Duck disruption!

Part of running a smallholding is thinking on your feet and not always knowing what’s coming next, but then to quickly adapt to it when the time calls for it.
We found this duckling (she’s big but young) hiding away after being pestered by the male older duck.  He’d taken a liking to her and was extremely rough.  As her wings cover her back, it hadn’t been obvious that he’d hurt her quite as much as he had.
We gathered her up and assessed how bad she was.  To be fair, it looks painful but she was ok in herself.
On looking at her back, we noticed how amazing her colourings are.  They’re really coming through.
We bathed it quickly in cooled boiled water which we always have in the barn for such an occasion.  She let us do it and hid in my coat nice and relaxed.
Grace noticed another one had been hurt too, so we whipped that one out and they stayed in the barn for the day, recovering in the horses hay and straw.  Sadly the second one has a poorly eye where he’s caught her and it’s still poorly but slowly getting better.
The ducklings have all been moved to another location now, a large pathway where they can eat the weeds for me!  The will remain their until they are ready for the freezer, so it is only temporary. 
***You may wonder why we move them if they are going to be killed anyway.  As many of my readers know, the most important thing for us is that the animals are happy and have a healthy life and then we dispatch them in the quickest, humanist way possible.***
Grace, like a lot of kids, wants to be a vet when she leave education and she enjoys looking after the animals in the good and the bad times.  Here she is holding one of the ducks she rescued.
We also took the time to take the eggs from under the goose and make them up a new bed.  It was the right choice as the eggs were foul and Mother Goose needs to recover now, she’s been sat a long time and has lost a lot of weight.

We’re locking up around 9.15 each night now, once it’s getting dark and everything has gone to bed.  The morning’s are lovely and light which makes running a smallholding and working that bit easier.  One day, hopefully soon, only 1of us will have to go out to work and 1 can stay at home to run the smallholding.  That’s the plan anyway 🙂

Sheep move and a bit of sad news

After more hard work from Steven we moved the sheep to their next grazing spot which has lots of grass and trees for them to chomp down on. Of course only time will tell if it’s secure enough for them as they are quite the escape artists. They do come back for the buckets if food we offer them though so at least we have a plan b if we see them running up the lane!
I also bagged a load of cooking and eating apples today which I am really pleased with. I made a tester stewed apple which was lovely so I think I will do a big pot and then freeze individually but also save some whole apples to see how long they will last.
We were lucky enough to be invited to Sunday lunch today so I haven’t had to make our own which was nice.  However that was the softener to the hard task of dispatching a duck. It was in pain and had something wrong with her that we couldn’t put right.
Remember I mentioned were moving in to the time of the year where we need to be on top of the muck heap and keep it as low as possible? Well thanks to freecycle we now have a few regulars who come and make a big dent in it literally! I’m also nearly ready to fill the rest of my beds with it too. I didn’t get in the veg plot today but there’s not too much left to do so I will try and plan it in this week.
Also I’ve moved the dogs’ beds back in to the kitchen in front of the Aga. They’ve been living in the utility on a night through the summer but Buddy is looking so thin (his condition) so I feel they are better where the Aga is for him to sit in front of if he prefers. The puppies will no doubt lay on the kitchen seats instead. Cheeky.

Menu plan 5

Thusday’s post – I was waiting for a picture of my Nana so here it is:)
9 sleeps until my 2 weeks and a day off – it’s getting closer!

Menu plan 5 (week 32) is over on the Menu Plan tab.  I’ve added it to the top of the previous weeks, so I can refer back to them maybe this time next year.

Thank you for the comments for my Nana’s birthday.  Last night we had a lovely time celebrating with my Nana for her 94th.  The kids made her a card and my Mam put a photo book together for her with pictures of all the family in, which she loves.  Nana is very family orientated and always has stories from back in the day to recount for us (multiple times!).

Tonight I plan on completing the very boring task of getting on top of the clothes that need washing and putting away.  I’m also going to spend an hour in the veg plot after I’ve rode my lovely horse.  I have to work for a bit tonight but as the kids are out, so I should be able to get most things done.

Duck update:  She’s still got a limp and if I’m honest she doesn’t seem any better however she has laid an egg in the cage bless her as I was starting to get concerned that she wasn’t laying and maybe was egg bound.  We think we’re going to put her back with her friends tonight and keep them in their smaller space for a day, then I can let her out on Saturday when I’m home all day and can keep the pesky geese away from her.

Here’s a little picture of Ryan, our “pet” goose whose Mam rejected him.  He follows me around chatting away to me.  Here he is outside the greenhouse whilst I was filling a bucket with water.  I’m sure his stories are fascinating, so I do tend to chat back with him.

