Wednesday 1 July 2015

The hen in the bucket, and we are melting...

It has been hot, hot, hot, down here in SW France, with temperatures of around 40C, which is sucking the sap out of all of us, including the veg plot. We did have veggies growing in there this morning because I weeded a couple of rows of leeks. Oh alright, was only one row, because I was late in getting into the veg plot because we took our two cows for an amble down the river path so they could fill their tummies with grass and other forage because the field they spend their day in is now a shade of golden brown, the 'green' grass now having been frizzled to brown by the heat of the sun.

It has been hot, hot, hot....oops....sorry, forgot I had already said that! Anyway, if we did have a swimming pool I wouldn't go in it because I would get wet, and then I would have to dry off, and....well.....we don't need a swimming pool because we have the river.

However, the river levels are dropping and the sun is now getting through to the bed rock making the water go horridly full of bits of stuff which smells. So, no doing things in the river for me.

Now it would appear that I am not quite my rational self at the moment, and you are quite right. This heat is difficult to work in, and one feels one's self slowing down and down almost to a stop. Indeed if one did sit down for a quick five minutes, then the sleep angel visits very quickly, and off into the land of nod one goes.

But....swimming pool? Nooooooo. The effort of getting into one and getting back out of it again would be too much in this heat. I have no fantasies about having a swimming pool. Honestly I don't.

It is hard seeing everything wilting. We have lots more days of heat ahead apparently. But staying upbeat and positive, and trying to push out of our minds the worry of not having any grazing for the sheep and cows, but we can always buy some hay in, which we might have to do soon.

We are going to keep the cows in tomorrow. There is no way that we can let them be roasted out on the field again, despite having a small woodland to shelter in during the worst of the heat. The sheep seem to be less affected, perhaps because they were sheared a week ago and so must be very happy to be rid of that thick blanket of wool. The pigs are having showers several times a day to help keep them cool.

..... the beans along the fence, and the beans in the rows have been doing quite well, but we planted late so everything is going to have to catch up.

The left hand side of the veg plot. As you can see, looking very juvenile at the moment, but we have tamed it, so at least it looks like something 'proper' is growing there. The lovely rich growth in the right hand corner of the photo shows the luscious growth of weeds, which are growing very strongly.

....... and here is the 'untamed' rest of the veg plot!

So a friend stopped by today. It was mid morning. As she walked towards me across the courtyard she said, "That chicken under the bucket.....should it be there?" What chicken! What bucket! It being hot making our brains work slower than they normally would, so Lester and me looked at each other, each trying to translate what she was saying as if she had been speaking a foreign language.
"The bucket by the tractor" she says, "it's moving about... there's a chicken underneath it......did you put it in there?" She is now looking worried, not wanting to seem to be questioning our actions......just in case this was some mysterious farm activity which was needing to be done here which involved a chicken and an upturned bucket.

Our friend leads the way. And there, in the middle of the entrance porch is indeed an upturned bucket. We lift it off, and there, squashed inside, is our second biggest hen, all squashed up, in a dreadful state of dedraglement, and an even worse state of heat exhaustion because the bucket had been in full sun for quite some time. In other words, the overturned bucket was acting like an oven, and she was being slowly cooked.

Oh dear. What to do...... cooled her down with a shower of water from the watering can, and left her to think about whether she was going to fight and stay alive or give up and pass over. She was in the shade, she had water beside her, it was now up to her.

Well,..... we expected to see the dogs romping round the courtyard with her carcass eventually, but no, she has soldiered on, and managed to waddle her way over to the rest of the chicken gang who have been spending their days beneath the very large and sprawly fig tree.

We have no explanation as to how she got underneath the bucket. It remains a mystery to us, and probably to her as well.

24 hours later: the hen is doing well, and is actually looking perkier than how she looked before her bucket experience. And for some reasons known only to herself, she seems to want to stay quite close to me when I am out in the courtyard. Earlier on today, when the sun was still obscured by heavy mist so it was cooler although the air was thick with moisture making it feel very humid,  I thought I really ought to get the sheep fleeces sorted out because the new juvenile chicks ( all fifteen of them) have now been let out of their runs and are busy investigating all that there is to be investigated, including toes (ouch!), and the pile of fleeces, which were quite clean a week or so ago but are now covered in straw, dust, and other general bits and pieces including, no doubt, the odd piece of chicken poo here and there because the juveniles view this pile of fleeces as mountains to be climbed.

Anyway, all the fleeces are in bags, ready to be brought indoors and put somewhere until it is their turn to be spun.

Been hesitating about buying the loom (last post), only because we are continuing to spend a lot of money as the renovation to the house rocks on. Not to worry, Lester and I do have moments of panic about the continual costs involved with getting this house into a workable state, and it is my turn to have one today, so I need to work on staying positive and pull out of the recesses of my mind the memory of the many times in the past when things looked a bit dodgy in my life but I stuck it through and everything worked out, in the end, very well. I am aware that we each have a life plan, pre-ordained by greater forces, it is just that I seem to have misplaced that plan somewhere so I need to find it again. Hoorah! Rooting around in the cupboards of my mind, that is what I am needing to do.

