Saturday, 30 June 2012

Tonights sunset

Pretty dramatic if not pretty.

Don't play with your food!

 We were having a clear out of the tack room, old feed sacks were being put on one side for either bonfire or bin bags, when there was some excitement in the yard.
 WooZah was very excited about the arrival of what appeared to be a new food stuff.
 Clearly this was complete dog food, the like of which she had never seen.
Luckily help was on hand and Crispen our very strange ram lives to fight another day.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Flower Power

I finally got around to tackling the fern that takes over vast swathes of the Bonsai Mountain today. I say finally as by now I have usually cut it back several times but this year there has been a lot going on and less time for enjoying myself clearing jungle, getting stung and falling over. There is a school of thought that says you should leave the bracken to grow this big so it really exhausts the roots having given so much to create such a big plant. There is also a school of thought that says cut it when its soft and squishy and much easier than when its four feet tall with wooden stems and amazing capacity to conceal wasps nests.

 Time was limited tonight so a target was set, clear as much as possible on one tank of fuel rather than try and clear the entire hill (well our side anyway), the pictures are taken from the more or less same spot, before at the top, the rest are after.
 Lots of lush pasture is now revealed, the rampaging Ryelands will be very pleased.
 As usual I had an audience, no doubt watching to see if I found my missing right boot from my new pair bought a week ago, worn once and then never worn again as one has mysteriously disappeared and is no doubt in some Bernese Mountain Dog treasure trove on the hill.
This time where possible I left the fox gloves. Useful things flowers.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Pork Mountain

The Pork Mountain at Rock HQhas gone down a bit more, three more Berkalitzas and one Osbalitza have been sold to another smallholder locally, they are planning a good Christmas that includes their own sausages. Meanwhile Pam is a Pork Mountain on her own and having had a smooch with Thor the Boar on 3 March she would be about right to pop shortly.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Poorly dog update

 Preston the very old beagle is still as annoying as ever but enjoying the "summer" making himself a nest on the one day it will be shifted from the yard mountain of gravel. Here he is about to enjoy 40 winks surrounded by Spotty's logs.
Pippin is in the final stages of whatever ails her, yesterday she barely moved at all, not even to roll over, the feintest of tail wags let us know she was still aware of what was going on. She still eats, being hand fed chicken or ham seems to cheer her up and today she has regained her legs and has been walking in and out of the cottage when she feels the urge. She even felt able to gate crash the Berners dinner time and get more ham.

We missed a call from Aunt Montana so we will catch up on how she is doing tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Early Learning Centre

 Little t in his own little world.

Bang! The skys fell in!

This is pretty much how we found Maisy and Kayleigh on Sunday evening at milking time except that Maisy was dead. Which is strange. Especially as as I type this I am drinking a coffee with her milk in it (from the mornings milk, you cant milk a dead goat, well I suppose you could but I'm not that desperate, I would prefer going to the Co Op for some) Not quite sure what happened but the walking chemistry set that is a goat must have gone critical after breakfast and by dinner she had exploded. We racked our brains trying to think what it might have been in her food that caused this but she only had what she was used to, a few fresh greens, nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps she went outside and being bigger than Kayleigh managed to reach something toxic from the bank that runs along their pen, but its all grass, or stones, a lone foxglove unmolested. I phoned the nice man who sold us her to break the bad news and he was very sympathetic which was very good of him as he was himself reeling from the shock of one of his prize goats exploding the same day. She having won a national show walked off the trailer ramp and died when he got her home. Its a shame, he added, but they are like that.
 Kayleigh also showed signs of tummy upset, not scouring or anything obvious, just the absence of appetite and not cudding. This is a very bad sign, the gut then shuts down, bacteria breeds with gay abandon and goat dies. Quickly. Kayleigh was persuaded to eat some bramble tips late Sunday night but I fully expected another casualty Monday morning. Thankfully she was still upright and she drank a litre of warm water with black molasses mixed in, a few hawthorn tips, then the wooden twig, almost my hand, but not any of her food. Hourly observations found her stock still staring into space (a very bad sign) until early evening when she stood and watched yours truly change her bed. Rocky chose to join us and he was very happy playing in the new bedding until Kayleigh barfed all over his back. This was a good sign as her gut had suddenly started to move, admittedly with some velocity, and once the foul mess had been deposited over our show dog she started to cud, so we were happy. Rocky wasn't as happy as the rest of us but he took one for the team. The nice man who sold us the goats is very happy Kayleigh is still breathing as he wants to put the Welsh Champion billy to her as he wants a male kid from her, if they have any.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Hold the line!

