Here at home we are plodding on, days of stunning warm sun and more days of fog, rain and wind. Things are starting to push through in the garden, especially spring bulbs with the thousands of red tulip leaves making an appearance as well as daffs, and many more snowdops speckling the 'lawn'..
|Clearing by the garage|
Still with the fowl, we have had sadness and joy. First of all we had to say goodbye to the beautiful Pearl, our blue Shumen hen. Her leg did not get any better though it didn't seem to be broken and circulation was good. She was quite happy sleeping in a dog crate with her own personal supply of grub, chatting away when she saw us, then going out once Sevi's ardour had quietened down, picking her way round in the sun. But she lost weight and the others started to pick on her. One day while I was out there the hens all piled on top of poor Pearl while Sevi ineffectually hopped about clucking...useless boy! We felt that she was really not getting anywhere and we didn't want to have to keep her safe in a cage or in solitary confinement in a pen. So sad, I had got quite attached and she had even got to like having attention instead of going for me.
And Dave has got a new bunch of ducks. We picked up five very dirty and smelly ducks and drove home on a nasty foggy, wet day, 45 minutes with all the windows open. I can tell you it was a bit nippy and I am surprised Dave's stomach coped. But then he did have to negotiate the most horrendous pot holed roads. The particularly bad one has always been bad, but it has had no repairs as long as we know and with the rain and low temperatures of the last twelve months some of the craters....it's daft calling them potholes....are feet deep, filled with water so you don't know how bad they are so they have to be avoided altogether if possible. Good job there is little traffic.
|Lots of fed up looking buzzards|
|Buffalo grazing by the road|
The ducks are four girls and one drake of various colours, mostly muddy brown but with pretty heads. one is supposed to be white but we are not sure if it as brilliant as our original two. We let them into the small pen when they arrived, but they are very nervous and we soon had to let them out before they hurt themselves. Our two introduced emselves and it seems we were right in thinking we had a boy and a girl, Spot made it known thet he was quite taken with one of the new girls! After an afternoon getting to know everyone and bathing a couple of times they went to bed in their own room next to our white ones.
|Spot and Spotty come to say hello|
|And show them where to bathe while they make a quick exit|
The people we bought them from had told us that they had all started laying and the day before they had four eggs. I thought they might be put off as they were so traumatised after their move, but when I carefully opened their door this morning there were three eggs ready and waiting, and one is pale blue. Lovely. They have had a great day bathing in sunshine, chomping on chickweed Dave finds in the lanes and generally scurrying about. As with our others, they seem a bit unfit but there is plenty of room here and they will never be still, so hopefully they will soon get their strength. They are nicer looking birds for all their baths, but still extremely nervous. Spot and Spotty are keeping themselves to themselves unless they get too close, then they chunner at them till they move.
Dave has fenced off an area and will sow some seed to give all the poultry something to chomp on later. It won't last long I don't suppose, but there is plenty of room while all the planting area is open so worth a try. It might keep them happy when we eventually have to shut them into a smaller area.
We were round at the neighbour's the other day. We were just about to have our jacket potatoes when there was a ding dong, ding dong on the bell and Venka asked us to go round ten minutes ago. We had had our main meal at lunch time as we do in the cooler weather but of course it's hard to say no when you know there will be a place laid and starter of pickles ready and waiting, followed by mushroom rice (hot and yum) roast peppers and chicken, beef and sausage for them...then a huge bowl of sheep's yoghurt. Where do they put it all? No wonder they put weight on over winter. The occasion was their absent grandson's 19th birthday and Dave phoned and everyone wished him happy birthday. While on the subject of sheep milk, Venka explained that she milked the sheep twice daily, we never knew! Dave asked if he could go round and watch and so it was arranged. Meanwhile we are again stuffed, Dave had a good amount of rakia (I had a small glass of our home made raspberry liquer we took round) but mine was not enough for me to sleep, I cannot sleep on a full stomach!
So off Dave went next day, came back five minutes later to say the job was done and there was about a cup of milk from two sheep. Still now he knows, they have four sheep and a couple of lambs...and Molly puppy is a wriggling mass of fur and so pleased to see him.
I have been doing a bit of baking, trying and failing to keep things healthyish. Ginger biscuits, low fat but rather a lot of sugar, walnut, cheese and mushroom sausage rolls (all that pastry!) with salad. Bread and no butter pudding made with some forgotten fruit bread from the freezer.....Oh dear.
|First pittas...they're low fat, but the cheese....|
I know I shouldn't but I am starting to fret about getting the early sowings of peas and broad beans in. Looking at the long range forecast it won't be for a while yet. So I have sown some peas in vending machine cups in the cold frame to try to get a good start when the time is right. They are keeping company with lettuce, onion, brassica and land cress seedlings. The tomatoes sown indoors need pricking out into cups soon too, but I will be patient and wait till the next batch of cold nights (-7) have been and gone and they can go in the windows upstairs. It seems we beat Venka to it, her's have only just gone in, later than last year. Celery has also germinated which surprised me as the packet warned that it might take a while, peppers are just sprouting and the lone chilli plant upstairs is looking alive, hopefully it will come back to fruitfulness and we will have all we need from the one plant. There are about fifty little peppers still on which need removing.
|The last of the seeds we ordered, this time from Pennard Plants, our ' unusuals'|
And finally, does anyone want a cat? When he's nice he's very, very nice, but my goodness he is strong willed, and he is still climbing on the worktops at every opportunity and lounging on the table, so not nice. And he is still waking me at 3ish every morning and I can't get back to sleep. So poor Dave has to put up with a very grumpy me Bah! Butter wouldn't melt.
|Lounging in front of the fire, cheeky devil!|