Saturday 27 April 2013


Jakey when he first arrived in October 2009.
He is on the left, and he is a Jacob ram.
Everyone said he was too small to make lambs. 
But he wasn't.
During the 2011 / 2012 winter these arrived:


Twenty two lambs, that's what he gave us.
Fourteen this year, or thereabouts.
We lost count.
It has been a bit of a year so far.

Went out to the Sheep Paddock yesterday,
and there he was,
a stiffo on the ground.
We are upset.

RIP Jakey-Boy, 
you did us a grand service.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Bits of kit

In the post are: 1 milk separator so I can get the cream out of our goats milk. This is coming from the Ukraine, from 'Merry-Farm'. Seen the YouTube video, which is in English Apparently the instruction booklet is not. It is in Russian apparently, but with an English translation which is not understandable. 

Then there are cultures for making cheese from the goats milk coming from the UK, from BrewUk. This was  a handy site, might have a go at making a brew later on. Also, cheese moulds, thermometers, butter muslin and other stuff from Homestead Farms, who also had hoof stuff for the sheep, and harnesses for the puppies whose lead walking training has not been done yet, and they are as big as Boolie (our Springer Spaniel) so they are inevitably going to be pulling me along at full pelt, hence the harnesses. 

From Amazon UK, there is a Kenwood food processer coming so I can turn the cream which comes out of the milk via the Merry-Farm separator into butter. It was the same price as an electric butter churner, but will help me with other things such as prepping the veggies. I could churn the butter by hand. You do this by putting cream into a glass jar and shaking that jar up and down for ages. I had a trial run using milk. After five minutes my arm ached and my hand felt like it was going to drop off. But I have opted for a manual separator rather than the electric one, so I should still get some exercise. 

Then from UKJuicers there is the biggest bit of kit and that is an Excalibur dehydrator. 

From America I have already received the All American Pressure Canner. 

Now all I have to do is read the books which are also on their way, keep watching helpful YouTube vids, and then start practising the skills of cheese making, butter making, canning, dehydrating, and going round the bend. 

And this all because for years I had the urge to grow my own veggies. Then I met Lester. Then France came into our lives. Then an urge grew in Lester to have farm animals. Then we moved to France, to our undeveloped five acres of land which we have spent the last five years making into a smallholding. That is why I need to learn these new skills, because I have to do something with the harvests, both animal, fruit, and vegetable, that we are producing. 

Phew! And here I am, at sixty six years of age, learning all these new things. And I couldn't do it without all those other people who have the skills which I don't have at the moment, and who take the time to post up vids on YT to help people like me learn, plus the inspiration I get from the blogging community. 

The Internet is not such a good place for many things, but for learning new things then it is priceless. 

So all this lot is supposed to be arrived in a week or so. Meanwhile I had better get on with trying to get the veg plots going. Or maybe I shall collapse in a heap. Which I don't have time to do. But I would if I did. Or maybe not. Life is just too interesting.........

Sunday 21 April 2013

To the woods!

Been out in the woods today with Lester, playing 'let's thwack our way up the Amazon'. OK, that is an exaggeration, because our woods are titchy, and it was not that hot, and there were no mosquitos about because it is too early in the season although no doubt it is going to be a hell of a year for mozzies because of the wet and mild winter but not at the moment.

So what were we doing messing about in the woods? Cutting a path so we can get to the river bank, that's what we were doing. And why would we want to be making a path? So Lester can carry the electric pump down to the river's edge so we can get water from there to the veg plots.

....and ssshhhhh! Don't tell a soul because we aren't supposed to 'borrow' the river water because the river authorities say we can't unless we have a license, but since the river 'borrows' our land to flow over when it is carrying too much water, I think it is only fair that we avail ourselves of the water on offer when we need it.

However, it being Sunday, within a few yards of the water's edge a lethargy hit us, dwindling away our pep and vim, rendering us useless to carry on, so off to bed we went, and that was us finished for the day. Ah well, start again tomorrow.

