Friday 4 May 2018

Final Fry Up, Final Milk Feed

He looks well served. What will the rest of
us be having?
Our normal procedure for seeing guests off the premises involves giving them a "proper Irish Fry" breakfast on their final morning before dropping them off to the airport. The fry, which would be well loaded with sausages, rashers, white pudding, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, scrambled eggs etc sees the guest right through the flights and any onward journey without needing to eat airline or motorway services food.

Last year's pigs and I make the May pages
of the OSB calendar. Bottom left here.
Our Help-X lad, Carsten, however, was not a great one for the breakfasts, preferring a light meal of just bread and butter, glass of fruit juice and cup of tea. Also, he was not flying, only catching a train at 2 pm headed west to the town of Westport; with that timing, The Woman of the House was always going to do him a fine packed lunch.

The Amelanchia is looking like doing us
a fine job flowering this year. 
Carsten still wanted to experience this culinary delight though, so we opted for having the fry as his final evening meal. He definitely enjoyed it and dipped back in many times for seconds, thirds etc.

The sheep in 'The Woods'
The rest, as they say, is history. I dropped him to the railway station for his train and he is by now, we hope well installed at his new job on Achill Island. Up to now I have always said that the best kind of Help X guest are the ones you'd use all the good adjectives for - fit, strong, able, helpful, fast learner, safe, happy, positive etc. For Carsten I am going to up the 'ante' and add another clause. - ones where you wish they weren't actually leaving! I could easily have used Carsten for another week or more. Ah well. Welcome back here any time, friend.

By chance, Carsten was also the last guest to bottle feed the lamb, Bábóg. I had 2 grass-related problems and we solved both on a '2 birds with one stone' basis, plus a third thrown in for good measure. Out in the East Field the grass is still very shorn (by the sheep) and is not moving much yet in this slow Spring. The sheep were shouting hopefully for hay or crunch every time a human appeared. Meanwhile, in the wooded bit by our drive, the grass and herbage was getting long enough to need mowing.

First class transport for ducklings to their
new, outdoor quarters
The fence there is not good and certainly not sheep-tight, so I'd been wary of letting the sheep at it in case they headed for the hills. Elizabeth, fortunately, is braver than me about these things and thought that the sheep would be so delighted with this new grazing and browse, they'd stay around, at least till their bellies were full. After that they'd be biddable enough to be led meekly home to the secure field for a lie down and a ruminate. So it proved and they have now had 2 days at this.

What's this odd green stuff under our feet?
On the first day we both noticed that bottle-fed Bábóg seemed to be tucking into the green stuff with gusto. Weaning bottle fed lambs is quite a tricky process because you have to do it hard and fast. Their little rumens get out of balance ferment-wise if you keep giving them big shots of milk.

Dad introduces himself. 
The advice is to let them get to 7 weeks old (tick) and "make sure" they are eating around 250 g of 'solids' per day, then just STOP the bottle feeds. We both reckoned that she was eating easily that so Nurse Elizabeth (I/C Maternity Unit), dropped the axe and lo!  the girl is weaned. Even she seems to understand and her hopeful bleating has all become very uncertain and half hearted. After half an hour in the woods, her little tummy (OK, huge fat gut) is bulging and she needs a lie down with the rest of them. So that is it. She's done. Does anyone need a third of a bag of Lamlac formula powder?

Turkey sex here seems to involve a lot
of standing on top of your wife and not
a lot of contact between the vital 'bits'.
Our other progress since Carsten departed is that the ducklings have now been moved to their new quarters, a rabbit run with a 'bedroom' section. It is so warm at the moment that we think they can do very well without the 'electric hen' which never really works for ducklings anyway. It is designed for baby chicks to creep in under it as they would their Mum's skirts, and feel the warmth on their backs. Ducks is different. If they tried to creep in under Mum they'd be under water, so their instinct is to climb up on her back and blag a piggy-back ride. When they sit up on top of the electric hen, they do not get much benefit from the warming plate.

Towser climbs onto the keyhole bed, the better to observe
So, they spent the day outside in the lovely sunshine meeting a succession of our other birds who all happen by in the course of their free range circling. All three of our grown up ducks came and said 'Hello'. Time enough for them to meet face to face when they are big enough to cope with those drakes 'laying down the law'.

Roast Lamb supper.
That is probably enough for this one. It is 9 pm and I should probably go and have the now-nightly argument with the Guinea Fowl about the need to go to bed before Mr Fox comes calling.

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