Sunday, 25 November 2012

The black goat, the man, the brambles

So it came to be the time for sleep. The Tamworth crew (our pigs) were pacing up and down, waiting for their supper. The hens were parked up outside the front door and on the garden seats alongside the door, winding down for the day, and waiting for their supper. The geese were floating about, causing mischief, but keeping an eye out for a bite to eat as well. Out by the field gate there was a queue. Elise (the young heifer), the goats, the sheep, all clustered together in a wadge of animals, everyone plump with fertility, except Jacob the ram, Elise, and the young female goatling.  Lester, well he was indoors working away on his computer, just finishing a conference call with the UK after having had an arduous few days sorting out someone else's problem. He was tired, stressed, and just wanted to get the day done, and the week. It was Friday afternoon. It had been a long week. Me? I was out at choir practice. 

The geese stopped outside the glass doors of the Half Barn, near where Hubs was working. Called at him through the glass, telling him that it was time to sort out supper for everyone. Nothing for it, finish the call, have a chat with the geese. Chickens and geese fed. Out to the field. Gate opened. All rush headlong up the side path and on into the sheep paddock, with Elise doing a turn to the right to trot merrily along to the back door of the Tall Barn, and from then on into her sleeping quarters. All going well. Elise fed. Sorted. Sheep already at their trough eating their supper. Sorted. Now for goats. But .... where was the black goat....

Back down the side path Hubs went. Called out 'Bisket' (or something like that). Heard one single little bleat, one, that was all, and very delicately made as well. Ah, sounded like it was coming from the brambles, the very same brambles that the goats had made their new clearance project.

Let me pause for a moment and explain the layout of this bramble hedge....... 

..... this photo was taken in April 2011, and the little piglet with Hubs is now all grown up and has been a mum. Anyway, just behind Hubs, to the right, is the bramble thicket. It is very wide, and during the growing season last year romped away to become as high as the fence posts, and was going to be a whacking great task to get cleared at some point in the future. 

But now the goats are on the case. They have cleared a line of brambles alongside the side path. The green posts are temporary. The brambles were as high as these posts, now they are trampled down. The photos do not do justice to the size of this hedge. As I said before, it is very wide. Nor do they show how deep the hedge goes, because beneath the hedge there is a deep, deep, ditch. 

So, a little bleating sound did Hubs hear. With sinking heart he realised that it was coming from the bramble hedge. But not a goat could he see. Nowhere in sight was she. With his heart now in his boots, he went into the field and round the other side of the brambles. Scrambling along the temporary fence line, he searched for her. Ah, there she was. He could just make out her shape. It looked like she was stuck. Where was she stuck? In the very middle of the bramble thicket, down in the ditch. 

Now although the goats have eaten this year's growth on  some of the brambles, underfoot on the patch they have been working on is the older bramble branches. The goats have delicate feet and so can manage to step with careful grace through these  sharply thorned stems, which lay thickly underfoot. Hubs does not have such delicate grace. The ground also dips sharply as it goes into the ditch. 

The feet of Hubs do not manage the twin hazards of the thick carpet of thorned branches of bramble plus the steeply sloping ground. Up in the air they go, thus rendering Hubs flat on his back, the momentum of his fall tumbling him down into the thicket, and into the heart of the  ditch.

All was not well. There was no sky above him, only a ceiling, at almost face level, of hostile brambles. To his left and right the same. But the good news was that Blacky, our black and white pregnant goat, and himself were now face to face with each other. And both were stuck fast. 

He said that he felt panicky. He said that he could have done with a rope thrown to him by someone (me, who at that moment was having a slice of lemon cake and a cup of coffee, choir rehearsals now over) so he could haul himself out. He said that it was the stuff that nightmares were made of.

But somehow, and he knows not how, he managed to turn over and crawl back through the slight furrow he had made in the damp ground as he slithered through into the ditch. With the brambles desperately trying to get him to stay by clinging on to him, he dragged himself out. Turning round, he grabbed Blacky by the horns, dragging her out, mindful that she was expecting but having to be forceful nevertheless. 

Success! Saved! 

It was at this point that I returned home. I tried, I really did try, not to laugh. Not when he showed me his scratches, of which there were many. Bless him. He was already onto his second glass of wine by then. No, what got me most was his scratched botty. And the thorn which he carefully handed me from that region of his body, right in the middle of me cooking dinner. It was a long thorn. I think I managed to handle the situation. I did offer to rub some antiseptic into the wound from which the thorn had come. He refused, with dignity. I did not laugh much, just smiled sympathetically and carried on cooking dinner. Ah, the life of living on a smallholding. Never a dull moment. 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Operation Tusks of Max, removal of....

