Saturday 26 October 2013

A calf called 'Dave'

We are obviously only amateurs at this 'farming' lark, with our rabbits grazing the front lawn. A lady just down the lane has a calf grazing hers. Well, grazing a bit, maybe - this one is so young he is still on the hand-feeding bottled milk. He is a Limousin born last week but one of twins, rejected by the Mum who seems to have decided that one is enough. He seems to be doing OK but must be a bit lonely judging by the way he bounces up to the fence even when I have three dogs on leads. I had a good idea that this lady might be as 'silly' as us with giving the little mite a name. Well, she told me rather apologetically, the grand children have called him 'Dave'!

Rain, wind and a blizzard of autumn leaves coming down. Round here that is mainly the ash and the sycamore now. The hawthorn is already bare to the heavy crop of haws. We are a bit short on pretty colours this year, no flaming reds or oranges. The sycamore gets that tar-spotting fungus before the leaves turn a muddy brown. The ash just goes pale yellow and pathetic looking before it falls, the leaflets coming away from the central leaf-stalk leaving you with a twiggy mess. The beech and horse chestnut have tried a bit of orange but really, the only colour is coming from the more exotic garden trees - Acers and so on - up and down the lane. Not a vintage year for indulging in that bizarrely named American activity, "Leaf Peeping".

We love the Met √Čireann weather maps on line, showing us the predicted rainfall (of which there seems to be plenty over this Irish Bank Holiday weekend (Hallowe'en). Rainfall is quoted in mm per hour, so 'heavy' would be any green areas, more than 1 mm per hour, 25 mm or an inch per day. The massive storms (yellow, orange and red) seem to be saving themselves for the south and east coast this time. You click on, and slide the time slider at the bottom of the map in 6-hour chunks and you can see it all passing through like a slow-motion movie.

Big thanks for this gift of wine from a generous benefactor. No names no pack drill - we are not at all sure the friend would want to be 'named and shamed' but you know who you are and we have, of course, made contact to pass on our thanks separately. Thank you very much. We love the name of this firm, "Wine on Line" based near Dublin and using one of the many excellent courier firms which seem to exist in these rural areas. These guys always seem to phone first before they arrive to check you are in and to confirm directions, which gives me a chance to get down to the gate to meet them. We had no idea this was coming so our first reaction was "What parcel? What have we ordered?"

John Deere Bob's new cattle on some silage aftermath.
The 2CV saga rumbles on and I probably know more about 2CV carburettors and the emissions tests now than it is healthy for one person to know. Ignore this paragraph if you have not interest in this! I will not bore you with a wealth of detail but the car is now back in the garage and being attended to by the senior guy (owner?) Keiran who is a whizz on these detailed tweaks and the gas analyzer. It seems that both my existing carb AND the spare I got from 2CV Llew have worn 'holes' where the hard metal of the butterfly spindles slot in. They do a smoke test apparently and can watch the smoke leaking out of what should be an airtight bearing. This means that they can set the mixture up but as soon as you tread the accelerator the butterfly opens but then can fall back into a different closed position. The air leaks around it and the jet has to be set rich to compensate for the air leaks, which can push your HC (hydrocarbons) out of kilter. Keiran thinks he can fix it but I am not confident.

Gladioli enjoying the mild autumn in the yard
In 2CV-Land there is an expert 'go-to' man we all talk to on line, named Ken Hanna. Ken thinks that the limits I am being asked to stay inside are set up for modern cars and engines with catalytic converters and clean exhausts. In the UK, he tells me, old cars are given exemptions and concessions. Even the new spec for a 2CV ex factory, he says would over-top the limits here (and fail) so I may be on a hiding to nothing. If this is the case then it is definitely not worth investing the (gasp) €240+ in a reconditioned carb. Ah well, we will find out on Thursday 14th Nov which is last chance saloon for this car.


Anne Wilson said...

The colours in Forest Park and around the loughs were beautiful yesterday.

Matt Care said...

Forest Park as in Lough Key up by Arcarne? If so, yes I agree. I was up there Wednesday and drove down as far as the lakeside car-park. Lovely sunny day Wish I'd had the camera!