Friday 22 June 2012

Catching up

Been a busy time. Feel ten steps behind myself. Need two, or even three, of me but neither Hubs or myself would cope with more than one of me.
We have made a new electric paddock for the piglets, their mum, and their aunt. We had separated the aunt from Max because we thought she was expecting. She wasn’t. Not to worry. She needed a break from the big boy. He can be a bit of a nuisance. He can be a bit of a bully.

So the old electric paddock was available for us to tend. Only it was full of big clods which had become compacted by the sun. So what I did was raked those big clods to one side, scraped over the surface of the soil to fluff it up, make some furrows, planted some seeds. Could only do about a half of the available plot, the rest was too cloddy. Not to worry. At least I got seeds planted, mangel (like sugar beet) for winter food for the pigs.

The smaller veg plot had become a mess. Onions had become overgrown with weeds, as had the beetroot. Trouble was that I had made diddly little rows, thinking they would be easier to weed. They weren’t. There was still open ground to plant, but that, too, was getting weedy. But the beans growing up the fence of the plot are doing very well. They must like the rain / sun type of weather we have been having for ages now.

I have continued to hay make, and have become addicted to scything. Thirty four small bales of hay I have made, and it looks quite farmy in the Middle Barn when they are being stored. Trouble is that the drying of the cut grass to make it into hay is not happening because of the rainy patches we keep having. Not to worry, when it dries it can go to the sheep and pigs as bedding. The sheep like the DIY hay, and will eat it whether it is seconds or best quality. The pigs just romp in it. They love having new bedding. Their gleefulness is a joy to behold.

So last Saturday, Hubs decided that enough was enough. Off we went, returning with a lawnmower and a rotovator, the lawnmower to be used on the grass local to the house, and the rotovator to help me with getting the veg plots dug over. I still think that the scythe will cut the grass better than a lawnmower, but there is only one of me and the fields now need cutting and the days are only twenty four hours long. Hubs has work on his PC at the moment, but helps when he can. For a week he did not have any work and scythed a great swathe in the kitchen field. This I am still trying to dry. Scything cuts the grass fast. Getting the grass turned, rolled, turned, rolled, stacked, and baled, is the activity which takes the time. And then it rains on the nearly dry grass, and the drying process has to start all over again. We are not having more than two days of sunshine in one go at the moment, otherwise it is overcast, or rainy. Not to worry, this is the way it is on a smallholding. Sometimes the weather works with you, sometimes not. But at least we don’t have to water. There is always a blessing to be had somewhere.

The rotovator. God bless it! Love the machine. On to the Small Veg Plot Hubs took it. And it bucked and kicked like a mad bronco as it went over the ground, but my goodness me, it did in five minutes a patch of ground that it would have taken at least an hour for me to do. So, I have started again. Got Hubs to go over the whole plot again. Planted it again. Seeded it again. Was more organised this time, marked the rows with yarn I had spun from the sheep wool. This will disintegrate over time, and will not look untidy as string would have done. My halo is shining brightly. I have buffed up Hubs’ halo as well. That roti, although a wild machine, wanting to go its own way, Hubs keeping in command of it but only just, is a magic bit of kit. He even managed to get another chunk of the Big Veg Plot turned over.

A beep of a car hooter sounded. Out we went to see who had arrived. It was a neighbour, one who had bought two of our sheep five weeks ago. The news. One had keeled over suddenly. Was dead. Was unsure as to what we were supposed to do. But ended up by giving them back the money for the dead one, and insisting that they bring her back so we can burn her. They did. We made the fire. She is now made in to ashes.

We could have said that that’s life. We could have said that she was alright when she was here, which she was. We could have said a lot of things about their care of the sheep. But they are a young Dutch couple with three children who are trying to build a new life here. So we helped. One thing though, this reinforces our thinking that we do not want to be involved with breeding animals and then selling them on. Although we made quite a lot of money with the sale of the piglets and lambs, and for a while we thought we might continue this practice as it would be a means of contributing towards the running costs of the smallholding, we have vetoed this idea now. The Universe will need to provide us with other forms of income if we are to keep going here. I am sure it will. Something will turn up, I keep saying to Hubs, as his Internet work with a company in the UK dwindles.

