I’m back :)

Good morning bloggers, I am home from holidays, fully relaxed and refreshed! We had a lovely time away but are glad to be home again.

I expect you want to know how the farm sitters got on while we were away, well they did pretty well, we only had a few deaths, a couple of chickens, both killed by the dogs, and an accidental duck death, which drowned! I had to dispatch another hen on the day we got back, she had a growth on the side of her face and was looking very unhappy hunched up in the corner, kinder to do the deed as soon as possible. Not bad all things considered lol, the place was still standing after the high winds that were forecast while we were away and the place is a bit soggy and muddy after the torrential rain bursts that occurred, incidentally, it does not seemed to have stopped raining since we returned, apart from yesterday which was a glorious day.

We plunged straight back into work and before long it didn’t seem like we had been away at all, back to the feeding routine although I nearly forgot to feed the Quail, takes a little while to remember what, when and when. The sheep went off to their final destination on the Thursday before we went away and our eldest daughter picked them up the following week. The weights were quite a mix from 11kg to 18kg for the lambs, but the two ewes made 28 & 30 kg which was excellent, two of the lambs were sold off, the smallest was divided up between our two daughters and we have the two ewes (mutton) in the freezer to keep us going for a year or so as we won’t be having any lambs next Spring so the field can rest and we get a break from the worry of them. We had some chops for tea the other night, very tasty.
The pigs are doing well and have got very hairy while we have been gone, they are still out in the little area under the conifers trees and I am surprised it is not more trashed to be honest, but they are great little housekeepers, they have a dry clean area with hay beds and they have a messy toilet area elsewhere. Alvin has turned out to be the most boisterous of the three, jumping up at the rail at feed time and squealing until he starts eating, they are still having the remains of the veg patch, large woody beetroots don’t last five minutes when you throw them in. There are still plenty of apples falling from the trees so they are enjoying those as well, the last of the windfall nuts have now gone so I may have to scout around the hedgerows for berries for them, it all adds to the final flavour 🙂

The egg numbers have dropped a bit, probably a combination of change of routine and the colder wetter weather. As yesterday was so lovely I spent the morning, cleaning out water buckets, topping up the grit and oyster shell pots, and making little rain shields for the top of the feeders, I am hoping this will save me money on feed. I cut off the bottom of some handle less buckets, and fixed the bottoms to the top of the feeders so that I can fill the feeders up fully and keep the bird well fed. We also got the tractor out and moved the large coop as the grass around it was beginning to get trashed and muddy, I put some new perches inside so that they don’t have to sleep on the floor and nailed up some sacking over the nest boxes to make it darker. I am hoping they will like the dark private area enough to lay all their eggs in there instead of getting out and laying them randomly around the farm, I live in hope lol, the darker it is the more they like it. I am also hoping that any egg eaters we have will not be able to see the eggs (they have poor eyesight in the dark) and that will also boost the egg numbers up again.
The tractor did not want to start to begin with, the battery was eventually flattened completely and we had to use one from elsewhere to get it going. Once up and running though it made light work of moving the coop, so glad as at this time of year the van does not have enough traction to move it and so in the past we have had to resort to pushing it by hand. It was no fun although probably looked hilarious to any passer by as it suddenly lurched forward, you lost your footing and ended up in the mud!

I had a long list of jobs to get through before we went away and managed most of them, the important ones anyway, but on our return, I realised how many more tasks there were to still do. A fair bit of tidying up is needed and Hubby began some of that at the weekend with a bonfire, and we need to make a start on the drainage around the stable block before the worst of the weather sets in. We seem to have a lot of standing water, I don’t know if it has got wetter over the years or if the ground is becoming compacted and worn leaving pockets for the water to sit, either way it is constantly flooding the stable block and the hay barn and so something needs to be done. The
ballast and cement is on order for delivery so next weekend I will be on mixing duty, it’s more productive than going to the gym to shift the holiday pounds I suppose 😉
The rats are an ongoing problem, I don’t think there are many of them just a few persistent little sods, so I have bought a huge tub of rat poison, I have read that they like peanut butter and so put some of the poison in the bottom of a nearly empty jar and gave it a good shake so that it all sticks together, then I pushed it into a hole that I know they are using (incidentally, did you know you can buy tracking powder so that you can see where they are running, it’s like fairy dust lol) I will stop them pinching eggs, one way or another.

Well, Venice is a distant memory and the pile of ironing is shouting at me from the corner so I intend to do that this afternoon whilst listening to a play on the radio. I always have the radio on. It’s the first thing I do when I walk into the kitchen in the mornings, I got a bit of a jarring when I turned it on the morning after we returned and Kiss FM was blaring out at me, I quickly retuned to Radio 2 and felt soothed lol. I have been listening while typing this and of course it is the 11th of November and as the radio fell silent at 11am, even though I am here all by myself I stopped what I was doing and stood silently to remember all those that fought for our freedom, so that in this day and age we can go about our business without fear.

Whatever you are doing, enjoy your week, enjoy any peeks of sunshine even if it is chilly, if you can try and find some enjoyment in the rain (difficult I know) as a comedian on holiday said, ask anyone in the graveyard, they would swap places with you whatever the weather, it was funny at the time honest 🙂

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