Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Rise and Shine

 As predicted the first day back at paid work dawned with a beautiful yellow globe in the sky, so before any idea of going to the office intruded yours truly took the apprentice on a Nano adventure
 which was breakfast on the summit of the Bonsai Mountain.
 Here he got to sample the delights of army ration packs, here an apple, well once it was, now its mush, fruit flavoured for the consumption of.
 Naturally we had K9 accompaniment, Rocky standing guard
 with Elf keen to spot leftovers.
 While yours truly dealt with the complexities of boil in the bag beans and sausage
 the apprentice soaked up the view.
 Time for a selfie
 which was
 well and truly
 photo-bombed by Rocky.
 In an effort to entice contributions to the K9 diet they closed in
 and generally
mugged us.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Cutting back

 After a festive breakfast
 the main plan of the day swung into action. This year we decided to cut back on the amount of critters resident at Rock HQ.
 In keeping with this plan two Mediterranean donkeys, three pygmy goats, two dogs and nine puppies arrived, and today numbers were supposed to be bolstered by two more goats, a Kune Kune pig and after a quick chat with another non Steve, a Ryeland Ram, also free to good home.
 Provided I could catch him and put him in the trailer.
 The well maintained type that had taken root in the pasture where it had lain since being used quite recently. By quite recently read last ice age and the state of the tyres left a lot to be desired once dug out of the ground. The fact that only one held any air was also (wait for it) a bit of a let down.
 So new addition was free to run with the flock for a few more days
while yours truly arranged for necessary repairs to trailer. Pig and goats also get a reprieve for a week.
Once again the re roof the stables plan was not progressed, storm E is about to be replaced by storm Frank. Me in high winds on ladders is not a good mix (not a good mix deficit wind, apart from the self generated) so fab metal box roof stays on the floor in sections waiting attention. Guarantee the one day of sunshine and no wind will be a work day.

Messy Christmas

 Christmas hit Rock HQ in a tidal tsunami of gifts from friends and family to the bi and quadrupeds, in the calm before the storm of impatient toddlers and dogs this pic was taken.
 And then it started, later than anticipated as the apprentice and rug rat mkII slept past the arrivals of the reindeers and fat man who ate the pies, carrots and drunk the very much appreciated single malt.
 While the unwrapping fest took place Bryn took refuge on his blanket and got stuck into his Christmas gift, quietly.
 Whereas the other end of the room was a bit different.
 Chaos in order the food fest began, it was as yours truly served the canapes our daughter asked if smoke was supposed to be coming from the kitchen. Lack of water and too much alcohol meant that the Christmas pudding was off the menu.
 Once the traditional partds of Christmas were done, too much food, Queen's speech and falling asleep watching cartoons, train sets had to be played with.
 But for the youngsters, it was all too much.
Another tradition followed, yours truly setting off in the tail end of Eva, Edith, or similar, with patient and loyal K9's to wish the world a Merry Christmas from the top of the Bonsai Mountain.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

countdown commencing

Blessed with unusual festive weather the countdown to Christmas is on, only three more present runs to do and a meal and hamper to Technohermit in his new waterproof lair remains and then its drawbridge up and party on.
Not as bad as those poor souls in Cumbria but even yours truly is getting fed up of the rain and the amount. This is our lane today.

Other good news. I have passed my MSc in Forensic Child Psychology and Law. I now either continue to do my doctorate or enrol in a bricklaying course.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Keep shoveling

