Rain and Snow but not as much as predicted.

Monday again: This morning I spent a good couple of hours as I went round making sure the pens were cleaned out a bit and fresh bedding put down on the floors. I still haven’t heard back from the chap about the ducks and now we are coming into mating season they are trying to get into the buckets of water to do what comes naturally. Unfortunately that usually results in the bucket of water going over and soaking the floor, I’ve tried various ways of limiting the water spillage but ducks need to get there eyes under the water and so a wide top is necessary, catch 22. The chickens are not doing much better but for a different reason, they are scratching around in the bedding and dirt floors but they get a build up of mud balls on the ends of their claws, which if not removed can lead to the loss of a toe, I have put a pile of stones in there to try and give them something hard to scratch on and hopefully remove the dirt. I cleaned the quail out, sort of, because I usually put them into a holding carrier while I do it but at the moment I have a hen who is stressed in there, so I had to try cleaning their cage out with them still in situ, not easy, they are flighty birds and easily frightened into bashing themselves against the bars. Worn out trying to keep them all happy and healthy, and still there are new cases of AI being reported, the last two in back yard flocks whose owners have not housed them because they think it doesn’t apply to them 😀And on top of that we have reports of temps going down to -13 at the weekend, I will look forward to that one πŸ˜–

Just about missed the rain on the pm feed, took the eggs out to the shed and collected the money, I had made a mental note this morning of how much should be there depending on boxes sold, we are Β£1 short today. I will be monitoring this daily as I’m getting to the point where with all the extra work I’m am wondering if it’s even worth it, especially as the ducks haven’t even begun to lay and I’ve been feeding them all winter, will I ever get any return, need to be a bit more ruthless 😞

Tuesday: Had Mia for the day while Sam was at work so had to get a move on to everything done before she arrived, feed and water the birds, put the horse out and do his stable, feed the dogs, do the eggs, get the Rayburn ready for lighting, start the bread off and put some washing on, mission accomplished, then entertain and look after Mia for the day πŸ˜€ She had a good sleep at lunchtime which gave me time to read my monthly mag, Home Farmer, I love this publication it always has something relevant in there, new recipes to try and has thought provoking articles. The sun is shinning and so while I have a spare minute my thoughts turn to the coming growing season, it is at this time of year I start getting impatient about getting started. My seed order is sat waiting patiently, my crop rotation is all drawn up, I read an article on growing lemons successfully, I have a young lemon and an orange tree, I have managed to keep them alive over two winters now and am hoping that they might produce a least one fruit this year. The grapevine I moved into the polytunnel at the end of last year so also hoping it will produce this year and am ever hopeful that the kiwi will eventually produce something, last year it flowered but the frost got to them so need to be on my toes this year and cover it with fleece before that happens. We could do with a good spring and a not too hot summer, I’ll put my order in now πŸ˜‰ it’s a waiting game. Very much looking forward to my cheese making course at River Cottage at the end of this month, I hope to learn a lot, I know there are books and the internet but nothing beats learning like actual hands on sessions. 

Ordered, wormer, flea treatments and shampoo for the 3 dogs and 2 cats, came to Β£70 nearly fell off the sofa! 

Wednesday: Not good today, I woke up with what I can only think is vertigo, related to this damn bug which has taken weeks to shake off. Staggering around the yard my first visit to the ducks led to banging my head and promptly bursting into tears, obviously not feeling well so I called for back up, now this is rare, on a table of 0-10 the amount of times I have actually said, I’m struggling and need help here is precisely 0. The main thing I felt I would not be able to do at all safely is the horse, Jack, there was no way I would be able to bend down and do up his tummy belts on his rug and remain in the standing position when I got back up, so help was needed. I did the rest as best I could, which is a shame as I intended to get a fair bit done today, but spent the day sat or lying down. I did manage to get the sofa covers off and washed to dry over night so all was not lost. 

Thursday: I feel a bit better today, not great but not like yesterday, just as well really as I have work to catch up on, trying to clean all the pens or make them a bit nicer for the hens, the ducks trash everything anyway but still got to try. I was on Horse duty this morning and so turned him out got his stable ready and kept an eye on the weather forecast, at the moment it says rain at 11am but it’s that now and no sign just yet, I don’t want to take my coat and wellies off only to have to rush back out when it does start so trying to find stuff to do outside until it starts. 

I had an escapee this morning from the front shed, ‘ginger Dave’ snuck out as I tried to get through the door 😝 managed to catch her with a net and deposit her back inside quickly. Trying to clean out the hens while they are all in there is difficult to say the least, mostly it’s a game of trying not to stand on them, they have a lovely game of pecking at the bottom of my wellies and they follow my feet everywhere I tread, it’s very irritating a bit like the drip, drip water torture method I imagine. Wherever you try to put a water bucket down, one of them is always underneath it then they go into ‘the stance’ and won’t move still its more annoying for them being in than it is for me I guess. I bought a big wheel of hay to use for the rabbits and also for bedding and ground cover in the hen pens, I found it’s better than straw because the straw doesn’t soak up any wet whereas the hay does also the hay being cut while has seed heads for the chickens to peck over while the straw has already had the seed harvested, just a small thing but hopefully a useful one. 

Well the rain came β˜”οΈοΈβ˜”οΈοΈβ˜”οΈοΈ bucket loads of it, luckily I was indoors with the Rayburn lit by then, had a loaf of bread in the go and got the sofa covers back on and cleaned the bathroom. John came home early so we shot off to get a bit of shopping before the store runs out of milk pending the ‘big snow in’, bought junk food for tea today lol well a pizza anyhow, sometimes you just fancy processed carbs 😜 any today seemed like a good day for it. The temperature has dropped a fair bit but still no sign of snow yet. Came back and skipped the horse out and gave him his tea, fed and bathed the dogs, put the rubbish out, I always nearly forget to do that and have to do it in the dark, collected the eggs and topped up the water buckets, hung the washing on the lazy Shelia and ate pizza. 

Took a photo of two doves that have been hunkered down for about an hour in the tree outside the back door, I wonder if they know what the weather has in store? 

Friday: Well we had a smattering of snow, remains to be seen if we get any more but it wasn’t as bad as they had made it out to be lol. For some reason this year I’m not feeling the cold so much ( must be my age πŸ˜‰) in previous years I felt reluctant to venture outside but this year I am quite enjoying it. I did the feed and water rounds, then fed the dogs and then went back to clean out the chickens in the stable and put new bedding in for them. If I do it mid rounds I generally forget something like feeding the dogs so it’s best to do the norm first then pick up any jobs after a coffee. After that I came in and had some flour to use up in the form of French bread flour and garlic tear and share mix so I made those, then the girls turned up with the grandchildren and we went out for a spot of lunch and a browse around the charity shops followed by a costa coffee stop. By the time I got home John had done the afternoon feed and put out all the eggs for sale, bonus πŸ˜€ The nights are definitely getting lighter nearly 5pm before the dark starts to descend. 