And so it came to the morning of the day. Time for Operation Max to swing into gear. First, let the sheep out. Done. Chickens out. Done. Geese out. Done. Elise (the heiffer) out. Done. Goats out. Done. Pigs done. No. Get the sedative into Max before he gets fed, that is what the plan was as laid down by Hubs / Head Pig Keeper. 

Got an apple. Cored it. Plan was to mix the sedative and put it into the core of the apple. Give Max the apple. Down his throat all would go. Max would then go to sleep. Cut tusks. Job done. 

No, that did not work. Max is getting a fussy eater. No competition you see. Can leave his food all day if he wants to. No one else, no other pigs, are going to eat it because no one else is living with him at the moment. Food disappears though. Chickens, crows, magpies, rats, mice, these will all partake of the food. He did not eat the apple. Took it. Dropped it on the ground. Not interested. 

Back to the kitchen. A sandwich then, that was the next plan. Sandwich made. Sandwich eaten. Rest of food given. Back to the house for breakfast. 

Later on, Max asleep? No. Dopey, yes. Zonked out? No. Lester deliberates: To do or not to do, that is the question. 

Look at those two girls standing dead still, carefully observing proceedings while Lester continues to fuss Max. 

He deliberated for quite some minutes about whether it was safe to go into the pen or not. He did. Max gave a sleepy, half hearted grunt, and retreated into his hut...... 

oh dozo boy...... 

..... "Are you coming out Maxy" says Lester, not wanting to go into the rather small hut, just in case Maxy decided to wake up and do something 'orrid to him. 

Nope, Maxy-boy was not coming out. In fact he was sinking, gradually. Hubs got a piece of cardboard between tusk and cheek...... 

......had his hacksaw ready to do the deed. Operation Tusks of Max underway.

....actually no, it wasn't. Upon feeling the pressure of the toing and froing hacksaw Max sat upright. Slowly though. Lester backed out of the hut. Maxy followed him. Stood by the door, staggering a little, but upright. Another chance to get that tusk cut perhaps.....

Hubs aimed the hacksaw at the tusk. Maxy stepped sideways thus disengaging with the hacksaw. Operation T of M dead in the water. 

A thought: perhaps a sort of secateur might be better. But not the one we use for cutting plants. No, a gigantic thingy. That's a plan. Hubs off to the local Brico as soon as it was open after its two hour shut for lunch. Got a gigantic thingy. Two hours had passed though. Max was on the wake. But Lester bravely went into the hut again, wherein Maxy-boy was now upright but still floppy...... 

........Lester aimed the jaws of the thingy at a tusk. And got it. Maxy, oh Maxy..... 

..... into the corner he thrust his face. 'Enough', his body stance was saying. 


.....Max's girls waited patiently for him to come out to play. He did. This morning. Lester opened the gate between the two pens and through to his girls he sauntered, swinging his rear end cockily, past them he went, straight for their food. The girls, meanwhile, went straight past Max and into his pen so they could investigate his living quarters. Ah well, there was a sniff of the tails as they passed each other, and hopefully they will soon be making piglets for next year. I am sure that they will enjoy trying. 

As for Operation Tusks of Max, well, it was half a success, one ingrowing tusk now safely trimmed. The other tusk will have to wait for another day.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Merc, and other things

Highlight of the day: a run, and a first time run at that, to the local car wash. 

We have a black Mercedes. We have had it for four years. Never, in all that time, has it ever been washed. In the back seat there has been two lambs, gone and got from quite a way away for a neighbour. The lambs had their feet bound with plastic tape. Blue it was. When we saw the way in which the lambs were parcelled up ready for travel, well it was a bit heart wrenching. However, there was nothing we could do except put them in the back seat and get them delivered to our neighbour as fast as possible. Upon delivery, and after their feet where unbound, they hopped and skipped away in her garden, no harm done. The little tiddles they left on the back seat remain to this day.

And then there was the two little Tamworth piglet girls, gone and got from the Charente area of France, which is about a five hour drive from here, or more if one gets stuck in a rare traffic jam, which Lester unfortunately was just after he picked them up. He had built a cage box which sat on the back seat of the car. Was not sure if it was going to big enough for those two girls, but it was. The little scratches along the door of the Merc bear witness to this work it did. 