PS. All potatoes in. Onions and garlic in. Four rows of sugar beet in. Flower seeds round edge of plot were in but are now residing in the digestive tracts of the ***** chickens, who did a raid on the veg plot whilst we were having our afternoon nap. One hen now gone broody and sitting on eggs in the portable once upon a time rabbit run. The other 'broody' hen went off the idea of sitting on a pile of eggs after one day, so those eggs are now indoors. Lucy the cat is now practising her survival skills after pouncing on, but not managing to completely overwhelm, a wood pigeon. Blue the rottweiller puppy and sister to Maz, is in disgrace after developing a passion for chasing, and almost catching, hens. 

Hope you had a restful Sunday, and hope you have a good week ahead......

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Its a whirly time....

....what I mean is that there are lots of things happening which make my mind feel more in a whirl than it is ordinarily.

Goats Milk. We are finding that the lovely creaminess of goats milk does something to our heads when we use it as a drink to have before bed time. Cows milk used to knock us out, but goats milk seems to inspire our minds to gallop all about the place when they should be quiet and relaxed. Also, I have no more room in the freezer to store any more milk, so need to turn towards other ways of long term milk storage, as in making cheese and butter.

I have had a go at making soft cheese, and it is quite nice if a little on the bland side. The milk is heated almost to boiling, then apple cider vinegar is added and hey presto! Curds and whey form. Magic!

But now I need to investigate more advanced forms of cheese making, so on to the Internet to source things I need. Came across a gadget called a cream separator.
Cool gadget! Separates cream from milk. Would make the milk skimmed, but not thin and watery as in skimmed milk from the supermarkets. But.....cream!!!!!! Something which is expensive to buy here, and is in silly little pots, not like those lovely big pots of cream you can get in the UK. So, should I buy one? However, they come either from the Ukraine or India and apparently the English instructions are not particularly readable, or understandable, and that the inside parts of this machine are like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, and that this has to be done after every time it is used. Something to do with centrifugal forces, or something or other. 

And then there is the bit of kit to make butter......

.....fill jar with cream and then you whizz the handle round and round and round and round and eventually butter is made, that is if your arm doesn't fall off first! But I could use a screw top jar and keep shaking that up and down. Ah the joys of DIY butter making!

Anyway, onwards with learning about the conversion of goats milk into longer term storage options, and there is still the cheesemaking cultures I need to sort out. 

Hay Making Project for 2013. It won't be happening! Went out at just after daybreak this morning to start cutting this years hay. It was a lovely morning. I was happy to be outside, swinging the scythe, cutting the damp grass as the day woke up. Magic. Sun came out. 29 today, so hot. Managed to remember to turn the grass once, then forgot about it as the Potato Planting Project took hold of my time. 27 more spuds planted, five rows done. 

We had an altercation, me and Lester, not over much, but I went on strike with it all. I love scything, but it is the raking up, and turning several times, of the drying grass, then the final raking, then the baling, then the carrying of the baled hay to the barn for storage, that is what takes up the time. 

And I thought of the weeks ahead, between now until late September, weather permitting. So no, it is either the veg plot or hay making. Last year it was hay making and the veg plot did not amount to much, so this year I shall concentrate on the veg plot. 

And the tiff? What was that all about? Well, Lester's tractor broke, and it has been parked up in the Courtyard, looking like a rusty old heap, well that is what I think, but Lester loves his tractor, and mourned the fact that it was not working properly. Then along came a local farmer, who had a chat with Lester, who then returned a day later with another man, and this man took Lester's tractor away and is going to mend it. This led Lester into thinking that if it was indeed mended, then he would be able to cut the fields 'properly', unlike my efforts at scything last year. This put a fire of outrage in me, hence me then going on strike. 

But there are a lot of other things going on at the moment as well, so something had to give, so although I shall still scythe, the grass which is cut shall go towards feeding the pigs and not be put through the lengthy process of being turned into hay. 

