Tuesday, 30 November 2010
We are champions of local produce, obviously, it goes with being a smallholder. So today, as we toiled away on a project behind the green door (which is now a very fetching shade of black) we needed a large promotional poster to cover a large blank wall. Just down the street is a printers, an old fashioned looking place (imagine fairy tale cobbler shop) so I took the small poster we had to be scanned and printed into a much larger version. Communication difficulties immediately made this a huge task. I was definitely speaking English, but trying to get the printers wife to understand the concept of take this picture and make it bigger was straight from Monty Python. Eventually we settled for almost A1 size, providing its no bigger than a half glazed door window. They would phone and let us know when it could be done by. The shop, ancient on the outside was crammed with hi tech scanners and a printer gizmatron that could do transfers for buses. I left feeling good about keeping the trade local and supporting local businesses.
Ok when can we have it
We need it tomorrow
Hang on I'll ask(muffled voices, tell them no) He says £36 plus VAT and you can have it Thursday.
I'll get back to you. Now call me old fashioned but if we are paying £36 plus VAT for a large picture we should be able to say when its going to be done by. And lets face it, scan, print, not exactly asking for much, I mean in 48 hours you can get a pretty decent oil painting done.
I sat and seethed. And Googled.
So we will have our picture when we need it, tomorrow. Costing £12. 24 hour delivery an extra £6. Its coming from Manchester way. If we had ordered it from Belgium it would have been £4.50 and £22 for delivery in 48 hours.
Keep it local.
Monday, 29 November 2010
The sheep took advantage today of the over enthusiastic way I threw a bag of poultry feed into Hazel, it split sending its contents everywhere. It always happens when you are in a hurry, similarly Geisha, who has some of Houdini's DNA in her genes chose today to practice her fine motor skills and undid the bolts on the rabbit hutches. With the cry "Freedom" the four predominantly white rabbits leapt from the hutches and vanished. It was bitterly cold this morning, minus 12, so the Berners warmed themselves up by playing in the snow. When parts of said snow started squealing and running around the yard it became apparent that all was not well. Fortunately the Rabbits are quicker off the mark than the big dogs and all were rescued and placed back in the confines of their rabbit palace where they no doubt reported back to the escape committee and fresh plans were drawn up.
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Two of the piglets were a bit poorly so were kept in the kitchen for a time, until they outstayed their welcome by not using the litter tray. So they were put in the workshop where they had a bed under the heat lamp. The pups spotted his and joined in but the piglets were not keen on sharing.
Saturday, 27 November 2010
However as can be seen from these pictures I was defeated by a combination of factors, ice and gravity assisted by incompetence meant that Trixie and Hazel slid rather than drove and soon we were at an impossible angle and wedged against the tree trunk and modern art that is at the edge of the yard and marks the four foot drop into the militias lands. There seemed only one option, unhitch Trixie and drive around the back of her.
Friday, 26 November 2010
Thursday, 25 November 2010
On the day that the country was covered in snow, the earliest nationwide fall in years, we struggled with hours of sunshine. Our critters made the most of it, so did I, I went to the seaside, work made me. I forgot the camera which was a shame, had I taken it I might have been able to take a photograph of the beach, instead of the sheep.
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
A new name can be added to the honorable roll call of Columbus, Roald Amundsen, Shackleton and Tom Maclean (any one who doesn't know who Tom is had better google quick!) all great explorers who set out with a taste for adventure and discovered new lands. Hetty, the Mad Dexter, recently dehorned, has been recuperating in the pigpencowshed, and as Laverne and Shirley, or the best parts of them, are now in the freezer, she has been a bit lonely. Ambrose the potential curry pops in to keep her company but Hetty is on the lookout for a bit of excitement. So today as she was lavished attention, fed from a silver platter, had a fresh bed made for her, a dark shadow stole past as the last of the new straw was carefully laid. Hetty did a runner. Fortunately Hazel the nearly 4x4 was parked in the lane which helped the speeding bovine choose a trajectory that led into the Cauldron. This was all new to her. Pastures fresh. Acres of wilderness lay in front of her. She stood. Sniffed. Stared. William the Welsh Cob whinnied in support. Hetty cast a glance towards him and nodded. Then bolted. She completed the 500 yards in a record time for a mid leg Dexter and ran straight back to her bedroom almost slamming the gate behind her.
