Wednesday, 11 February 2009

A Red Letter Day

Today was the day the alpacas moved into their new paddock. Ann came over to help and see them go in – she has been wonderful in helping me to finish all the fencing; I couldn’t have got all of it fixed as tightly or as quickly without her. And I’ve not forgotten all the help G, M & C gave with the posts last summer; thanks guys.

Dragging buckets of water over there is going to be a bit of a drain so that should spur me on to finish the roofing of the shelter and install a rainwater collection system there.

Moving the alpacas was nearly thwarted by the rain; yes folks yet more rain. Nothing torrential but just a few millimetres every day or so and seven millimetres last night just for good measure. Reversing the trailer became impossible, it just skated over the mud but by going round the block I eventually got into a position where we could load them up and take them over to the field. Once there they couldn’t believe their eyes, grass and space, it was then heads down and munch away.

Having got them into the field, Ann and I decided it was time for a celebratory tea. I mentioned that since finding the nests where the chickens had laid the last lot of eggs, they’d moved and I’d not had any eggs for 3 days. While I boiled the kettle Ann went for a hunt around and finally found the last few days haul. They were hidden away in the bottom of an old straw bale. Only one of the chicken is using the nest boxes I made. I don’t think my animals appreciate my carpentry skills; the alpacas never went into the previous shelter I built them.

I now have a mini glut of eggs so I’m thinking about trying to dry some as a method of preserving them for next winter.


The bucket contains rainwater just the same as their bowl, but this has added dirt.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Update For First Week in February

This week has thankfully been a bit less traumatic, I’m still waiting for the results of the autopsy on Theo (autopsy is used for animals here in France) but Leah visited on Thursday and has given me some general pointers. So the alpacas will be out in their field as soon as possible and a couple of them need a tooth trim. The hay is not bad but not good either. I cut it a bit late because of the wet weather last year and that means it’s not as rich as early cut hay. No one round here got any early cut hay, but hopefully this year will be better and I’m aiming for a cut in May.

There have been chicken things too this week. Sadly sick-chick finally succumbed to whatever was here problem. She was the one who had the three maggot attacks last year. She seemed happy enough but never really recovered. Over the last few days of her life I noticed her tail was down quite a bit and an extra dose of wormer didn’t do the trick this time.

Egg-wise, I was really chuffed when the hens started laying after the shortest day but they stopped after the storm. I was a bit miffed at this as I was just getting back into the swing of having plenty of fresh eggs. Then on Thursday I noticed that the young hen was missing when I was feeding them and I wondered if a fox had been round. I carried on working round the house and then just in the time it took to turn round I noticed another of the hens had gone missing and not a fox in sight.

I then spotted her under a log stack that sent me looking for the other hen. I eventually spotted her under the branches of the felled tree round the back of the house. Once they were both out and about again I checked the two spots and was rewarded by 2 eggs under the logs and 13 under the branches. They’ve only been laying outside for a week so I quickly gathered the egg and took them inside to test them in a bowl of water. All of them sat at the bottom of the bowl, so eggs are back on the menu here.

On Wednesday I noticed a group of cranes flying over, four weeks earlier than last year. Well I think they are earlier, it might just be that I’m outside earlier than last year and so able to see them. Still it’s another harbinger of spring along with the first of my crocuses flowering. They are a little late but since I only put them in the ground Oct/Nov I think they’ve done really well. I’m now waiting for the snowdrops but they might take until next year to flower.

Bafta Night

It's February again and that means it's Bafta time again, so it's a TV night for me tonight watching on the BBC and reminiscing. I was lucky enough to be 'live' at the Bafta's one year, all be it one of the lesser people with a press pass. Even so the buzz was tremendous and the free food wonderful! Funny how my memories of show business revolve around food, I was also an extra and again the food was great.

Show business, you just can't beat it.