Saturday: We had Joshua our grandson for the day and overnight so I did precisely nothing outside, that was left entirely to John, who must have done an awful lot as he avoided coming indoors all day lol, just in case he got asked to change a bum or do a bit of feeding/playing. He spent the day on the tractor turning the muck heap and by the sounds of it as I haven’t looked yet, churning up the place with the tractor wheels.

Sunday: Josh went home at lunchtime so again I didn’t do the morning feed and John is still out here using the tractor, he did come in overnight 😝 it was raining this morning so I hate to think of the mess that has been made out there, roll on Spring. This time next week I will be nearly at the end of my cheesemaking course at none other than River Cottage, I’m so excited, not only to learn about cheese making but to go to HQ has been a long held dream, that thanks to the John the girls and their partners, is now a reality. It was watching the early days of River Cottage that set us off on the journey we have taken into smallholding, I can’t wait to have a look round and find some renewed enthusiasm. Most of the family are looking forward to me bringing home my spoils, except Macca he doesn’t like cheese and John will only be impressed if it’s cheddar! I will be adding a new skill to my small repertoire, and freshly baked home made bread with home made cheese has to rank among the top ten ‘good life’ moments, perhaps I should make butter as well πŸ˜€

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Cleaning, more cleaning and groundhog days πŸ˜œ

Tuesday: Back to reality and doing it by myself, yesterday on the bank holiday John and I spent the morning cleaning out all of the pens the ducks and chickens are in, that was hard work, 6 barrowfulls out of the duck stable and it stunk, ducks slop water everywhere then it gets under the bedding and makes a stinky mess, today you wouldn’t even have realised we had done it! Still at least we know it was done and now I will keep topping it up each day with fresh stuff and we will do the same again at the weekend, hopefully the enforcement will have been lifted by then but you never know we may have to do another 30 days. The chickens are definitely getting fed up now, trying to escape through the door every time we go in and eating any green stuff like they haven’t eaten all year long. My aim to use everything is going quite well today, the roast beef we had yesterday was sliced up thinly with a slicer I was given a couple of years ago and with the adjustment of the blade I managed to slice up 6 packs of beef which John will use for sandwiches instead of buying ham from the shop, the sprouts got frozen and I used up leftovers and bits in the fridge for soup, I gave away a fruit cake that came in a hamper that John didn’t like and some fancy cheese biscuits that we won’t eat, they also came in the hamper. I got 2 loads of washing done and both are now drying on the lazy Shelia and an airer by the heat from the Rayburn and Johns dinner is also cooking nicely in the Rayburn. I went for a walk round the village with Sam and Shelley and the grandchildren, I wonder if I go on as I started, hopefully, all in all a satisfying day. 

Wednesday: Did the morning feed rounds and a bit of cleaning out water buckets etc as the weather is kinder today and no frozen taps or hoses. Took the chickens some kale I pulled up from the poly tunnel better that they have it as they are not getting much else in the way of grass and grubs etc. I looked around the veg garden, the cabbages I planted are still looking a bit pathetic I hope they pick up when the temps warm up, the broad beans however are doing really well so I am pleased about that, they will be one of the first crops available in early spring. 

I cleaned out Kai’s kennel, swooshed some disinfectant around and gave him a brush, he is moulting already, due to the warmer Winter I suppose. The bolts were rusted on his side door so I got the WD40 and a hammer out to loosen them, went to squat down and riiiipppp there go my trousers, dag nabbit, I put them clean on this morning, and they ripped in an unrepairable place 

I have choices now about the rest of the day, I need to phone HMRC about a glitch on my system but when I called before Christmas about it I was on hold for over an hour, do I sit for goodness knows how long again or because the weather is reasonable do I ignore that for another day and work outside? 

I decided to go outside for a bit, yesterday Hubby, who I usually accuse of not taking any notice of anything, reported to me that I had overlooked the road side egg board in regards to updating the new prices for the eggs, well spotted, so I went out armed with nail varnish remover and a waterproof chalk pen to quickly correct the matter.

Keeping up with the announcements about avian flu has been easy as every Tom, Dick and Harry has had their twopence worth on social media 😝 disappointed was easily the word to use when rumours began mid afternoon about the enforcement being extended to the end of February. No surprise really when the latest outbreak was only confirmed yesterday in Carmarthenshire, most of my pens and stables I am happy with its the outside run with the tarpaulin that will probably not hold up for another month πŸ˜– we haven’t even had any very windy weather yet and it’s flapping about all over the place, so this weekends job will be to make it better than it is now, how I don’t know but needs must. A cull is looking very likely to ease congestion, the old birds, rather than living out their days in the paddock, which they are unable to do anyway, will be used to feed the dogs and the drakes will go in the freezer to feed us, waste not, want not. I will have to put myself into a different mindset to get the job done, it’s not easy at all but once we get underway it just becomes another task, generally speaking one I put off for as long as possible. 

Double fail on the bread making front today 😜 firstly, at some point in time long ago my timer melted at 45mins this is ok if you notice and nudge it on a bit, but today I came in from afternoon feeding and it had stopped, not to worry if the dough had doubled it should be ready, look in the bowl, flat dough, at that point I realise I had forgotten the yeast 😀

I am worried for the chickens now, another 2 months inside is not good, the shells are beginning to thin, they have extra calcium but it works hand in hand with Vit D provided mostly by daylight, going to have to do a bit of research and meanwhile I think I will be buying greens from the shop for them, not how it is supposed to be πŸ˜”It looks like I will be feeding them yoghurt or cereals fortified with vit d as there are hardly any foods suitable for chickens, I can’t feed them fish or liver! 

The bird flu situation is going from bad to worse, with reports of Slimbridge Wildfowl now having cases and over 1.2 million ducks and geese about to be culled in France πŸ˜”

Thursday: Woke up this morning feeling a bit like its Groundhog Day! 

-5 on the thermometer at 7.30am, probably went down to around -8 overnight brrrr, good job we have managed to keep the Rayburn going continuously for the past few days. Dug out some trousers from the back of the wardrobe to replace the ripped ones and found some thick socks to put on today. 

