Friday 24 November 2017

Some First Snow

'New' Potatoes from the poly-tunnel
The first snow flurries of this Winter are falling even as I put pen to paper (well, start tapping the keyboard, maybe) on this post. The day has been a bit like that, starting with a very gentle frost, mud still soft and the pond surface only a little bit 'crinkly'. It carried on cold with a biting breeze but shower clouds that always threatened a more crunchy version of rain. The wind is a strengthening NW-erly. More frost is forecast tonight.

Two more roosters get it in the neck. 
Not much to report. I am over my cold and back to full health. Liz is lagging a bit behind having waited a sensible 48 hours before catching it from me. She's still struggling with bursts of coughing and general sleepiness. She was probably a bit brave to accept the job of 'cleaning' two more roosters. No matter how careful you are there is always a certain amount "dander" comes off the feathers and poor Liz was pulling feathers with one hand and chugging cough medicine with the other. OK, maybe not, but you get the picture.

We are nearly through that nasty job now; six down and maybe 2 or 3 to go. These last 2 were, sadly, the beautiful black and gold birds who I have featured in an earlier post when I was still wishing they would stay as hens. No luck there - all three developed their male characteristics - lovely capes and tails, big, upright bodies and big flappy wattles to go with their tall combs. Roosters to a man. Bad move guys.

The Stanley range got a good 'muck-out'. If you use it 'idling',
ticking over with the air supply turned right down, it gradually
blocks up all its little baffles and convoluted airways with soot.
Like a car, it needs a good toasty roar up its 'venturis' to clean
it all out.  
They have killed out at just over 2 kg oven-ready. One is spatch-cocked for tonight's supper. Chickens don't come much fresher than that without plucking them while they are still warm! No food-miles, either. About 6 paces across the yard in my wellies.

Iris and Plum, our Mothers-of-pigs are both in the
family way.
Some progress to report off site. Our pig breeder/supplier (Hi Adrian) sends me a picture of his 2 'Mums', Plum and Iris, both of whom are in pig. This is promising news. If all goes well they will 'cook' for the famous "3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days", farrow successfully, and then 8 weeks later we could be back in the piggy game. April, maybe?

I have a new "friend" on Twitter, too, Irish author Felicity Hayes-McCoy. She popped up on one of the groups I was chatting on, chopped in with "Doing a small happy dance, having just hit the 75k word count on my latest #novel. Technically known as getting over the hump. 😊☕️🔥 #amwriting #amtakingabreak  #cupofteabythefire " I was amused by the idea of doing a 'happy dance' back while clutching cold-ridden hankies like some kind of manic Morris dancer and so we fell into conversation. I was almost finished my latest novel (a John le Carré) and was about to be out of reading material.

Back in the day I was a great fan of Maeve Binchy so when I asked Felicity what her books were like and she said "I think u'd like the series. My feelgood's like Maeve's - deffo not chick-lit, more can-do contemp rural Ireland - real-life (no leprechauns). Where funny, observational, not one-liners. Includes love; bolshy builders; dogs; county councillors; books. Lots of books. Also divorce.", that was good enough for me. Had to give her a try. I have now just received my first "FHMcC" from Amazon and am impressed by the first few chapters, anyway. I will let you know how I get on.

That's about it for this post. It seems to have stopped snowing for now (nothing "laid" or "stuck"). Keep warm and dry, everyone.

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