Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord...

Stir up Sunday
A blog post with at least some of those words in it is by now almost an annual tradition. A blog of mystery and unpredictability, this is obviously not. We do love this process, though and can think of no finer way of creating the 'pud' and the Christmas cake. Off then on a special shopping mission on the Saturday (25th) and some of the dried fruit doused in Jameson overnight.

Hours of fun, too, on the Sunday adding final ingredients, mixing and doing the obligatory stirs before tipping the mixes into their respective cookware, lined with grease-proof or covered in same and foil, tied down with string like Mamma used to make. Now cooked too - 8 hours gentle blupping for the pud - and left to rest for the required amount of weeks. The icing of the cake is my department - I have a cunning plan but need to source some coloured icing, which could be tricky.

Temporary fences allow the sheep to access all areas. 
Friends of the Blog following our hosting of local gardening journalist, Paul Kirwan may have been expecting our story to appear in the Roscommon Herald today but unfortunately we got 'bumped'. Paul had had a story about his involvement in Golf Course "gardening" sitting on the back burner for weeks and the paper decided to go with that one this week. 'We' are therefore postponed to next week. More on that next week, maybe.

As bad as it got slush-wise.
We had a short burst of winter over the weekend. Nothing impressive or photogenic, just lots of raw, biting wind and wet wintry showers. No real frost either, so we are very sloppy under foot and pinned down to indoor jobs.

The ever reliable duck eggs. 
Rather bizarrely, our white Sussex hen, 'Connie', has decided to go broody. We have no idea why she thinks it is Spring but just maybe she has worked out that by doing the broody thing she can sit in a lovely warm nest in a shed and be given waiter-service on the food and water, protected from piratical 'sisters' trying to drop more eggs in on her by the cage I have built around her little hidey hole.

Not so much 'frozen' as covered in a
layer of part-melted slush. The pond
goes gun-metal grey.
I have, though, stitched her up. Not wanting any more chickens just for the moment, I have slipped 5 duck eggs under her. She will not be able to check on her diary but her instinctive Day-21 will come and go. Duck eggs take 24-28 days at least to incubate. Day 28 will put her right on Christmas Day so, with luck, our guests will get to see cute, new-hatched ducklings. Chickens will generally just sit tight, unaware of any problem and not visibly concerned that the chickens look a bit 'funny'. You do then need to take the babies off the Mum by about Day 10 because the Mums get quite upset that their babies will not learn to scratch and peck and do not try to stay dry. We'll have to see how that goes.

The turkeys are still thriving and impressing us with their size. We reared three because in previous years we have given them to family, one going to Sparks for a special dinner he used to do for a gang of his Dublin builder mates. Sparks is no longer in that world and now lives outside the capital, so tells us he doesn't need one, and neither, apparently, do any of the Silverwood gang so we have three turkeys and only ourselves and our guests to satisfy. Turkey for Easter anyone? St Patrick's Day?

Finally just a couple of pics for the usual reason, that I have them. First up, Lizzie. When you are wiped out by a cold and chilled to the bone, wrap up well in the 'onesie' and under a blanket. If that's not warm enough chuck a couple of cats and a dog on the bed too. Toasty.

Next up the two grown-up boy-cats, Blue and Soldier who have lately been fighting a bit over the best roosts and nests. Here they both grabbed the top of the book-case under the stairs, with their heads against the woodwork in a quiet stand off. Anywhere you can climb, I can climb higher? In the end Soldier blinked first and jumped down, leaving Blue to stretch out luxuriously across the case-top with a rather smug look on his face. The status quo is restored. For now.

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