Snowdrops, sunset and quail eggs

Monday: Settled back into routine now and out to do the animals first thing, nothing untoward today they all seemed to be getting used to being inside. Came in a lit the fire, Mum popped in for a coffee and I gave her some of the Camembert cheese to take and share with my brother, she is off to Southampton to stay with him for a couple of days as he has had a shoulder op. We tried the cheese last night after dinner, it was lovely, probably could have been left a bit longer to soften in the middle, I’m not sure if it gets softer or not but still it tastes good 😀After a coffee or two I went outside as it’s such a lovely sunny day and did a bit of tidying up of plant foliage on the garden by the back door ready for the new green shoots to come through, there are a lot of squishy rotting apples on there but I will leave them to carry on rotting and feeding the soil with any nutrients they have left. 

If you pick the right spot today it is beautiful outside, I picked the greenhouse next, I’m glad to see the Lemon and Orange tree seem to have done well over wintering, then I spotted some lavender seeds that needed sowing so I did that and watered the broad beans as the soil was very dry, shame there wasn’t more to do in there it could have been a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.


I did a bit more tidying outside as it was so nice, cut back the Japanese honeysuckle and then tidied up a couple of the gooseberry bushes. Then Sam arrived with Mia to do the horse, Mia wasn’t keen to sit in the stable block or watch me so I took her indoors where she fell asleep on me 😀 Sam then did the afternoon feed and egg collecting. After they left I decided to tidy the utility room up a bit and chatted to the lonely quail, I thought, it’s not moving much so went to stroke it and it was sat there stone cold dead, it was fine this morning! That’s the lot gone now and so I need to decide on either trying to find point of lay hens or hatching eggs. 

Tuesday: lovely morning, fresh but the sun was shinning so that’s always a bonus, I changed my schedule around a bit and did the indoor stuff first, made bread, hoovered, set the fire to light later then went out to do the animals while the bread was proving. All is well outside, I put the sitting dead quail in the cage out the back to see what would happen as the ‘thing’ has not been near the traps, lol and behold it has been into the cage to nibble on the body, I’m hoping I can lure it into a false sense of security and it will go for the trap eventually! We have decided to buy in some hatching eggs and rear baby quail, that way we know how old they are and won’t get ripped off buying old birds. I will get the incubator out later and make sure it’s working correctly before I order 48 eggs, they take 16 days to hatch then 6 weeks before they begin to lay enough time to put the outdoor cage up on legs to prevent anything getting in (fingers crossed) meanwhile the quail egg customers will have to wait 😔 

Ordered some new work trousers as these are going the same way as the last pair, I tried not to bend down to harshly as I can hear them going 😂😂😂

I saw the critter in the back bit, it’s a rat, it ran under the cupboard as I went out there then obviously couldn’t get away and ran back out, I called the dogs in but by the time they got there it had disappeared. I got a torch and had a look under but it was gone, however, so was the poison I had put under there the other week so I put some more under, I guess we will have a stink again but at least it won’t be able to kill any new babies I hatch out. 

Wednesday: I have Mia all day today so apart from the basics not much else will get done, I did managed to set up the incubator and order 48 quail hatching eggs, both will need settling time so they probably won’t get put in until Sunday or Monday depending on if they arrive by Friday. Most don’t post out over the weekend because of no deliveries on a Sunday, the incubator is safe in the utility room and is a closed, fully automated unit so they will be safe in there, then once hatched they remain in the utility room in a bigger cage with a heat lamp until they are at least 3/4 weeks old by which time the weather may be warm enough to put them into the outside run, that’s the plan anyhow. On average there will be a 50/50 split of males and females so potentially 24 males some of which will be sold along with some of the females as we don’t need that many, the others we ought to rear for the freezer I guess but they are so small and fiddly, in the past I have taken them down to the bottom corner paddock and let them go, but they came back to the run! I’ve just had a quick look online about killing and dressing them, seems easy enough so maybe I will give it a go.

Power cut this afternoon, I tell you, you couldn’t write it, I always joke that the power goes off when I have the incubator on and lol and behold off it goes, I checked it wasn’t our main fuse obviously and prepared to shut the Rayburn right down but it was only off for a couple of minutes luckily. 

Thursday: Time to catch up a bit after having Mia for the day yesterday, trying to clean out chickens with them all under your feet is not an easy task at all, I end up treading on their feet mostly, as yet I have not tripped over and fallen which is a surprise as they stoop down and still the minute I go near them. I keep wondering the what the point of the lockdown is really, it’s not like you can control the wild birds and if they get it we are all doomed so keeping the chickens in seems a pointless exercise, if they put a stop to all movement that would make more sense but of course they won’t do that because of the big commercial chicken providers. I cleaned out the geese in the front, that was heavy work, 3 barrowfuls of wet hay/straw, my hands hurt, they have been hurting for a couple of days now, I hope it’s not the Lupus and just that they are overworked! The sun is shinning beautifully today lifting the spirits and making you want to be outside for a change. 

Came in to make bread and light the fire, check on the incubator, it has got up to temperature but the humidity is still low, the pump seems to be taking ages to pump water from the jar into the unit, I may have to force the water through to get it going properly (hubby popped in for a cuppa mid day, being a plumber, I got him on the case and success we have water pumping in to the unit to raise the humidity 😀)  

I have a massage booked for tonight, looking forward to that I will get her to work on my hands as well I think. I first went to Anette with a problem area caused by raking, sweeping and hoeing, and burning patch on the back of my shoulder, after two sessions it never returned and so every now and again I have massage to make sure it stays away, it’s a luxury but one I feel I deserve 😜 

My neighbour is having her fencing replaced in the paddocks today, I’m amazed at how quickly the old came down and the new went up with a contractor doing it, poor John spends days on ours he may be inclined to get someone in when he sees how quick it was lol, the bonus is we get the old stuff to cut and burn on the Rayburn, more wood for the pile. 

Random thought for the week, I have a ceramic egg holder that takes 9 eggs???? Why 9 when mostly eggs are bought in 6 or 12? Weird. Had the realisation that I haven’t actually left the farm since last Friday! Need to remedy that I think 😝

Gorgeous sunset this evening made me smile when I saw it through the window

Friday: I had decided this mornings job was to clean out the hens in the stable block and remove clumps of hard dirt that has built up on some of their toes. Not all of them have it and it seems to be on the right foot more than the left for some reason, I took a bucket of hot soapy water in to soak their feet then used some round ended scissors to cut bits off. Luckily none of the hens lost toes or nails which was good, in chicks it is much harder to get it off without taking a nail or two. The only injury was mine, one blister on my scissor finger and a dead thumb from pressing quite hard. Then I went to Bourton on the Water for lunch and a much needed escape 😀

Saturday: Big job on this morning, the pen at the back has become disgusting and smelly due to layers of hay on top of the mud area in the middle, this needed to be dug out and then the pen cleaned. It was very heavy very smelly work good job John was on hand to do most of the digging out 😝 Then over to clean out the front lot and put some new sawdust in their beds while John went to get some bags of sand for the birds to dust bath in.

The quail eggs arrived in the post all bar 1 was intact so 47 eggs to put in the incubator, I will leave them to settle for 24hrs before putting them in.

Sunday: I don’t feel so good yesterday afternoon so I had the rest of the day off under a blanket while John looked after everything, consequently I have much to catch up on today, up early to make bread and put washing on etc. We have Sunday lunch out later to celebrate my Sisters birthday and I have made a fresh loaf as a present for her together with some goose eggs and maybe a slice of home made cheese, hope she likes it. 

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