Determined for it not to be a Groundhog Day I decided to go for a walk around the paddocks then came back and as the sun was shining beautifully I made a cup of coffee and sat outside to drink it. I miss that more than anything during the cold months, sitting outside with a cuppa listening to the sounds of the locality, today the dog was yap, yap, yapping there were cars passing and I could hear rumbles from the stoneyard but just occasionally for a few seconds in between it was just birds tweeting, bliss. Did the morning feeding and put the horse out then decided to go around and do a bit of tidying up in the garden, it’s amazing what gets blown around, everything was still frozen and I made the mistake of trying to empty ice from the plastic trug by bashing it on the ground, result, the handle snapped off, then I tried to put the rotary washing line down and one of the arms snapped off, not doing too well so far lol, so I moved onto the front driveway and cleared stuff that had just been left for whatever reason. I was fairly pleased that I had at least achieved something on a cold January day πŸ˜€ 

Friday: Yet another cold night and frozen morning, bucketing water up from the stable to the geese shut in their house in the back paddock is not much fun. Last night I went out and bought some fruit and veg to chop up for the chickens, they were glad of something different to peck at, normally it’s the bottom of my wellies, today they have cabbage and apples. After feeding I came in to get some paperwork done, HMRC have sorted out the glitch without me having to spend another hour on hold so that’s good and I can tick that off my list. I have a fair bit of sorting out to do as John and his business partner have decided to go their separate ways after 16 years in the bathroom business, John will go back to doing small plumbing jobs on his own and I’m hoping it will mean he has more time to help on the veg garden πŸ˜€ 

By the time I finished paperwork, the temperatures had gone up and the rain had set in 😝 yuk it will be disgusting out there this afternoon, the only good thing is for a while I will be 5’5″ with a layer on mud on the bottom of my wellies, instead of 5’3″ so technically the right weight for my height 😝 gotta look for the positives. We have repeat offender on the escapee front in the form of a chicken that has become known as ‘Ginger Dave’ not because we know any famous escape artists called that but because she is very ginger and one of Johns favourite programmes is Mr Khan! She is obviously very clever as none of the others have worked out her method of getting out yet, or maybe not that clever as she clearly doesn’t know there is a flu epidemic going on, can’t blame a girl for trying though. 

Finally had a call re a message left before Christmas from a local chap that dispatches ducks and geese, messaged him with the details and waiting for him to get back with a price and date for 2 geese and 12 drakes, we would do them ourselves if we have to but this way they can all be done at once rather than over a few weekends, also we have not done a goose before so have banded about several ways to do it with the best results but happy to pass it over to someone with the right equipment. 

Saturday: Damp start to the day, John went off to get the feed, we do have 4 bags left but it’s not enough to get to next weekend so he will go to the feed merchant and get 12 bags and no doubt have a good chat and catch up. One of the things I love is the relationships you build with people when you use independents, the feed merchant, the local farmer that delivers hay and straw, the chaps at the wood yard where we buy our fencing, a delivery or pick up usually ends in a chat for nearly an hour! 

It’s still dark at 7.45am, and a quick look outside reveals that ‘Ginger Dave’ has escaped again overnight, damn chicken, may have to put her in a better lockdown pen than the one she is in now. 

As the tarp covered area has been breached numerous times we decided to split the up the hens in there and move them to the other pens, then take down the tarpaulin and the makeshift structure that was holding it up (sort of) I feel much happier now that they are all under cover and in secure pens, even though they are a little more crowded, it will be easier to clean them out etc. I renewed the DEFRA approved bio security footbaths and gave them some apples, pears and cabbage to peck at, trying to stop them from getting bored is a main concern, they will turn to egg eating and feather pecking if I don’t. One of the hens in the stable has been looking very unhappy, sitting as high up as she can get and all hunched up, a sure sign she is not liking the situation, I decided to move her to the outside pen where the rabbits are and she perked up quickly. The rabbits have now been moved out of their des res and into a smaller hutch away from the hens, hopefully they can now eat their dinner in peace.

Back indoors to get the fire lit, tidy up and make some bread, I remembered the yeast this time, I had to add it after on the one I messed up but it turned out ok in the end. Had a little sit down and a cuppa, darts season is upon us (although it never seems to go away, much like snooker and F1) so as I write this Hubby is giving me a much unwanted running commentary, apart from a 9 dart finish, I really am not interested, the best bit about the above sports being on is that I can usually get a power nap in if I need one 😜

Oh I must add that I had a dark moment or two this morning lol, frosty, frozen, sunny, dry mornings I can handle with ease, damp, rainy, muddy ones are my nemesis I’m afraid, I usually have a face like thunder and am known to swear a lot. If you ever watched The Good Life when they are trying to harvest veg in the rain and mud or thought that the lady that runs the farm in Last Tango in Halifax looks very down trodden, you can begin to understand how I feel. I have to give myself a stern talking to and pull myself together, it was helped enormously when I walked around the corner and saw a blackbird having a bath in a puddle which made me smile and then watched John desperately trying and failing to catch ‘Ginger Dave’ which gave me a giggle, she is quick and has her wits about her. 

Sunday: Foggy first thing but that soon wore off, was hoping to see some sunshine but it hasn’t materialise as yet. Did the morning rounds, nothing untoward today and then John set about cutting up wood, we were given a huge pile of old wood and pallets at the beginning of the Autumn and he never got round to cutting it up because we did some of the conifers instead, so today is a good day to get them done and cleared up. I came indoors and did some cleaning, the boot/utility/dog bedroom gets very mucky in a very short space of time and gets to the point when you can’t put it off any longer. Then I got some left over turkey out of the freezer to make turkey korma and a turkey casserole for tea, mines the korma, John is not that adventurous 😜 Lighting the Rayburn was a mission today, a combination of having no newspapers left so using the Viking direct catalogue and the kindling was a little bit damp from the condensation that drips from the metal roof, I managed to get it going in the end though. It’s surprising how many newspapers you use, we don’t have them so rely on folks we know giving them to us but of course it’s been the holidays and as people usually buy them on the way to work they are in short supply. 

Ooo as I type this, the sun is trying to come out, must have heard me 🌞

My frame of mind is altogether better than yesterday, I’m not sure what happened there, there are down days, and there are uplifting days and days in between, just have to take them as they come. 

I will try and get some photos for next week, to be honest it’s a mission just trying to keep on top of it without having to remember to take my camera out with me 😝

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Welcome to 2017 πŸ˜€Β 

Well I hope you had a great time over the festivities and are ready to get back to ‘real life’ lol, for us, an element of real life never goes away, animals need attention 365 days a year regardless of wether or not too many sherbets were had the previous night 😝Famous last words, more about that later! 

Over the holidays we had two separate attempts to break for freedom from the horses, one went over the wall and off down the lane after getting a fright and the other went through the fence pulling it down and then the hedge to the horses next door as he didn’t want to spend the day alone, his companions were away for a day or two, on both occasions neighbours phoned to let me know and on both occasions my reaction was ‘for f**ks sake’! We now have a piece of fencing to repair and a fence to erect as the stone wall is clearly not high enough.

The birds are still on lockdown and some are looking decidedly fed up with the whole thing, we had intended to do some fencing but as Sod’s law often happens, the weather turned cold and the ground was frozen so the next best thing is to plan. We discussed the siting of the new duck shed and hubby went off to the merchant to price up roof sheets etc only to find them shut πŸ˜– never mind because while he was away, in my head, I relocated the whole duck pen to a different area of the farm, luckily when I told him my idea he agreed it was a good one πŸ˜€ We will begin that as soon as a) the weather permits and b) we have the time. 

