Monday, 10 May 2010

Just finished an impromptu busy weekend. It was one of those where we had nothing planned but things just happened. On Friday night, Olly and I went up to The Swan in Wotton for an end of week beer and to write lists of jobs that needed doing over the weekend. This is somewhat of a ritual for us, although the venue changes from week to week. We do it so that we don’t waste time faffing around on jobs that aren’t essential, and so that we can have a sense of achievement on Sunday evening. I’m not saying that we don’t faff over the weekend – well, Olly doesn’t, but I have to say I am a very accomplished faffer and could, actually faff for England. Even with THE LIST I still faff. Sometimes I can see that Olly gets frustrated with my faffing, but bless him, he never says anything. It would drive me mad if I wasn’t a faffer and lived with someone who was. Imagine both of us being faffers – we’d never get anything done….. Anyway, I digress. So we were in The Swan in Wotton, writing our list. We had come straight from doing jobs on the farm so were both in our work clothes, me with no make up and unbrushed hair (my mother will cringing as she reads this!) and Olly the same, when Olly looks up and says ‘That bloke over there looks just like Paul Young’. Now for those of you who were born before 1960 or after 1985, Paul Young was a very successful singer in the eighties who had such hits as ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat’ and ‘Common People’ and had a chart busting album called ‘No Parlez’. And blow me… it was Paul Young. Obviously not doing so well these days as he was headlining The Swan in Wotton Under Edge, which, as you can imagine, is not the most illustrious venue in the whole of the land, but nevertheless, famous in his day! Well, I immediately texted my friend Dee, who hot footed it up to Wotton with her boyfriend, Wayne and Dee and I spent the rest of the evening swinging our hips to Paul Young and acting like a right couple of groupies. God knows what he thought of us – we were the only two dancing in the whole place (admittedly, not a very big place) less than a meter from his mic, getting more and more adventurous with our dance moves with the more wine we drank! Wayne and Olly had a few beers in the other bar and then left us to it and went home. At midnight, Dee and I could be found roaming Wotton Hill trying to negotiate the footpath through the fields and cows, in a haze of drunkenness and giggling so much our sides hurt! Great night.

After a feeling of thinking that the fertility fairy had by passed Park Mill Farm altogether, it seems she was saving it all up to get it going in one go. Millie is on heat, and driving Morgan wild. She is still having none of it and making life utterly miserable for poor old Morgan. It seems as if it was only a few weeks ago that she was last on heat, it’s come around so quickly. The bean bag, once more as become an object of desire in place of Millie and gets lots of loving many times a day. Our grey chicken should be about to hatch out around 12 – 15 eggs from a collection of everyone who lives in the chicken house. As a result, if she pulls it off, it will be a real mix match of brown, yellow and grey chicks as well as a couple of ducklings thrown in for good measure. I am not sure how good a mother the grey chicken will be, however. She seems to be a lot more interested in food and water for herself and leaves eggs poking outside the nest at regular intervals. So much so that I am not overly convinced that they will hatch at all. One of the ducks is also sitting well and being a very attentive mother in comparison – I hardly see her blink let alone get off the nest and gorge herself on grain and water! Grey chicken is due to hatch any day and the duck next week so it will be interesting to see whether any thing hatches at all for the grey chicken and if they do, how the mothers react once the chicks and ducklings appear!

After mentioning in passing to my mother in law about the failed attempt of the goose eggs in the incubator, she called last Thursday with a lovely surprise! She managed to get two beautiful goslings – only four days old, from a local farm and has given them to us. They are very lovely and already respond to my voice and follow me around the garden. Sometimes, in the evenings they come and cuddle up around my neck and go to sleep – so sweet. Although it does worry me a little that I may turn into a mad bird lady who goes around stinking of poultry poo and muttering chicken noises under my breath.. I may need a little more human interaction, I feel!

The pigs are doing very well and growing fast. We have extended their pen to include a bit of scrub that we need clearing and although we need to encourage them with a few pig nuts, they seem to be doing a good job. They have got to know us now and definitely know the sound of the nuts going into the bucket. When we mow the orchard around their pen they run around with great excitement and it’s lovely to see them so happy.

On the build front, things are happening fast. The roof is nearly ready to go onto the Stables and we have that scheduled in for next week. I got into trouble with Building Control for not calling them in for an inspection at DPC level (Damp Proof Course for those of you unfamiliar with building terminology – i.e. me!). It was a complete genuine mistake whereby I thought everyone else was doing it and everyone else thought I was doing it. It’s not too bad though as the inspector could clearly see that we have put it in. I don’t think I did much to forge good relationships though and we will need to be on our best behaviour in future. Anyway, onwards and upwards, literally. We are hoping to have the roof on and scaffolding down by the 28th May. It’s a bit of a tall order but hopefully we just may be able to pull it off.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Feeling particularly let down by the Bank Holiday weather. I do realise that we live in a country that rarely supplies us with warm weather when none of us have to be at work, however, I naively had high hopes for this one and was hoping to get all of the veg plot planted up and sorted and for everything to burst into life. Instead, I got a sick husband, a driving cold north wind and a kitchen that is smelling increasingly earthy and quite damp which is slightly worrying..

The cold weather, which quite frankly I am becoming really tiresome of, has left me feeling completely daunted about pretty much every task I have to achieve. Which isn’t helped by the fact that there are chuffing hundreds of them. From sourcing building materials at the cheapest possible price, to negotiating with every Tom, Dick and Harry that seems to have to get involved with our build and put a spanner in the works, to maintaining my job (although the part time bit has definitely helped in this), getting the house and land looking great for our joint 40th party and finally planning for in excess of 100 people turning up to celebrate said party! In between these things there are numerous meetings for school (Govenor) and trying to fit in making jars of jam and chutneys for a Farmers Market this coming weekend. I just don’t feel there are enough hours in the day. Along with this lot there is also the little situation of a duck and a chicken both sitting on eggs – this, of course, is good news to us, although the other ducks and chickens may not see the new arrivals as sweet fluffy things but more as a threat. In our last place, I naively didn’t make any arrangements for the chicken that was sitting and her little brood and was mortified to go down to the pen one afternoon and see one of the other chickens walking around with two little chick legs dangling from her mouth. I won’t make that mistake again! As a result, I will have to buy a couple of rabbit hutches and place each mother in one with her eggs so that when they hatch the others won’t be able to attack them. Once they are more than a few days old they will be able to intergrate with the others and the mother should be able to keep them relatively safe.

Anyway, regardless of how inadequate I’m feeling, things, non surprisingly, seem to go on without me. As a result, the Stables are now almost up to first floor level. It’s going to look great and the old bricks look wonderful. We still haven’t quite finished brick cleaning, but we are almost there. Three more piles to do and we are done… until the next out building anyway, which won’t be until July so at least we’ll have about a 6 week repreave. We’ve got a site meeting tomorrow with the architect, structural engineer, joiner/roofer and ourselves, which I am hoping to be a very positive, productive meeting, but I can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s not going to be that smooth. We’ll see. Maybe my body waves, or mojo or whatever it is, is out of synch hence making me feel all at sorts. Whatever it is, I’d better shake it off soon.

The pigs have settled in really well and seem very at home after their first week with us. They seem to have grown heaps and are now eating from my hand and run over to the fence when they see either Olly or myself approach. If they know it’s breakfast or supper time they sometimes do a little lap of honour around the pen in excitement and anticipation of the food to come and love a little scratch behind the ear when you get close.