Biarritz is quite a nice place to visit. I did. Last weekend. With the choir. To sing in a concert with another choir of that area in a church which was the prettiest I have ever been in. Stayed overnight with a French lady, who lived a distance away from the church so drove me to and fro. That is the best way to visit places and see them in their proper light rather than being a tourist whereby you mostly see the best side of a place. I saw Bayonne and Biarritz in their true light, the marriage of the run down back streets with the smart front streets, of there being money available in the area but only to some of the people. Of the svelte woman playing volleyball on the beach with an older man who had the sheen of wealth upon him. Of the young man and woman with the brown lids of instant coffee jars upturned so money could be given to them sitting outside the huge grey church in the centre of the Biarritz beach front which is beside the huge Casino which sits beside the church which sits in the centre of the Biarritz beach front. Of the topless suntanned young woman sitting on the sand. Of the row of men hungrily absorbing her bosoms sitting on a bench not so far away. Of the little cove which had day fishing boats to-ing and fro-ing. Of the shops, expensive, small, boutiquey, just behind the church, just behind the casino, all discretely oozing wealth. Fascinating!

 Off to the UK tomorrow, leaving Hubs in total charge. Just off outside to get the dried hay baled up. The big pile in the gate porch is being attacked by the chickens who think it is their duty to dismantle anything which is in a reasonably tidy pile. When I get back after a week away I fully expect that particular pile to be scattered all over the Courtyard. They are also attacking the precious pile of manure out back. It should be quite a sizeable lump of goodness by now, but even though it is covered over by a tarp they still manage to reduce that pile into under half what it should be. I found Orpy, the cockerel, making a new nesting home for his ladies. In the hay box in the Sheep Barn. When I asked him what he was up to, because all I could see was his upended tail feathers, he looked up guiltily. They do that a lot, the chickens. Whenever I suddenly appear they stop what they were doing, and adopt an air of ‘we’re not up to mischief, honestly we aren’t’. This is spoilt by the general air of naughtiness which pervades the air, especially when they are hanging around the manure or hay.

So off to do some unscheduled hay bale making before our hard work is wasted. Hope you all have a good week. I do look at your blogs, but do not often have the time to say I have. As I have said, we really need at least two of me, but neither Hubs nor myself would cope with more versions of moi!


Diane said...

I would love a small rotivator but now I have Nigel to help with the digging it is not so bad :)

Have a safe trip to the UK and we will hear all about it when you return. Take care Diane

John Going Gently said...

what are you going to bring back from Blighty?
any nice goodies?

Jean said...

Vera, I find it incredible that with all that going on you still have the energy to sing !!
Shame about the dead lamb - you were very kind to give them their money back.
I hope you enjoy your trip to the UK - bring your wellies and sowester - the weather is very changeable and when it's bad it's atrocious.

Rosaria Williams said...

Vera, you have a real knack for narrating your life here. Just reading about all the work you do wears me thin. I now need a nap.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Safe travels to the UK and hope you find the hay is [mostly] where you left it when you return :-)

Vera said...

Diane: Our roto is a cheepo but still does the job, but it is a handful and needs a lot of brute strength to keep it heading in the right direction. Can quite see why digging by hand would be a better option to someone who has the time to do it!

John, I have deliberately limited myself to one carry on bag so I can't be tempted into spending!Funds are limited. Lester's job is closing down.

Jean: Ah but I shall be indoors for the bad weather, and not be out rescuing the hay and looking after the animals!

Rosaria: I wear myself out as well, and also take naps!

Niall and Antoinette, I have made some of the hay into haybales, but did not have time to do all of it. But I did find six eggs in the hay so have forgiven the hens for making such a mess, but only for time being!

Horst in Edmonton said...

I hate to say this but the people that bought your lambs should know that live animals have no money back guarantee. This should have been said at time of sale. The big problem there is that you don't know how they treated the animal. They should not have purchased live animals if they though there was a guarantee. I wish I had a guarantee that I won't dye any time soon. I understand why you gave them back the money, you didn't need the hassle.

DUTA said...

You've fully deserved that nice trip to Biarriz, one of the most beautiful and stylish city in Europe.
Your description of the Biarriz episode is fascinating.

Vera said...

Hello Duta, I didn't see much of Biarritz apart from the sea front, but you are right, it does look to be quite a 'stylish' city.