We received some wonderful presents from everyone including three activity/break days so I have been trying to sort out on the calendar when the best time to book them is, we seem to have something each month so far, from a night away, to clay pigeon shooting, concerts, afternoon tea, a mini break in Scotland, willow weaving and cheese making, and a cruise, going to be a good year I reckon πŸ˜€

New Years Eve was a ‘tipple tour’ round the village, stopping at various ‘pre ordained’ addresses and then stopping off at the church to pop champagne while the church bells are ringing in the New Year, great fun, rather too many sherbets on my part and by the time I dragged myself outside John had done everything and one of the girls had done the horse, I spent most of the rest of the day sleeping 😝 

The rat living in the wall is still there, I despair about how to get rid of it, honestly I have fed it that much poison, I guess I will just keep going until we don’t hear it anymore.

Back to normality today as everyone is back at the day job and I am here on my own again, I don’t mind as I feel an element of being in control and overseeing everything is the way I like it. Everything is frozen solid this morning including the tap inside the stable block, good job John filled up the water buckets yesterday afternoon, I will have to wait for the sun to warm everything up and do the same later on today, fingers crossed it does or I will be bucketing water from the house to every point of the paddocks. 

I don’t make resolutions as such (slight interruption to typing as a Robin has just flown in through the back door and into the kitchen) but I do resolve to do things better than I did last year. I am determined to make use of everything, we have little waste but sometimes things get overlooked such as the sprouts sat out in the back, as I don’t really like them I would probably overlook them until they are only fit for the chooks but today I will make an effort to open freeze them for using in Johns dinners, oranges going wrinkly in the fruit basket will be used in cake making etc. The hardest part is that John is quite a fussy eater but I have warned him of my intention so best not to ask what is in stuff I have made πŸ˜€ 

Back to the Robin, ever since Johns dad died and one landed on his head at 10pm at night we have joked that it is his dad keeping an eye on us, he obviously just popped in for a New Year visit. Since the chickens and ducks have been forcibly housed, I have noticed the wild birds scratching around for food and judging by the amount of feed we are saving, we were feeding half the countryside population of wild birds, so I have been putting grain out for them now and again, not too much but just enough to keep them going, one even followed Sam into the feed room the other day and was eating the cat biscuits. 

Over the holidays I have had the chance to read other blogs with a similar theme to mine and I look forward to reading them throughout the year, I hope you continue to enjoy mine and that we have many adventures together over 2017. 

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Merry Christmas and a Happy 2017 πŸ˜€πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

Monday: Made a few adjustment to a couple of the pens in order to make life a little easier for all of us, trying to give them something new each day so that they don’t get bored, hanging up a cabbage for them to peck or putting in a pile of hay for them to scratch through. The ducks are slightly different as they don’t eat much fresh stuff and are not bothered about scratching up but they do panic a fair amount when you go near them so I have put in a hurdle with a mat over for them to hide behind if they want to. The outside run covered in tarp is holding up but the chickens look decidedly fed up already, the netting still hasn’t arrived so I can’t even net the rest and let them have more space at the minute. Sam and I spent a couple of hours making bits for the Christmas feast table and then we did a mock up to see how it was going to look and I am quite pleased with the result, here is a sneak preview. 

After the afternoon feeding and egg collecting I had to give the quail a clean out poor things have been overlooked all week, then wash the dogs as they are getting filthy with this wet muddy weather. 

Tuesday: Another drizzly morning, at this point in the year I am hoping for more frosty days than not but the temps are staying quite high and so wet and muddy it is. We all seem to have settled into a new morning routine but as it’s slightly different I nearly forgot to let the geese out this morning and had to go back, they need to be kept in but the net I need still isn’t here I am beginning to think it will never arrive. 

Back indoors to sort out a bit of paperwork and some odd jobs including looking through presents I have got and what I still need to get, which thankfully is not much. 

Had Mia for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

Wash the dogs again, I will be sick of doing that by the end of winter too πŸ˜–

Wednesday: I can’t believe how mild it is, I can easily walk around in a single layer and not feel cold at all. I probably shouldn’t though with this cough and sore throat malarkey, I will be glad to see the back of it and get a decent nights sleep instead of coughing all night. Did the morning rounds, most birds seem happy enough if a little over excited to see me, one or two are having a hard time in the laying flock, a couple are getting picked on, normally they would be able to keep well out of the way of any bullied but when confined it’s more difficult. I was thinking as I went round this morning that I can’t see the point of keeping them in really after all if the bird flu hits the area in wild birds there will be a cull anyway and you can’t stop the wild birds getting it. I feel sorry for the garden birds they are clearly used to feeding off my hens and ducks feed and now it’s not available to them, if the weather turns harsh there will be a natural cull of its own through starvation.

Got an early start on a stew for tea later and we plan to make mince pies this evening so I will be making pastry today. For the first time in a week I feel that normality, such as it is, has resumed and I can focus on the day to day stuff.

Went to get the Christmas tree, we always have a real one and in the old days the girls would go off with their Dad and bring back an enormous tree that we usually had to cut the top and bottom off of, in later years the girls did it between them and now everyone has left home I can at last pick a tree that fits nicely, does not take up half the sitting room and doesn’t need pruning before we can get it in 😜

I got the night wrong for mince pies but made the pastry anyway, ready for tomorrow night. 

Thursday: Went round and did the morning feeding, a bit of cleaning out etc and then take a battery to connect to the solar panel on the front chicken hut, as John has cleaned it out we decided to put some of the chickens back in there to relieve the crowded situation under the tarp area, it is a little on the dark side in there but with a light on it should be fine for around 15 chickens, and it’s got to be better than the muddy area they are in now. The netting finally arrived but although it’s very long it’s not really wide enough to cover the expanse I had in mind, if the ground becomes too unbearable I will move the last lot into a stable for the duration. A mornings work done outside, I am off indoors to do some ‘normal’ stuff and maybe catch up with The Walking Dead 😝

Did some sorting out of the spare room, my aim is to furnish and decor it for next to nothing, so far apart from new sheets and duvet covers for single beds I have blown a budget of 99p for a foldaway bed on eBay, everything else I have up-cycled, been given or had in storage somewhere, very pleasing. 

Made around 6 dozen mince pies in the evening with Shelley and trialled mince meat popcorn, I’m not such a fan of pop corn as the bits get stuck in my teeth and throat lol. 

Friday: Did the morning rounds, everyone seems fine and mostly happy, I have been giving them some butternut squash and apples to peck on to try and stop any boredom. Then indoors to tidy up and light the fire as I am off to Joshua’s little party for his friends for his birthday.

Came back and did the afternoon feeding and collected the eggs, I was worried at the beginning of the week that the customers were not coming but the eggs are going thick and fast towards the end of the week.

In between feeding and putting to bed, rumours began to emerge about a possible case of bird flu on a Turkey farm in Lincolnshire, as yet unconfirmed, time to prepare the geese for lock down, I cleaned them out quickly, put in new bedding and moved their water tubs inside, luckily both huts are big enough to house them albeit a little restricting. We will have to wait for the reports to be confirmed to see what happens next. 

Ordered some big bales of straw, we are going to need them, and the log delivery finally arrived, although we have cut plenty of logs from the felled trees they need to season for a year or more before they can be used. 

