Tuesday 9 January 2018

A Genuinely Short Post (Honest)

A welcome cold snap
OK, I know I have many times recently started a post with comments along the lines of "not much to say, so this is going to only be a few paragraphs" and then gone on at normal length. Well, this time, I genuinely have little to say, so I might be for real here. Added to that, one major 'thread' of narrative is under that embargo to which I have already alluded; the main characters in those episodes do not like to be spoken of 'on here' and there is no arguing with that.

Frosty East Field
Main event for this post was the 'Little Christmas' or 'Ladies' Christmas', (Nollaig na mBan or, if you prefer, simply Epiphany) when the men take over the reins of the household and try to treat their women-folk to a complete day of rest.

When you can only find 4 ducks it is a sure sign that #5 is off
hidden up somewhere laying a surreptitious late egg. When
she returns it is then a race against the magpies to find the egg
before they do. 
It is nothing that heroic, so does not generate me much Blog text but it is fun to do and much appreciated by Lizzie. I have to do all the kitchen and dish-washer duties, provide tea on demand and cook the main meals. Also, on this occasion, carve a good snack's worth of thin slices off the 'Parma'-style whole leg of ham mid afternoon and pass in the gorgeous chocolates we were gifted by our French visitors at Christmas (Thank you, Marion, Clara and Augustin). It all went very well.

Frosty early morning view from the new kitchen windows
I have also tried to progress from knowing that we have "around 30 chickens" to doing some kind of census to get an exact list. This is mainly so that we can report egg production, health and progress more accurately and to identify whether we have any 'passengers' who are contributing nothing and need weeding out. Tough old, cut-throat world?

We both wish the cats would not catch these cuties and we are
always amazed how tiny they are in the hand. A goldcrest, of
Obviously, with the birds free-ranging this is not that easy - you walk one way round the site with your notepad and pencil and try to record who is where but by the time you have nearly finished, are you double counting hens who have gone widdershins round the house and come to meet you again? I scratched down a list of 28 hens by name if they have names, and by a rough description if not. I now have a list that says such arcane things as "Stumpy", "Big Red", "Grey / Dark cape" and "Flat black / big crest" and is peppered with codes like 'A-head' and 'A cheeks'.

Poor little mite. At least we have a strong population of goldcrests
here, so this one will not really be missed.
The 'A' thing stands for Araucana, which is a weird 'fancy fowl' beloved of show folk which has tufts of feathers sticking out of the top of its head and sideways from its cheeks. The latter give it a strange hamster-like look from the front. Pure bred A's lay blue eggs which are quite nice, but we only have crosses between A's and other types, so we only get white eggs and we get hens which are mainly hen-shaped but have some bizarre A-tufts on their heads.

I now need to take my list into the coop at lock-up and double check. I better not bore you with a complete list of all the birds as a fancy tabular addendum. You might think I was trying to flesh out a slow news day. As if.

The half moon goes down into that big patch
of new morning sky where Storm Eleanor
decapitated our larch. 
Finally, we are now at Day 9 of the two major New Year's resolutions. First that #DryJanuary - we are both sticking to this as per the agreed rules; one 'day off' allowed. Mine is going to be Burns Night, Liz went for Nollaig na mBan and brother Mark has a gin tasting he has booked in on 15th. So far so good.

Knitting project gets finishing touches.
Second, Liz was determined to get out all the unfinished major knitting projects and finish them. She loves knitting up the pieces of a garment but hates the stage where you sew all the bits together, so as at NYD, I had a lovely Aran pullover which was all there but for the assembly and Liz had a blue cardigan and a green woolly in similar states. Well, true to her resolution, my Aran is finished, the cardy just needs buttons (and even has a neck-warmer / 'snood' in the same wool, to go with it.) and the green thing is very nearly completed.

Publicity shot for the Men's Shed. The lads were doing a 'bucket'
collection at the check outs in local SuperValu, "Duffy's". 
And that, genuinely, is it. Till next time.

No comments: