Thursday, 31 May 2012

Game on!

 The Berkalitzas and Osbalitzas have new pastime, coached by their proud mums they are playing football with a large purple ball that dispenses food from time to time, depending on the angle of tilt, size of treat and gravity. Keeps them occupied for hours.
And so aids restful sleep!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sun worshippers

Pip (the poorly collie) and Preston (the 20 year old beagle) making the most of the facilities on the Helipad

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The problem with girls

 This is our handsome lad Chester, a thoroughbred who is a very calm docile boy, and this is him yesterday morning mooning over Misty our little shitland mare. They seem to have a thing going on despite the fact there is about 4 foot height difference and Chester being gelded has no thing to be getting on with.
The two of them spent all of yesterday sharing grass and sunshine and all was well with Chester's world. Until he decided to follow Misty as she wended her way down the bonsai mountain to the hayledge bale. Chester being 4x her size probably should  have thought twice 2x about this but as he has 10x less brain than a rocking horse and as love is blind he mistook the small narrow impossible for anything except a demented shitland to negotiate path as the only way down. Unfortunately he very quickly discovered another way down. Gravity. Slipping on the rocks where the cliff starts he fell, his fall broken by a stock fence which included two strands of barbed wire. Caught up to his chest he somehow managed to clamber back up the rocks to a dirt ledge which was where he was found.
 Unable to go forward due to a fallen tree and empty space, unable to go back because of free fall and wire he waited patiently for his humans to recognise his plight, stop what they were doing (gardening remember?) and find a way out for him. Luckily this didn't involve chainsaws, fire brigades or helicopters but it did involve a lot of trust, some luck and loads of effort from all three of us.
Luck was on his side, as were many of the cuts, he has some deeper ones on his back right leg but a quick visit from the vet (well we miss them, they haven't been here for so long!) who gave him some anti inflammatory meds and anti biotics and we were a lot better. I say we because I think we were more shocked by it all than Chester who calmly ate through the whole aftermath. Misty struck a few provocative poses for him but he wisely ignored her and got stuck in to dinner.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Bad Boys 2

 The thoughts I had yesterday morning, the ones relating to how easy smallholding is, especially when all animals are present and correct, behaving properly and grateful for breakfast, evaporated fiirst thing today when a lot of fresh air occupied the place where two ponies should have been. Truth be told one naughty pony had been out all day having taken advantage of my ineptitude as a horse botherer when I tried to get him to follow me through a three foot gap in a gateway. He having a rear end the size of Ark Royals flight deck took gate and cattle feeder with him (which incidentally nearly crushed my beautiful and oh so patient wife) and in the resulting heavy metal cacophony he scarpered down the lane. Being the woosie type he is he came back tail between his legs as no one was with him. Overnight he had obviously persuaded Apollo to escape with him.
 So instead of doing as planned, gardening, yours truly began an exploration of the countryside to find the two bad boys, William and Apollo. Somehwere out there they were lurking.
 Those with eagle like eyesight will be able to spot them in this pic, Apollo is the white spec in the shadow of the bonsai mountain above the white spec that is a tree.
 On full zoom he is just about pixelated.
 Apollo saw me coming, but being the dim side of a 20 watt bulb he waited for the inevitable capture.
 William was obviously on the lookout for trouble
 and ever alert to leg it he was totally let down by his partner in crime who waited patiently while yours truly worked out how to operate a head collar.
 Once captured Apollo dutifully followed while William tried all sorts of antics to provoke rebellion, all to no avail. An hour late we were back home, apples to the good ponys who walked properly and didn't try and kick their owner.
William got one as well to stop him sulking. Providing all animals are where they should be the gardening is on for tomorrow night.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Stroll on!

Little t has almost mastered the art of walking. He was no use moving the rocks though.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Stage one....

Early evening yesterday the last saw cut was done and the first stage of the garden fence was completed. Levi, one of our Ryeland rams tested it to the max and despite the gaps only being 3inch he managed to get in the garden and devour some soon to be planted plants. The gap he exploited is the one at the back of the pond but as the pond is going to be fenced off the same then its an entry point that wont get him anywhere. Theres only 7 pieces of timber left so any serious attempt at stage 2 of the garden fence project will have to wait until resupply.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Lunch time special

 There are advantages to having foster carers in south Wales, especially on a gloriously sunny day and your route takes you close to the highest point in south Wales, Pen-y-Fan. So late this afternoon I pulled in to the car park close to the summit and set off with Rocky in support. It was 27 degrees in the car park, only a bit less with altitude and a warm easterly. Within 45 minutes we were topside but plans for a quiet picnic were scuppered by Rocky.
 I perched on a ledge taking in the views ready to eat a sandwich, pork obviously.
 Rocky, probably confused by the heat, nearly went off the edge, so to prevent tragedy I headed to safe ground and began the descent.
 The views were impressive.
 All this wilderness within walking distance of the car, not a road or dwelling in sight!
Rocky was able to cool off quicker than I was as he was prepared to sit in the stream. One hour 15 minutes from the start we were back on the road. A bit longer than usual lunch hour, one without food, no air con but it sure beats sitting in MacDonald's!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Phew what a scorcher!

 It has been a really hot day, early risers would have spotted me sawing wood for the fence at 6am. The dogs spotted an early walker who thought he could sneak through undetected at 7.30, we had a chat, he keen to get some miles in before it got too hot, me keen to get enough wood cut before work to be able to finish the fence after work.
 As it was neither happened, the fence is almost done but failing light and poor eyesight drew playing with power tools to a close. Rosie made the best of the weather by sunbating in her own stream. The stream is only temporary as its origin is the horse trough. Yours truly forgot to turn the tap off!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Tasty tasty very very tasty!

