Friday 19 February 2016

Thank You, Whelan's of Limerick.

Sussing out the new toy. Yes. This IS a picture
of a man reading the instructions!
We had never heard of Whelan's of Limerick or how good they are until our fortuitous evening visit to the Acorn Photographic Society (Balla-D's camera club) on the evening when I was trying to find out what ailed my old Canon EOS and what I might do about it. A lady club member recommended Whelan's of Limerick and I was away. I have since had some nice long informative chats with the shop experts (John and Brian) there, bought the new camera and found out a lot about how one does close-up and macro work nowadays. I must admit that I have not used it properly yet in anger and no pics have appeared in these pages but bear with me. We are time-rich round here and the little faithful Sony Cybershot I used to fill the gap is a lot easier to always have in the car or a coat pocket so that tends to get used for the Lisacul 365 pictures. A couple are included in this post.

365 shot of a local lane.
Farewell, then, to our friends Dawn and the girls (plus dog Romeo) who sailed away early this morning, calling a halt on their try out of living in Ireland, off to see how they get on back in the Cheltenham area of England from which the family hailed. One of the girls, Kitty, was a student of Liz's and excellent times were had teaching and learning, so Liz will particularly miss that. We hope that the History and English Kitty gained from Liz is useful in her English school onward education. The family were also the source of our black and white cat, Soldier, and of the Billy goat we currently have as a guest from Carolyn of the Mini Horses. Good luck with that, ladies all.

Lily's twin lambs a few days old here.
No major stories in this post, just plenty of bimbling along 'between' things. Lily's lambs are thriving and are currently in their cossetted week 1 of being out of doors if the weather is good during the day but rounded up to their nice warm dry pen in the shed at night and if it starts lashing hail on them as it did on Tuesday. Moving them involves me carrying one under each arm with Lily trotting along behind apparently pleased that "my babies are getting a LIFT!" This way I know they are growing at a good pace - they seem noticeably heavier each day.

The geese have come back into lay.
Hot on Lily's heels is now Polly who is, we think, about a week off her own lambing date but has started to do the sitting away on her own thing and is, I detect, starting to bag up in the udder department. Our friend Charlotte was round this week (college half term) and came to admire Lily's children but also took a punt of a singleton for Polly, twins for Myfanwy. I am the other way round (twins, I think, for Polly) but I am still only going public on easy lambings and healthy lambs. Numbers are less of an issue. Either way we do not anticipate any problems as these are all experienced mums (in Polly's case this will be her 6th season) but you don't always gets that lucky.

One of this year's females will be a 'keeper' or 'replacement' to keep the flock going. We already have a rolling group - an 8 year old (or so), a 5 year old and a 3 year old (Myfanwy). The plan is to keep one of this year's who will be with the flock through this winter but will not be let with the ram (she'll be too small) this autumn. That way (our advice goes) she can watch the grown-ups go through the process and learn her mothering skills by watching, hearing, smelling, seeing and being there so that, when her turn comes in Spring 2018 it will be less traumatic for her. That's the theory, anyway.

Mark One Guinea Fowl Deterrent (wires)
With Lily and the lambs indoors at night, an unforeseen problem arose to do with some of the poultry's habit of roosting up in the rafters and among the strip-lights in the shed. Not to put too fine a point on it, they were pooping on my sheep! I decided to borrow an anti-pigeon-roosting idea from my warehousing days and stretched wires across a few inches above the roosts so that the birds could not settle comfortably on the timbers and would (I thought) go elsewhere. I have no problems with them roosting in the rafters or horizontal beams or even the other light where they'd not be directly above the sheep-pen.

Well, the best laid plans, as they say. I went out at lock-up to find a determined Guinea Fowl and our #2 rooster 'Captain' up there anyway, one looking very uncomfortable straddling a wire with the cold steel splitting his difference, the other hunkered down tight to the wood somehow ducked under the wires. In version 2 of this structure chunks of old political poster liberated after the Yes Equality campaign last year served as vertical "blades" sticking up from the perches into the roof. I saw a Sussex Ponte 'hin' trying to sashay into the perch from the electric cable on the left but she soon gave up and at lock-up there were no birds up there. A clean night for Lily and the twins, then, with no little gifts falling from heaven.

Frosty trees reflection.
That is about it for this one except for a sympathetic thought to some friends of ours in Kent who have split up and been forced by that to give up the small holding game and sell off all the stock. I know you read this guys, so I don't need to go into any more detail except perhaps to say that this was the holding I visited before Christmas where I met the heavy horses, Wiltshire Horn sheep and Dexter cattle. Sad for both of you. Hope you both find a new happier situation soon. I know from talking to you that you are both a bit devastated and heartbroken.

2 comments: said...

I will have to pick your brains then Matt over my new camera Canon EOS 650D, it came with a manual an inch thick, I cant make head nor tail of it. Any advice?

Matt Care said...

Not 100% familiar with the 650D, Anne, but by the looks, is very similar to mine. Have to admit I mainly use it set to full auto (little green box on top dial) or denied flash or forced to flash (again, 2 little icons on that dial.). That is good for most pics/uses. I am told that for close ups of flowers/insects most people now get as glose as they can with a standard lens (12"?) and then use the fact that the image is a huge 18 meg file, to crop down to get their flower at full-frame. Good hunting.