Obviously a cow can handle only so much freedom of choice. Or perhaps she spotted the Trolls that live in the caves of The Cauldron.
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Laverne and Shirley are back at HQ but in a markedly different form from when they left. Evenings are now spent bagging, weighing and labeling various cuts of meat either for freezing or for distribution amongst pig club members.
Monday, 22 November 2010
Hetty is doing well after her minor op and the holes either side of her head where her horns were are keeping clean and healing nicely. She does look a bit puzzled, especially as she can now get her head inside the sheep feeder without getting into an almighty tangle.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Saturday, 20 November 2010
So today when we arrived it was no surprise to find him up to his welly tops in mud repairing a pig arc, his gremlin sidekick racing around on the quadbike on spurious errands from one end of the smallholding to another. Mrs Stable Sprite was sweeping her newly laid yard clean so their oldest son invited us in and after some persuasion offered us a hot beverage. Asked why he was not out in the fresh air with the rest of the clan he mumbled something about mud, weather, animal dung and girls. Seemed he was trying to get ready to go on what the yoof refer to as "the pull". Nice clean shirt, clean jeans, trainers and an aftershave that smelt of breadcrumbs. Apparently the Birds love it. My exclamation of surprise that he was not out helping the others on the farm drew snorts of derision, "Farm! We don't live on a farm!" That's when we saw this cute little bundle in the kitchen getting warm by the radiator. Don't live on a farm? Yeah right!
Friday, 19 November 2010
subterranean excursions, digging under the door, out some two feet, about one foot below the surface where for some reason she turned right, almost parallel to the bunny house, going down another foot and excavating an enormous cavern. The grand design behind all this effort remains a mystery and Williams heavy footwork collapsed the long eared rodents endeavors.
prompt an early release she is mistaken. Meanwhile the Beagles, trained to locate unexploded ordnance and booby traps are carefully working through the tunnels. We hope to have the Corral OK returned to normal by first light.
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
What did cause a slight amount of consternation was Hetty's disregard for rule following. She, observing the lure of the bucket on the pigs decided that she would not be so easily persuaded back up to the stable to have her horns removed. No amount of provocative bucket tapping could win her round so we resorted to the use of goat again. As before she was lulled into a false sense of security by the presence of the horned beast and she skipped up the track and leapt through the stable door where she waited patiently for the veterinary.
Apollo had hardly any distance to travel to have his operation, but the distance he travelled was quite traumatic to watch. Vertical to horizontal in the blink of an eye. Thankfully we had the vets equivalent of the A Team, and Paul and Iris deftly removed both barriers to Apollos ability to sing Soprano. The collage shows some key points, if you click on the image it will get bigger so if you are squeamish avoid looking too closely!
Apollo really did come round quickly and again thanks to the skills of the vets he managed to get up without maiming himself or breaking the stable. Right away he began eating his bedding, so we knew he was fine. Without so much a cup of tea the vets went into the next stall where Hetty was waiting. She looked for all the world like a Spanish Bull, horns flashing in the sunlight. But Paul managed to get a halter on her, and with the halter passed through a useful knothole in the door Hetty was tethered, unable to move and not needing a sedative.
Forty five seconds later by use of a wire saw Paul had removed a horn, then sealed it with a hot iron. Hetty didn't feel a thing thanks to the anaesthetic and the whole procedure was over in around three minutes (remember click on the small image and it will grow) We now have a cow who looks less like she is about to kill you, the holes in her head will fill in with time, but for now we are getting used to seeing steam come out of the top of her head as the holes are linked to her sinuses, so presumably she could breath through these holes. We have kept her in in case it rains, an unfortunate drowning accident would not be funny.
So that was the morning sorted. Time prevents an account of the afternoon and our new arrivals. To be continued!
Monday, 15 November 2010
bags full of frozen Reindeer ready meals. Christmas would see Rock HQ transformed into a magical grotto where little kiddies would spend their pocket money and risk a mauling from Rudolf's mates. These were after all not much bigger than a large goat, OK they had lethal weapons on their heads but they are totally unable to take you by surprise as they have creaky joints which click in time to their movement. They eat the same as a goat and are much cuter and give as much milk, ie. none. They like cold weather and thrive on steep ground.