Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Mum turns Poet.

First this time, I am afraid, a bit of sad news. Our gorgeous male Turkey, Tom, who you may recall had gone all moopy and down-in-the-dumps, has now checked out. After my last post he had a couple of reasonable days but then took a turn for the worst and on Sunday he didn't even want to come out of his 'bedroom'. I lifted him out for him to have some sun but he mooped some more and then seemed to go into a trance, lying on his stomach but with his beak and tail pointed skyward. I put him back into the shade but neither of us were very hopeful. No surprise on Monday morning to find him lying there stiff and cold. It's a shame - he was a lovely character and a fascinating bird to own and we will miss him.

Impressed by this bouquet from Shimizu
Flowers of Hastings Old Town's High St
delivered to Birthday Girl - Mum (89)
We have, of course, no idea what got him in the end but we have heard and read that birds which pair off with a strong bond can simply pine away if separated. Barbara (our hen bird) has been AWOL 3 weeks (we hope sitting on eggs). We are hoping that she does not return and get upset to find him dead like some kind of Shakespearean tragedy and "swallow the poison" herself. Flippin' birds!

The Roscommon Archers at Con's place. That's me centre
right in a red top, shooting.
On a far far lighter note, huge Happy Birthday to Mum (Pud Lady) who has gone all dizzy on this Birthday and filled her letter to us with Limericks. I include 2, for which many thanks, Mum. You had us smiling!

A smallholding lady named Liz
Saw that life should go on with a whizz
So she knitted and nattered, and pastried and plattered
and opened a bottle of fizz!

A sixty-ish smallholder, Matt
Opined he was quite certain that
Whether archery, drinking or just sitting thinking
He'd always know where he was at!

The club members let fly. You will have to believe that the tiny
red patch in the centre is my polo shirt. 
In my archery, big progress. With summer here at last the club moves its operation from the indoor badminton courts hall in Castlerea, out to the farm owned by Instructor, Con. Here is a piece of field well set up for it with a high bank all round to catch (most) stray arrows and Con has a shed full of 3D and 2D foam rubber models of animals (deer, boar, crows, rats etc) which we scatter about to give 3 firing positions and a good variety of targets (size, range and uphill/downhill angle).

Log stack 1
We get 2 good hours of varied , unfamiliar and challenging archery culminating in everyone standing in a line shooting across the diagonal at a model Ibex (big horny antelopey yoke) at a range of 115 feet (almost twice as far as the longest I had ever shot before (indoors)) synchronised like a Military attack. Nock! Draw! Loose! It was, to use that horrible word, AWESOME. Obviously, when you are shooting at that range you need to allow for the dip in the arrow's trajectory, so you aim high. How high? Which field do you want it to land in? came the response. Not as high I as I tried anyway as I watched my first arrow zoom over the bank and into the impenetrable shrub of brambles. Bye bye arrow. I lost 2 arrows that day but learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The plan was to prepare us all for a first outdoor "Field Archery" competition. Superb day all round.

The ducklings nervously approach this NEW water body.
They were quickly all in there and splashing about like they
were meant to do.
The ducklings have long since outgrown their cat litter-tray 'bath' and Carolyn has generously leant us one of her human-child sized paddling pools. We installed this in the yard, filled it and surrounded it with a ramp of my split logs. Liz scattered some cooked rice (current favourite food!) over the ramps and the lip and the gang were quickly exploring it and within an hour all six were in there splashing about, preening, swimming and drinking it like they were 'designed' to do. The cat litter trays sit abandoned and unloved, waiting for us to gather them up.

Still plenty of honey on this frame
Happily surviving the winter, too, seem to be our bees. Regular readers will know that we were not so fortunate last spring and lost our first (and only, then) colony to the damp and cold. One of the Longford BKA ladies generously gifted us a replacement colony on the one condition that we do likewise to the next beginner we find in need as soon as we have a spare colony to gift.

Log stack 2
That colony is still with us now and, when we cracked open the hive for a first look today it was buzzing with happy activity and still (or again) contained plenty of honey stores. We took off the insulated roof 'eke' so that the girls do not overheat and I cleaned the varroa count sheet so that I could get a good count (tomorrow) but there did not seem to be many mites on it even though it had been there all winter.

Finally a nice Birthday Card from Mum-in-Law (Steak Lady) who took it to Malta with her on hols by mistake and posted it from there.

TK Maxx. Always a favourite shop in Kent for household stuff
has now opened a branch near us. Happy Days. 


Anne Wilson said...

Sorry to hear about Tom, we had the same thing happen to us in Spain, Jessie the female had been attacked by a fox from which she did seem to recover but a couple of months later developed an infection and died, Andy her husband moped and went into a real depression and died three weeks later, we are sure from a broken heart.

Mr Silverwood said...

So when's the first Field Archery Comp then, we were supposed to go to one in Navan this weekend just gone but we had to finish off some decorating, not sure when the next one is but there is normally one most weekends during the summer. Looking to get myself a more traditional recurve bow, yay.

Matt Care said...

Thanks for that, Anne. I could not be sure I remembered that the 'broken heart' story was from yourselves. Interesting that it was the turkey(s) for you too.

As to Archery comps, Mr S, I know of no plans for "us" to hold one. I think this was more about preparing us for if we went a-travelling. Some of the lads went to Mayo recently.