Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Animal Babies and Violets

Hello All, sorry I have been so long posting again.
Hello to Angry Parsnip, on the follower bar, who has come over here from Weaver.
While it has been some time since my last blog I am still strapped for time so this will be a quick post to keep in touch.
As promised here is an up to date pic of the lambs, from the left, Baaaabara, Biffy, Biscuit, Bubba and Betty.
They are looking pretty strong. Good job there is a lot of grass to go at!

And the Gas Meter Family, at the pterodactyl stage, ugly little blighters aren't they? (they were such sweet little balls of fluff once)
I took a fresh pic of the pigs but it is a bit bleary, so will have another go tomorrow.

And lastly here is a picture to demonstrate that being too tidy means missing out on random bits of loveliness. These "weeds" (i.e a plant out of place) on our back door step are such a joy. I am pretty sure that they are self seeded Madame de Rothchilde Violets.
I'm always happy to justify my untidiness!
Back Soon

Sunday, 12 April 2015

From fishing to trenching to baby animals

Hello All!
 It's me back in blogland after a manic few days when I haven't even had time to comment on the few blogs I have managed to read. ( I think the only comment I have left is a one word on Tom Stephenson's blog, when my breath was caught by da Vinci's Lady with Ermine)
 I shan't bore you with all that has happened over the last few days, suffice to say that we have had many visitors, the Civic Society is busy with a new campaign and planning for future events and presentations, the gardens are being prepared for planting, the lambs are growing as are the pigs and chicks, Derbyshire stone walls are being mended and so on and so on (very little housework, but lots of cooking for the troops!)
Before I say any more I must welcome Kay, The Croods, Rambler and Forever the Adventurer on the follower bar and Andrea, Collen and Cathy on Bloglovin   Great to see you here!

After David and I returned from the quick fishing trip to Cornwall, (five pollack and two ling now in the freezer) staying at my oldest (!) friend, J.'s in Callington, my said friend followed us up the M5 and stayed for the week,(she returned Saturday) Whilst here she threw herself into gardening, digging the potato trenches. She dug to about 18inches then loosened the bottom of the trench and filled it in in  layers - Pig muck, a sprinkling of chicken manure to activate, a layer of old grass cuttings and finally she has returned some of the soil  to top. We will let this settle before we add more soil the potatoes and then more soil. As usual for us the potatoes are Sarpo Mira and I will plant them in the third week of April.
Here is J. on the final trench. Not bad for woman who is 70 this year eh?
The lambs go from strength to strength. It took me a few days to get Betty's eye clear and open, but it now looks nice and sparkly (as is she) They are in the field all day now, are eating hay and sheep nuts at night and go down to three bottles a day as from Wednesday... THAT won't go down well!
We "weighed" the pigs today to see how they are progressing. To do this without scales you have to measure the girth and the length and make a calculation with these figures. A young friend was here as my godson and I set off with the tape measure "Why are you wearing ear defenders?" he asked"If you have ever had your ear next to a squealing pig, you would wear ear defenders" said Gdson. We decided that Gregory has the loudest squeal!.

I hope you are all enjoying the build-up to the election. Such fun! We decided that we would  not vote by post or email as we have always made voting a bit of a ritual and it wouldn't be the same without taking our cards round to the village hall and chatting to others doing the same. When the children were small we always took them with us and usually carried on to the local pub for a lemonade afterwards. I'm pleased to say that my children and grandchildren always exercise their right to vote.

 The wind is very strong today so I think I will work in the greenhouse or the hen house today. Goodness knows there is plenty to do!
Until next time, which I hope won't be so long
(I'll try to remember to get some pics of the babies too)

Friday, 3 April 2015

In haste...off fishing!!