Gym time (not for me!)

11 sleeps until my 2 weeks off!
Steven has been working away like a trooper on his latest adventure.  He’s always been one to try and stay in shape and over the years we’ve paid endless amounts in gym memberships which he has made more than effective use of.  However we’ve decided that now we have the space and to make it more efficient for us as a family to work together, that we should create the gym at home.  So in a corner of the big barn, opposite my lovely horse, he set about making a shell for the room which would house the gym equipment.  It didn’t take long before he had the frame up

I was supervising 🙂

followed by the slats to make the outside walls


and a door to be able to lock everything away on a night (the barn itself is locked so just extra precaution here) along with a roof so now it’s almost ready for the equipment.  Almost, after lights and carpet go down!

I think he should be enormously proud of himself for managing to do all of this by himself, as to be fair, I generally sat in the fishing chair and supported the build from the sidelines :D.

Duck update:  We popped her into the small dog crate which we kitted out with straw, duck feed and water after checking her leg thoroughly.  It’s not obvious where the injury is so we’ve put her in the crate which will restrict her movement and hopefully give her some much needed respite.  I can close the barn door and let her wander about in the barn in a day or 2, again in safety.  It won’t be tonight though, maybe tomorrow after 48 hours.  I’ve covered the crate partially with a horse rug so she feels safe.  Bless her.

Monday’s post that didn’t post !

12 sleeps until my 2 weeks off begin, well 11 but I have to be in work on the Friday so it doesn’t officially start until Friday 3pm.  I can’t wait!


4 weekends have now past since I announced we wouldn’t be having any more takeaways and I am super pleased to be able to say, we haven’t!  We have had a meal or 2 out at a local pub however I don’t see this as a problem.  For me, that’s getting out into the community and supporting local businesses.  Although buying a take away is supporting a local business, I don’t think the food is generally very healthy and it’s certainly not good for the grocery budget.  Whilst we’ve had a day or 2 off work, we’ve enjoyed being able to get out and about together.  Sunday night was a tester for me though, I was tired from the weekend and didn’t fancy making a Sunday lunch, so I did homemade (there’s that word again Louise!) pizza instead and it was delicious.  I made the tomato base from the greenhouse tomatoes that were ready and I haven’t tasted a tomato sauce so lovely before.  Next year I want to grow even more so that I can fill the freezer up with it for all year round “go to” tomato base.

On Friday we all had the day off together that we hoped for and took the kids to a theme park for the day.  They had so much fun and made the most of it.  We managed to get a discount voucher so it wasn’t too hard hitting, though those places aren’t cheap!

We sold 2 of our top grade chickens over the weekend, they’re only 15 weeks old so not laying yet.  It was a pair, boy and a girl and the family seemed nice so off they went giving us £25 in our pocket towards the next lot of feed.  I’m sad to say that one of our female ducks was attacked by our geese on Thursday and she’s still limping however they’ve had another go at her, so I’m bringing her inside into the dog crate for some TLC.  I’ll post an update on her soon.   She doesn’t look too good.

Both Saturday and Sunday we had family over visiting for one reason and another.  It’s nice that people take the time to visit us, as we rarely have spare time to visit others but we do try as it shouldn’t always be on them.

I also found 3 cherry trees that I didn’t know we had!  The black ones are laden however they are so high up and out on a limb that I couldn’t pick them all.  We’ll figure out a way to get them though.  For now I have half a tub waiting to be weighed and turned into something delicious.  I’ve also got lots of the white currants stripped off the bush and I am going to make jelly from them to go with meats.  I also discovered a huge supply of sloe bushes when I was out riding, there are a ridiculous amount, so I hope we like them!  There’s bramble bushes a plenty too all along the bridle routes (which, selfishly, I’ve not seen anyone else use).  Our pantry will be overflowing with goodies and I hopefully have the start of the Christmas hampers.  Cherry brandy is apparently a real treat, so I’ll get a few small bottles to decant them into if I make some.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about the free food I keep finding!

I’ve also got some late season purple sprouting broccoli to put in.  It may be too late but we’re behind people here anyway, so I’ll give it a go and put some in asap.  I’m right in the middle of sorting one of the fields, so I will try and spend at least an hour in each area a few nights this week.  I am realising how much I really need to look after the small fields we have otherwise they will be no good in a very short space of time.  So taking out the horses muck is a daily task now.

I managed to get the raspberry vodka made too, it was very easy and I hope it tastes as delicious as it looks.

Finally, I am pleased to say I learnt how to use the manual lawnmower at the weekend.  So now I can crack on and get that done instead of adding it to Steven’s shoulders.