Wednesday 27 July 2011

Oh just the normal chaos!

And here in the foggy dustiness of the Half Barn sits Gus. And for why is the air fogged up? Because the floor has just been cleared of  clutter and swept, this task having been helped along by the two year old daughter and the ten year old son of our builder, their mum having spent the previous few days here helping her sister's partner to fill in the holes in the wall, of which there were a humungous amount. The wall is drying out now. It is looking good. Like it has never been touched since it was first built a couple of hundred years ago. Takes skill, that does, to make a wall look like it has never been renovated.

So last week was a busy one, with Danny our builder to-ing and fro-ing with his digging machine making trenches for the drainage pipes, which were subsequently tested during the four days of rain we have had since.

.....helped along by the flock who thought it was their task to fill in the trench....

..... and Danny's children romping around doing childreny things. It was nice to have them here, though, even if my head was nearly falling off my shoulders by the time Friday arrived with having to speak French all day. 

I haven't mentioned the Middle Barn much, but that, too, is mid-way towards completion...

......the concrete floor has now been laid, so now waiting for the roof to go on.

The Middle Barn joins up the house (centre) and Tall Barn (right). Once upon a time my plans were to have it as a winter sunlounge, with glass roof, shingled floor, and lots of exotic plants. Yes, well!!!!! Homesteading life requires that the space becomes the goat barn / milking parlour eventually, plus a place for Hubs to store stuff. Not to worry! Milking is preferable to lolloping about on a sunbed in the middle of winter: I think! 

And then there was the cock in the box...... while doing an egg hunt with the children, we came across a black head peeping from out of a tall box of sorted fleece. Upon raising up the head with attached body, it transpired that it was the juvenile cockerel. And quelle surprise! He was sitting on an egg! And a further hunt around the Tall Barn produced a pile of eggs being sat on by the hen who had been mounting the other hens who I thought was having a sex change but is obviously not because now she has gone broody.

I went indoors to have a think about all of this. Hubs said that cockerels do not lay eggs. Ever. And so why was he sitting in a pile of fleece on an egg? Hubs had no answer to that one. So I got the cockerel out of the box and now he is in the freezer because he couldn't walk because he had a broken leg. This is the second member of the flock to have a broken leg and be put into the freezer. If we have a third, then we are going to have a go at putting the leg into a splint. Apparently duck tape and popsicle sticks is the equipment one needs. As for 'his egg'..... I put that into the pig food pot. As for the hen....I counted ten eggs underneath her. She is a tiny bantam hen so no way was she ever going to keep all of them warm, so I removed three, leaving her with seven, but the following day she had abandoned two, leaving five. She is now in the dog kennel recently evacuated by the other hen who managed to raise one chick. She is now in the abandoned chicken run with her youngster. The first thing she did was have a joyous dirt bath, and boy oh boy didn't she enjoy herself!

.......she is getting along alright and they are safe, although the chick would be safer if it could stop persisting in having adventures through the wire. How it gets out I do not know, but often we have to rescue it and put it back with its mum. Hubs said that we may as well let them out of the run since the chick seems hell bent on getting out anyway, but I think that for every day it builds a bit of height and body weight, then the less likely it will be to be taken away by magpies when it is let out.  

The piglets are now being let out into the Sheep Paddock during the day so they can stretch their legs, their patch of the paddock having become confining for them as they continue to put on height and weight........

....and everyone is very friendly as they rake the bedding over. However, those two piglets are busy making the Paddock into a mud bath, but needs must. They will have to stay there until we get their Woodland Paddock finished, then we can reseed the Paddock which probably needed doing anyway.

Ah and the rain it did fall. But used the wetness to empty some seed packets into the Veg Plot thinking along the lines that those seeds were not going to do any good stuck away in a box and that it was better to send them out into the world to do whatever they could do. And blow me down, but loads have come up already and them just being three days in the ground!

And another the incubating machine. When the incubator was bought, also purchased a little gadget which lets you look inside the egg. On first try the other day, couldn't seem to 'see' anything inside the egg, but on second try this morning....Wow! First egg studied was devoid of life, but the second..........Wow, and wow again! There, in a corner of the egg, was a little being wobbling about. Crikey, but life is a miracle! Didn't look at the other eggs. I am satisfied that at least one might hatch. 


I don't say much about the rabbits. But they taste lovely. Was very squeamish at the beginning of the Rabbit Project, but Hubs said that as smallholders we needed to engage with them so I followed on behind him. I am still a step behind, but catching him up.

So our days of sleeping in the caravan are now numbered. The tiles are being laid in the Half Barn, so even at the pace that Danny goes, we should be in there soon. The piglets are busy rotovating the Sheep Paddock. The sheep are busy cleaning out the hedge copse behind their Paddock, plus eating half of the Home Field down into nothingness. The chickens remain themselves, ranging here and there, generally getting under our feet. Max the big male pig) remains irritable, but then he was irritable when Tess lived with him before she died, so no difference there then.  The rabbits continue to look cute. But I am off to cook one now.

Saying bye for now, ........

An hour or so later: rabbit off menu today, having spent the last hour or so trying to herd one of the sheep back into the field after she squeezed through a gap betwixt new fencing and the end of the hedge copse. Round and round she went. Round and round after her went the dogs. Round and round I went chasing all three. I have found that the best way to deter would-be future escapees is to show them that it really is not a good idea to move out of the field, and I do this by keeping them on the move and not letting them munch on any tasty morsels along the way, which they would do if given half a chance. This method seems to have worked with the twin lambs, and I hope it worked with their mum just now.
But Hubs has made an inspection of the break-out point, and my instructions this afternoon, as given to me by Hubs, is to clip (with the big clippers- his exact words!) the hedge line so that he can put another fifty metres of fencing up.
....and then the little chick has just got out of the run again, romping around, having fun, while its mum freaked herself out in the run. Caught it. Had a little cuddle. Put it back into the run. Have promised myself that three times more I will do this, then the hen and the chick will be let out together, and if something else eats the chick, then at least I know that I tried to keep it safe. its a quicky lunch of fish fingers and pasta, followed by yesterday's rice pudding. The rabbit will have to wait until tomorrow.


Diane said...

What a hive of activity you have there, saying that how is the hive doing? It seems you never have a dull moment at your place. You must be looking forward to the day you move out of the caravan :-) Diane

Roz said...

Wow, wow, and wow again!! What progress - it looks fabulous and well done on looking after all those animals, it makes me feel knackered just reading about all the work!! xx

John Going Gently said...

I hate rabbit.... just a strange fad...... purely psychological......

daft I know

Vera said...

Diane, yes indeed, we are looking forward to our first night in our house. Mind you, I will miss the treks across the Courtyard in the middle of the night to go to bed!

Hi Roz: I feel just as knackered doing it all!

John: Is that to eat or just to have? I mean, do you not like rabbits at all, or is it just that you cannot bring yourself to eat it, which I can understand seeing as how they are so damned cute!