Just a quick one ! We are about to set off for the first Cornish fishing trip of the year. We'll be staying at our friends' in Callington while David is fishing from Looe. He is with a new skipper on a new boat this year, so we will see how that goes.
Meanwhile, as ever, our youngest daughter decamps to ours until Sunday when we will return, in time for the family to join us for tea (well it IS Sunday!) She has quite a list of tasks to do this trip, with chicks, pigs and lambs on four bottles a day, not to mention the usual hens, rabbits, cat and parrot! Thank goodness that the greenhouse will look after itself for a couple of days.
So the cars all packed and we are ready for the off (I bet the roads will be awful as it is a bank holiday)
Thank you all for your kind comments and I await my seed from Weaver with much excitement.
Back soon with an update
Hope you all enjoy your Easter, however you celebrate it

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

More Animal Updates

Hello Bloggy Friends.
It is not often that I blog almost daily, but I don't think I will have much time after today and I will probably forget what has happened by next week.
A quick update of the Gas Meter Gang... Lazarus joined his brothers and sisters and was accepted straight away. The egg in the incubator eventually had to be assisted from its shell. David and our eldest granddaughter carefully peeled it out, (hence its name... Peeler!) and we left it in the incubator for a day to get it's strength up. Tonight I have slipped it under mum and fingers crossed she will not notice another.. final count .. 10.. not bad eh?
We have been discouraging the other hens from going broody as we have enough birds for our needs. One other hen however, has manged to escape my egg stealing tactics and should be due to have her hatching this Friday. She pushed 3 eggs from her nest today and I think she has five left. It is difficult to tell.
 On other poultry matters. Today we put all the hens in the orchard today for the rest of the summer. We usually do this at the end of April when the major planting starts in the garden, however this lunchtime one of the hens jumped in with the pigs and was attacked by them. Fortunately a friend had just gone into the barn, witnessed this and the bird was rescued. The pigs may well have killed the bird if we hadn't have been there. Obviously we don't want to risk a repeat of this so into the orchard the hens have had to go (there is plenty of room from them)
 We received two new born ewe lambs on monday evening, bringing our cade lamb total to five, which is just right for our paddock when they are bigger. The new lambs Bubba and Betty are very small, but seem tough little things. Betty has one eye closed, so I am bathing it as I believe it might just be stuck with a bit of weepy-eye stuff (technical eh?) I am being careful and taking my time with clean cloths and warm boiled water and should know by tomorrow if she will get her vision back.
 They are all electronically tagged as is the law from this year for ALL sheep and lambs. I have always kept my movements in a movement book. Yesterday I took the plunge and went online, which I must admit has made the movements so much easier,  it wasn't too clear really at first and I wondered how some farmers, who are not too comfortable with computers are managing. I realise that sounds patronising, but it is not meant to be.
 MY daughters and granddaughters will be here tomorrow teatime. We are having a sewing evening. Material has been bought to go with the cheap patterns we bought on the internet and we hope to make a good start on our summer dresses.
I have two meetings for the Civic Society this week, which I could well do without as we are off en-famile to Harry Potter World on Saturday and sundry people will be looking after the smallholding. I am trying to make it as easy as possible and it feels like I am planning a battle campaign. Usually our eldest daughter or granddaughter take over, but they will be with us, so I will need to write copious notes to help our sitters.
 I managed to do a little seeding in the greenhouse today, but still have much to do. I'll get there I am sure.
All for now, must wash off the smell of sundry animals as I am off to fetch David from the pub. He is at his Quiz night.
This has been a very "animally" week for me hasn't it?
Keep warm everyone, It's chilly out there tonight
A warm welcome to Edith, Susan and Melanie Leavy on Blog lovin

