Friday, 15 July 2016

Not Yellow but Primrose.

At some signal unknown to we smallholding observers, the geese suddenly decide that the time for sitting brooding on those last eggs or empty nests is over and we should all wake up one morning, stride purposefully out of the goose house and go graze the good orchard grass. This gives me a chance, at last, to nip the door shut and muck the place out. It is long overdue - so long that some of the debris underfoot is turkey feathers and we last had a turkey here on May 9th!

Marans chick.
Our final score on the goslings was just the one but we are delighted with that. Regular readers will know that we are frantically trying NOT to breed geese; we steal all the eggs we can for the kitchen and only get out-manouvred right at the end of the season when a goose goes broody on us overnight. This gosling is a possible keeper (unless he turns out to be a gander) as we have a possible problem with one of the adult birds going lame.

Take a large mixing bowl and add half a dozen newly hatched
Since her turn at brooding she struggles to get back onto her feet but we are giving her the benefit of the doubt. Every time we get worried about her and start thinking we may need to make the tough decision, we then see all the adult birds wandering about the orchard with the gosling and not a bother on them. Maybe she is just "a bit stiff in the morning". Geese are a poor shape to be suffering from aching ankles and knees - all the weight of the breast, neck and head is well forward of the legs. Watch this space.

We love the monochrome effect of the black, grey and white
fluff on these guys.
A lot more success, fortunately, where we did want it, in the incubator hatch of the Marans eggs. Here we ended up with 6 babies in a lovely range of blacks, greys and whites. The remaining 6 eggs were infertile - just yolk and white like the day we bought them. We have passed the results to our supplier. It is not a complaint. These things happen. We just know that people would rather know that their rooster is maybe under performing. 50% is not bad in the scheme of things.

A screen-grab of the Lisacul website
Meanwhile, Liz has been having a load of fun setting up and running the village website ( ). She does this as part of her work and you will know that the '365' photographic project was born out of it and continues to supply most of the pictures which are used on the site. I am not just saying this out of loyalty - go check for yourselves - but it is a fine, bright and fresh site, always with something new to look at. It is currently being very well received by the village's on-line community but also, we know, the Lisacul diaspora all around the world. It is a website to be proud of and we both are.

Happy farmer in a recent 365 picture.
The most recent bit of fun on it was a tease around the support of Roscommon's GAA team which made the Connacht final, drew the game with Galway and must now play the replay on Sunday. I came up with the idea of taking a load of yellow and blue pics of every day objects (yellow bucket on blue trailer, coffee mugs, a WD40 can, yellow and blue flowers etc) which Liz then used in a jokey "we are being impartial in our support, honest" web-page. Incidentally, I stand corrected on this. I have been rattling on about 'yellow and blue' and I now know that we are technically 'primrose and blue'. Get back in yer box, lens-man.

Other than that, I have got over my cold and I am a picture of health again (yeah, OK). I have been out to the buildering and got involved with a fascinating 'new' technique (new to me, anyway), that of using a rough and tough version of a cake icing syringe to fire wet mortar into the gaps between the stones of an old wall.

Little Chip
This wall had been left with very fluffy 'mortar' or just dirt with a tiny bit of lime in it (and lots of rat's nest debris) between the stones, so that it looked more like a dry stone wall than a house wall. K-Dub had then made it 'worse' by raking out all the loose debris, so that the pointing cracks were 3-4 inches deep. The icing syringe, which is actually like a 3 times normal size mastic-gun, forces mortar right down into these cracks and fills them from the 'back'. If you tried to use a trowel you might get the outside filled but you would likely have great air gaps and cavities behind your pointing.

I didn't have the camera, sadly, but it is a technique I am definitely going to use on the end of my goose house, where the wall has that same 'dry stone wall' effect. I gather that the 'pros' even use a pump version to fire in a continuous tooth-paste bead from a bucket of mortar without all the business of having to refill the syringe.

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