Bag for life anyone? 

I decided to get the week of to a flying start and tackle cleaning the boot/utility/dog bedroom, the dust layer on everything was getting a bit beyond embarrassing to be honest. I had intended to do it back in the summer but it gets a bit hot and stuffy in there so I left it. I now regret not doing it because the work coats and jackets are also hung up in there and washing them all on a rainy day wasn’t one of my finest choices. We have coats for all occasions, a bit of a damp day, thin raincoat, heavier rain, thicker raincoat, absolute downpour, blowing a gale, full head to shin, truss upable raincoat, cold autumn mornings, various fleeces, cold winter mornings, padded jacket that at least goes past the hips, full on freezing the balls off a brass monkey morning, full length duvet coat, all needed a wash or at the very least a hoovering. Then there are the hats, gloves and scarves, same type of thing, various degrees of thickness and style for different weather days, I left most of them in the drawer, dust can’t get in there right? 
I also discovered about 150 bags for life! Well perhaps not quite that many but at least twenty or so, all stuffed into each other and then into another bag, in one of them I even found a dress????? Don’t ask me how it got there I have no idea whose dress it even is let alone how it came to being there, it has a charity shop tag on it and it is my size but I don’t remember buying it.

I had to get a hen with a bad eye in from the front lot, I am not sure what has happened to it but it is clearly bothering her so I have bathed it and she in in an old recycling box in the back, I even discovered that the nets that go over the boxes make a great little cage, she can see out ( with her good eye) but she can’t get out, fab.

Later in the day I decided to light Rosie the Rayburn for the very first time this end of the year, it was a wet, coldish day and thought I would be a good time to fire her up, then after an hour of her burning away, the sun came out, it was bloody hot in the kitchen, still the oven temp went up nicely and so we cooked the dinner in her, and all those bags for life and coats are now drying on the radiator in the back room, love it when she is so useful, but I can see why flicking an instant heating boiler on for an hour has its advantages we will probably sit at breakfast and complain about how hot it was overnight. 

Tuesday: Feed routine first then sort out the eye on the poorly chicken, washed it out with some optrex, it looks as though she has cut the inner eyelid and it’s swollen, gave her some antibiotic via syringe and keep her in see how she does. Cleaned out the main duck house, a random chicken is living with them and has scratched up all the bedding, a good sign it needs emptying because she will be after maggots. Discovered a rat hole in the floor, into the house, prob where my eggs are disappearing to so mixed up a small bucket of ballast and cement and filled the hole, that will stop the little gits! Then onto the chickens at the front, picking up a bucket of those bloody apples for the geese on the way. Cleaned the floor area of the run and smeared petroleum jelly all along the perches etc to try and trap any red mite, still waiting for the powder to arrive. I am going to save the wood ash from the Rayburn to add to sand and a bit of compost for them to dust bath in. Collected a few Walnuts, the squirrel has been busy, although I never see him the evidence is on the ground, strips of walnut casing and empty shells. Cut three of the ripe pumpkins and put them in under cover, firstly to harden the skins but also so that the chickens don’t start pecking at them. Baked a couple of cakes in the afternoon as it started raining, had some lovely visitors for a cuppa.

Wednesday: feed routine, chicken cleansing eye routine, she laid an egg yesterday so must be feeling a bit better. Cleaned out the chickens in the for sale pen and gave them a barrow full of old horse muck to scratch through to keep them busy. Nothing caught in my home made rat trap yet but can def smell dead rat so the poison I put down previously must have done the job, however I will refill it just in case there is an army of them lurking in the dark somewhere. Still waiting for the powder to arrive for the dust baths so I made one without it for the time being, wood ash, builders sand and some compost should help them along. The plan is to get some lime and lime wash the chicken coup to help against red mite, they used to do this in years gone by so can’t hurt to try. The only other option is creosote but the chooks need to move out for a couple of weeks and we don’t have the space for that at the moment. 6 duck eggs this morning that’s 100% improvement on the last few days so plugging the hole with concrete has worked for now, just need them to up the laying, only half of them are giving me eggs. 

Lovely sunny day today, there is a fair bit of tidying to do in the garden but there are also other jobs that need doing round the farm so the garden can wait for a bit.

Walnuts: now I’ve tried various methods over the years to remove the outer husk, leave them to the weather to do its thing, the squirrel found my stash and nicked them, try removing the husks while they are still green, very difficult, bring them in and wait for them to go black, not nice, something in between is what I am doing this year, collect them up in a bucket and just when they begin to split peel off the husk, it’s a slow process only around 5/10 are ready each day! Once the outer case is removed I put them in an old wire shopping basket, you need to have an air flow all around them otherwise they get mould on the shell. If you fancy foraging for walnuts there are plenty of trees on the roadsides round here, once you know the smell of the leaves its unmistakable, when I was young we had a walnut tree in the playground at school and used the leaves as pretend money at playtime, you never forget the smell lol. Another tip, always wear gloves when peeling the outer husks otherwise your hands end up with a brown staining that is difficult to remove. 

Spent ages looking at broadband providers, minefield, with talk talk since they took over from aol but the reliability is awful, time for a change. 

Thursday: raining and a little windy, tired today. Rehoming a yard cat today so stable ready to keep her in for a week or so, good mouser we hope. Not sure what to do yet, prob give the house a quick clean, already feel like I need a nap and it’s not even 9 am!  Cat didn’t arrive, her transport broke down somewhere down South and she finally got here on Friday morning. 

The eggs are continuing to fly off the shelf this week, I can hardly keep up with picking them up and putting them out before I have to put the sold out sign up! 

Friday: to be honest as I have made no notes for this day, I haven’t the foggiest idea what I did, I have tried to remember but it’s lost in the depths of time 😋 

Saturday and Sunday, these two days I can lump together as we did pretty much the same each day after the morning feed routine etc, cutting more branches off of the huge conifers that we are gradually taking down, the easy bit is cutting the branches off, its the cleaning, shredding, and log splitting that takes the time, on Saturday we did it in between the rain showers and on Sunday, in the sunshine. We also took down the board from the muck pile as at least five people have been for manure, the old stuff is underneath the new stuff so we got the tractor out to scrape off the top so it can be got at. Re alined a couple of the bolts on the stable doors, as the stable is a dirt floor, they tend to move quite a bit depending on if the ground is wet or dry. Had to buy a loaf of bread as I didn’t have time to make any 😝

One very exciting thing I did this weekend was to book a cheese making course at River Cottage HQ, I had a voucher for my birthday from my lovely lot and that’s what I have decided to use it for. I can’t wait to go there and see the place for real plus learn a bit at the same time. 😁

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