Not to mention the endless rolls of fencing wire the car has had to carry across its back seat, nor the bails of straw which leave half of themselves everywhere. These are carried   in the back seat and poking half out of the boot. 

The Merc is not a farm car. It is a poshy car. We have been advised that it is best not to turn up anywhere in it if we want to buy something because the price will be hiked up because people will think we have  money. Ha! I wish! We didn't buy a Merc out of choice, but because we desperately needed a car and that one was the only one to hand.

The car has done a good job for us. But I have not been particularly enthused about  driving it, not because it is a horrid drive because it isn't, but because it has a bonnet and a boot. I can drive and park vans. No problem. Vans do not have bonnets and boots. They are square boxes, sort of. The Merc is not a square box. It is more a long oblong, and it has length. I bump things because of this, the bumpers bearing witness to how many times I have done this. 

Today it has to go in for its MOT. And as I was hoovering up the straw, the maize, the pig pellets, and other grains from the boot it came to me that we have not treated this car very well. It is a muck. 

So the adventure of the day was for me and my man to go into Plaisance and put our farm car Merc through the car wash. It took the two of us to do this. We haven't used a French car wash before. We were quite worried. We stood and watched. And no, the car did not fall apart from the shock of being watered, scrubbed and dried clean. Job done. Car half clean. It will take a couple of more car washes to get all the four years of grime off the body work. 

It must be white underneath. There are lots of scratches gleaming whitely against the black, but at least the doggie footprints, made by the dogs jumping up at the car, are now gone. As nearly was our young cockerel who was wandering along the middle of the lane without a care in the world as we drove up to the house. He even stopped, raised himself up, and gave a flap of his wings, just to prove what a clever and virile boy he was, and all that being done in the middle of the lane. At least we were driving quite slowly. Others race past. Hope the cockerel lives to keep our hens happy. Yesterday he did what must have been one of his first jobs on a hen. Right in front of me he did that. His dad wouldn't have. He would have taken the hens round the corner. He would not have wanted anyone to see what he was up to. But this young son of his, he has far more assurance than his dad. Hope he keeps out of the lane though. Would not want him splattered. 

Meanwhile, the goats are decimating a large chunk of bramble thicket, which is inconvenient at this time because it means we urgently have to put a fence up, the bramble thicket acting as a very good fence line up to now. They are getting plumper. Babies soon. Hopefully. 

Max the boar is waiting to get in with his girls. They are flirting with him from their side of the fence, and they are quite shameless about doing so. But he needs his tusks cut again because they are growing into the sides of his face. We have to give him a sedative to do that. Lester bought some yesterday. A job to do for tomorrow. 

The sheep are getting fatter as well. Lambs soon. And a worry. The Haute Pyrenees is the only area of France which is free from the mosquito born disease which makes lambs deformed during development within their mums. It was rife in the UK this year. Friends up in the Charente had deformed and weak lambs born this year. Down our way, none. Not yet. Fingers crossed on this one. 

So the Merc is off to visit the nice man in the garage. We could do with a good report from that nice man. Probably won't get one. Fingers crossed on this one too, although the finger crossing for the lambs is much more important. It is going to be horrendous to have to deal with this virus if it fetches up here. 

Sugar lumps. Must mention my new 'sin'. We ran out of sugar the other day. Hubs went in to the supermarket to get some. Couldn't see bags of sugar, so got a box of sugar cubes instead, plus a couple of bottles of wine, some choccie, peanuts, crips, etc. Well it had been a stressful day. Sugar lumps have joined the 'Baileys in the fridge' as my 'must haves' comfort food / drink, but only a swig, or a lump, never the whole bottle or more than one  sugar cube. 

House change around has gone well. Will post some photos up when I find the camera. 

Bye for now.....

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Oh what a good girl

It is just past six in the morning. Bools and Gus have been up to go to the loo, now they are back in bed again. I am not. I have lots to do. I am still trying to shift everything into the kitchen and Half Barn. I am knackered. I should be picking things up, and carrying them to somewhere else not known at this time. I have been intermittently doing this for four and half years. I am used to it. It is the life of renovators living on site. 

The dust will arrive on Saturday. The girl pig has two more weeks to enjoy life. She was supposed to be done on Saturday, but Jean Pierre arrives to start the ceilings on that day. Do not think it appropriate to be working on the girl pig at the same time as Jean Pierre makes holes in the walls to take the support beams, making dust storms as he does so. Then there is the dismantlement of the tarpaulin which has served as the temporary ceiling in the lounge / computer room. When that comes down that will make a super duper dust storm, it has, after all, been up for two years, and the house has kept shedding little bits of stones and mortar for all of this time. We know this, because we are still finding bits of house on our computer tables, and we hear bits of house falling on the tarp above our heads. We also hear the pitter patter of little feet as other beings race across the tarps. 