Fast Food Project: I get fed up with producing meals every day. I like cooking, but not every day. Also, our freezers are getting full, and we need to find space somewhere to accommodate the meat which is still to go in them. 

So, I have connected with canning, or rather, with keeping food in sealed jars for long term storage, the idea being that I would cook up a big pot of something which would then be divided up into canning jars, then into a canner (which is like a pressure cooker but isn't) then hey presto, meals in a jar, which is fast food smallholding style. 

And this is what I have on its way, hopefully, from America:

Crikey, what a huge thing! It is an American 21 Quart canner. Why so big? Because everyone said to get the biggest that one could afford. Why not an ordinary pressure cooker? Because they are not big enough to get several jars in. Why not use an ordinary sterilizer? Because info on the Internet said to be careful of botulism when canning meat and low acid foods like vegetables. That fruit is alright in a sterilizer, because that is high acid. 

Now I thought long and hard about this  because I know of many people who use the sterilizer, which is a hot water bath, for everything including pate, and they don't get sick. But I want to put meat into these jars so the pressure is taken off the freezers, so I decided to go along with the Americans and learn how to use a canner. By the way, milk can be processed in jars in a canner, so that might help with milk storage.

So why am I going to so much trouble, if there is only the two of us to feed? Because I need to have my time freed up. I need for Lester to go to a jar, open in, heat it up, and hey presto, fast food. I need to be able to come indoors after a morning out on the farm and do the same. If I want to spend the day writing, then I need to have fast food available. If I want to stay in bed all day, which is unlikely I hasten to add, then we need to have fast food in the larder. 

Does it take a lot of time to prep several jars of fast food of the same type? Well, if you are making a small amount of something like a curry, then it is not going to take a huge amount of time to make a larger amount. The other day I cooked a leg of lamb, and we had seven meals out of it: two days of a curry, five portions into separate bags in to the freezer. If I had the canner, I would have put those five portions into jars together with veggies, processed them, hey presto (yet again), DIY fast food. 

Potting Project: I am useless at watering pots. Every year I put seeds into pots, and a lot of them don't survive because of my lack of attention to watering. 

Several days ago I planted some tomato seeds in compost I dug up from the soil upon which once stood our compost heap, which became deceased because the chickens scratched it to pieces. Anyway, I put into pots this compost and these seeds. But the compost had seeds in it already, and they have sprouted ahead of the tomato seeds, and are now flourishing despite my tendency to forget to water. 

And so, this year I am not going to waste my time fart-arting about with pots and potting compost. All the seeds are going straight into the ground, in seed beds, in the small veg plot, and if they don't survive, well, tough! And that includes the tomatoes as well. I am not going to fuss about with our mini greenhouse, trying to remember to keep checking it because it can cook little seedlings in no time at all, trying to remember to water the pots, trying to remember to close the mini greenhouse up at night. Out into the ground they are going. 

And if none come up, then I shall purchase veg plants from the local market. And if they are slower in starting to grow, then they should catch up eventually. And if a frost comes along and kills them stone cold dead, then I shall just have to plant a few more. 

So, no hay making, no pots, but canning definitely, possibly cream and butter making if we can afford the separator. 

To make a start with all of this, I spent the afternoon under the oak tree, lazing in the shade, enjoying the heat of the sun. Then I spent ages watching the sheep. Then I shouted at Blue who had wandered off down to the river for a swim. Then I made friends again with Lester. Then I wrote all about it to you!

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Bbbeeezzz, and me, vegetarian?

I have no trouble with making, and eating, our bacon.
I have no trouble with looking after, and then deceasing, the pig from which the meat comes from.
The same with all the meat we eat here.
However, we 'did' a hogget at the weekend, 
which is a year old lamb, and so is in between 'lamb' meat and mutton. 
We had to, we need to get the numbers of our animals down, 
because we are not a zoo or a charity
and we don't have the grazing to support the animals to keep them healthy,
especially when the river is full and needs more room to flow, 
so it 'borrows' our Home Field,
not for long,
but for a long enough time to soak the ditches,
so the field entrances become blocked for a couple of weeks,
which reduces our grazing land.