The Ryelands forming an orderly queue for breakfast

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Blink and you'll miss it!

 Summer returned to Rock HQ for a few hours, in other words there was a gap in the rain. Main task of the day was to transport three Ryelands and two lambs to another smallholding where they have 10 acres of grass and spare cash to buy our sheep. Usually the yard is a sea of wool and fresh deposits from assorted woolly backsides, today the silence of the lambs was noted as I tucked into my full cooked English. They, perhaps sensing something was afoot, or more likely, still got the hump from being manhandled yesterday, demonstrated their annoyance by absenting them self from breakfast. This meant that yours truly full of his own breakfast had to make the trek around the Bonsai Mountain giving the universal sheep summonsing call of "Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrmmon!" and after a sweaty hour or so plodding along in the sea of green shaking the magic blue bucket (it has allure) made it back to HQ with all the little flockers in tow. They having forgiven me for yesterdays bad manners then immediately got the hump again and legged it (after breakfast though) as they could see (or rather they couldn't see) that several of their number were disappeared. Soon Pedro, Maude, Bonny, and the lambs Woolly and Tigg were spirited away to another sea of green where they frolicked in meadow grass rather than the mountain scrub they are used to. Their new owner asked what they should be fed, they already demolishing several types of grass and clovers made it clear what they were interested in and given the acreage available to them I told him that I was pretty sure they would not need supplementary feeds.
Now this chap, lets call him Steve, was a very interesting man, a former zoo keeper, now keeps bees. So I was given a tour of hives, got to fondle wax comb, saw the extractor and other paraphernalia associated with getting stung. By the time I got home my beautiful and oh so patient wife was ready to call the police to report a missing idiot.
 Afternoon was spent mucking animals out and watching lagomorphs (non rodents) in the newly constructed World of Rabbits.
 Biped were no the only ones fascinated by the long eared creatures antics.
 Some creatures took full advantage the mucking out process by trimming the hedges.
Another benefit of goat free zones, flowers! Well one anyway. Its a start.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Another Close shave

We seem to have a glitch in the matrix which is why yesterdays post take 5 disappeared. Today's is having similar trouble, this being the 3rd attempt to publish. Must be the weather. It being another glorious summers day (rain, wind, more rain) it was time to transform our sheep from these woolly cuddly flockers to shaven walking wounded with the aid of mechanical shears.
So while the lambs played King of the Castle on the mound of gravel that still waits to be moved
yours truly got down and dirty with the woolly backs and
made a great job of shearing the sheep. Those who may have followed the blog for a while only need to refer back to the shocking photo of the first attempt at shearing when Rita ended up looking like a traumatised foam cushion filling (see previous summers in blog for pics) to appreciate the difference proper electric shears makes to shearing than a set of kitchen scissors and a pint of beer as refreshment. So for a change all the sheep looked pretty good once done, not too many scars form this encounter.
 Actually I had a bit of help in this truly back breaking task (lets not talk about how my arms wanted to drop off as well, or how long it took to actually stand up straight after finishing shearing) Rocky was watching closely at all  times
and I had Pritch help me with the tricky bits. Which as it turned out was all the other sheep apart from the one I chose to shear. Why I chose a first time shearing ram to cut my teeth on is another question.
So thanks to Pritch we now have a large amount of wool and sixteen shorn sheep, some of which are being sold tomorrow. All for a "free" lunch as he donated his fee to the BBMC.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Take 5

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Poorly Pippin

Pippin is still with us, living mostly on the sofa but still managing to tell any cheeky cocker spaniel types off for getting into her air space.