Saturday: I am not happy with the conditions the chooks under the tarp are living in, there are too many in there so after feeding and cleaning out we set about making a stable ready for 26 of the hens to move to, we moved 5 more to their original hut in the paddock making a total of 20 in there, it’s more spread out and more work but I feel it is better for their wellbeing in the long run. The geese were not too happy about being kept in but better safe than sorry I say, the delivery of straw arrived mid morning and after that I set about putting up the Christmas tree in the front room and decorating for the festivities. Commence the yearly battle to detangle the Christmas tree lights 😜 I really must put them away nicely next year to save me an hour or so! 

Early evening we went over to Charlie and Macca’s little cottage to sit by the fire and partake of some mulled cider, their first Christmas in their new home together and it is all looking very cosy indeed πŸ˜€

Sunday: I was up early and as some of the birds are indoors I can easily get started on the feeding and watering etc, again the geese were vocal about being kept in but they will get used to it eventually πŸ˜– I have a poorly chicken, not bird flu though, but the one with the impacted crop that had it before, at the moment I have separated her and I will try and massage it free but to be honest it keeps happening so culling may be the only answer for her. 

Off to Sainsbury’s as early as possible so we don’t get trampled in the pre Christmas stampede to empty the shelves as if there is to be a holocaust!

Had a relaxing afternoon, then went to the pub for early evening drinks, great not to have to worry about shutting the birds away.

Monday Morning:

Busy morning, getting bits ready for Christmas, the home made tipples and goodies for presents, the sprouts picked, and the stock on the go for the big feast. 

I will take my leave now until the New Year and wish you all the very best for the festivities and luck and happiness for 2017, thank you for reading my blogs and being part of my life’s journey πŸ˜€

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Defra, tarpaulins and much work to do.Β 

Monday: Cold and frosty again, on my rounds I notice that the orchard lot don’t have any water, John did them yesterday and obviously didn’t top up while the hose was defrosted, the nearest available water is in a water trough by the greenhouse so I break the ice and use that, it’s not the best as it’s been standing a while but the hens seems happy to have any kind of water, I will do fresh when the sun has thawed out the taps and hose. I lit the Rayburn straight away as the house got cold yesterday when we were not here to light it so I want to warm it thoroughly. While I am doing that I hear on the radio that it’s only just over two weeks till Christmas, WHAaaaT! I better get my schizzle on I haven’t even made any mince pies yet, normally I make them the first week of December so I am behind schedule 😜 All the while I am going about my daily stuff I keep looking to the front driveway just to make sure the little toe rags are not there, there is no money in there now mind you but still I will keep an eye out.

Roast shoulder of lamb for dinner tonight as I didn’t do any cooking over the weekend I better make up for it πŸ˜€ 

Peering out the window all the times makes me realise just how much they need a clean 😝

Tuesday: Had Mia for the day so apart from the morning routine not much else got done! 

In the evening whilst catching up with Facebook I was concerned to see lots of posts about avian flu and DEFRA recommendations, I looked into it and it appears that poultry and caged birds are being put on a 30 day lockdown 😫 Sometimes life just keeps flicking bits of shit at you to make sure your getting a bumpy ride.

Wednesday: Guess what I will be doing today! After feeding and letting them out because there is no way I can keep them in this morning, I set about finding and ordering as much netting as possible. It seems we are required to house birds indoors or prevent wild birds from getting into the pens to access water and feed. The threat is serious, I have been monitoring the spread of the avian flu through Europe, mostly carried by migrating Geese and Swans, its spreading rapidly. So this morning I have managed to do the pen with the POL birds in which was easy, then half done the orchard birds but need to wait for netting to arrive before doing the top and after that god knows what I will be doing, I have stables I can use if I have to also a bay in the hay barn could be used, watch this space πŸ€”

The more I think about it, the more complicated it becomes as I have to fox proof everything too! 

By evening, we at least have a bit of a plan although it’s difficult to implement until the weekend as I need some muscle for some things, have to make do with John 😜. My hands hurt form using the staple gun to put up netting and my head is spinning from thinking about what to do and how to do it. Disinfectant is ordered for biosecurity measures and no one is allowed to go in with any poultry unless authorised to do so. We will be culling any ducks that are not necessary and if the enforcement carries on longer than 30 days some of the old ladies as well 😧 I need chocolate 😬and wine 😬 

At least I have Kirsties handmade Christmas to look forward to tonight πŸ˜€

Thursday: Oh my days another day of sorting out birds, Shelley came over first thing and with Josh in the pushchair watching we managed to round up the 20 ducks and herd them into the stable, it was a bit of a fiasco and certainly not something I could do alone due to the multiple escape routes available. Then we moved onto crating up and moving 20 hens from the front laying flock and moved them into the back pen, not easy as I had already let them out albeit into a smaller run. I had made a decision to mix them with the hens for sale and forgo the sales, not that there will be many sales now lol. Then Sam and Mia arrived and we set about making the orchard pen safe for the hens, we have a flimsy piece of wire one side but luckily some 4 ft fence panel, 5 in total, which we turned end up to make them taller and screws them together and fixed them in place. After that we began netting the sides of the run and the inside of the rabbit run which now has 15 hens in there plus Aaron the cockerel who thinks all his birthdays have come at once 😁 

Josh was still watching contentedly, Mia wasn’t lol, in between a sleep she was grizzly, probably wanted to be out helping or indoors playing. We then took up the electric fencing and made a channel between the hut and the orchard which I can hopefully herd the chickens through in the morning to their new abode. We stopped around 2 and Shelley went off for take out Costa while I lit the fire and Sam entertained the children, a good days work with plenty still left to do. 3pm feeding and egg collection time, by this time the disinfectant had arrived so I found enough tubs for foot baths and put those by the pens, put the birds to bed at 4.30 and then off to get a bit of shopping as I have not had time to make bread and visit an in law for his birthday. Tomorrow is another day and there is still much to do to stop the wild birds getting in. 

Friday: I can no longer say ‘the usual routine’ although the new routine will quickly become usual, John had a spare hour this morning to go and get the feed, that will enable us to start early on Saturday getting tarps up over the orchard area, we have a birthday lunch to go to right in the middle of the day so need to get a good start to the weekend. 

First job of the day was to move the front paddock laying flock into the orchard via our channel of fencing, this didn’t go as well as I had imagined it would lol, the chickens were very wary and although I managed to herd around 10 of them, the rest I had to catch, four escaped into the field and I had to leave them until they went to bed and then move them. Then I went round netting up any gaps that had been missed and finally used a replacement poly tunnel cover I had to put up over the small run with the fighting rabbit in as I have two chickens in there with it. The netting for the top of the orchard pen has still not arrived and any way we have decided to tarpaulin it instead although how long that will stay up I don’t know. The hens and ducks don’t seem to mind being moved in fact I think they are enjoying the change of scenery, for the time being at least. 

As everything has been condensed down into three basic pens, the feeding takes much less time than usual and eventually the bedtime routine will be very quick too, just need to sort out something for the geese, I think this will be netted pens attached to their hut until the danger is either over or more threatening. 