 Here at Rock HQ aka Pig World (for the time being thanks to a very energetic and enthusiastic if somewhat secretive boar!) we are awash with trainee bacon and sausages. Rosie, one of the three little pigs who should have been various flavours of tube shaped meat products a while back, has blotted her copybook by eating our seed potatoes, also a rare breed being purple ones with a fancy name and hefty price tag. The pig club Berkalitzas are growing massive and looking extremely cute/tasty. Piggles six Osbalitzas are go faster versions all having racing stripes.
We had a leg of Mangalitza pork for Sunday roast and it was fantastic, probably the best pork ever. I was told it was a fatty meat, far from it, it was lean, darker (it was so tasty that I have had it in sandwiches every day since Sunday!)and very tasty so I am looking forward to trying out the x breeds. Preston our very ancient beagle also liked leg of Mangalitza having stolen a leg (yes whole leg) off the windowsill Saturday night as it defrosted.
Meanwhile the Mangalitzas are enjoying the sunshine and looking decidedly pregnant.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Sun up, sun down

 All our little flockers were gathered in the yard early doors, giving Woolly an opportunity for
 some extreme grazing. Once all the critters were fed, and as we have broken out in summer, I took time to water all the green things that have appeared since the goat menace was dealt with.
 Some of these now need re potting and placing in the one remaining serviceable greenhouse. Unfortunately before this can be used the bantam hens in it have to be rehoused.
 So tonight's project was to build a new hen coup type thing which is ample big enough for two
 birds the size of small pigeons. Not bad for a speed building exercise, I have to admit that the trapdoor was only added once I realised that once they were in it they were in it and then the amount on time faffing around cutting a triangle of wire seemed 3x what cutting planks was so we have a serviceable door,  and as the sun set the greenhouse was liberated, the birds incarcerated
and Montana had something new to drool over.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Garden ornaments

 The garden makeover continues, and thanks to a day off and some fine weather I got to negotiate several more trip hazards as I created a Chinese puzzle out of wood. Izzy and Jason decided that the stone slabs laid as a temporary path a year ago were ideal sun beds, never mind yours truly and the wheelbarrows of compost having to make a detour.
 Further along Pip followed their example but I left her to it as she is poorly so if she is happy in the way then so be it.
 Progress was slow but steady, aside from canine obstacles there were rocks, tree stumps, nettles, sun burn, and a delivery man called Steve who decided that Rock HQ was such a nice spot he better stay and tell me his life story rather than allow us both to get on with the job in hand. As he drew breath and said "So that took me to 2008" I panicked and thought about pretending to feint or hit him with the spade in the vain hope it would distract him from telling me about his third divorce when the phone rang and saved us both.
I ran out of wood, and steam early evening but progress has been made. More wood is on its way and so my evenings and weekend seem well and truly sorted for a while.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Job done

 After yesterdays seeming lack of progress in all areas relating to the aviary I must admit to having a sinking feeling when, for a change, it wasn't raining and I had to show willing and go back out and face the disaster area on the helipad.
 In contrast to the previous 24 hours today went better than I could have hoped, especially as I was on the final stage which included building doors.
 Admittedly I was at it all day, apart from the usual routine with the critters, but by end of play we were able to have a picnic on the helipad while watching four very bemused cage birds suddenly finding their cage had taken on Tardis like qualities (dimension wise not time travel alien Dalek wise)
The opening ceremony was wasted on little t who concentrated on more practical matter like how many grapes could he cram in his mouth and could he eat all his cheese before Reuben helped out.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Big and small

 Gwen's litter of Berkalitzas are exploring the world, this entails running around the runway in the Corral OK
 and sharing breakfast with creatures who's head is bigger than you and your litter mates.
 I was able to spend a few hours working on the aviary, a minor detail I had overlooked was that by building it as tall as  could reach, when it came to fitting the roof I couldn't, reach that is. The lack of stature on my part, coupled with no step ladder, scaffolding and anything else useful to get high enough meant that progress was painfully slow, and often painful thanks to over extending while precariously balancing holding planks, sharp metal objects and power tools. Gravity caused a few rethinks as did being described as an accident waiting to happen by my beautiful and oh so patient wife as she stood by with the first aid kit.
Once the frame and boards were in placed the final drama came from the 10 metre roll of roofing felt, the roof measured exactly 10 metres 10 centimetres. As the roll ran down to nothing I just hoped that the nice people who made the stuff were as slack on measuring as I was otherwise a trip to the builders merchant would have set the day back further and added to the cost. Thankfully prayers were answered and a whole spare 30 cms were hidden away inside the roll which meant  there was more than enough for an overhang and neat hospital corners before solving the puzzle of how to secure it to the roof. Next time I think about a nice surprise for my beautiful and oh so patient wife (the aviary)  I will stick to getting a bunch of flowers.

Take the high road and from small acorns...

 I decided against pedal power today and took the high road in to work.
 Now along the trail I meet the Whetstone, we say hello, its always best to be polite to sacred/ritualistic sites.
 Now its not been that long since I have passed through but there are new traffic signs
 which are very informative once you work out how to use them. The key facts of the whetstone are given to the uninitiated. The one about the Devil is missing. Perhaps they have decided its not for the squeamish.
 As for rare fairy shrimps our horse drink these up by the buckketload!
 Its all very picturesque and a pleasant change from the road.
 Local architecture adds to the spectacle.
Work went well, and tonight the first of many fund raising events was held at a local hostelry, it was amazing how many of the local businesses came out and supported Red Kites Trust Fund through donations and prizes for the raffle. A local band, The Sunday Runaways played a fantastic set and several hundred pounds was raised. Its a start. From small acorns and all that!