Archive for December, 2008

Running around

By the time I arrived at the farm this morning, I felt as though I’d already done a full day’s work!

  • 6am – alarm goes off. Dogs get excited, jump arund bedroom, get cats excited so they join in. Can’t find phone, so alarm carries on long enough to wake B up. B has been off work for two days as she’s not been well so wasn’t impressed with the early wake up call…
  • 6.05 – start the morning routine, letting dogs out, making coffee, brush teeth etc.
  • 7.11 – suddenly realise it’s time to leave the house as B’s on the open and needs to be at the store by 7.30. Only thing is, we’re somehow running very late.
  • 7.12 – abandon B to get my bag ready and head off to collect fruit and veg. Only thing is, there was a frost last night and the car is hidden below a thick layer of ice…
  • 7.18 – head back indoors, having finally finished scraping off the ice. Will drop B off and then go back to get fruit and veg. Notice that cats are out of biscuits and there’s no more in the cupboard…
  • 7.30 – drop B off (on time!), realise I’ve left my phone at home so will have to go home to get it as B needs to text me the time she’s finishing so I can pick her up. Decide to go to Asda to get cat biscuits and then go home after I’ve been to the greengrocer’s to feed the darlings and get my phone. Forget to fill up as I pass my usual petrol station (ie have just got in the wrong lane and there’s no way of turning back), Asda is 1p more expensive so make a snap decision to return to the usual one when I pass it again en route to the farm.

I lost track of time from then on but the rest of the morning went like this:

  • Get the cat biscuits and see they still have Felix tins on offer (2 6packs for £4!) so pick them up as well.
  • Drive to the greengrocer’s and get the fruit and veg for the pigs.
  • Go home, fill up cat biscuits, decide to refill my travel mug with yet more coffee, leave the house.
  • Go to the petrol station, enjoy filling up for 96.9p
  • Get onto dual carriageway and realise that my phone is still at home. Bugger…
  • Decide to pop into Tesco as Snipe’s running low on complete biscuits and Midge recently cleaned her bowl three days in a row having been fed their Value biscuits… At 46p per kg instead of her usual brand at 98p per kg, I’m happy to shop at Tesco! Buy two bags of the biscuits and get a couple of bags for the cats while I’m at it.
  • Leave the car park and see that they’re doing diesel for 94.9p. Swear the whole way to the farm…
  • Farm covered by a thick and hard frost. Am late and its the pigs’ turn to swear.
  • Get them fed and change their water, am forced to use the heel of my wellie to break the ice on their water bowls!
  • Do the chickens, swear at Flint who managed to knock over their jug of corn. Leave happy chickens eating corn off the frozen grass instead of from their hopper…
  • Indoors for a well deserved coffee!

How’s your day been?!

Obesity? Surely not?

I know why us Britons are having a few problems with the old flab… And no, delicious mince pies, cookies and other snacks ain’t it. (Well, not completely!)

No, the problem revealed itself when I went to tax my car yesterday in a town I’m getting to know but as always, such things take time. So when I went into one shop to get the dogs’ chews (we’ve worked out that buying them things to chew is cheaper than Snipe chewing the sofa…), I asked directions for the Post Office.

The woman serving at the till couldn’t have been any older than 20, probably late teens, and she immediately looked concerned.

Her: “It’s right on the other side of town, it’s quite a walk.”

Me: “That’s ok, I like walking…”

Her: “XXX, this lady wants the Post Office. It’s a long way, isn’t it?”

2nd woman: “Oh yes, it’s a long walk. Right on the other side of town, it is.”

Me: “That’s fine, just point me in the right direction!”

1st woman: “Out the doors, turn right.”

It was a cold day, so I was enjoying the prospect of a walk to warm me up, especially as everyone seemed in such a good mood. This town has a reputation for being a bit of a slum but it was cheery and happy yesterday – young boys out on their bikes, testing its abilities (and their own), young girls laughing at the mishaps and innocently flirting, parents with small children taking their time, letting the kids run around the wide pedestrian-only streets, none of that pre-Christmas rush, young couples in their own, secret worlds.