So over the next two days all has to be moved into the Half Barn. I have finished painting what I am going to paint for the moment, will carry on when we are moved. Will have to paint over our heads, but not to worry, I have found that vinegar and water remove the dried up paint splashes quite easily. It will be warmer in the Half Barn, although living in a caravan for three winters has toughened us up to the cold and we have still had no fires on, but then it has not been too cold here yet. 

The cow. Well, what a good girl she was last night. Instead of putting her on a rope and getting her into the Tall Barn, which has always been a bit of a task for Hubs because everyone else is romping from the field into the paddock at the same time, and Elise gets carried away in the rush towing Lester with such force that he almost flies off his feet, as if he were a kite trying to fly. Anyway, last night Hubs let her go off with everyone else. I stood just beyond the gate to stop any naughties from carrying on up the drive to snatch some morsels of grass. Up come the gang. Straight through the gate. The two red goats last, taking their time, hanging back, Elise with them. Goats through gate. Gate shut. Elise now by herself. Hubs behind, me in front. She stops, thinks, turns right, and with a smart lady-like trot takes herself across the drive, and into the Tall Barn. Oh what a good girl! 

'Tis no good. I am looking at the time, it is nearly seven, and I really do have to carry on with shifting things around. Would prefer to be outside on the farm. Can't. The plumber is coming in tomorrow to fix the plumbing for the dishwasher. Jean Pierre is here on Saturday to start work on the ceilings. The electrician is coming in on Monday to sort out the cabling for the Internet. I have to go off line for a few days as the computers are re-sited. When I come back on line  we shall be all sorted out. I hope!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Rats, cows, vinegar, bicarb, & mud

So Lester was up late last night. Having had a nap in the afternoon his need to go to bed was delayed. Mine wasn't. It was all that to-ing and fro-ing I had been doing as I tried to get some order into our home. Anyway, I was in bed, with the electric blanket set to four, yes four, because I felt the need to be cuddled up and warm, at ten. 

The house was quiet. Skippy skippy hoodahs started as one, two, three rats came into the house via the ring beam on top of the walls, joined also by one single mouse at floor level. It is not a pleasant experience to hear rats above one's head. Lester was most upset this morning when he was telling me this. He has fought the fight, has Lester. During our first winter in the house, which was two years ago, there were loads of rats running along the tops of the walls. I think it must been an ancient highway for them, like the M25. And like that monster of a motorway, round and round the rats used to chase, like I used to do when driving along the M25 back in the time when I lived in the UK. 

So I held the ladder for Lester as he clambered up it to lay poison, yes poison, along that ratty M25 highway on top of those walls. No use laying traps because the rats are not daft and avoid those traps. We know because we tried using them. Didn't catch one single rat. But the poison did. Job done. For a while. Intermittently we still have rats coming in, but normally singly, not it a gang. As I am sitting writing this blog there is movement in the house. I keep stamping my feet to keep them away from me. I don't think I shall be writing for much longer. I think I need to go join Lester, who has gone to bed early, in the Half Barn, which is rat free but not mice free. But it is one mouse less because we trapped one yesterday. We do lay mice traps. We can catch mice in traps. Bit of bread seems to do the trick. 

'Vvvvveeeeerrrraaaa!" yelled Hubs / Head Cowman / Head Shepherd. I was with my extended roller, waving in the general direction of the ceiling hoping that the paint would not drip into my eyes again. Down came the roller. When Hubs yells, it is best I obey toute suite. 

Ah, Elise again. There she was, standing in the drive, defying Hubs to get anywhere near her. Well at least the sheep and goats were in the Sheep Paddock, I thought.  
"Go and get me some grain will you", yelled Hubs, "She won't come near me....."
Obeying these instructions, off I went. Only Elise had eyeballed me and I had eyeballed her back, and I think that she remembered our set-to last week, when Hubs was in Paris and her and I had a ding dong of a battle and I won because I left her out in the field all night. Because as soon as I was out of sight she charged flat out across the drive, on into the door of the Tall Barn, and then into her enclosure. Lester said that he had never seen a cow charge like that. He said that he thought that she was running away. He said that he was worried in case she was leaving home for good. I think it was because she saw me. I think that she knew that she could mess about with Lester, but that when I turned up she thought 'Oh crikey, don't want to mess with her, best get to bed before I end up in that field for the night again'.