Saturday: Another round of trying to make the pens bird proof, this time John is here with power tools and tarps, so we spent a couple of hours sorting the orchard and got it half covered before having to dash of for Birthday lunch with the Mother in Law. Got back home and Shelley came with us to give me a hand doing some cleaning which I haven’t been able to get done all week while John lit the fire and fed the birds and collected the eggs. He reported that the tarps were not holding up to well so we may have to rethink the situation entirely, getting fed up with the whole thing now. Off to babysit Mia for the evening. 

Sunday: Getting bored with the whole thing now, first job for John was to clean out the Rayburn flue, we knew it needed doing as the fire was not burning properly, very lack lustre. Then guess what…………yep, onto the job of tarpaulin, it’s like trying to wrap a giant odd shaped Christmas present. The problem being the only ones the merchant had left were not big enough that coupled with two stinking great trees growing out of the area we are trying to cover, made life very difficult indeed. So in the end we decided to only cover half the area and if it blows down we will have to move them all indoors to the stables as a back up plan. We finished that around lunchtime and John went on to power wash and clean out the hut they are no longer using, at least we can do something positive in all this chaos, I went indoors to light the Rayburn which is now chuffing away well and get some proper dinner sorted for the first time in nearly a week, went the whole hog and did pudding as well, we certainly have earned it. Then after the animals got shut away for the night, off to visit the Mother In Law for her actual birthday.

All this and I have been suffering with a stupid cough and a throat that feels like razor blades, I’m pretty sure we are due some up lifting, good newsy stuff soon, pretty please.

Still have not managed to make any mince pies yet 😝

John went out to let the dogs out for a wee before bed and a fox was stood less than 10ft away, Patch looked at it, then he looked at John, then decided to chase it lol, needless to say he didn’t catch it although the dogs are fast, the fox is faster! 

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Flies, Thieves and Christmas Shopping πŸ˜

Monday again! Dark this morning, did the animals then had to set about the paperwork I should have done Friday, it niggles in my head till it’s done, had the VAT quarter to do as well. Would have gone well except the bloody dogs were barking at fresh air and the occasional egg customer. Eventually after trying to tot up a column for the third time I shut them in the back until I had finished.We have started putting out large eggs for 1.40 a box, one of the reasons was that people were moving the eggs around to get the best deal, they were a mixed box at 1.20 but we have now changed them to small Β£1 medium Β£1.20 large Β£1.40 and any extra large will be Β£1.50 a box. You wouldn’t believe what customers do lol, not all, in fact not most of them just the odd one or two swapping them around, leaving IOU notes, making suggestions on how I should do things 😝 and rocking up at stupid hours, all in a days work I guess.

Now that the paperwork is out of the way I can concentrate on Christmas presents and we have a good few birthdays coming up as well, need to get myself organised. 

Topped up all the water in the afternoon feed session as it is predicted to freeze tonight and the taps won’t work in the morning. Also fell arse over tit while feeding, I usually cock my leg over the three foot electric fence but misjudged it slightly and my foot got tangled, this happens occasionally but I can normally right myself, not today, thump, down I went luckily nothing injured but pride 😜

Went over to Charlie’s in the evening to take a chair for them to sit on until their sofa arrived, came out to go home and the car windscreens were already frozen at 8.30, gonna be cold tonight! 

Tuesday: A cold, frozen morning but with the promise of sunshine on the horizon, the sun rising this morning actually looks as I imagine the Serengeti does, bathing the sky in a fiery orange glow. Thick socks today I think, I’m glad I did the water yesterday and I put in extra bedding for some of the ducks this morning. Also fed the geese some hard feed and apples as the grass, which is their staple diet, is frozen. 

Enjoying the Winter sun but it does show the dusty windows up 😜 I don’t know about you but I always think cleaning the windows in winter is a complete waste of time, however it will probably annoy me so much I will feel compelled to do it eventually. Meanwhile the kitchen needs a clean. 

Kitchen cleaned, bathroom given a wipe over, sitting room hoovered and polished, dinner prepped for tonight and organised tomorrow’s dinner too, and the Rayburn is lit waiting for the washing to finish to hang on the lazy Shelia. Now at this point I really should have thought, I’ll go outside and do some work in the garden, but to be honest my thought was to hell with it, I will catch up with the walking dead 😝 He who thinks that I obey him will have no complaints as there will be hot water, a warm, clean house, and dinner in the oven, jobs a good un 😘

Feeding this afternoon I discovered that the temps could not have risen much during the day, as parts of the ground where the sun didn’t reach are still frosted and my fingers got cold just handling the eggs. Another discovery on my return into the utility room was a mass (well 21 at a count) of dead flies on the floor! At least I know where they are coming from now, underneath a pipe, why, I have no idea, my best guess is the dogs have had a bone or some raw meat and it has got wedged underneath then flies have laid eggs ?? but I shall get the fly spray out forthwith and finish them off. 

Gonna be a cold one again tonight that’s for sure, we got a lovely flaming sunset though first

Wednesday: Fook its cold this morning! The girls coming up to do the horses said it was registering -7 on the car dash at 7.30am by my reckoning that means it went down to around -10 overnight possibly lower. No wonder then that when I let the ducks out in the front they immediately sat down on the grass and were shivering, a duck, shivering, never seen it before 😧 The chicken poo in the front hut floor was frozen, bear in mind there are about 90 chickens in there overnight all giving off a little heat, it was mightily cold indeed. By the time I finished scraping the floor the ducks had moved to the first ray of Sunshine coming through the trees, a tiny patch in the corner of their pen, I hope it warms up quickly these are the kind of temperatures that can kill older birds. Naturally I had to break all the water buckets this morning and it was quite thick ice, I need to get me a metal rod to break it instead of using my heel as that jars a bit especially by the time you get to the last bucket. 

Switching broadband providers today and Talk Talk decided to cut me off before BT had switched me on, thanks a bunch tossers, how the hell am I supposed to find out what’s happening in Faceland? I can’t even check the weather to see how much the temps are going to climb and decide when to light the Rayburn 😜

I decided to light it early, I can always shut it right down to tick over if it gets too warm, better to keep the house warm than have to start over later on I thought. Besides two rooms I needed to work in are cold rooms, the first the utility, the flies seem to have stopped crawling out ended up with around 40 of them, so a good Hoover in there might see and end to that little phenomena, then in the study to connect the broadband. To be honest I was expecting a rigmarole of plugging, unplugging, waiting, wondering when it will connect but nope, I plugged it in connected up and it was up and running, BT you get 10/10 so far πŸ˜€

Thursday: Uber cold overnight again, frozen water buckets etc, shan’t be doing much outside if I can help it lol.

