BBQ tongs, I figured out it would be easier to push the cleaning brush upwards from the fire box into the flue and, with more than a bit of relief, out it shot, I would not have lived that one down for a while.
I ordered a new shed last week and it arrived today, I had ummmed and ahhhhed about it as we do have old bits of shed that I could have used to build another but they are all at least ten years old and so we have had good use out of them. Bite the bullet, I thought, and buy a new one, so I have, this one is for the garden area so that I can have everything in one place, at the minute I have stuff in the greenhouse, stuff in the shed by the back door, stuff in the back building and I can never remember what is where. I have already got the hooks and shelving to start organising it as soon as it is up it’s the little things that make me happy. We are planning on putting it up tomorrow, weather permitting, I will say that there was a notable drop in temperature at lunchtime compared with this morning, maybe this cold snap they are predicting is really on its way, although I sincerely hope that, the worst Winter for a hundred years as told by the press, is not!