Catching up with December’s antics.

I was just reading Dawn’s blog to catch up when I glanced at her sidebar and noticed it said 6 days since my last post.  That has gone scarily quick.  As much as I love December and the Christmas build up, there is a lot to do on top of the usual. 

The elves have been busy keeping an eye in the kids.  No matter how I moved them round, this photo still looked pretty rude and it wasn’t meant to!  Sorry about that, though I did get a giggle.

We’ve found another hay supplier.  I didn’t need one, but whilst helping a friend in need at the weekend, we got chatting and he is local and does small bales for £3 a bale which is average for here.  The hay was nice and dry, no mould and not too sweet, so will be good for the horses and sheep when they get their extra.  Grace also made a new friend.  The innocent trust between a puppy and a child made my heart melt. 

Steven made a new friend.  What a corker of a boy!

Buster is adamant there is something in the walls.  I can’t hear anything and I hope it isn’t mice or worse.  No suggestion other than Buster refusing to move, looking transfixed at it.

For those who have heard about the bird flu preventative requirements, we’ve done our bit to follow DEFRA’s guidelines on avian flu and housed ours in the barn with the horses.  Grace is the only one who can easily get in and out to their feeders, she’s a big help. 
They hens do decide to roost anywhere but where we want them too mind you.  At least it’s all in the barn.  I can’t wait to get them back out again.
We have managed to hatch 13 chicks, ready for next year’s laying hens.  Sadly we lost 1.  I am going to also raise some more of my rare breeds.  The chicks are inside and were hatched on Thursday 8th December meaning they will be at point of lay on 11th May.  This years last hatch which were July 2nd are now at point of lay but aren’t laying.  I presume given the time of year, they don’t want to!  We’re still getting a lot of eggs though from out main hens so that’s great. 
 

 I’ve also bought the sheep a mineral lick as the grass is obviously not growing.  Plus I have acquired a new chest freezer (new to us) for FREE but I insisted our friend take some petrol money for dropping it off.



Well Neville and Nancy elf have been up to mischief.  The kids found them on top of a cabinet in the room, then under a blanket to get warm and this morning it looks like they had helped themselves to a cuppa during the night!  The sheer cheek 😉

Neville and Nancy Elf.

We’re flying through December already.  The daily tasks are coming thick and fast and we haven’t had time to do them all as that’s what life is like, right?  So we have the ones we haven’t still stuck on the fridge ready to do when the weather and moment calls for it.

Tonight however the star said to “Celebrate Christmas past” so we set about looking at photos from when the kids were young and laughing at how much we have all changed over the years, seeing those who are no longer with us and remembering them fondly, both animal and human.

The reverse advent box has the following items in:  corned beef tin, cannellini beans, baked beans, bottle of orange and dried pasta (I’m slightly concerned that you need to cook this so it may be substituted depending where it ends up).  I’m looking forward to taking this to somewhere/someone in need. 

In smallholding news, the sheep (and geese and hens) have got the hang of the new galvanised trough.  Bottoms up.  Well, it is nearly Christmas.

Mr mole is still giving us mole hills but he hasn’t moved away from the area yet, so were still ok.

At the weekend, Ste and I slept well.  Why?  Because we shovelled 37 barrows of muck into the newly built veg bed.  Plus I did another 7 into the other veg area.  Of course Ste did the filling, I just wheeled!  So really I shouldn’t be aching as much, but I am!

before
after

It was very frosty here this morning meaning the tap we use to fill the animal water was frozen, as was the one on the house wall (this one didn’t freeze previously). 

Tonight is very cold again, so I’ve made sure all of the buckets are full to the brim and a spare bucket is full ready for topping up any that need it in the morning.  The horses drink during the night, so it will be them that need it.  The poultry I can do from the house if I have to.  It’s a nice feeling knowing we’re getting everything ready for the weather to come.  I feel prepared.



Can you spot the ducks?
 

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The big Christmas reveal (big if you are aged 9 and 6!) and a couple of pests

What was behind the door at 7pm last night? 
A quick excited hug before tentatively opening the door.  Expectant faces all round.

Someone had lit the Christmas (bay) tree lights…who was that?  It wasn’t you and it wasn’t me?
Oh, it’s so exciting.  What’s this?  A parcel in brown paper and tied with string.  It says Special Delivery.

Back in the warmth to look inside.
The excitement couldn’t be contained.
It was Neville the Elf!  He’s brought Nancy along with him, his Elf mate.
They even brought a gift to remember the first Christmas on the smallholding.  It’s a hessian bag with names on it.  One for Grace and one for Jack.
Time to sit back and relax, taking in the magic of Christmas.

Day 2 star:

 
 In smallholding news…..
 We have pests.  Rats and moles. 
The rats need to go.  Easier said than done, especially living next to water. 
The mole hills are going to be added to the vegetable beds.  As long as they stay at the orchard, we’re ok.  If they move to the field, that will cause problems.  Hooves and holes mean a vets bill when they get stuck in the mid gallop.