It is the nature of looking after sheep that you do two things to the lambs, 
castrate them, and reduce the lengths of their tails. 
You do this by using an appliance which fits small rubber bands, 
one round the base of the tail, 
and one between the testicles and body.
The tails are supposed to be kept short because of the potential for fly strike
if the sheep or lamb has a runny tummy,
but our sheep came here with long tails,
and upon observance of them during hot summer days
I noticed that they use those tails to keep the flies away from the rear ends,
and since nature gave the tails to these animals for a good reason,
we decided to let the lambs stay with their tails.
As doe the male lambs
twice we have castrated them, once when friends insisted,
and for this hogget which was once a lamb.

It is difficult to put those rubber bands on the lambs, 
because it has to be done as quickly as possible after birth,
when they are tiny and look fragile,
and when they tend to do this heartbreaking whimper afterwards, 
well they would,
it must hurt something awful for a while.

Anyway, for this hogget, we had, for some reason, castrated him,
he was the only one we did,
and I am glad that was the case.
Because during January this year we put  in to the freezer another male hogget,
and while he was waiting for his end,
right up until five minutes before the event,
he was doing boy stuff with the Jacob the ram,
being a young male, doing male activities, living his life to the full.
His meat was lean, healthy, succulent, and tender. 

But for this hogget, this year old male, 
who was not a male and not a female, but between the two,
from the start to the finish of the process,
there was a 'not quite right' feeling about it.
Oh there was still that breathtaking feeling of warm and blessed silence,
which comes into the air just after we have deceased an animal,
which is indescribable, which is 'out of this world',
but after that, well, we just had a feeling that the animal
 was not quite right.

And when it came to be the time of the cutting up of his parts,
we could see that he had led a different life to the other male,
who had had strong body structure because he had lived a full life,
but this one,
this one who had had his hormones tampered with,
well, you could see that his life had been different.
So, no more castrating, ever. 
Males will be left intact.
This we have learnt from this experience,
because if we had to castrate the male lambs in the future
then I would have difficulty in going through the slaughtering process with them,
because this one, as I have said,
did not have a 'happy' feel to him,
and this I did not like.

And another thing,

.....I have had a go at making goat cheese, using cider vinegar and goats milk.
It is easy,
but I need to take the next step now, 
which is to purchase certain products which give more flavouring to the cheese, 
like 'starters' and 'cultures',
no problem,
put up a search on the Internet,
found a company which will ship to France,
started having a look down their list,
and found 'rennet'.
You have to have this product, because the recipes say so
because that is what milk  has to have to make hard cheeses
and I thought I would have a  go at making this type of cheese.

But I found this out about rennet:
1. Cheese has been manufactured using rennet for thousands of years, mostly in Europe.
2. Indeed, rennet is extracted from the lining of the inside of the stomach of mammals, and most commonly from the fourth stomach of young calves.
3. Rennet contains enzymes that cause milk to become cheese, by separating it into the solid curds and the liquid whey.
4. Different animal rennet are used as well to create other types of cheese.
5. Most cheese in the US is NOT manufactured using rennet, mostly due to the availability of cheaper alternatives.
6. Vegetable rennet is made from certain vegetables that have coagulation properties as well. Thistle is the most common form.
7. Microbial rennet is derived from molds. Yum. A side effect is a slightly bitter tasting cheese.
8. Genetically engineered rennet is derived from plants that have been injected with cow genes.
What to do at the supermarket:
9. Companies are not legally required to disclose the source of the rennet, so unless the product specifically states a non-animal source for rennet, you won’t know.
and from  calf rennet is considered to be the best choice for longer aged cheeses because some of its residual components help to complete the breakdown of proteins. Some of the more complex proteins in the vegetable rennet can have a slightly bitter taste after 6 months of ageing.

