Thursday, 26 November 2015

Everybody's Spare Bloke

"You're like everybody's spare bloke at the moment" That was how Liz described some of my recent days spent dashing hither and yon doing bits and pieces for lots of different folk and happy to not be achieving much at home while it's so wet and windy and I can't do much in the garden. Need some coal bringing to your house from the local PO? Need a lift out to the tractor repair man where your tractor is now fixed? A lift to work? To a training course? I'm your man.

It is all go, though, in the small holdering business. Today we had the local plumber (Paul C) round to move the sink unit and dish washer around in the kitchen. I saw him onto the premises and then abandoned him to it while I went shopping, leaving the dogs shut into the front room so that they couldn't come and 'help' him and nor could they escape and wreak havoc among the poultry should he leave a door open by mistake coming and going to his car for tools. As well as doing his job he was mightily impressed by the size of our young turkeys  and interested to get a look round the place as he has a hankering to do something like this himself; sheep, pigs, poultry etc.

The sheep explore the 'New Bit'
I returned from shopping just as he was finishing, so as I sorted out his money, we got talking and I was showing him round but I'd left the front door open knowing that the dogs were safe in the front room. Unbeknown to me, two of the young turkeys had wandered in and were checking out the kitchen. I bade farewell to Paul and came back in to release the dogs who headed in a bee line to the kitchen where I suddenly had noisy mayhem as two big turkeys were suddenly in a panic to escape dogs.

One was at each window scrabbling and flapping to escape through the glass and the slower of the two had already had a couple of dozen tail feathers ripped out where a dog had grabbed him. If you've never seen an near-adult turkey poult  close up you might not appreciate how big these boys are - this was not some tiny starling or sparrow come down a chimney fluttering ineffectually against the glass. These are great clumsy 6 kg oafs blundering about knocking everything that was on the window sill flying - cups, eggs, the wire chicken-shaped egg container, jars and a wicker basket were raining down. These boys' wingspan is wider than the window and their feet nearly as long as the sill is wide. In a bit of a hurry I had to evict the dogs, calm the birds and then reach past them to open the 2 windows before shoving them bodily out. Mercifully, no harm was done except for a broken egg cup. And to my nerves. The birds, in their panic had also poo'd copiously so I had a bit of fun cleaning up before Liz would come back and enjoy her new kitchen lay-out.

Sheep in the pig run.
Regular readers will know that I have invented a new area for the sheep - needed to let them into some grass in the pig-pen, around the compost heaps and behind the chicken house, so I had erected some short runs of fence and would use my new sheep hurdles as 'gates' in the gaps. This all started on Monday and it has gone very well. Sheep, when introduced to a new area will generally beat the bounds to see what they have that's new and taste a bit of the vegetation all around to find out where the best bits are. Ours were no different and spent the first hour or so exploring the new area. We are calling this the 'New Bit' for want of a more sensible name.

Craft pop-up shop in Ballaghaderreen
Liz's knit and stitch club are getting all 'ambitious' this year and, instead of just selling their stuff at craft fairs, they have decided to run a 'Pop-up Shop' for 4 weeks in Ballaghaderreen. The members are all 'manning' a rota of volunteers to keep it open from 10:30 till 5pm Monday to Saturday. They have called the shop "Kuirky Krafts" if you are interested and it is out on Pound Street just off the market square on the road out to Sligo on the left. They are reported to be doing very well and having to re-stock with new stuff as the stock sells - it is all nice hand made stuff and there are many Christmas gift items to be had.

Fierce concentration at the dress making.
Finally, for those following the recent goat story, I am sorry to say that the 'lonely' Billy pigmy-goat did not love his newly acquired 'Nanny' as a goat should and had started bullying her. She is potentially 'in-kid' so needs a quiet life, but the lad took against the idea of her eating anything. Even when two bowls of food were put down he would chase her about to stop her starting to eat either and was even found giving her some quite vicious butts in the hip and abdomen.

Ooops. The dogs got this young leveret before I even knew
he was down there in the long grass, frozen in fear. 
Obviously we have had to separate them. We did this by creating a 'wall' of pallets and concrete blocks so that now they can see each other and Billy can bleat pathetically that he has been denied his cuddles, but she can eat and do the pregnancy thing in peace. I have heard that Charlotte is now trying to convince Mum that she really needs us to go and retrieve Nanny's former 'friend' over by Knock so that she is not lonely. Good luck with that one, Charlotte.

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