Saturday, 2 February 2013

What an Eventful Week!

It really has been a week of change here on the farm.

Windows and radiators
After the big thaw at the weekend, building work has forged ahead, with a spate of new windows appearing to take in the glorious fenland landscape. And we now have radiators too!
It's not pretty...but it will be.

Even the chickens have been showing an interest.

After the snow, rain. After the rain, wind. After the wind, sun. After the sun, frost.
We've had a week of glorious weather, allowing the ground to dry out a little and the grass to grow green. There's been some pretty meaty fenland winds blowing through and at the end of the week we narrowly avoided a belt of heavy rain which hit everywhere further south, while we basked in sunshine. This morning I was surprised by a thin layer of ice on the animals' water, but it was still a lovely, clear day.

The chickens bask in the sunshine, sheltered from a biting breeze

Operation 'Shiftapig'
On the pig front, we're down to six piglets now as the last two boys were perfunctorily loaded into the back of a car on Monday. Two girls are due to be collected tomorrow and that will be Operation 'Shiftapig' successfully completed. We'll keep the remaining four to rear ourselves.

Those teeth can do a lot of damage.
But they're gone for now, swapped for these quail eggs.
Down in the mouth.
Even better than that, though, we may have rehomed one of the ganders. Some things on the farm are just too gritty to feature on the blog, such as the way two of the boy geese have taken to bullying the new girls when they go into the stables at night, biting at their backs and drawing blood. We've managed to separate them behind sheep hurdles, but have been looking to shift one of the younger boys. So it was like music to my ears when a fellow smallholder told me they were looking for a gander.

But before you think I've been incredibly underhand, I was totally honest about his history of violence, so it is possible that he will be coming back if he can't change his ways. I've let them know that I won't be offended if they eat him!

So, for today at least, peace and harmony broke out once more in the goose flock. Again I'm hoping that the change in flock dynamics may lead to the last aggressive gander changing his ways, but we'll have to see about that.

Well, that's pretty much what's been going on here at Swallow Farm over this past week.

Duck! Eggs!
But I've saved the best till last.
For today I looked in the ducks' house and found this... our first ever duck egg.

Let's hope that next week is equally as productive.

Twitching again
If things go according to plan, it begins with a little day trip to Shetland on Monday.
Yes, that's right. I did say a day trip to Shetland!

For in a garden 543.3 miles away  from here (as the crow flies, 785 by road/boat) lurks a Pine Grosbeak. It was photographed last Tuesday and today my industrious morning on the farm was interrupted by the wailing of my pager bringing news that it had been refound.

Now the only Pine Grosbeak I've ever seen was found to have escaped from someone's cage and, as such, does not count for my list. In November 2004 I missed one by just over an hour. Pesky thing flew off before I got there. In fact, the last new bird species I saw in this country was back in late May last year. New birds don't come along too often, so it's worth a little extravagance when it does happen.

I should be back for Tuesday though.
There's a chance I may even be able to start digging the veg beds.

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