One of my tasks today was attack the gunk on the cooker. It is a donated cooker. It is an old cooker. It is devilishly difficult to clean because the surface seems to like absorb muckiness effortlessly easily. This condition is not helped by the twice a day pot boil of pig food, which almost always overflows, turning the soggy, pulpy, grain into baked on gunge. 

Normally vinegar works. Didn't seem to today. But I found a miracle product. Bicarbonate of soda. I keep it for our tummies, and the sheep's tummies, and for baking if the recipe requires a spoonful. But oh what a miracle. It cut through the gunk in no time. And the marvelous fizz that happened when I added some splashes of vinegar to it was quite fun to behold. Didn't add too much vinegar though. Didn't want to blow us all up. 

I had another jolly bit of fun later on. Rained yesterday so sheep and goats in the Sheep Barn for most of the day, so the harvest of sheep and goat poo left on the floor needed to be picked up. But first, the slosh through the muddy muck in front of the barn had to be done. Squelch, squelch, slurp. It was a mighty sticky mess of a muck. But job done. Two buckets of poo picked up. 

Then it came into my mind to see if I could do something about the numerous little puddles which made up the mucky mud. So I joined them up to make little streams. Then as they started flowing, I joined those stream to make a little river. To make sure the water kept on the move I used my hoe. It was fun. Instead of little puddles I have one bit puddle. Ah well, I tried to improve matters. 

Oops, things quieted down for a while, but now I hear movement in the house. It is not the dogs. It is not Lester. It is not me because I am sitting at my PC talking to you. 

I am going to bed. Quickly. 

Photo for Diane, who wants to buy Bicarb here in France. 

It is the morning of the next day. I have found one deceased rat, frizzled away to just a mound of flattened fur, in the bottom of one my boxes which was in the temporary kitchen I have just moved out of. As I moved with speed to join Lester in bed last night a rat raced across the floor of that temporary kitchen, not by my feet though, several metres away. It did not stop me from doing a squeal and running as fast as I could. I think I could have almost matched the speed at which the rat was running. I guess that we were both upset by being in the relatively close proximity of each other. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

From there to here and back again

I have been doing a lot of walking today, but not outside because it is tipping down with rain. Today I have been going from there.....

...... to here.....

....carrying armfuls of stuff as I transfer my temporary kitchen to another temporary kitchen in the kitchen which will be a proper kitchen eventually. 

I have become used to shifting things around. What am I going to do with myself when I don't have to do this any more. What will it feel like to have order, to not have to re-organize time and time again, not that I am fed up with all this disorder, no, I am not, but I have been wondering what will it feel like when the time comes for this moving about to be finished.

But we are getting the house renovated, or rather, rebuilt. Step by step. 

..... and here is a 'before' photo of the temporary kitchen space I have just vacated. This was taken as we arrived here ....

...... then we started helping the house to become well again, .....

.... and this space is to have its ceiling put on top of those big oak beams. It already has a roof. When all is done, this will become the larder area for the house. Living and working on a smallholding requires that space be given over for the storage of produce, and the equipment that is needed to turn that produce into food. 

 And the kitchen will be a 'room'. I don't want to have a kitchen which has shiny surfaces and is full of modern gizzmoes. I don't want a 'kitchen brochure' type of kitchen. I want an old French kitchen, a farmhouse kitchen, one that has furniture in it rather than gleaming kitchen units, hobs, and built in ovens. We have a long way to go. 

...but at least the kitchen is better than what it was....

Been a rainy day here today. Sheep, goats, and Elise (our heifer) all indoors. Given DIY hay, three bales. Sheep and goat out in the Sheep Barn, the goats having allowed the sheep to share their space for once, and Elise in the Tall Barn. Occasionally the sheep and Elise talked to each other. The Geese Gang had quite a lot to say for the themselves though. Joyful were they that there were plenty of puddles around in which to frolic. The hens, meanwhile, were out and about. They have laid eggs somewhere because they were telling the world that they had. Where those eggs are is anyone's guess. Will have to track the hens tomorrow to see where they are tiptoeing off to. They can be very sneaky when it comes to the communal nest site. If they know they have been spotted then they will abandon that nest site and sort out another one for themselves. 