 Christmas preparations are, as every year, a bit behind where they should be and no doubt a frantic dash on Christmas Eve will allow a catch up. Meanwhile the Apprentice and Rug Rat MkII have built and then demolished a festive gingerbread house.Their attention to detail did render parts unfit for human consumption but as we have more than our fair share of huge and hungry K9s none will be wasted.
 The weekend was a very busy yet memorable one with your's trulys folks coming over for a visit and pre Christmas meal. The apprentice kept us all entertained while we caught up on family times with the people responsible for my addiction to the great outdoors and all creatures great and small. As they stopped over at a local lodge we all met up for breakfast but the lodge's inability to find a table to sit 4 people with two children meant we had to shout at each other across the gap on separate tables. It was great to see them and hopefully we shall have a return trip soon.  
 On the subject of overeating, here is Bryn after eating 6 cans of dog food, thats 4 above his normal ration, he having eaten his own supper, Rocky's supper, half of Spotty's and all of Poppy's. Luckily he didnt explode overnight in the cottage and saved the monster pooh for the Bonsai Mountainside.
 Late pm on Sunday saw fresh efforts with a shovel, three tons of crushed stone and an overloaded trailer.
 The lane leading to our world looks a bit worse for wear and even slaloming a 4x4 around the potholes still risks shaking the fillings from your teeth so it time for something to be done.
 Unfortunately the weather decided there would be no reprieve, particularly over me, so for three hours in the horizontal rain I filled the caverns that adorn the track.
 With holes this size and depth it took more stone than I allowed for, some took half a ton
 so by end of play the lane looked a lot better than earlier but with some holes waiting to be filled.
 As no stone left I got on with trying not to fall off the donkey shelter roof. This time the wind abated long enough to lay the covering on and secure it before it tried to remove it. Job done, shelter mucked out, donkeys happy in new beds.
 Moonrise on the shortest day, a break in the clouds allowed us to see this brilliant half moon. I had intended to go up the Bonsai Mountain to watch the sunset but as it set around 3.45 and I only thought about it a 4pm it was a bit late.
Pupdate. They get bigger, 4 weeks and 3 days old and having had their first bath the little stinkers are busy making friends.

Monday, 14 December 2015


 On a weekend of gales and torrential non stop rain it was clearly the weekend to be outside to tackle the biggest jobs list this smallholding has ever see. Naturally all were animal related save for a few exceptions but they invariably involved animals in one form or another. So in the teeth of the storm yours truly set about re roofing the aviary as the old one took leave of its permanent residence in the last gale. This task was accomplished quickly with the minimum of fuss and the reason why the rain gauge, recently upgraded from a mug on the wall to an all singing all dancing weather station that transmits useful info to a base unit like, its raining, anyway the reason why the rainfall measure was so out of sync with the real world, ie Biblical downpours registering 1mm whereas the trusty mug showed 2 inches, was because the peacocks used it as a drinking bowl.
 Once the roof was where it should be I set about the roof of the donkey shelter, a job waiting to be done in a gale. This did not go to plan as once the first 2.5 metres was in place the wind took it across the garden, broke it into four pieces and laughed as I tried to retrieve it. Giving that up as a bad job and not wanting to waste more materials fighting the weather I moved on to a modification on the Swiss Style Kennel Block and put a new wooden wall on the end to offer more weather protection. This a necessary task as our Berners do not go indoors when its raining and sit out getting wet meaning a dozen plus one soggy doggies ready to wreak havoc in the cottage which defeats the object of building it in the first place.
 Here is a case in point, the weather is disgusting yet he chooses to sit in it rather than get indoors.
 More jobs ticked off, clear out all the offerings from all of the animals, bed them down with new money straw, move old furniture out of cottage and take two massive trailer loads of rubbish to the recycle centre. I all a busy first day of the weekend
 especially as mixed in with this was dog watching and child care.
 Sunday the weather was worse, so I lazily fed the donkies from the kitchen.
 As Im on a diet a good job was to make cup cakes for the local Christmas Fayre which, once was over
 left precious little time for road repairs, this was done in the dark eventually with compulsory K9 supervision.
Once all the outside work had been completed (read as much as can be done before falling over) it was time to get on with the most important job of the weekend. To the accompaniment of squealing children, barking dogs, mulled wine, mince pies and Greg Lake Christmas has landed at Rock HQ.