Light reading

Little t with todays choice of reading

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Pig Club

The Berkalitzas are getting bigger. Pig Club updates are about to be emailed to the lucky few who secured their piglet. Watch your email inbox for more pics of your piglet shortly.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Near miss

 One of the trees has been threatening to damage the stables so after all the high winds of the last weeks decisive action was taken.
 The plan was that it should fall towards the Runway in the Corral OK, and be chopped up into nice neat sections as time allowed. Unfortunately the tree did not adhere to the plan and took a dive towards the stable, the one we were trying to protect.
Not the best of video clips but you get the idea.
Thankfully despite its size the unexpected landing zone was almost big enough to accommodate a large amount of timber.
Admittedly we had to fight our way in to the med bay
and it took a while but eventually we got there.
There's a term for this hole. Collateral Damage.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Epic fail

Hazel, the almost 4x4, has been in for her annual check up today. Everything was crossed as the overalled car doc examined all her working parts, prodded all openings, stuck sensors into various non organic openings. He consulted computers, workshop manuals, almanacs, tide tables and the Pirelli calendar before shaking his head and crossing the forecourt to the waiting area came to deliver the bad . "Do you off road" was the opening gambit and as I confirmed his supposition that yes indeed we do off road, twice everytime we want to on road he read from his very greasy but totally official clipboard a litany of faults that meant Hazel's time with us was limited as anything more useful than a scratching post for sheep unless we plied him with a seemingly endless supply of drinking vouchers.
Passengers side rear suspension spring had broken (that explained the rather exciting corner just outside Llanterwyd Wells on the way back from the further reaches of the Red Kite Empire) the back suspension units have given up (overloading with animal feed after Trixie died on the roadside, and other times no doubt, and before any wag makes a comment about my weight its not me) Drivers front tyre deep cut to cords (rocks in lane) passenger side front tyre same (oops, same stone on way back?) Brake calliper seized, rear passenger (thought I might have got him here, that was replaced a year ago, by him, well no, he did the other side last year) brake pads need replacing (wear and tear, honest) and a rubbish CD on the stereo.
I ignored his poor taste in music and asked how many pints it would take to fix Hazel.
Around 250 give or take cheese and onion crisps.
I left him to get on with it.
Hazel will return.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Walk on the wild side

 Little t enjoys being outdoors
 so we went to the Technohermits to drop off his dinner.
Luckily summer arrived and it stopped raining all the way there and back.

Making amends

 Fathers day lunch was Ambrose  goat rack of ribs, a choice cut and roasted to perfection with fresh thyme and rosemary.
Fantastic. I was careful not to overdo the veg though.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Up periscope!

 Now at first glance this might look like a grown man playing with his sons toys re enacting famous (or infamous depending which side of the fence you are) Naval engagements, it is, however a serious comment on the topic currently preoccupying most conversation at Rock HQ.
The weather.
 7pm Thursday evening this large green plastic paddling pool/sand pit was empty. Bone dry. Just a bit of dirt to break up the field of green plastic. A tribute to the petrochemical toy industry lay by the front door of the cottage. The Blue Plastic Trawler marooned on a dry green bed.
7pm Thursday it began to rain.
 This is the state of play 9am Saturday morning. The Blue Plastic Trawler is floating quite happily in its own private marina with some three inches of water below its keel. And still it rained. So hard in fact that the local town carnival was cancelled. We had already taken the decision that the Red Kite Fostering stand was going to get soggy, and that that didn't risked being blown away in the gale so we baled out Friday afternoon despite the kind offer of placing us underneath a tree.
 So all that hard work on floats, costumes, fund raising, all washed out.
 And still it rained. So hard that Apollo stood under the eaves of the stable with his head indoors, at least part of him was keeping dry. The sheep, most of them anyway, gathered around the front door, hoping for a lapse in concentration on the part of yours truly so they could rush into the conservatory and evict dogs and humans. Yours truly sensed their cunning plan and was extra vigilant and so shut doors behind him for a change. He did lock himself out for a while but eventually his whimpering was heard above the bleats of the sheep who were mocking him and his beautiful and oh so patient wife let him in.
And so we come to the end of the day, a day where nothing got done, well a couple of dogs got brushed (once cornered) and I got play with some Lego that was a Christmas present and was found once the bad weather meant I was forced to tidy my desk.
Theres now over 4 inches of water in the toy ocean.
And its still raining.