Monday, 5 January 2015

The bacon's in the cat and other tales

Sofie earlier on this year in the greenhouse
Oh yes! Sneaky puss! It took me ages to work out why there was no bacon in the bag that I had brought for our lunch. I thought for a while that I must have been having a senior moment. If it had been our other cat Bella, the evidence would have been all over the floor, but not Sofie. Since Bella is still missing it could only have been Sofie. She is so sneaky that she gently takes the food out of bags and so the only evidence was an empty bag inside another larger plastic bag. Unfortunately it meant our guests over the weekend had to have an egg and veggie burger instead. At least for one of them that was fine, as she is vegetarian.

January 3rd and our snow has nearly all gone
So with that introduction you can tell that we have indeed had guests over this last week. It was my crazy young friend, who I meet up with from time to time and her boyfriend, who I haven't met before. We had a good few days, despite the rather miserable wet weather we had. The snow that fell last week left us under the rather relentless rain that heralded the New Year, but it did fair up just enough for our friends to pay a visit to the alpacas of course. Our new friend is a chef and so he commandeered the kitchen one early evening and made his own version of pumpkin pie and rather nice it was too. He can come again anytime.

January 4th and it is back again
I love the way that the frost has made a star pattern on our
barn door
Because the weather was rather dreich (I do love that Scottish word, so evocative of wet, miserable weather) that we were sat in the caravan for much of the visit to our land, but while we were sat there, two of our cockerels who had just started crowing, decided to start a fight. Normally when our cockerels fight, it is because a slow developing bird suddenly finds its voice and tries to challenge the top cockerel. The challenger then finds out that it is a stupid idea and rapidly backs down. These two though, appeared more evenly matched and after a couple of minutes we realised neither of the cockerels were giving in. It wasn't pleasant to watch at all. Ian had to step into the ark and grab one of the cockerels and isolate him. As the weather was still mild, he was eventually placed in the horse box and we dispatched the pair the next day, as neither were for breeding, although we had hoped they would put a little more weight on. Still tonights tea (I'm northern, so it is still breakfast, dinner or lunch and tea in our house in that order) was roast chicken, roast veggies, mashed potatoes and steamed beans, all home-grown and very tasty.

A frosty morning
Our hens seem to be responding to the longer days and the relatively mild weather we have been having, by upping the production of eggs. We even had four eggs one day from our four very productive hens that have been keeping us in eggs over the winter, normally we have been getting been one to two per day from that ark, occasionally three. Another chicken from one of the outside hen huts has also started laying and I'm not sure if it was shock or fear, but one of the young hens started laying for the first time that was in the ark where the cock fight happened. Maybe they took me seriously that they would end up as stock or soup if they didn't get a move on and start laying.

I made this felt waistcoat from Tellus' fleece. 
I have been enjoying some down time over Christmas and getting some presents made. I know, I'm a bit late - No I'm very late actually! At least I feel on a bit of a roll now and I feel like I have sort of got the cleaning under control in our apartment, which leaves me freer to create. I have been fine as long as it was handwork, such as knitting and hand embroidery, but eventually I managed to get organised to do some sewing on my sewing machine. Unfortunately that didn't last long as my machine started to mangle up the stitching. The bobbin case cannot handle the old cottons I have and the annoying thing is that even when I have bought supposedly new cotton from the local shop, that wasn't new enough either. I am not happy with my machine, a BabyLock Quilters Choice - so not a cheap machine and I am beginning to regret buying it. When it works, it is very good, but not much use to me if it is temperamental over the cottons I use. I did a little research on the internet and I think I can buy 10 bobbin cases for my machine from China for the same price of two in Europe or America and then I can use a silicon spray on the threads to stop them snagging on the bobbin cases. If that doesn't work, I will be very annoyed. Only thing stopping me, is that I have never used Alibaba before or bought anything directly from China before. Hmmm! At least today, four parcels were winging their way across the waters to the UK with some belated Christmas presents.

A close up of the alpacas that I cut out and sewed onto
the waistcoat front. I love the bobbly texture of the felt.
Not quite sure why it did that, but it works I think!
Some felt Christmas tree decorations. The wooden bead
heads were also turned by Ian on his pole lathe
I said last week that the snow had come and gone and come and gone again. We have had a little of the same weather again this last week, as you may have gathered, but there was at least enough snow to finally get my skis out. I don't think I got them out at all last winter. The wind was a bit keen and the snow not so perfect, so I didn't ski for long, but at least I did manage something. The snow blower has also had another couple of outings, as we try to keep the greenhouse clear. We are perhaps a little paranoid about it not falling down, but one 18m by 6m greenhouse falling down in the snow is quite enough, thank you! There was also enough snow to get our car stuck, or rather enough ice underneath the snow to get it stuck. Fortunately it was out on the land and so Ian just got the tractor out and dragged it out while I tried to steer. It was a little difficult to get it heading in the right direction, but we managed.
More snow blowing duties

Making a path up to the sheep

My exercise for the day, clearing the
snow from around the greenhouse
that had slid off the roof.
Today I feel like I have spent most of it, trying to organise a meeting. It had been due to happen tomorrow, but the longer distance travellers were reluctant to travel for a one and a half hour meeting when it takes them four hours to drive down and the lady we were meeting up with has to work, so couldn't meet for any longer. I was a tad annoyed that I had to cancel it at the last moment, but in the end it works out better for me, as it means I can get a lift back up to Tartu and so fits in better with my timetable. Some you win, some you lose!

4 comments:

Mavis said...

I love the alpaca felt waistcoat! But I had to smile at the chickens/cockerels. I made a mental note that if I ever visited again, I must NOT upset Jo or I may end up as dinner the next day! But seriously it's good to remember just why you have animals. After all they're not pets.

Another interesting post, as always.

Joanna said...

It would be lovely to see you again and I promise not to get upset :). It is hard sometimes to remember ourselves that our animals do have a purpose beyond just being pretty to look at. They are part of the system that hopefully will contribute to our livelihood

karen said...

the little waistcoat is so pretty! and it's tea here too.....and dinner, not lunch. We're not that posh!!

Joanna said...

Glad you like the waistcoat. I enjoyed making it and it was nice to get to make something for a change. Something I am sure you can appreciate.

Glad your not posh, my children are now posh, they say dinner