Saturday 23 April 2011

On the fringe...

With Mrs. Smallholder away in Scotland for a wedding, I have been made temporary Head Keeper of the 'zoo'. I've been 'mowing' the lawn daily, with six assistants who are glad of the lush grass, as our field is rather sparse and desperately needs some rain.

"C'mon girls, let's get this lawn mowed"
 The up-turned pots are protecting some young shrubs, but I still have to run around stopping them eating the Plum tree leaves or Bramley rampaging across the flower bed and eating other shrubs, while Pelachuta follows and tucks into the Rose bushes.
"spread out a bit"
 I was surprised to find our duck, an Aylesbury, sitting prone as if receptive to mating, with our cockrel beside her, though he wasn't attempting to mount her, so perhaps she was just being submissive?

Autumn Golds sight was being obscured by her 'Beatle fringe', and so we gave her a hair cut.

Perhaps more Limahl of Kajagoogoo than Beatles?

" I hope they're not thinking of going into hair-dressing"

There's a very nice photograph in Alpaca World this month with the glamorous Beckbrow, Patou and Apple Vale delegates, all smiles before they discovered they hadn't won a holiday in the raffle.

In the next-field-but-one, we have some Highland cattle arrived to add to the 'exotic' livestock which seem to predominate at this end of the village.

Highlands in the Lowlands viewed from our boundary by telephoto lens
 And finally, a thought occurred to me this morning, while walking the dog: if someone suffering hysteria, is hysterical, is someone with Wisteria on the wall of their house, wisterical?...

Sunday 17 April 2011

'paca on the patio.

It's been very warm today - the girls haven't had access to the shelter lately as we've been rotating the paddocks to get them harrowed, fertilised and weed treated. I've cleaned out all of the straw, and dusted walls and floor with diatomaceous earth to tackle any mites lurking in nooks and crannies.

So as the day warmed up, I got out the water trough, but before I could turn the tap on, the girls were dipping feet into it, and Ambrosia sat down in it, with just a puddle in the bottom - after they had all had a dip, I put my thumb over the end of the hosepipe, and they enjoyed a shower, Autumn let me spray her belly. They then went and settled in the shade of the shelter for a while.

Later on, I let them onto the lawn for some lush grass. Bramley took this a bit too far, and perhaps remembering her route to the trailer for the recent show, decided to explore the patio (yes, where we keep the trailer! you'd understand it if you saw the layout).

"Here's my trailer, let's go to a show"   

"I can accelerate in the smallest of spaces"

"up across Mrs. Smallholders' shrubbery- don't tell her" - the pots are covering young shrubs to stop them being eaten!
"uh oh, Mum's come to get me..."
The ducklings are growing steadily, and spend all day on the lawn now.
Oh, nearly forgot to mention Polly Poover (or is it Henrietta?) She's had a couple of outings, and I am impressed with the thoroughness of her work - I almost wanted to picnic in a latrine, it was so clean and lush afterwards - but I didn't.

Just watching the documentary of Ben Fogles' visit to the hut of Captain Scott of the Antarctic, a story I became spell-bound by, as a boy - I think it was told in a Blue Peter annual - amazing how so much is still preserved by the intense cold.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Spit or suck?

After months of anticipation as winter departed, our first show arrived - the weaning and halter training was done, the trailer hadn't moved for months and had been checked, and we'd made a plan for easy round-up in the morning.

                     As soon as we arrived I saw her - she had been at the Futurity, and now she was here -                      were we destined to be together?

Bramley was in the junior female fawn class, a class of 20 divided into two divisions of 10 - 17 turned up, and to our surprise the judge had us all in together - placings went to all of the older ones, and so there was no feedback on ours, but she behaved well, and we have other chances coming up.

Today was Ambrosia's turn in the Intermediate Female White class - a much smaller group with quality competition , and so I was quite happy that she was given 4th place, with some positive compliments from the judge.

                 She wasl here again today - but was she for sale?

From my perspective the venue and organization were very good, though with a few short-comings.

                I made conversation with her owner - it seemed she was available - but could we afford                 her and justify her puchase? ...and does she spit?

               Then imagine my delight to discover... not only does she not spit, but she sucks!         and                   she's in  the shelter tonight
               Welcome  to our new 'poover'...

And now here are six ducklings hatched on friday:

Sunday 3 April 2011

Music may be the food of love...

"ooh, a busker - do you think he's any good?"
 ...but the love of food over-rides the music - during a sunny afternoon yesterday, I decided to test the musicality of the herd - unfortunately, I chose to do it whle they were making the most of the lush lawn grass, and they found the grass more interesting than my guitar playing - at least that's my view...
someone is interested...

We had expected to be sending the herd off on holiday this weekend, to rest our paddocks and allow us to harrow, treat for weeds, and fertilize, however we had several reservations about the destination paddock and have held off for now - we won't compromise the health and well-being of the herd, and so will work within our own constraints until the circumstances change.
"..keep your head down, he might go away.."

Earlier in the week an amusing incident occurred:  we use individual feed buckets with the moulded integral handles, and Autumn Gold always tips hers up to reach in - one morning I was distributing the buckets, and dropped one of them into an empty shallow bucket which had a handle - unknown to me, Autumn chose this bucket, and after a minute or two of quiet breakfasting there was a sudden commotion, as Autumn reared up with the bucket handle around her neck, and the bucket dangling like a necklace! Fortunately I was able to grab her before she set off around the field, and calm her while Mrs. Smallholder removed her new neckwear.
"that sound is making my 'teeth' grind...can you play, 'cud ya' be loved' by Bob Marley? "