My energy has oozed out of me. I need to plug myself into a battery charger to get myself going again. Need to carry on sorting the kitchen stuff out otherwise nothing can be cooked. I know! A quick swig of Bailey's! I know where that is! That might do the trick!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Home alone (3)

.....following on from the previous two posts....

Elise survived the night, as was obvious when I tiptoed out front, not wanting to be too energetic in case the sheep thought that I was going to let them out into one of the fields. It was OK though. They were still dopey with sleep, some of them even having an icing of frost along their backs, making it clear that the goats had taken charge of the Sheep Barn again, banning the sheep from sharing it with them. As for Elise, I could just make out her four legs planted on the ground, and not pointing heavenwards. No need to keep on rehearsing what I would say to Lester when he got home from Paris then, which went like this:
" Lester (said in a bit of wailing tone), I am soooooo (elongating 'so' to emphasize my concern) sorry, but Elise would not come to the bucket, and she ended up in the field for the night and it very cold minus 2 and she got frozen to death and she is out on the field even now flat on her back with her legs pointing skywards". 

I went indoors for a while. No use in trying to get the sheep on the move, as they were still half asleep. Left Elise in the field. Was going to leave her there for the day. Didn't want to face any more of her shenanigans. 

An hour later, and the sheep were calling out to me, saying that they wanted to be on the move, so I moved them. Was not going to shift Elise. Stayed firm with my intent about this. 

Stayed firm for about half an hour. Then went to get her purple bucket, filled it with grain, walked it over to the field she had spent the night in, my intent now being to dump the bucket near the water container and let her get on with it. 

So I did that. Only almost as soon I was inside the gate, she started walking towards me. And all I can say is that I just knew I had won the battle. Head down, obviously fed up, she docilely plodded over to me, put her head in the bucket, I put the rope round her neck, picked the bucket up, got that, her, and me, across the ditch without all of us slithering into a heap in the middle of it, walked her up the drive towards the Side Field, opened the gate of the Side Field, walked her inside that field, kept walking her round and round and round and round, then gave the bucket, untied her, and let her go. 

She followed me back to the gate. It was as if she so wanted to be seen to be sorry. I felt my heart give a jolt. I could have picked her up and given her a hug.

And so on with the day. But what to do at the end of the day. How was I going to get her back into the Tall Barn. Well I wasn't. I was going to leave her and the others in the field until Lester got home, whatever time that was going to be. 

Ah, but later on a thought came clearly into my head. Get her out of the field first, go back for the others when she was settled down. 

I did that. Got her squeezed through the gate, managed to get it shut just as the others were going to barge through after her, walked her down the drive, and......... into the Tall Barn. In fact she pulled me through the door of the Tall Barn with such eagerness that I nearly slithered along on the ground. Sorted. Everyone else to bed. Sorted. Lester back home later on. Glad to have him back. I am not 'Home Alone' any more. Thank goodness! 

What I have learnt: That if circumstances rendered me without my partner, that I would carry on with the farm one way or another. It is not likely that I would sell up unless my health faltered. That I would keep the sheep, the goats, and Elise, but possibly not the pigs. That I love my life here even if I feel ten steps behind myself for most of the time.

It was raining hard. A beep on a car hooter. Oh bother, someone coming calling. Out we went, to be presented with these.......

........ pumpkins, but French ones so are not round and orange!

Meanwhile, the wheel barrow came in useful......

..... and this is going to come in useful to put the pig in next weekend......

...and this is going to mightily useful to clear up after us, but only after we have found someone to plumb it in for us because we can't understand the techno jargon in the leaflet accompanying the dishwasher because it is in French, but even if it was in English we still would have trouble deciphering the jargon, of that I am sure. 

Mum hen and chicks are doing well. Still have eleven. Elise is in the Tall Barn every night. Lester is home, all is well. But all was well when he wasn't here, it's just things did not run quite so smoothly. 

And I have a huge freezer so I can fill it with our meat and produce. And I have a new dishwasher which will hopefully keep the kitchen tidier, save me time so I can do things elsewhere, and stop me from being irritable about trying to keep up with the conveyor belt of washing up waiting to be done. And we have a huge pile of huge pumpkins which need doing things with. (Any ideas?) And our little chicks took shelter beneath the wheelbarrow just as it started raining really hard. We needed the barrow to shift the heavy pumpkins. But the chicks needed the barrow. They won. We just got wet. Had to carry one pumpkin at a time from out front into the Tall Barn. Would have been quicker if we had piled them into the barrow. Ah well. C'est la vie.