Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Work goes on

I am making the most of having my daughter here, families are great. Yesterday we spent a hot day loading our lorry load of wood into the wood store. It had sat outside drying for a couple of weeks but with thundery storms looming at the weekend we decided not to take any chances of our wood getting wet. The weather here has been unusual, the rain has fallen late this year and there is more cloud around leading to high humidity, ideal conditions for blight. My tomatoes are suffering again from this and I have lost several plants.

We are part way through the construction of a goat milking area, we have prepared the base of what will be a small concrete slab with wooden posts in it, to keep a reluctant goat still and enable a single person (me) to milk unaided. Our goats have not been milked before so I expect them to be skittish but the lure of home-made ice cream, yoghurt and cheese is too strong to be ignored.
Our domestic animals remain very happy, Nosher the cat is the senior animal and bullies the dogs unmercifully and spends his days sleeping in the sun and his nights sleeping on the sofa with an occasional break to eat food. He is a good mouser when he can be bothered.
Sam is senior dog and supervises every activity, he has had a summer hair cut and looks smarter as a result with less rubbish caught in his fur. He is a fussy eater, he is very bright and a 'worrier' who spends most of his time ensuring that the junior dog is not misbehaving (an impossible task).

Toby as junior dog, is the lowest of the low. He is a Spanish mastiff crossed with a Brittany spaniel and has inherited the worst attributes of both breeds. He is big but not very bright and provides the muscle to Sam's brains. For a few months I was not sure I could keep him as his destructive tendencies felt like more than I could cope with on my own. He does not intend to trash things but chewing through internet cables, furniture, digging up newly planted vegetables, unearthing shrubs combined with chewing my underwear and chasing and killing chickens made me despair. His regular gifts include rotting goats heads he has found (three so far) various dead body parts and vomiting back cow pats. I offered him up for re-homing but nobody wanted him, finally now, as he ages he is slowing a little and learning some manners. He is very sweet natured and now I finally feel he is here to stay even though disaster follows in his wake.

They are all part of our 'family'.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Nature's Bounty

Yet again summer is here and we are overwhelmed with riches. The squashes are madly producing and you can see them visibly swelling from day to day.

The goats are now thriving and the kids are getting into mischief and playing endlessly on the long summer days.

The day lilies are a mass of flowers and make a tasty snack at any time whilst I am busy drying beans, peas and many other seeds in the sun for next year.

Catherine and I have been very busy this past week making hay whilst the sun shone. It is hard work in the heat and we had to spread the loads over a few days as it doesn't cool enough for heavy work until after 8pm. We managed to beat the rain which fell this weekend and hope that we have got enough stored to get us through the upcoming winter. Even in the midst of the summer minds turn to the winter to come. Our firewood was delivered last week. It is sitting outside in the sun drying for a few weeks prior to being loaded into the woodshed before the next rains fall. Again with winter in mind the jam making has continued. Our most recent batch was a tasty cherry and plum to add to the gooseberry and strawberry made earlier this year. Next I shall be making chutney and pickles with any vegetable gluts.

Finally the fruit trees are looking laden with fruit. We have our first quinces ripening on the larger of the two trees and apples and pears promise a good harvest, although there is still time for some of it to drop if we get a very hot August.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

It's Twins

This time it was Tensings' turn. She waited until we had gone out to a local fiesta and produced twins.
We have a boy (the dark one) and a girl (lighter and smaller than her brother).
Unfortunately by the next morning it became obvious that the girl was hungry and weak so we had to run around and sort out bottle feeding for her. A friend (thanks Shenna) kindly came round to look at them and we discovered that one half of Tensing's udder had clots of milk and lumps in it. It was a bit too soon for mastitis to develop but after milking out the affected side the milk has cleared since we have been milking and discarding milk from the affected side. We are now watching Tensing carefully in case her condition deteriorates and keeping all fingers crossed for her. Both kids are now feeding from Mum and bouncing around happily so we are holding off the supplementary feeding for the moment.

The first kid Fay is now enjoying having some new play mates. We have named the boy Puck and the girl is Lilly.