Saturday 10 June 2017

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This little mite hatches yesterday (we think) and manages to get
out of the nest. We find him cheeping frantically and waddling
round the shed floor. Fear not, all ends well. 
A Birth is Announced! Best news, I expect, for this post is that we finally have a hatch of goose eggs, this a good 2 weeks after the "due date" for the original eggs (27th May). The reason for this is that the 3 Mum/Auntie geese keep leppin' in and out of the nest after #1 goes broody and the eggs you set get trampled. These will be more recent eggs. Our goose breeding is definitely chaotic.

Curator-ing the @IrelandsFarmers Twitter account
This little mite announced his presence with frantic loud cheeping you could hear across the yard even through the excited honking of 4 adult geese, He'd got out of the nest which means a 4-5 inch "fall" out of the former concrete cattle-trough in which they nest and was a bit lost running round the floor, not trying very well to get back into the nest. It could have ended badly. We had one gander one year so annoyed by the appearance of this new, noisy, scurrying "rat" that he grabbed it by a wing and threw it across the shed, badly damaging it.

But not THESE parents. They lower their necks and chunter at him encouragingly from close range so that he stands up to his full 4 inches of height and wobbles his head proudly. The gander (Gorgeous George) has amazed all of us by being even better a dad than the ladies are mums or aunts. They get distracted, he stays focused. All 4 would protect the little fella with their lives and get very excited and angry at anyone who comes near. That was my problem. If I needed to rescue him back to the nest I knew I would need the chainsaw helmet, gloves, a coat with thick sleeves and so on. A relief then at 6 pm ish to see him back in the nest and now accompanied by a sibling. I can sleep easy and undamaged! Wish the little ones luck.

The Hubbards at Day 5 are growing a-pace. They have lost the
spherical look and already have white wing feathers.
This, though, seems to have been a week where we have both "worked" for hours without actually achieving anything around the farm, not a stroke of weeding, mowing or tidying. For Liz there has been the normal working week plus all the politics to follow, both in the US (Comey's testimony to the Senators) and in the UK (May's snap election and subsequent need to get into bed with the DUP).

Potential fruit #1 : Cherries
Liz always stays up for the results and normally takes the day after as holiday to sleep and recover. This time she was denied the holiday by boss John who suddenly had a funeral to attend, so she had to go in "even if she slept for most of it". The office must be manned and the phones answered at least from 09:30 to 13:30, Mon-Fri. In the end she gave up on the  voting coverage at 03:30, slept a while, worked the morning, then caught up by sleeping from 3 till 6 pm. There's dedication.

My 'job' was to be 'Curator' of the @IrelandsFarmers Twitter account, the voice of Twitter-using Irish farming for the week from Monday morning (5th June) to Sunday evening, tomorrow. Most of my readers, I know, have nothing to do with Twitter even if they are regulars on Facebook. It is seen as too 'ephemeral', sound-byte-ish, fleeting and short lived. You post your comment of 140 characters max and if no-one's paying attention it vanishes down the screen quickly replaced by the next Tweet. It is seen as the medium of smart, office, city types clip-clopping across marble floors in their heels, their thumbs and noses glued to the ever-on expensive smart phones and 'tablets'. It is used by vacuous, brainless celebrities and, of course, Donald Trump

Potential fruit #2 :Plums
Stick with it, though, and you can find sensible, intelligent chatter within and between groups of like-minded souls, whether your thing is politics, news, Ireland or more specialist subjects like farming or even smallholdering. When this happens, someone will generally decide that the subject "needs an account" on Twitter so they set one up and start trawling for members to join them. In this case they give the helm of the account to a different person each week, the "Curator". Friends of the blog may recall that I have curated the @smallholderIRL account 3 times now and I love having the extra following (numbering thousands of people all round the world) for the week with whom to share my news, pictures, anecdotes and banter.

Potential fruit #3 : "Irish Peach" variety of apple
All well and good. Small Holdering is the home turf and I'd know a good few people on that group through Facebook or in real life. I am happy to go on that one and strut my stuff, reasonably confident of a sympathetic reception and not too much "trolling" (idiots who are just out to argue and spoil the chat). But then I was invited to curate the 'proper' farmers' one @IrelandsFarmers. I accepted but if I'm honest I was a bit nervous. How would they accept me, this wannabee farmer, blow-in, smallholder and a Brit besides?

Potential fruit #4 : (pea sized) Peaches
I needn't have worried - it has gone really well with 95% of the stuff getting favourable comment ('Likes' and 'Re-tweets') and only the odd one completely blanked or ignored. I have covered a good range of stuff - the holding here and its stock, equipment, activities as well as what I like to do when NOT farming and some anecdotes on disasters and triumphs. One post I was very pleased with had me showing that picture of the house circa 1900 alongside one of me sitting out front on the mini-horse and cart. As I go to press I have just looked in and that one has been seen by 6713 people, 93 have said they 'like' it and 16 have shared it on ("re-tweeted" it). I seem to have done OK and I am delighted. I have to hand the tiller back at 6pm tomorrow. It is quite tiring and you are tied to the PC (no smart-phone for me!) frequently so I will not be sad to finish but I guess the 'owner' will happily have me back when the rota comes round again.... next year, maybe.

A poor blackbird gets dismantled overnight
in the new kitchen. We suspect feline
What else have we been at? I was out at the archery coach's place  putting the cover back on our enormous "gala tent" (mini marquee) ready for the summer activities, helped only by the lady of the house (Niamh) and a friend (Karl, an Austrian lad). Hard work in quite a brisk wind but very enjoyable and, like the curating, good to get it done.

We do get to eat out sometimes!
For Liz tonight a "Mystery night out" for the Lisacul Players, the amateur dramatics group still a-glow from their very successful performance of "Cupid Wore Skirts" a few months back. They had no idea where they were being taken, only that they had to show up at the village cross-roads by quarter past 7 a bit glammed up. One of the lads was organising it and he was keeping very tight lipped. Small huddles of actors formed (plus Liz and Director Tom C) frantically trying to work it out from the time, the need for €20 as a share of the mini-bus hire and their knowledge of 'Derek' (organiser) where they might be bound. One actor was praying that he'd not take them anywhere with Country music - she can't abide that, she said.

Well. Now they know. I have just had a text from Liz to say they are at a place called "The Oarsman" in Carrick on Shannon. She will no doubt fill us all in on the standard of the place's catering and the presence or absence of good aul' boys slapping their thighs, plucking their banjos and shouting 'Yeeee Harrr!' Y'all have the biggest time now!