My seed order arrived already, that was quick, I see I also ordered asparagus pea, my Mum has grown this before but I haven’t so it will be an interesting crop, I try to find recipes or information to print out for my customers and of course any tried and tested ones are a bonus, I also received a couple of free seed packets, Sunflowers, which I haven’t grown for a couple of years so I will definitely use them and some very long almost pink radish, hopefully they will be more successful than the black ones 😝

Spent a couple of hours doing some paperwork, tying up lose ends etc and then another couple of hours online Christmas shopping, in between that I was keeping the Rayburn stoked up to keep the chill off πŸ˜€

Had Mia for a couple of hours in the afternoon, then did then feed round and put more rat bait down the holes, I will get these bloody things, flies are still appearing, it’s a mystery! 

Friday: The temps have gone up thank goodness, I can get some fresh water to everything at last. Checked the rat bait, it’s still there so hoping I have managed to kill them off. Let the new ducks out and one of them is clearly not right, not standing up, flapping along the ground, when I picked her up she feels thin, no other obvious signs of anything wrong, bright eyed and nothing broken. Made up a pen for her inside the stable with good and water and hope she starts to pick up a bit. The yard reeks of fox this morning so we have a prowler, need to make sure I am on the ball at bedtime or we could have losses. After morning coffee out to put in fresh bedding and check on the duck, move a goose that somehow has flown over the fence into the next paddock and sort the utility room to see if I can find where these bloody flies are coming from! 

So events took a turn while I was out putting the bedding in, I was in the rabbit cage when I noticed what I thought were egg customers, then something about them make me think not, by the time I got out they had ridden away on their bikes with the egg money, little scrotes, I am bloody fuming and shaking with rage, only about a fiver but not the point. I reported it to the police and of course I have them on cctv, it’s the principle of the matter as far as I am concerned. Will have to have a rethink about the eggs now πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

Saturday: The usual stuff although the poorly duck didn’t make it through the night πŸ˜”

Then onto our favourite job, tree felling and chopping and splitting and shredding urgh I will be glad when they are all down. The cold got right through to my bones and it took me ages to warm up. I also spent the day keeping an eye on the egg shed and emptying the money every time someone came, the police called me back today just to get some details, I’m not expecting a prosecution lol but its the principle of the matter.

I ordered a nice new big shed for the duck enclosure, at the moment I have to bend down to get inside and collect any eggs, also cleaning out is difficult doubled over so a full height door and roof will be wonderful. The plan is to build a small platform inside with a ramp up to it, so they can get up to nest if they choose to. The older ducks have at least started laying again though the young ones are still to produce anything 😜

The rat bait blocks are still there so I’m guessing the rats are dead at last.

Sunday: Sooooo today after doing the morning feed routine we decided to go Christmas shopping, oh how I wish we hadn’t! The will to live began to fade whilst sat in the traffic on the approach to the car park, drivers trying to push their way in further up the queue, those who had got in the wrong lane and trying to get back out again. Finally getting into the car park, miles away from the shop cos that’s the only space left despite trying to tell hubby, who of course wants to park as close to the door as possible, that it ain’t gonna happen. First the toilet, guess what, another queue 😝 begin shopping, the first two shops I walked into, I walked straight back out again, rammed, the next was a little better so I dived in, overloaded shelves mean handbag hitting hazards all over the place. Honestly it’s like trying to take a trailer test, manoeuvring your way around various objects with the thinnest of aisles, your hazard perception has to be tip top to stop yourself bumping into people who have just stopped for no apparent reason, shufflers that you just can’t get past no matter which way you try to overtake them. Then there is the coffee break stop, the place looks like a refugee camp busting at the seams, with people and all their wordly goods clogging up the walkways, we opted for a table service option, quieter because you pay more, yep that’s fine by me. Hubby had a full English but was disappointed to find that a sausage was not included although it said on the menu it was, he becomes a dog that won’t let go of the raggy toy, excuse me, I thought I was supposed to have a sausage? I’m sorry sir I don’t know why you haven’t, by this time he has eaten most of the breakfast, it doesn’t matter he says. I finish my mocha and toast and we go to pay, I didn’t get a sausage he pipes up (I thought It didn’t matter?) I leave him to pay and wander off, he catches up with a broad smile as they have given him some compensation in the way of cake, personally if it was me, I would have given him a sausage! 

Carry on wandering and trying to fight through swathes of shoppers and in the end decide enough is enough, time to make our way home, the roads are nice and clear on the way out as we smile pityingly at the line of traffic still waiting to get in, should have got up earlier, hubby smirks. 

Did I get what I went for, not really, I ended up with stuff I didn’t even know I needed, by the time we get home, the dogs have their legs crossed and it’s as cold indoors as it is out because we weren’t there to light the Rayburn πŸ˜” Make a cuppa, eat the free cake, at this point I’m glad it’s not a sausage, hubby lights the fire, feeds the animals and does the eggs while I make a sandwich and put stuff away. There ends my foray into the yearly crush and crunch that is Christmas Shopping, back to online shopping for me πŸ˜‹

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A wet Monday, Black Friday and Family weekend.Β 

Monday: What a bloody horrendous start to the week weather wise, got a good soaking this morning despite having my full length rain coat and wellies on, the wind was blowing and I managed to get wet knees, how is that possible? I had a hat on too, though I detest wearing hats I felt that it was preferable to having frizzy hair all day, the trouble with hats is the different dimensions they turn your head into, I forget I am wearing it and bash into every door frame we have, knocking it sideways then the rain that has collected in the rim goes down my neck! It’s wet, windy and muddy, just disgusting, I shall not be going out there again until it’s necessary. Made leek and potato soup and a fresh loaf of bread. 

Still raining in the afternoon so ordered a couple of Christmas presents online. Started raining even heavier so lit the Rayburn ate my soup and decided to sit down and a) do the crop rotation plan for next year and b) go through the seed catalogues and write down my order, I am hoping that they do Black Friday again this year as I got them half price last year a saving of around Β£60! It is easy to get carried away when ordering as there are so many varieties of each crop, I managed to control myself though and go for high yields or early cropping (I have impatient customers) I also decided to go with outdoor cucumbers and tomato this year as I find I have more success with the extra plants I plant out than I do with the ones that are carefully nurtured indoors. I like to try something new each year and have gone for banana squash this year, mostly because I listened to an interview with a squash farmer around Halloween, they were talking about pumpkins but when asked which squash you should try she replied with banana squash, as I had never heard of them they had to be the ones to go for πŸ˜€ I am also trying out purple mange touts 😜

We have a phenomenon going on here, flies, they keep appearing from god knows where indoors, my guess is they have hibernated somewhere and when we light the fire they warm up and crawl out. We attract flies, not because we are grubby πŸ˜‹ but because of the nature of the place, horse, duck, chicken shit = flies, but these are doing my head in, not many of them but about 4/5 a day keep appearing, they are very dozy and therefore very annoying but also easy to swat, never had the problem before and hope it stops soon. 

The afternoon feed time came around quick and I got myself suited and booted, different coat though as this mornings one hasn’t dried out yet 😝

Smoked fish for tea and an apple pudding of some sort if I can be bothered to make it, depends how wet I get or if there is more to do outside than I planned for, i.e. clearing up after flooding, if not I will dig around in the freezer for fruit and crumble mix. 

