Well clearly ever since the hosepipe ban was announced we haven’t needed it anyway!!! The water butts are full to overflowing, the fields are very quickly saturated each time we have a downpour and everything we planted in the garden over the last few weeks has not dried out at all. According to the weatherman its going to get worse next week, now if anyone is listening I really would like a Spring please 🙂 Having said that the patches of Sun we get in between are also doing wonders for the grass in the paddocks although we have been keeping the horses off because with all the wet they would just trash them and turn them into mud within a couple of hours.
There are some areas of the farm that I have to use weedkiller on, the farm tracks and the front drive etc otherwise we would be overrun with them, but I can’t even do that at the minute as I need a 2hr dry window which certainly is not happening at the moment. The only occupants that are totally happy are the ducks, they are in their element, the pond is full and there are plenty of puddles for them to dabble in and fish out worms and slugs.
The Hens on the other hand are hating it, they tend to hide inside when its raining as their feathers are not waterproof, if they stay out they end up looking like drowned rats! I have a couple of hens that are showing signs of going broody which is good as I decided not to incubate any this year, two of the hens I have to keep moving off the eggs as they have no hope of hatching anything because they don’t run with a cockerel, one is happy to get off when I move her and run out to eat with the others, the other one makes the most terrific racket you would think I was killing her, if she shows signs of true brooding I may put in some fertile eggs for her to sit on. The only one that would be able to hatch is the Gold Laced Orpington, every time I go in to collect eggs she is sat on them, in the morning she gets off to go and eat, eventually when she goes properly broody she wont get off at all and then providing all goes well she will have a hatch 21 days after that. The only problem at the moment is that all the other hens are still laying in the same place and so there are about 15 eggs under her, what I will need to do is mark hers and possibly put in some laying boxes for the others to lay in so that she is left alone.
Two failures so far this year appear to be the Geese who are not laying, just continuing to terrorise the chickens and the Tortoises who sadly have not woken up 😦 I know we are in for a cold May and it is possible that they somehow sense this but I have my doubts as they really should be awake by now. For some reason although they have always survived Winter before this year has been different maybe it was the prolonged cold or maybe during a warm patch they woke up which can be fatal whatever the reason I will miss them more than I thought I would.
The dogs don’t usually get a mention apart from their incessant barking or when they have killed something but this week the oldest dog Max escaped, nothing unusual in that except that it was at night this time. I normally let them out of the back door and side gate but as I had just come in from putting the animals to bed I decided to let them out the back and down the side, not realising that someone had left the other gate open. I went inside to make a cuppa and went to get them back in before I sat down to drink it, I called them, silence, nothing, I then realised the gate was open and they had run off, Milly will come back when she is called and I found her standing near the access to the side paddocks, this told me that Max had gone that way. By this time it was pitch black and starting to rain, so I get my coat and wellies on and grab a torch and go looking for Max, there I am in the fields, in the dark, looking for a black dog who is deaf and can’t hear me!! After 20 mins or so I catch a pair of eyes in the hedgeline of the field that belongs to the farm next door, I scramble over the fencing and through the hawthorn, under their electric fence, which thankfully is not on, and into the field only to find that he has disappeared, now anyone that knows me will know that by now my face is like thunder and the amount of expletives are rising steadily!! I decided at this point I needed extra help, so I stomp off up the field back to the house to call Hubby who is off playing pool with his Dad, ‘ok I will be home in five minutes’ he says, and he was, luckily for him! I am still down in the field when the lights swing round the corner and a couple of minutes later he comes down to the field, I explain where I think Max is and he takes over with the torch, locates him within a couple of minutes, calls him, and the bloody dog comes wandering over to the fence!!!!!! It takes us a couple more minutes to coax him under the fence and lo and behold within ten minutes of himself arriving, the dog is back in the warm and dry, ‘what was difficult about that’ he asks, arrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The thing is that this is a dog who hates the rain and barks like a big girl the minute a drop touches him, I guess with the thought of total freedom he threw all caution to the wind 😉 I know one of my readers is going to completely identify with this topic, don’t laugh too much G, it will be your turn again before long, I think we should invest in flashing collars!!!
I took the home brew to the family birthday and it was given the thumbs up by Bitter drinkers so I class that as a success, trouble is I now have about 4 gallons of the stuff!! If anyone would like to try some give me a shout and I will bottle some up for you 🙂 I am keen to start some more brewing probably wine this time and the cider can wait until we have our own crop of apples in the autumn, we don’t actually drink very much but I have a feeling that is all about to change 😀