Friday, 10 August 2018

Sleeping Through the Night

We are looking good for some fruit types despite the drought
Now there's a subject close to the hearts of all the new parents struggling with sleepless nights and night feeds of the new infant. I have adopted it as a milestone in the slow progress of my recovery from the recent pneumonia. When I first came out of hospital, I had some bad nights with a ticklish, persistent chesty cough which had at me as soon as I laid down to sleep and had me reaching for the trusty Benylin "dry cough" linctus. This may be too much information, but I was also getting up to pee at about 4 a.m. and had the cough all over again when I laid back down.

The only relief then was to sit bolt upright, so I would spend the last 2-3 hours of each night sitting against the head of the bed, usually joined by the cuddle-loving Poppea (dog), until I could realistically give up and get up at 6 o'clock. As the days went by it was encouraging to see these 2 coughing sessions get  better and shorter. I started to be able to get straight to sleep at night and even started to only get the morning one from half past 4, then 5, half 5 and so on. I was looking at being able to sleep right through the night. They were clear improvements on the way to recovery.

A new one for us this year - we may have some damsons.
At the same time, I know that productive cough is good, in that it is the lungs' way of clearing out the muck and dirt of illness. In my case, this silver lining had a small cloud - this new "muck" might be a sign that I was congesting up again. I guess I also have to take on the chin an occasional bad night like last night, where the bedtime coughing just would not stop and still had me sitting upright, sometimes downstairs, till 2 o'clock in the morning. To be fair, I then got to sleep and slept right round to 8 a.m. Swings and roundabouts. No other health news.

Beautifully mowed grass.
That Help-X lad (Rafael) never did show, so we are setting up August accordingly with Elizabeth picking up all the hard work as it comes due and me stuck on 'light duties'. One of these jobs this week was the mowing, her first time using the mower. I'd heard the mower chug into life when I was sitting round the front of the house. She was well away.

By the time I came down from a good nap, the pond garden was like a billiard table. "Good Job!", I said. "It was EASY!" she commented, sounding a bit surprised. I will have to watch that I don't lose these jobs while I'm 'ill'.

The timber arrives for the chicken house roof.
I was more worried about that other big job to which I would have put the missing Help-X-er, that of helping our builder chum K-Dub re-roof the chicken house. I remember from helping K-Dub do his house roof in Sligo, those are some big baulks of timber and , certainly to start with. Charlotte and I had to stand sticking out of the top of the part built house on ladders holding the new ridge-beam up in fresh air where it would ultimately sit, while K-Dub fitted the rafters to it (and nailed them to the wall plates).

K-Dub starts cutting out the 'barge ends'
Looking up at the beam and the sky, with the moving clouds, your eye had no fixed perspective to help balance. You had to keep looking down to the horizon to prevent falling off the ladder. Quickly, K-Dub fixed enough rafters to it that they were taking its weight, and we helpers could let go of it and come down our ladders to safety.

Not to worry. K-Dub turned up today (an EARLY builder!) - he was waiting on a sink for another job, so he had today free and decided to start. He would cut through the concrete 'barge' ends (gables) to free up the rusty old corrugated iron, plus cut all the rafters to shape/length in preparation.

We are looking at a reasonable plum crop.
This roof, he said, would be nothing like as hard as the house, mainly because the ridge beam gets slung between the two gables. There is no wobbling around on ladders. He can fix it in position with battens, while he brings all the rafters to bear. He anticipates being able to do most of the job on Monday - stripping off the old 'tin', demolishing the old timbers with a chainsaw and re-assembling with new wood.

Mum out with 'The Bumbles' in the woods.
If we don't get as far as new 'tin' on Monday, we can sling the good tarpaulin back over the new wood frame overnight to keep the birds dry. Tuesday will be for making good and finishing off the ridge which gets series of 8 foot long 'V' shaped bits overlapping. We had a good day today and got most of it done, till the 110 volt transformer 'died'. Ah well. I had thought we were starting on Monday, so EVERYthing we did today was a bonus.

I found Connie's hidey-hole down behind some scrap plaster
board in the Tígín
Friends of the Blog will recall that we had 2 birds we were calling 'AWOL', rather than dead to fox. I was poking about in the Tígín and happened to pull out some scrap plaster board and I found Connie sitting on 6 (very old) eggs. She was not out in a hedge and vulnerable to the fox after all. That status is now reserved for the female Guinea Fowl.

Snouts down for some apples.
Meanwhile, Brer Fox has changed his tactics again and nailed a couple more birds. He has lately come every day, instead of every 10th day. On Weds morning at about 9, he was spotted by Elizabeth as he first appeared in 'The Woods'. She happened to be looking out of an upstairs window. She shouted, so I let the dogs out of the front door. Unfortunately, months of training told them to turn left and head for the front lawn gate. Mr Fox was to the right, so able to make good his escape.

A nice sturdy cherry tree but no cherries
this year. The drought got them.
At this time of year, 'The Woods' presents a lovely sunny bank in the morning and can be full of birds. Foxy can sneak in up the 5 acre field, nip through the hedge anywhere and ambush a sleepy bird. On Tuesday, I took up position out there with all three dogs and waited all through the 9 o'clock 'slot' thinking I'd deter him. Not that fella. He waited till I went in at 10, gave it half an hour and then bang! He snatched a young poult. He was probably watching all the time and thinking, Matt can't stay here 24/7.

R+R, Roscommon style.
I thought we'd be safe today. This fox has always left us a week or so after a successful raid. I was out there with K-Dub and Elizabeth was about too, setting up to dig the big raised bed. Surely enough human presence to deter a fox? No. He came in at about 9 a.m. and managed to snatch one of the small goslings.

Ah well, enough for this one. Maybe by the time I write again, a completed chicken house roof and no more foxy deaths. Finally, to be fair to Rafael he has apologised for his 'mistake' today in an e-mail. For what it is worth.

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