Monday, 17 September 2012

Exciting times ahead!

An atmospheric shot of the local fountain.
It is a shame you can't see all the colours of
the trees as they turn orange and red. Must
get a new camera that goes in my handbag.
I have another announcement to make this week. In July I mentioned that I was going to become a grandma for the first time, well now I get to be a grandma twice over. My daughter is expecting her first child at the end of March. So next year is looking to be a very exciting year, with grandchildren on the way and our youngest due to graduate from university.

Our poorly pussy cat spent all week nearly in this spot.
Not so exciting news is the fact that Sofie was very sick this week. She was a bit off on the Monday night and I spent Tuesday in to see how she got on. Towards the end of the evening she was starting to hide in dark corners and so we knew something was very wrong. The next morning she was no better and so we took her to the vets. The examination by the vet caused her to throw up, which was strange as she hadn't actually eaten anything for over 24 hours. She had a very sore throat and a high temperature and had become dehydrated so she was given a saline drip and injected with vitamins and antibiotics. I had had to dribble water down her throat using a teaspoon prior to that, because she wouldn't drink. When she got home she must have been very sore on one side as she seemed to get stuck somehow, it is really hard to explain, but she was in a very strange pose and meowing away at me. I placed her on her side with the side uppermost where all the fluid from the drip had accumulated and she promptly fell asleep. She spent most of the week asleep and had one more saline drip before she started to really recover and even then it was very slow and the vet was quite worried about her. I had to give her injections as she is hopeless to get tablets down and I worked out this was far easier on her and me than trying to get the wretched tablets down her. We think she disappeared on us once because she got so freaked out by the trauma of trying to get tablets down her. The good news is that today she was much better and running around out on the land once more and the problem? Not sure really as the vet was not convinced that she should have been so sick from a sore throat and a bit of a fever and wondered if she had also eaten something poisonous. I guess we will never know.

The remodelled river after the installation of the new mini
hydro-electric station
Last week we got a lamb that I had had to cut it up into meal sized pieces and I managed to make a better job of it than the last one we had, but it still looks rather rough. The things you learn! I mentioned this on facebook and also mentioned that actually if I had a choice I would now rather have goat to eat as it is like lamb but less fat (although the one we had wasn't particularly fatty this time, they must have been running it around getting it in training). My friend who has supplied us with goat meat in the past said they were planning a meal of goat soon and would I like to come. Now would I pass up the chance of a meal cooked by someone else? You bet I wouldn't! There was only one small detail, the piece of meat was actually still running around the field and since I don't like my meat to leave the plate whilst eating we had to wait until it was no longer running around the field and taken up residence in the fridge/freezer. The meal was absolutely worth the wait though and we even got sent home with a rabbit for the freezer and a leg of the goat.

No longer running wild around the field - well have you ever
seen squash plants grow when they are starting to really take
off or rather take over! These squash plants are from the left
Uchiki Kuri, Black Futsu and Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato
(and they really do taste like sweet potato with the same
texture). Don't you just love some of the weird names
they have?
On the one hand it seems a shame that something that was running around in the field or ark is providing us with food. Ian was really sad to say goodbye to two more of his feathered friends today - you should never make friends with your food so they say - but the problem is that if we want eggs, then we will have excess males to deal with and it would be rather expensive to keep feeding the unproductive ones and too many males to females means that the females suffer from too much unwanted attention. Likewise male goats are an unwanted by-product of goats milk and hence goats cheese so to speak. Without young goats being born you don't get milk and too many smelly billy goats is not pleasant, one is enough on our friend's farm. We also like meat, but we prefer our meat to come from animals who have had some sort of quality of life. Our friend's goats get to go out onto the grass as long as the grass is growing, they have clean living areas and plenty of hay to eat. The lamb that we got was also grass fed all summer - which is one of the plus points of lamb, I am not sure there is a factory farm unit set up for lamb yet!!! Our chickens had been brought up on lots of goodies from the garden, from caterpillars and snails to fat hen weeds and fresh buckwheat, consequently the last chicken we had had the skin the colour of a corn fed chicken. Not sure about this time they still need de-feathering as I write (quick update - they are yellow too). It's not pleasant killing an animal but we do know that their point from life to death is short and relatively stress free, they haven't stood around at the abattoir for ages for a start, which is stressful in itself. It also gives us a better respect for the meat that we do eat and we also happy to eat meals without meat too.

Our carrots with an ordinary table knife for comparison
Our harvesting continues this week, and Ian has started to collect the buckwheat and hang it in bunches in the greenhouse to dry off before threshing. I have also harvested some carrots and beetroot to store in sawdust for over the winter. Not all of the carrots are particularly big and that is why I didn't harvest them all, but some of them are ginormous. We have not always been very successful with carrots, but this year we did exceptionally well as you can see from the picture (cauliflowers are another crop we are yet to master, only got it right once and was absolutely inundated when they all matured at once - all 30 something of them!) . Our aim more than anything this year, due to the bad weather, is to try and make sure that we have plenty of seeds saved for next year, at least then we will get to try again then without too much extra costs. It seems like we have at least got one of every type of squash we planted, but not over run with the things, which is what we hoped so we could use them to feed the chickens. There is enough anyway to feed us and there are more to come and so if the frosts hold off, we may be okay and get over run, otherwise I shall be using the little ones like courgettes (zucchini)

The new hydro-electric station. The old one is having work
done, but I'm not sure if it will be de-comissioned or
renovated yet.
It was nice to have someone new comment on my blog last week and if you want to check out Petra's blog you will see some rather nice pictures of the Czech republic, but I must admit to being confused with another comment that also came through to my email account about the same time. It was an odd email and for a change it had no links, the links being a clue to it not being kosher, but it still didn't ring true. I looked it up on the internet and word for word it is posted all over the place and I wonder what purpose it serves - well  in this case it was marked as spam and not published. I welcome comments from anyone even if they choose to be anonymous, but I try to avoid spam. Especially the sneaky ones that say what a lovely blog you have and very complimentary and yet when you check them out, they actually represent some lottery company or something worse.


  1. Pleased Sofie is showing signs of improvement - it does sound like poisoning of one sort or another. Congrats on becoming grandma-in-waiting!

  2. Thanks Ju.

    It is no wonder Sofie could have eaten something bad, she does like her wild food.

  3. I've been thinking this week that it's a year ago since I spent those few days with you and Ian, helping you store the carrots in sawdust for the winter. What a change in your land in a year - you now have livestock and two cats. Happy memories of that time!

    I'm glad Sophie is ok and on the mend. And I guess that you won't get bored in winter as you'll be busy knitting for future grandchildren. Congratulations!

  4. two grand children???!!! Greedy! No honestly, congratulations, wonderful news. As for spam comments...I could have an opinion but I'm a lady!

  5. We were thinking that it must have been this time last year when you were here. It was so good to have that time to share with you, thanks so much for coming.

    We are pleased Sofie is on the mend too but guess what! She has done her regular disappearing act and she could do without doing that so that she gets properly fed again as she lost weight. Cats!!!

    I will indeed be busy knitting, it will be even more fun the following year as we will have our own alpaca wool.

  6. Yup two grandchildren Karen. Definitely greedy but happy!

    I am glad you didn't give your opinion on spam, I get the impression I wouldn't have been able to publish it, but I agree annoying in the extreme.


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