Friday 20 April 2018

Teenagers Leaving Home

Silvergirl with her chicks.
In a story which will be familiar to all parents who have seen their babies grow up to and through teenager-hood, our 5 baby chicks hatched under 'Silvergirl' were sent on their way this week. They are 6 weeks old today and fairly well feathered but still look very tiny and vulnerable to me, but Mum and Mother Nature know best.

A final lesson in sunbathing for the chicks
Two nights ago at lock-up time I found the five in the yard happily milling about as they had every other night, waiting to be led into the Tígín (lambing shed) where they hatched, by their Mum. But where was Mum? Nowhere to be seen. I soon tracked her down to the main chicken shed where she had gone to roost up high on the perching ladder where there was no chance of the babies joining her. They'd been abandoned.

Silvergirl's chicks quite well feathered up
We are used to this, of course, at about the 6 week stage, so I shoo'd them into the 'bedroom' and left them to find a suitable corner to sleep in. They chose the normal corner and huddled up without Mum. It was a lovely warm night. She is not, in fact, as fiercely negligent as this would suggest.

I'd been waiting for some blue skies to show
the flowering cherry off to good advantage.
They finally arrived yesterday.
When I released the birds in the morning, the 5 rejoined their Mum and spent all that day off and on together or happily apart. That evening she left them again and I repeated the bedtime shepherding. By chance tonight they were together at bedtime, so I shoo'd them all in including Mum but I think they are pretty much done, reared and chucked out of 'home'. Silvergirl has come back into lay and may well take up 'Stumpy's baton and go for a 2nd bite at the broody-ing cherry. We'll see.

The pigs have found the ditch.
A couple of bits of catch up news. Remember our recent visit from (Mr) Dan, the "struggling writer" who was over here to write his LSE Thesis? As he flew home he'd not quite finished dotting the i's and crossing the t's but was confident he'd finish and submit by the Thursday 08:00 deadline. Well, he did and sent us a celebratory message through Facebook saying "It's dooooooooooone!" We all have to wait for the marking system in LSE to know how he has done and how well received. He is hoping for, and reasonably confident of, a 'Distiction'. Watch this space.

Funky socks for my Birthday.
Our Ozzie visitors finished the last leg of their tour of Ireland and Facebooked us all (if that is a verb) with various updates as they handed the hire-car back, caught their shuttle-bus to the Departures building (3 pm yesterday), boarded their plane (half past 5), stopped briefly in Abu Dhabi (03:00 this morning) and finally arrived home at 3 pm this  afternoon, sending a final message that read "Home safe and sound! Can barely keep my eyes open so night all". They must be exhausted. Good luck you guys. We may see them again but it won't be for at least 18 months, they think, just for the cost of the flights.

Not easy to 'get' in Ireland. At least, not here in land locked
Co. Roscommon, but Elizabeth found some yesterday on our
wonderful local fish-van. Scrummy.
Not too much else going on. We are in a gap between all those visits finishing and the arrival of our first Help-X student, a German lad named Carsten early next week.

Our always reliable plum tree covered in
In the gap, both of us had a serious go at collapsing with chest colds, possibly picked up by me at The Play and generously passed on to the Lady of the House because... you know... sharing. Mine was quite quick - just 2 nights of coughing like an auld git but then followed by a gurgling left ear for 2 weeks which clears and re-blocks disconcertingly.

Latest knitting project is a fancy shawl and
a ball of nice blue yarn has also arrived.
Elizabeth converted this to a more normal "flu like symptoms" with the mandatory runny nose, coughing, aching tiredness and retreating to bed for long naps during the day. Fortunately the naps could be slotted into empty gaps in the schedule and she has not had to take a 'sickie' from any appointments, work or college.

We are both recovering now and should be able to shake it off in time for the Help-X lad.

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