Happy New Year :)

Well I haven’t blogged for ages, the new year seems a good place to start again, I will try and blog once a fortnight depending on what there is to say, once a week is too much and by the time once a month comes round I have forgotten everything πŸ˜‰

We are in the depths of Winter, to be honest it has not been too bad as yet although I know there will probably be worse to come. The paddocks didn’t take long, once the rain came, to turn to mud baths, even the chicken footfall has caused a mushy field. We have reorganised the duck pen temporarily, that had turned into a slurry pit, mostly because the rain from the stable roof was flowing straight through it, Hubby has redirected the pipe to flow straight into the pond and we have penned them into drier ground for the time being. The plan is to dry it out, dig the pond out further down and hope we get the water flow right so that if it overflows it continues on down to the paddocks. Channeling water away from areas is a topic we have been discussing over the festive break, it seems we have more and more water sitting around and the plan is to channel it down to the hedge, when that will happen is anyone’s guess! Hubby had two weeks off and plenty of wood got chopped up, on frosty mornings the resting paddock was mucked ready for dragging when the ground firms up. We took down the fence in the middle of the front two paddocks so that we could move the electric fencing with more efficiency. One lot of chickens are now on fresh clean grass, the others have a bit more grass but we were unable to move the main of it off of the mud because there is nowhere else for them to go.

All the poultry are doing fairly well considering the weather, I nearly lost a goose a couple of months a go, it was very unwell but with some tlc and medication it made it through thankfully. I am still not sure how many males and females I have, I will have to wait until Spring and see how many eggs I get, if any.

I was standing looking out of the back door this morning looking at the wild birds, they seem to have faired well too, I noted that they look quite fat which will be important if we have a severe cold snap, we have a pair of partridge that have move onto the premises, I see them most days wandering around and there are a lot of pheasants nearby, they often wander in and pick up any seed that the chickens missed. We have not had any fox attacks as yet, although I did have a call from a neighbour to say that they had seen a large and healthy fox in the area so we need to be on our guard. We religiously shut our birds away at dusk and we don’t let them out until it’s light, so hopefully we won’t suffer any loses.

One of the hardest things to understand for people is the commitment when you are running a small holding, your social hours change greatly through the year, for instance during the winter, you need to be here an hour before sundown to feed the poultry, that means if you are going out you need to be back by around 3 in the afternoon, on the flip side you can go out to parties in the evening. During the summer months the day is a lot longer but the evenings are interrupted, so if you have been invited to an occasion that starts at 7, you go for a couple of hours before or after dark depending on how you feel, occasionally I have sent Hubby home to put the birds away while I stay at the party but that’s not very often. All in all I wouldn’t want it any other way, and of course when you have the parties here it’s no problem at all πŸ™‚

Sadly we have lost two of the domestic animals in the last month, first Felix, the black and white cat, he got run over in the lane, by the time a passer by got him to the vets he had died. Felix was born on the farm about 10 years ago, he was almost feral when we moved in and over the last five years he had come to trust us and stay around for the occasional stroke if he was in the mood. The second was Moloko, the black and white Husky, he developed a tumour on his leg approx a year ago, they are prone to this type of illness. He was nearly 10 and by the time we noticed the tumour it had probably already got into the bone, so the options were to have the leg amputated, it may still have spread, or to leave it until the time came to have him put to sleep. We chose the latter because for an old dog, especially a running dog, to have his leg off would be traumatic, as it was he had a good year without discomfort and then it became apparent that the time had come. It was a good call and he went to sleep very peacefully.
We felt that the remaining cat, Diesel, would be lonely so in came Bella, a black kitten who has made herself totally at home and wreaks havoc outside, she is full of energy and as soon as humans appear she leaps on their shoulder and purrs very loudly, she is very active, agile and fast, we have already seen her catch a mouse and so she will be an asset, Diesel is just about tolerating her now although at first it was hate at first sight lol.
Mia has had puppies, they were born on December 14th, an hour before I was expecting the whole family over, she wasn’t due until the 17th so Sod’s law kicked in, they are now 3 weeks old and there are five little fat bundles of cuddliness πŸ™‚

The new year seed catalogues have arrived, which always make me very happy, deciding on what to grow for the year is something I love doing, I try not to do it too early as it can be demoralising waiting endlessly for the weather to change and get stuck in, but this time of year is great for planning as there are plenty of ‘indoor’ days to do it. I have a Facebook contact that has a small holding in Norway and they have to be fully self sufficient, I love reading about their place and the things they do, I find it quite inspiring to read about other like minded people and their day to day happenings, it spurs me on to think of all the things I ought to be doing but haven’t quite got round to yet. I don’t have new year resolutions as such but I resolve to ‘do things’ for instance one year I decided to say yes to invitations instead of saying, I will let you know or I am not sure if i will have time, I had a very sociable year! This year I have resolved try to do things I would like to have a go at, cheese making for instance, I have been saying for the past 3 years that I will have a go, so this is the year I will get it done. Having a go at smoking is another, garlic, meat whatever I fancy, building a pizza oven is another although I am not sure where to put it that’s the dilemma with that one, and getting my food hygiene certificate so that I can sell preserves at the farm gate. These are all things I intend to do, we will see how many of them I achieve over the next year.

A New Year is full of hope and promise so I hope you achieve the things you set out to do and I promise try try and achieve mine πŸ™‚ Happy New Year to you all. X

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