Saturday, 20 May 2017

A Bunch of Weirdoes

Troughing but in a strange order. 
This season we seem to have accumulated, by chance, an odd bunch of weirdoes for livestock. Friends of the Blog will recall that I was mildly worried about the pigs' lack of enthusiasm for food. Well, they are hungry enough now and wake up and trot out to receive their breakfast or supper and they leave none in the bowl by the next meal but I am amazed by the order in which they take their 'courses'.

Pride sniffs a slice of galia melon
I give these snufflers mainly a commercial pig ration which is a grey/brown pellet looking a bit like the Layers' Pellets, poultry keepers would be familiar with. Worried that this looks just plain boring, I shake the ration up with a handful of flaked barley and throw in on top any cut up fruit I can get really cheap in the supermarket 'reduced' racks. It makes a nice varied meal for them while still giving them all the nutrients they need.

Empress checks out the breakfast potential.
All the pigs I have known or owned so far have taken one look and piled straight into the choicest items first, squabbling over the tomatoes and apple, and only eating the boring old ration when there was nothing else left. Not these two cherubs. They are first at the pig-nuts, shoving the lovely cooked new-potatoes and chunks of melons to the side of their bowl with their snouts the better to avoid accidentally biting the "dessert" course.

Kitchen progress. We pick out some floor tiles.
I have got bored and left by the time they must eat the fruit - it is certainly all gone by the time I return with the next meal but I have never seen more than a tentative exploratory chew on it. Never any enthusiastic schhhhlurrrping and dribbly, juice-leak, chewing like with previous piggies. Ah well, happy enough that they are eating and thriving, I guess. There is no rule that says pigs must eat melon.

These chooks have taken themselves off to 'bed' on this
perch 5 feet off the ground. The rabbit is on the bunny
'Maternity Unit' roof next to them.
Next up on weird-world, those rabbits. Having escaped their apiary pen they are now free range but if you expect them to run for it and end up eaten by Mr Fox somewhere 'out there' then worry not. These guys seem to naturally gravitate towards the house and yard and the out-buildings and prefer the grain thrown down for chickens to the 2.5 acres of good green natural grass and herbs (plus precious flowers and young trees!).

At 'bed time' for chickens as it gets dark, the chooks all take themselves off to their coops and their perching ladders in the out buildings. The rabbits go with them and one even climbs up somehow onto the former rabbit Maternity Unit roof, 4-5 feet off the ground so that he can "perch" alongside the chooks. They get locked in safe from the fox and are always sat just inside the doors when I go to let the birds out in the morning. They chase out to be first at the chicken feed and then go back to being grass-eaters once they've had their fill of breakfast. See? Weirdoes (or should that be "Weirdos"; I guess as it's only a made-up word I can do which ever plural I like).

Egg laid in the laundry pile.
Then there is the chicken who has taken to laying eggs in the 'waiting' laundry pile in the Utility Room. That room has a split door "stable door" style and in summer I generally leave it with the top half hooked open. One rainy day I was in and out of there and left the door fully open and returned to find all 5 of the new hens and their rooster (Herme) sheltering in there from the rain. Not wanting chicken poop on the 'dirty' clothes, I hooshed them out and shut the door and only later found an egg had been laid down in there on an old towel in the corner.

That scary looking Spanish goat cheese in the previous post
was nothing like as alarming inside and proved to be a lovely
strong flavoured crumbly-soft, pale cream coloured (slight pink
tinge) delight. "You know you've had cheese!" said our visitor
Well, it seems that the egg laying bird has now locked onto that site as a GOOD THING and goes back in each day to lay her daily egg even if I have the bottom half of the stable-door closed and she must have to fly up over that to get in. Determined lass, that. I will just have to be careful when sorting through my laundry for the machine - coloured, whites, delicates, woollens, eggs...oops!

The bugle from Charie Moss gets planted into the side of the
driveway. Pick-axe gardening. 
That's it for mad in this post. What else have we been up to? We have started into planting the various goodies from our trip to C Moss Perennials. This has meant getting the pick-axe out again; the bee-friendly plant, bugle (Ajuga reptans) is going in at the side of the drive to do ground-cover but needed a start-hole "drilled" into the compacted gravel there. That should get away nicely.

Waiting for planting. Pick axe at the ready.
This week we play host to the last in the current series of house guests, this one being our most excellent friend John, husband of the late Diane (Diamond, to this blog), who lives in our previous town, Faversham in Kent. If there are guests who are "difficult" and those who are less so, the John is definitely at the 'easy' and 'low maintenance' end of the spectrum.

Gifts from "home" - Micro-brewery beers and some Deep-South
Cajun flavourings from our old favourite world-deli and farm shop
 'Macknades Fine Foods' plus some new Kent gin flavours for Lizzie
Not only does he call to check whether there is anything from home we might be pining for (Gentleman's relish, Marmite etc), he arrives bearing gifts and there is nothing he likes better than a chance to help me in MY garden with the weeding, planting veg and other allotment-type work because he'd be away from his own plot for a whole week. He also loves a craft-beer and would regularly nip round for some of the 'take-away' (Tetra-pack 2 pint style) guest beers from local pub 'The Elephant' when ever we were round to Diane's for supper.

That gives me a chance to indulge here - Ireland is seeing a real flowering of the craft-beer, micro-brewery market and even the standard supermarkets like SuperValu stock a huge range with great long racks of display showing them all off. John and I headed for the SV in Balla-D and came out with 9 different beers to try (not all in one night!).

In the interest of research, you understand. 
I was intrigued to find that they even had a little promo-display for a new supplier, Sligo-based "Lough Gill Brewing Co" who seemed to be doing cans rather than bottles. A fun aspect of this trend is some of the funky funny names they dream up to make the beer more memorable and eye-catching; in the UK we are well used to the Hobgoblins, Old Speckled Hens and 'Waggle Dance'. One of Lough Gill's beers is called "Thieving Bastards" Pale Ale. How could you NOT pick one of those up? Blimey, we nearly have as many different beers in the house as Lizzie has types of gin! Sláinte!

1 comment:

Mr Silverwood said...

The project manager I am working with at the moment owns part of Rye River (McGargles) it's a long story but his missus is the marketing director and he has invested a lot of money in the company, I have had a few free samples as well, lol.