Sunday, 30 November 2008

“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”

The above quotation has absolutely no relevance but I like it.
We have not had an animal tale for a while so here goes with the latest. One advantage with the early nightfall is that I can now send the offspring out to put the animals to bed. This can be a relatively quick task if all are behaving or a lengthy and dirty task if, well, they are not. There is a crucial window in the twilight zone of too much light, the geese etc refuse to go in the hut and too little one falls over roots, pigs, buckets and anything else unlucky enough to get in the way. Tonight the weather was cold and this is good as the mud is frozen and does not grip the welly in a vice like grip with every squelching halting step. So, Freya and Toby drew the short straws and trudged off first to Mrs Pig and the Piglets. This is the easy bit as the food is lobbed over the fence in the general direction of the trough with is usually covered in heaving, hairy piggy bodies which then get covered in food. No matter, it all gets eaten and then off to the other field where Mr Pig inevitably lurks by the gate. He is still a very gentle pig but HUGE now. He sets off with an enthusiastic trot to his trough as soon as you get in the field and I usually do the decent thing and get the food in the trough ASAP. Next the goats get their food; Poppy likes to pick at the best bits from Mr P and then goes to join Tabitha. The geese/ducks are then chivvied along, so far so good. Hens and the cockerel are usually in (we have a two day old chick in with her/his Mum who hover round the hut all day and so are fine). Then, as instructed the children check that the three older chicks that we hatched out in the incubator are in the hut but there is no sign but an ominous cheeping is coming from under the hut. There is then a few minutes of stretching and torch shining then two chicks are captured and returned to the hut. Eventually I wander out to see what is taking so long and to check on how many children I have left. The last chick is left up to me to capture. By this time Mr P has finished his tea and after investigating the yellow feed bucket noisily has come up to see just what I am doing lying on the frozen mud with both hands under the hut. I think that I did very well to not swear in the precise and terse instructions given to Freya. One well place boot to the neck (his not mine) and he was gently encouraged not to come any closer for the time being. As a footnote to this Mrs P is in season and he is well, a wee bit frustrated and there I will end. Suffice to say all chicks are safe and I escaped unharmed to fight another day. The same could not be said for poor Freya who dropped a large stone on her very cold fingers whilst putting the feed boxes away.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

ooops- forgot this one.

Nigel and Liz well under control in the kitchen.

Just the one more......

Sunday...a brisk snowy walk to the pub.....perfect.

and theres more......

PHOTO ONE Whitey joining our meal as thirteen were due to sit down (had to be reprimanded and sent to bed early as he did not eat up nicely).
PHOTO TWO Toby and the inevitable electronic attachment
PHOTO THREE Girly Cousins (L-R Becky, Jess, Rosie)
PHOTO FOUR AND PHOTO FIVE And then it snowed!

Grandma's Birthday Celebrations, Diss, Norfolk.

PHOTO ONE All the children (L-R Nigel, Liz, Mum, Fee, Alison)
PHOTO TWO Freya and Gma
PHOTO THREE Toby and Gma
PHOTO FOUR Cake for lovely Cousin Jess (It is a Camera)
PHOTO FIVE Cake for Grandma (it is a garden)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Out of the mouths (eyes) of babes

I could truly see myself as viewed from a different standpoint last night when I collected the babysitter and prepared to hand over £12 to her in return for an hour of hard torture in the drizzle 22 miles away in Lochgilphead. Despite my jokes her pity was obvious that I should feel the need to do this (she was far too polite to even give away the thought "at your age")...I had the same thoughts myself on the 4th 400m sprint along the dark lochside at Ardrisaig where the pavement obviously doubles as a road for those uninhibited by the road edges. There were plenty of muddy tyre marks clipping and mounting the pavement in a worrying way,there was very little else to focus on apart from the sign that marked the 400m finish line, then turn and jog/stagger back. For light relief we ran back through the town, luckily the drizzle had diminished a bit by then. It must have been a harder workout than intended as once back at base I had the need to sit and contemplate the ground until my heart resumed the more usual rhythm. We like the beat..beat..beat..beat..beat better than the beat..beat..beat........beatbeat. Maybe the babysitter has a point.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

"Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while". Kin Hubbard

As the weather is plainly not going to change at all Liz and I arranged to meet today (as one must in Argyll) and had a not unpleasant run from the Quarry at Furnace along the shore, then heading upwards before looping back eventually returning on the same shore road...wet, cold but satisfying.....1hr25 7.7m

Monday, 10 November 2008

Optimistic take on the weather

Well, at least global warming is not showing itself too much here this week.Lots of hail, cold rain and blustery wind....good old November. I braved the roads to get to Helensburgh and the excitement of the Osteopath. Boy, my life is one big busy whirl.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Catch up

The weeks are just flying by faster than in the summer now I have time to have fun again. We are keeping the wolf from the door (well, almost, see previous post) with a few loyal guests. Howard and Myrna were back last week as the winter horse season is here again, then Paul and David, the two deerstalkers, came and wrecked the weather for us at the back end. David especially seems to have the Rain God curse upon him...mind you they left this morning and the hail and rain just keeps on coming. Exercise wise I have been managing a bit although not as much as I should like. The Tin farm 5 on Sunday was a great day with some off road bits added onto the course from last year just to (literally) in some places trip you up. Liz and I ran together for the first bit until we were separated by an obstinate Campbeltown runner (got her on the downhill but alas too late) who would not let me past her on the wooded single track bits.So, my running partner finally beat me by 5s (she says 6 but that is just gross exaggeration). Apart from that I have cycled once in the hut but that did not last long as the radio would not work and it is soooooo boring. Once tea is mentally planned the tedium starts to eat away your brain cells bit by bit. Later in the week I did a couple of runs mindful of men stalking and scaring the deer away, or could I have been scaring them towards them?...who knows. Either way neither me nor the dogs were shot so that is a good thing. I think. All that can be said about my performance is that the hilly bits were hilly and the downward bits strangely short. Need to get my puff back as there is a suggested ladies only (T and G thrilled about this blatant sexism) run along part of the Highland Way in December. 7 miles then lunch then 7 miles waddle back. Just wondering where she will find enough flat bits...... It is being organized by Dinah who did the Ultra Marathon along the WHW last year 53 miles! Now that is proper running.

Better late than never....busy week

Fancy Dress at Dalchenna. Photos:- No explanation really needed. That's Howard and Myrna with us and Toby re-enacting previous events as we didn't think to take a picture at the time.....