We have have had an eventful and sad weekend this week more about that later.
The rat problem seems to have gone, at least there are no more signs of them in the muck heap and I did find a dead one in the paddock, this may only mean that they have moved to drier ground after the amount of rain we have had. I will soon find tell tale signs elsewhere If that is the case. One problem is nearly always replaced by another though and after months of no trouble with foxes, we have one on the rampage, he took two that had got out of the enclosure and we have seen him regularly each day since then and now we are on guard each day around 10.30 am as that is when he seems to visit, although he has not been able to take any more birds it is a worry until he is caught.
I have been busy organising and ordering veg seeds for the Spring, the majority of the order has arrived and I am also expecting a bulk delivery of compost today, as soon as the weather picks up we will be ready to get planting for the new season which is always a great time of year. I have also ordered most things I can think of that will be needed, environmesh for the brassica cage to keep the butterfly out, weed barrier to put around the strawberry plants, mostly to keep the fruits off of the soil and maximise the crop potential. I bought a new pair of loppers with a voucher I had for Christmas as my old pair were bent and not much good any more. I have a sulphur candle ready to fumigate the greenhouse as soon as I repair the glass that blew out during the storms and I am still I decided as to wether or not I heat the greenhouse with a paraffin heater and get the season started early.
I spent a couple of hours weeding in the poly tunnel in the week and the broad beans, peas and garlic are growing nicely, the strawberries that are in there have got diseased and so need to come out, the idea was to have early strawberries but I don’t think they like the environment and so I will stick to outdoor grown in future.
This week I treated myself to a new incubator, fully automatic which means it heats, turns and humidifies itself, it is also a lot quieter than my old one which had got to the stage of making an awful rattling racket. I ordered four dozen button quail eggs and they are safely installed and hopefully fertile. I had duck eggs in my old one but after ten days I candled them and they were not fertile, this is he second time I have tried and so I have come to the conclusion that my drake is either not interested or not fertile, so I will never get ducklings from him. I do need to replace my laying ducks as they are coming up for four years old and will drop in egg numbers, if I hatch some this Spring they will be laying nicely by the end of the year. I am also considering getting day old geese as I do miss having them around, they are funny birds and can be aggressive but if you get them young they can be brought under control lol.
On Saturday evening while I was busy looking for new livestock on the internet we heard a lot of banging coming from the stable block, when we went out there is was very apparent that one of the livery horses was in big trouble, a frantic ring around began to get hold of the owners and the vet was called. The banging was due to the fact that the horse had cast himself, which basically means he had rolled and got stuck on his back, the concern was why he had done this and the fact that he continued to keep trying to do it. It was one of the coldest nights we have had so far this winter and after four hours of the vet trying various things the decision was made to put him to sleep. He was a good age around 26, coupled with a long term illness, meant that surgery was not an option for him. It was, as you can imagine a distressing time for the owners but it was more distressing watching the poor horse in pain. It will be a difficult time for his owners as looking after a horse takes up a large part of your life, twice daily visits to the yard to feed, muck out and turn out, with this suddenly gone there will be a big void to fill, not to mention the companionship you get from a horse. They have been here long before we bought the place and we have been here five years, I do hope they will continue to come down and visit as I will miss them too.
RIP Jet, enjoy running pain free in that nice green paddock in the sky x x