I don't want to be a misery about this,
and I love hard cheeses,
but I can't 'do' calf rennet,
because I can 'see' those young calves in my head,
especially after a recent conversation with a friend of mine,
who used to work at an abbatoir
and who described to me in graphic detail what happens to those calves,
often of a day or so old,
and who often were so young they could hardly walk.
But then, cheese comes from milk,
milk which is produced from a cow who has had a calf,
and if that calf stays with her,
then that calf will take that milk,
and there would be none left to make cheese with,
so that calf has to come away,
to be made use of,
to turn the milk of the cow
into cheese.


So, what to do.
Buy vegetable rennet, that is what I shall do,
and 'age' the cheese for only six months,
and perhaps then freeze it to stop the ageing process.
Or perhaps I shall stick to making soft cheese for the moment!

Lester was in a panic yesterday
Was filling in his French tax form, 
but on the Internet could not find the correct form.
Off we went to Tax Office in Tarbes,
only to be told that they were not available yet,
even though the tax deadline is seven weeks time. 
But it was not a wasted trip,
because the French countryside was beautiful,
the sun was shining,
and the mountains were glowing, 
in a moment of inspiration,
I got Lester to stop at a place
which sells

So, now have a brand new hive,
and bees on the way.

This is our second attempt at keeping bees,
but this time they will not arrive by post and be put into an old hive,
but instead, 
they will have a spanking brand new hive,
and it will be filled with ten frames of bees,
after we have taken the hive back to the shop,
so the bees can be put inside it for us.

And thanking the Universe for giving us this opportunity to keep learning...
and to say, 
that if ever we were not able to be here on this petite ferme
that I would be a vegetarian.

Thursday 11 April 2013

Another pile in

With not a lot of enthusiasm, but thinking I ought to take advantage of the rainless, sunny, day, out to the veg plot I went again. Another twenty five potatoes in. Gosh. However, the effort required to dig the trench and get the potatoes in situ rendered me with a desperate need to go and have  sit down with a cup of tea, thus I did not cover over the potatoes. In effect, I did a 'half job'. 

An hour later, enjoying a roasting in the sun, it came to me that the spuds were also having a roasting.

Things I have learnt today: that fence wire needs to be of the small mesh type because chickens can squeeze through the most amazing little space, especially if being chased. 
- that I must remember to put a layer of pea netting up against the fence wire if I am to keep my patience. 
- that chickens have an 'off' switch when it comes to knowing where they can forage, and where they can't.
- that chickens like pulling things out of the soil, like newly planted sprouting potatoes which have not yet been snuggled over with soil. 
- that I must be less slothful in future in regards to the planting of potatoes, that I must make sure not to leave the carefully planted row unattended even for a few minutes otherwise those chickens will do a raid and the spuds will have to be repositioned all over again which is not good for one's temper.

And thus we have twenty five more potatoes planted and covered up. I am not friends with the chickens because they have assumed ownership of the newly rotovated veg plot. I am not friends with the puppies because they have done no poos or pees in the hallway for the last few nights, so well done the girls, but no, they have been, and that is in the lounge, OK, so it is a building site in there, but that is not the point, doggies, especially puppy girls, go to the loo outside, and it is no good doing a jaunty swagger while they are being told off, it might work with Lester, but it does not work with me. I am not friends with Boolie either because he refuses to stay outside, but instead prefers to be inside so he can play 'chase the cat'. I am not friends with Gus for most of the time because he tends to do sneaky raids on the cat litter tray, the cat food dish if it has not been picked up, and any food within reach on the work surface or table. 

Apart from that, all is fine. Made some goats cheese today, which has turned out better than my first attempt. Made some bacon, and that has turned out better as well. Made some dandelion jam yesterday as a trial run. Will defo do again. Will plant some more potatoes tomorrow, weather permitting, and I will absolutely stay on site and get them covered up so they are safely away from foraging beaks. Made some nettle fertilizer, or rather stuffed a load of nettles into a black bin which I then filled with water, but it seemed to take an age to get the bin filled, well it would, because there was a hole in the bottom of the bin through which the water was gushing out. Not to worry, put all into another bin, and will wait with anticipation for the humungously fumey fertilizer to chuck up its fumes. 