In the end I got a small apple pie out the freezer for John and some left over bread and butter pudding for me. 

Tuesday: Not a bad morning to begin with, mild and not raining, I won’t say dry because it’s very soggy underfoot. Longer than usual routine this morning as I put in fresh bedding for some and cleaned out others, the trouble with the ducks is they just make a poo mat, put in fresh bedding, they flatten it with their webbed dirty feet then poo all over it, the chickens are a little more refined. noticed new rat holes under the front chicken hut, however the rain has also puddled up there so I am guessing they won’t stay under there very long. 

The eggs numbers have slowly started to declined, to be honest I had expected that long before now so we are doing quite well really. 

Came indoors to change the bed linen and do a bit of hoovering by which time it had started raining again, did the washing up and smiled at the activity of a large number of little garden birds all ferreting around in the gravel out the front, the rain must have washed up some tasty tit bits judging by the activity. 

Got an offer for coffee at the garden centre…..yes indeed πŸ˜€ so quickly put some washing on (the wash basket looks like an active volcano) and got the lamb shoulder ready for slow cooking, I will leave it on low while I go out and turn it up a little on my return. I won’t light the Rayburn yet as it is quite mild considering and with the oven on as well it would get too warm. 

On my return the afternoon slowly descends into chaos as often happens I find, not major stuff just a whirlwind of little things all rattling around and colliding such as the phone ringing, a delivery or the doorbell going all at the same time as I am trying to carry something heavy indoors or taking the eggs out or having a wee, this little scenario seemed to happen multiple times yesterday afternoon and I find myself swivelling on the spot not quite sure which to do first. Then a problem with one of the horses who had been bought in and rolled in his stable and got himself stuck on the ground, much banging and clattering before he manage to right himself again. Good job it’s my treat to myself night, a massage, bliss. 

Wednesday: A dry morning with a promising forecast of no rain β˜”οΈ 

Did the morning stuff and also cleaned out my feed storage as the rain had driven in and there was a soggy, messy corner in need of attention before it goes mouldy. Its an old chest freezer, ideal for storing feed so the rats and mice can’t get in, not sure how the rain got in, it’s usually dry as a bone.

This morning it was the turn of the rabbits to be cleaned out, their pen is quite large and has a concrete path around the outer edges but dirt in the middle, this is fine except that they dig burrows and the dirt pile ends up blocking the opening of the door, so I scrapped off all the mud and put down some metal grid then covered with the dirt again so that they can’t dig anymore holes hopefully, they won’t thank me for it but it will make my life easier. There are five females and they lived quite happily for a few months then fighting began between the grey one and the brown one, this resulted in an eye injury for the grey one so I moved her out, it’s been a couple of months and her eye has healed so I tried her back in with the others but the minute she was in there fighting began again so I had to take her back out. If you have never seen rabbits fight, they are vicious towards each other, fur flying all over the place, no cuddly fluffy bunnies then 😝 I really must give them names, instead of the brown one or the grey one lol

The Sun made a great appearance in the afternoon much appreciated, although it does feel cold. 

Thursday: Crap nights sleep or rather lack of, dog began yapping at something during the evening and carried on well into the night, investigated but couldn’t see anything and he won’t be told to shut up! Rats scurrying across the tin roof most of the night, inspected poison this morning all eaten, need to refill, and topped off by Hubby grinding his teeth πŸ˜– all in all not much decent sleep. Probably accounts for why I feel emosh this morning about Charlie moving out at the weekend 😭 

As well as the normal stuff this morning I scrapped off the mud from the POL hens floor, it is concrete and has a roof but the rain blows in the sides and then the hens walk in the mud and deposit it on the concrete, it soon builds up! Feel as though things are slightly out of control at the moment (rats) and the ducks not laying at all really need to get rid or cull the drakes so I am not feeding mouths that will not produce anything. Lists, that is the answer to get control back for me, make lists and tick the jobs off one by one. Cut the feed back a bit this morning as I don’t want extra lying around for rats and crows to devour. 

Made a list and it worked well, got me motivated, take pictures of the drakes and put up for sale βœ… burn rubbish βœ… put poison out under front chicken hut βœ… clean out quail βœ… put straw money out for delivery tomorrow βœ… get something out for dinner βœ… sort freezers βœ… muck up the bean bed and put down weed cover βœ… that last job was quite a big one, 5 barrowfuls of muck, shovelled up and moved from the back heap to the veg garden, by the fifth barrow I was sweating and had to take my coat off so……cardiovascular workout βœ… 

Had a quick look round the garden and delighted to see the tiny shoots of the broad beans beginning to emerge from the ground, they will be ready early next year, then water the veg in the poly tunnel, onions are sprouting and the other veg is doing fine. I noticed a fair few broccoli sproutings so went in the cage to pick them and the leaves on the sprouts that have been growing readily are starting to die back so a good time to pick them all off and harvest the sprout stalks, there are five in total, not bad at all. 

I did have some other things on the list that I didn’t get round to but there is always tomorrow besides I wanted to try out my new gadget, a wood burning pen/stick thingy. I had a spare chopping board lurking around and wanted to have a go and give it to Charlie and Macca for their new home, I was pleased with the results πŸ˜€

Friday: On inspection during my rounds this morning, all of the bait blocks have gone so I have put some more down. I was told a rat needs to eat his own weight in poison before it dies, hope there are not too many fat bastards down the holes otherwise it’s gonna cost me a fortune 😝

Off out to get my blood tests done then into town to do some shopping

Checked my e-mails and delighted to see one from Mr Fothergills for Black Friday, sat down and did my seed order, I got Β£75 worth of seeds for Β£45 plus free postage and packing, get in πŸ˜€

Saturday: A family orientated day today, moving day for Charlie and Macca, did the morning rounds while John went off to get the feed and then spent the morning moving Charlie’s stuff out of our house and into her new home, exciting times. John spent the morning cutting up yet more wood then we all spent a few hours round at the MIL as it would have been Johns Dads birthday so we raised a glass to him and ate some of his fav foods πŸ˜€

Back in time to light the fire and do the afternoon feed rounds and put the animals to bed an hour later.

Sunday: Feeling rough with a cold so John did all the outside jobs this morning and I stayed inside, did some cleaning and rearranging now that we have a spare room! Made some bread and a cake. I bet John a tenner last week he couldn’t get the eggs that the chicken in the duck pen had laid, she had managed to squeeze through a gap about 2 inches wide behind the duck house and laid about 8 eggs over the course of time, he came in with them this morning 😝 So I tested them and they were fine and I will use them up as quickly as I can, they have only been there a week so will be fine for at least another week. John did more cutting of branches and shredding etc then we went out for Sunday lunch at a local pub. Back in time to watch the last Grand Prix of the season, well actually I had a sleep 😴 and then feed the animals and get ready to go with the family to Blenheim Palace to see the Christmas lights which were absolutely beautiful, a ride on the carousel, mulled cider and hot chestnuts and now I am feeling festive πŸŽ„

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