It is now nearly nine pm, and we are still cooking here. Lester has just come in from getting the animals in from the field, and said that there are humungous flies everywhere, that the well is not pumping very much water so we shall have to be frugal with watering the veg plot again, which is what we shall be doing in a minute, when I stop chatting with you, and he said to make sure that I drink a couple of glasses of water before I join him outside because I am likely to sweat that water out of me within a minute or two.

I need delay no longer........ and off I must go. saying bye for now,



Dawn said...

Yep its hard work having a slice off the good life, but still worth it, poor chicken I wonder it ended up under the bucket :-)

rusty duck said...

Why is it weeds grow when what we plant does not?
Keep your cool Vera, the hen too.

Vera said...

DAWN, you are sooo right..... living the dream is such a wonderful thing to be doing, but sometimes one can forget to be thankful for the many blessings that the 'good life' gives to us! Would love to know how that chicken got under the bucket as well!

Vera said...

JESSICA, flippin flippin flippin irritating especially when they grown tucked up close to the stem of a plant one is trying to look after! We are endeavouring to 'keep our cool'.......

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hi Vera, 40C that hard to take in, here in Northern Alberta, we are very hot as well, so much so that we are suffering forest fires all over Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. It isn't quite as hot (32C) as your temp, but is very dry and the crops are suffering. I was up north close to the North West Territories (the last 2 days). There was so much smoke it was very hard to breath. Just got back to Edmonton 2 hours ago, sure glad to be home. You have a wonderful rest of the week and keep cool.

Tommo said...

Yes, it's hot.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Vera, i had to look up the conversion to F*.... 104!?!?!?! wow... ok that is incredible. and yes it's very hard to work in the heat. i work in the very early morning and get the barnyard up and moving so they can be outside. and then go and hide in the worst of the heat. i have to ask - do you have a lot of humidity? or is it just the heat?

we sometimes wonder why we dont have a pool also? because it woudl be filled with ducks and dogs and that wouldn't be very nice at all. it's always hilarious to find a hennie under a bucket. we had one stuck for several days before we found her! we looked everywhere! but she was fine as well. your hen just needs some comfort from you, her shepherd, ha! so glad she is ok. stay cool!

Vera said...

HORST, I was wondering if fires would break out now that the fields are all so dry, but hopefully none will start. It has been a good harvest for hay and wheat, but the young maize plants are suffering..... although they are being watered, the river, which is the source of the water for watering the maize fields, is rapidly dropping and when that happened a couple of years ago the local authorities banned the farmers from using the water.

Hope you stay cool, .......

Vera said...

TOMMO, according to Meteo you are now under orange alert for heat, but we are now under yellow alert, so stay cool Tommo, stay cool!

Vera said...

OHIOFARMGIRL, we try to get jobs done by mid morning, and then from 7pm in the evening until it gets dark, which does make for a very long day, but not to worry, that is the life of a homesteader! And yes, we do have a lot of humidity, which really makes us feel tired out!

And I agree with you about having a pool....I am sure that the geese would take up ownership as soon as it was installed, if not, then the chickens would! And how do hennies get stuck under buckets....have you any idea about how that happens?!

Hope you have dried out, and thanks for the info about growing potatoes.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

the only thing we can figure out about the hens-under-buckets is that someone ELSE steps on the bucket and flips it over on the unsuspecting chicken. or maybe she has sitting/perching on the edge and it flipped over on her. i've seen them do all kinds of crazy thing. thee is no explaining chickens some times.
ps boooo on the humidity! if it was just hot that is one time but the swampy heat is awful. hope you cool down soon!

Rhodesia said...

It is strange 40C in Africa never worried me, 40C here does!!! We are closing shutters,opening windows and thank goodness for old stone built houses. The door all have glass in them so there is enough light that we do not need to worry.

I had to laugh at the chicken under the bucket, glad it was OK. We had a green lizard down one of the pipes we have next to our fruit trees so we can water directly on to the roots. I did not see it and put the hose pipe down the pipe! Afterwards I saw a huge green head bobbing on the top of the water. It took me a while to get it out but after several minutes of recovering from shock it went off quite happily. I now check each time I water.

Have a good weekend. Diane

DUTA said...

Yes, it's hot everywhere, even in Moscow which is usually considered a cold city. I've been there for a week and got hit by the sun and the heat while visiting the Red Square to see its attractions.
It seems winters are getting colder and summers are getting hotter, and that's not good.

Poor hen, finding herself under the bucket on a terribly hot day! But "all's well that ends well". Keep up the good work, Vera!

Vera said...

OHIOFARMGIRL,.......the humidity is worse than the heat, and I am slowing down to almost doing nothing except sleeping! Ah well, the temperatures will drop soon, and then my energies will return (I hope!) and I shall be zooming around in my normal manic manner!

Vera said...

DIANE, thank goodness for shutters on the windows...they might darken the room but at least they keep the worst of the heat out!

The chicken is doing well, in fact better than she was doing before she got trapped under the bucket! Glad we got to her before she got cooked by the heat, and glad you managed to save the lizard....

Vera said...

DUTA, I find it fascinating that you travel so much, and I love that you share your travels through your blog.....bless you, travel safe,...wherever it is that you are travelling to next!