As a side note, the French government have banned the use of nettle fertilizer, and it is against the law to even give instructions as to how to make it. Does that mean that I can expect the local gendarmerie to do a raid on us. Will we be frog marched away and interred. Will we be home for tea. Do I need to keep some clean underwear packed just in case. And most importantly of all, who is going to plant the rest of those flipping potatoes!

Tuesday 9 April 2013

52 down!

Fifty two spuds in the ground. Two rows. Thought the six I had prepared would be enough for the amount of potatoes we have to plant. It will not be. Two more rows need to be trenched. 

And a thought: what the hell possessed us to buy two bags when one would have done. But it was February, and since there was a distance in time of several weeks before the planting could be done, well, I suppose that we were carrying an enthusiasm for veg plot gardening because we could, because it was winter, because we couldn't go out and dig, because we could day dream about getting out on the veg plot, because we are smallholders, because we want to grow our own food, because we are daft. 

However, all the bad weather has given me a stiffness of the back because I have been sitting for a lot of hours at my computer, rendering me bent over when I walk, and irritable because I have sciatica. An hour planting spuds sorted all that out. The contortions needed to clamber in and out of the trenches, which weren't war-time deep, but felt like it as I got in and out of them, bending over to mulch, plant potato, mulch again, bit of fertiliser, cover all, with wind blowing, but no rain, not at that moment anyway, well, all those aches and pains went, so well done for the exercise Vera, you might have collapsed into a heap when you got back indoors, but you did get rid of the sciatica, even though you now have aching arms through trying to make trenches in water sodden ground with a blunt hoe. 

And God bless Lester who came and helped me make a trench, but he did that with a spade which just made for solid chunks of soil rather than the fine tilth that one should have if one is working one one's very own super duper veg plot. Fortunately it came on to rain so we had to call time on the spud planting project, but not before I went down Lester's spade dug trench and thwacked those clods of earth into smaller sized pieces, knowing full well that the sun will shine eventually and that when it does those clods will bake themselves into solid lumps which the growing potato plants will not appreciate being squashed under when they are earthed over. 

I have planted those potatoes with better care than those in the past. In previous years they have been dropped into holes with  nothing other than the bare soil to grow in. This year I have taken notice of helpful hints found on the Internet, so the ******s had better grow. did have a minimal surge of energy yesterday, although it was not sustainable. Hopefully a proper surge will happen soon..... we still have all the seeds and the rest of the spuds (approx 140) to plant. Off now to dig up a couple of spoonfuls of compost from the now defunct compost heap after the chickens took charge of it a while ago, but I might be lucky to get something out of the ground upon which the compost heap once stood.

Actually, I am not going to do that, because Sara and Paul down the lane have just invited us for a drink, and then I am off to choir. Heyho, that's me done with smallholding today!

Sunday 7 April 2013

Fencing, etc....

We have been fencing here, fencing there, and fencing over yonder, all in an effort to control our numerous animals who seem hell bent on eating everything, and I mean 'everything'. 

For a start, there are the sheep who moan about being let out on to pasture upon which they had grazed on the day before, then there are the goats who will squeeze through the tiniest of gaps to get to 'better eating' spots, not to mention the chickens who made a united assault at the temporary fence betwixt them and the veg plot that we are currently working on. 

So we have fenced Station Field into two sections, Home Field now has a fence line which is  halfway to being completed, and the other two fencing lines in that field will be done this summer. Jacob, our ram, and sundry other males, but not Lester because he lives in the house with me, as do Gussy and Boolie, our two watch dogs along with Maz and Blue, who are our trainee watch dogs only they have a long way to go in regards to barking at the right times because they seem to think they need to bark when nothing much is happening, as I was saying...... Jacob, and sundry other males, (not Lester, etc) are to go in their own part of Home Field, so they can't do naughtiness with the girls. 

