Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A week of clear skies, frosty mornings and glorious sunsets

Monday 28th November 2016
Blue skies all day. A day of ticking off odd jobs.

Tuesday 29th November 2016
A frosty start so I took advantage to clean the chickens (well, their houses, not the actual birds), a much easier job when everything's frozen solid instead of wet and sticky.

It was a lovely day to be outside, so I decided to re-felt the chicken shed roof. Bits had come off and the water was penetrating the roof. These sheds are cheaply made, but do the job as long as they are maintained. I've not exactly got a shiny new shed but it should last a good few more years now.
One sad find today was a dead chicken underneath an upturned bucket. It was one of the Ixworths, the meat birds which would have been ready for the pot soon. Goodness knows how it got there, presumably it stood on the rim of the bucket which then tipped over onto the chicken. If it wasn't so sad it would be comical.

At lunchtime I enjoyed a bowl of Thai Pumpkin soup from the freezer. Nothing can beat a hearty bowl of soup to warm you up and replenish the energy on a winter's day. I wasn't overly happy with any of the pumpkin soups I made a while back, but I have been pleasantly surprised by how the flavours have mellowed and mingled in the freezer. Both this one and the nutmeg one have turned out very tasty indeed.

Late afternoon and it was time to call Gerry in, but there was no sign. It was getting towards dusk and still nothing. During my hunt I saw a little owl for first time in a long while. There was a right commotion from maybe 100 goldfinches and as many starlings high up in the ash trees. I thought it was just their usual evening chattering, but then the owl flew out of the tree with all the goldfinches in pursuit!

I continued calling for Gerry, but then I suddenly realised I'd been in the garage earlier and so had Gerry, sniffing for mice. I pulled open the door and out came one very grateful black cat. 😊

Turkeys roosting at sunset.

Gerry safely indoors. This was the evening that all the animals
just melted into their respective resting places!
Wednesday 30th November 2016
This morning was gloriously frosty. This period of high pressure is giving us clear skies and plummeting night temperatures. It's also giving some amazing sunrises and sunsets.

After work I dropped in to the butcher's to pick up our two Shetland lambs (in boxes). They came in at 16kg and 16.5kg. I was hoping for maybe 18kg or more, but good things come in small packages.

On the way I just had to stop to take a couple of snaps. Believe it or not, these photos are not enhanced in any way and were just snapped with my phone.

Finally, I lost Arthur for a while. He has a habit of wandering off looking for rabbits but usually comes bouncing back when I call him. But he was just nowhere to be seen. I went back down to the chickens in case he had got shut in, but no sign. I eventually found him. You've guessed it, locked in the garage!

Thursday 1st December 2016
The garden was absolutely alive with thrushes this morning.
Priscilla has moved back in to the chicken pen. We were just saying that she has stayed with her two chicks for a long time. Cocky rushed out to see her as soon as she appeared!

The evening was one for snuggling up on the sofa. No room for me though. Sue is in there somewhere.

Saturday 3rd December 2016
A day of tool fixing. I hate the throw-away society that we live in, where the first option seems to be to bin and replace rather than mend and make good. A couple of years ago my favourite spade met its demise with a loud cracking of the handle. Luckily my neighbour Don could fix anything and restored Mr Spade to better than before. But a couple of weeks ago the handle snapped again - not down to Don's workmanship but instead the quality of the handle I had purchased. I knew roughly how to fit a new handle and a bit of YouTube viewing had me ready to begin the operation. I purchased a shiny new handle and set about getting the old one out - this was the trickiest bit as it needed quite a bit of drilling out. I used an angle grinder for the first time to remove the rivets - sparks flew and Sue said I looked like a real man!
Anyway, I have to say I did a pretty good job. I even managed to use the angle grinder to get a shiny new edge onto the spade blade.
My club hammer needed fixing too. Again I'd done my research and ordered a new handle, a small wooden wedge and a circular steel wedge. These wedges are driven in to force the top of the handle out to make sure there is absolutely no room for slippage. This repair job did not go quite so smoothly as the first. I needed to do a fair bit of whittling to get the new handle to fit and the wedges caused a bit of splitting at the end. However  the hammer is perfectly functional now, even if not quite as neatly finished as I would have liked. I've saved a little bit of money, but more importantly I've got a sense of achievement and I've not just discarded the functional parts of the tools.
Keen to try out my new tools, I set about digging out a new pond - it was when I started this task that the spade had given out on me. It's a big job and will take several sessions of digging. I'll show you the result when it's finished.

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