Friday, 11 May 2018

Slow News Day

Cowslips in the local verges.
This post might be a bit short but, hey, Elizabeth tells me that the 'voters' tend to like 'same old same old'; it makes them feel comfortable that nothing is going to rock their boat or upset their millpond calm. I will pepper it with a selection of vaguely relevant pictures and maybe you, the reader, will fail to notice that I am not actually saying very much.

Dad-duck is paying a lot of attention to the new ducklings. 
Readers will think from the previous post that we are now letting our sheep out of their secure field to graze the longer grass and herbage around the garden, secure in the knowledge that they are well behaved sheep and will not do a runner into the neighbour's 5-acre cattle pasture.

Another barrow of cut hawthorn for the
log store.
Um. Slight change there - I let them out single handed on a recent day and watched all 9 nip through a gap. I had to stay with them lest they vanish we knew not where but rapidly phone Elizabeth to appear at the gap with a bucket of grub and tempt them home. All safe and sound now but the extra strand of barbed wire I added to the hedge below the one they had dipped under only stopped 3 of the 4 ewes the next day. Our oldest ewe, Polly was shimmying under it like a pro. They are now 'grounded' for the fore-see-able but by now the grass is growing so fast in their field that they will barely notice.

Thus order of a dozen asparagus crowns arrived looking more
28 to me including the scrappy bits. Thank you very much,
English's Fruit Nursery of Co. Wexford. 
The weather has continued mainly mild, so we have been getting on with the serious gardening, even in the absence of any Help-X support. I have gathered up all my wind-felled hawthorn and stacked it into the log store. I love that in May my store is filling up rather than stripped bare.

Asparagus bed with 'marker' row of catch-crop carrots
An order for a dozen asparagus crowns (Connovers Colossal var.) arrived containing my dozen nice fat crowns but also 16 more bits and pieces which English's might have seen as scraps but they look very good to me, so they have all gone into the ground in their lovely clean, weeded, mulched railway sleeper bed. We are looking to crop our first spears this year from crowns planted 2 years ago. Unfortunately the first spear to appear this week was broken off either by me in planting the new plants, or a chicken helper. Never mind. There will be more.

2 cuckoos, each pursued by a starling. 
We are suddenly surrounded by cuckoos. I noted that there were four calling in my 05:00 dawn chorus in the previous post. Since then I have seen 2 chasing about each pursued by a small songbird (possible starling?) and, today, 2 just cruising through our airspace unmolested. I had the camera in my hands for the chased two.

We loved this clever marketing campaign by Lidl Ireland. It's
mainly for the kids, but they give you a free seed pack with every
€20 spent. A tiny peat-pot about an inch cube, a pellet of peat and
a small amount of seeds in a paper strip, plus instructions. Our six
so far are doing very well. 
I have been out and about lately, helping various neighbours. Yesterday this was helping to repair some fencing down by the local main drain/stream and involved me wading about in the stream bed, praying that the water would not be too deep for the wellies (I was close, but OK). The local beef lads use the stream as water for their bullocks, and they cut 'slip-ways' down to the stream using  a digger.

We are re-starting the keyhole bed on the
The stream bed is 6' below the grassland at this place, so this lets the cattle down to below the height of the fences. Our job was to scramble down the slipway to fence off the river end of the slipway, so that bullocks coming down to drink could not wander out into the stream and go strolling up- or down-stream, escaping into the neighbour's territory.

A hole in the head. 
Meanwhile, there I was dozing 75% asleep on my pillow one night when a dog (Deefer?) decided to walk across the pillows to another position. As she walked by she just nicked the middle of my forehead with a toenail. I was vaguely aware of the pain and the small trickle of blood but slept on. In the morning I had a superb 'Harry Potter' style Z-shaped streak of dried blood down into and across one eye. It stung and the dried blood made it difficult to open that eye, so I washed it off before thinking to photograph it.

Ox Tail Stew under construction.
Finally, in 'breaking news' we hear tonight that the 'struggling writer in his garret' described in a recent post, Mr Dan, who was writing up a Masters thesis in Economics (actually supply chain resilience) in our spare room has passed his exams. That's all we know for now. He was chasing a 'Distinction' but our source does not say whether he got that. Well done Dan.

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