.....because we are over populated with sheep and goats, and we need to reduce the numbers drastically if we are to have an easier time of it next winter. This means selling or freezing, and we have opted for freezing, the reason being that when we sell an animal we have continuing thoughts about how that animal is doing, and we have not seen any of our sold or donated animals yet who actually look better than what they did here. It sits too heavily upon us that this is so. The freezer will be bulging by the time autumn arrives. It is the way of a smallholding.

Been paddling in the river, not by design, but by necessity, because Bools had gone into the water to fetch a stick, but had become tangled in brambles which threatened to drown him. The water was only thigh high though, and it was a quiet patch of water, not the faster flowing main stream of the river, so it was not too bad. Squelching back to the farm in soaking wellies and skirt was a bit much though. Not to worry, Bools was happy that he had been rescued, and I was happy that I had rescued him. 

Been out on the veg plot today, Lester rotovating, me trying to dig trenches for the potatoes, but I kept stopping, full stop, you know, when all energy evaporates and you want to move but you can't, well that was me out on the veg plot today. But I did do nearly three long trenches, only three more to go. If all goes well, we should have quite a good quantity of potties later on. I have approximately 190 potatoes to plant. Thought I would do a trench a day, plus do one lot of seeds into pots. It's a plan. 

Maz and Blue, as previously mentioned, are trainee guard dogs but are not showing any particular flair for this task at the moment. But they are good at peeing on the floor, even though the front door is open, and they are good sneaking a munch of cat poo from the cat's litter tray when I am not looking, and they have also realised that their increasing height enables them to stand on their back legs and munch on any food left on the work surfaces, oh and there are the egg hunts when no one is around (they are very efficient at this), and have evolved a dislike of the broom which has been known to arrive on their bums during difficult puppy mischief times. 

....waiting for the surge in energy which should accompany longer, sunnier days, but which seems not to be happening at the moment, I sign off. 

Hope you had a lovely Sunday, and hope that you have the surge which seems to be lacking in moi at the moment.....

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Today was the day......

Today was the day of my Mum's funeral.
She went into the fire in a wicker basket.
All the family were there.
Except me.
I was out in the middle of the field, 
with Lester, Boolie, Gus, Maz, and Blue.

So what was I doing?
Perhaps having a moment of loving thought,
of taking the time to pause in reflection,
of being aware of a new chapter in my life,
of the turning of the years,
of the cycle of life.

Actually, no. 

What I was doing was helping Lester do some fencing, 
which was an urgent job,
because the other field has become partially flooded again,
because it has rained again,
because we can't get the animals on to that field to graze again,
which means that Station Field has to be used again,
but we have just put fertiliser on to that field to help it along,
and we have just put fencing wire along the long length of the internal fencing poles,
but since the other field can't now be used,
we have to use this field,
and the animals will get tangled in the fence wire,
unless we get the fencing grillage up on that wire,
which is what we did in the rain today.

Today was the day of my Mum's funeral.
I didn't go to the funeral because my health has not been kind to me.
Oh not of the 'near death' stuff, 
but of cough, cold, messy tummy, crunchy chest and dreadful tiredness, 
that is what has been set upon me since my Mum finally managed to pass away.
She wanted to go,
Kept asking for more morphine,
Kept on saying "Why am I still here", "I want to go"....
And in the end she did. 

Today was day of my Mum's funeral.
I think she would have liked the wicker basket,
with the round handles looking like port holes,
and the duffle coat type fastenings keeping the lid from opening,
of the theme song from Titanic walking her into the crematorium,
and 'Bring me sunshine' being played as she departed that place, 
Yes, I think, all in all, that she would have enjoyed her send off.

Today was the day of my Mum's funeral.
Rest in peace, Mum,
God speed you towards the light.

And I thought of the family giving you your send off
as I stood in the rain,
fencing our land,
and smiling up at the sky,
and giving praise and thanks
for you walking beside me as my Mum,
for nearly sixty six years
as I held on to the grillage to stop it from buckling
while Lester clipped it to the wire
so that our animals can graze on the field tomorrow,
because life goes on....