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Gas Meter Chicks

Me again with an update...
Here is the Gas Meter site, sans hen

  I went out to have a look after I posted and slap bang in the middle of a path sat mother hen. Clearly, the chicks had run out of the nest and she had followed them and was sitting on them to keep them safe. Several feet away at the gas meter site were three cold eggs and a pile of egg shells. I went over to the pile and found that the eggs were cold., though one was cheeping..what to do? I fetched a big cardboard box from the garage, put straw thickly on the bottom and ran back to Mother Hen. Picking a hen up that has chicks under her is not a job for the faint hearted. Sustaining several vicious pecks to my hands and arms I put her in the box, she immediately jumped out of course, but I soldiered on. I picked up the five chicks that were on the path to place them in the box and she attacked me again and another chick fell out from under her wing. When they were all placed in the box she finally got the idea and jumped in with them. I then placed the remaining eggs under her  and after several more vicious pecks and some very un-ladylike language (from us both) she settled. I covered half the box with a cloth and left her. I then set about clearing up the egg shells and under the pile of empty shells was a cold dead chick. I was going to dispatch it to the bin with the shells but thought it might be worth a punt to revive it ( we have bought a chick "back from the dead" before ) So I tuned on our incubator to warm and fetched a hair dryer. while the incubator was warming I cuddled the chick in my jumper and from about a foot and  a half away blew warm air onto it. After  half an hour it started to move and began  to cheep faintly, so I popped it into the incubator. I put  a jam jar lid of water and one of chick crumbs in with it an I am sitting here fingers crossed.
This interlude successfully got rid of my morning!
  This afternoon David has worked on getting an Ark ready, while the rest of the family have been assembling a run for the lambs, from pallets (of course). By mid afternoon the chick in the incubator was making quite a racket and was immediately called Lazarus. Here he is..,

 I guessed it was worth risking  introducing him back with its brothers and sisters. While one of us put fresh chick crumbs in front of the hen I snook Lazarus under her tail end. Result! in he snuggled.
 After tea we carried the the box over to the ark and while David lifted up the hen (ooh the language!) and we placed the chicks in the run ..all 9 of them!! Mum soon followed them and settled down straight away.
Here they are..The Gas Meter Gang...

Two of the remaining eggs are clearly not viable and the hen has now kicked them out, but the third is still cheeping so we have put it in the incubator to see what happens.

Once the run was assembled for the lambs they had their afternoon bottle. Here they are being fed by my granddaughters.

And here are said granddaughters with their dogs.
I think that is enough for this post.
I'll read the comments from my last post now and reply to everyone.
love Gillx

Surprise Babies!

Hello from a sunny but chilly Derbyshire.
A warm welcome to Annie, UnDomesticDiva (great name) and LilaCottageGoats and Bonjour to Frugal in France who have clicked the Follower button and Edith and Jean Schofield on Blog lovin. Lovely to see you here.
Anyone who has kept hens knows the sound of a broody leaving the nest for "the daily poo". She squawks and runs around like a maniac, deposits the most enormous smelly poo, she might have a dust bath or drink and returns as soon as possible to her clutch.
Last week we heard this sound in the front garden, identified the hen and watched her return to a clutch of eggs against the wall of the house next to the gas meter. This wall is about twelve feet from the main road and it is possible that everyone in the village but us knew she was there ! We had no idea how long she had been there, but the eggs looked pretty shiny (not freshly laid) We have had very little rain, but the nights have been cold, but she seemed pretty comfy. I placed a board against the wall to provide some sort of cover and ensured that I left food and water next to her.
On Friday the Gas man called to read the meter. "It's outside" I said "I'll come with you". "No need" he said "I'll manage". I insisted and ensured that he was quiet and careful, as I realigned the wood so that he could open the box. he said that he had never encountered such a thing before and went away chuckling.
 This morning I took some water and food to her and knew straight away that she was not talking to me, but to chicks with the special hen-to-chick speak. I immediately changed her water bowl for a shallow bowl ( I think I have lost more chicks to drowning in water bowls than any other cause) and found some chick crumbs to add to the hen food. As hens sit for 21 days she must have been there for two weeks before we spotted her!
 So the first job for us today is to get a small ark ready for her and the chicks, so that they can be kept safe. Our cat Dixie doesn't touch chicks, but she isn't the only cat in the village!
 All for now. Photos later