I was happily musing on such subjects when, a couple of minutes into my walk, I asked a young mother if I was heading in the right direction. She smiled brightly and told me to walk to the end of the street and the Post Office was on the right. As she pointed I saw the sign gleaming on the side of the building.

Door to door, it couldn’t have taken me more than about 3 minutes!

A long walk, indeed!

Problem solved!!!

Oh – and I was served by the loveliest woman in the world at the Post Office who efficiently sorted through my rather jumbled paperwork and did some other stuff for me – and all with a smile and a genuine desire to help and make my life easier by doing so. Thank you very much 🙂

A big thank you!

I received some wonderful gifts this year and most have already been put to good use. Just before Christmas, I traded in My Nintendo Wii for a DS (the Wii sat in its box for eighteen months so wasn’t exactly being put to good use) and B got me the SimCity Creator game and one of the guys at work was very naughty and gave me Professor Layton and the Curious Village, which is a series of puzzles. I’m currently stuck and am now hopelessly addicted to SimCity so the question of how to move three wolves and three chicks across the river, with no more than two animals on the raft at any one time but at least one animal on it to make it move – but if you have more wolves than chicks on either side of the river, the wolves will eat the chicks, will just have to wait until my city has at least 20,000 inhabitants….

As well as the copy of The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour, I was also given a vast array of hats, gloves, waterproof trousers, socks and other practical goodies like the radio torch from B, all of which look set to make life outdoors a bit easier 🙂

B also got me a Shining Stars toy, which lets me name a star. I’m trying to think of a good name for my star so haven’t done anything about it just yet but it’s quite a cool thought – next time you wish upon a star, it could be one I’ve named!

Other gifts included books and book tokens (hurrah!) and enough chocolate and other Christmas goodies to keep us going until well into 2009. Especially after last night’s feast (ie binge) at Jennie’s last night…

And then there’s my glass pig from Granny Anne. She knows me too well! Little pig is currently nameless so any suggestions would be most helpful!

Thank you!

I hope everyone had a good Christmas 🙂

A pair of troublesome tarts

Didn’t anyone tell Scrumpy and Tia that good girls go to heaven and bad girls go …… well, anywhere they like apparently!

Scrumpy and Tia - 25 December 2008

Scrumpy and Tia - 25 December 2008

Do you remember the post I wrote three weeks ago, bemoaning the two girls and their hormones?

Well, it’s that time for them again (every three weeks, bang on schedule) and they’ve lived up to their well-deserved reputation as a pair of troublemakers…

When I went to feed them yesterday morning, I was less than impressed to discover that the two girls had buried a significant portion of their electric netting under vast amounts of soil. Still, they were both sound asleep in their ark, nestled under the fresh straw they got from Santa.

So I fed them and set about rescuing the netting.

On I went to feed Bailey and Brini ……. only to discover that their netting was, well, looking as though a pig (or two) had walked through it (or at least tried to).

Naturally, given the girls’ condition, my heart leapt a few times and then sank like a boulder.

Again, both were sound asleep in the straw (Bailey is straw coloured so for a horrid moment I couldn’t actually see him!)

There was a frost during the night and I was able to make out at least one set of tracks all around Bailey and Brini’s enclosure and going across the field to at least a few feet away from the girls’.

All the pigs were presented with a barrage of bad swears and threats of apple sauce and stuffing (apart from Brini!) but the blame lies with me. Bailey and Brini had no battery for their electric fence as I kept forgetting to carry it across the field and while I thought I’d switched Tia and Scrumpy’s on, I clearly hadn’t as it was firmly pointing to ‘off’.

The irony is that I was going to switch everyone around and put Scrumpy in with Bailey on New Year’s Day but I now have to wait three weeks to find out if, come April, I’ll be presented with two squealing litters!

Pigs! Who’d have ’em?

No snow but thanks for the sun!

I’ve just realised that despite the lack of snow this Christmas, next year it is going to rain. Not just rain, but tip it down.

How do I know?

It’s been blue skies and sunshine two years in a row:

The view at Mum's - Christmas Day 2007

The view at Mum's - Christmas Day 2007

Sunset at the farm - Christmas Day 2008

Sunset at the farm - Christmas Day 2008

Having fun at Christmas

Happy yuletide and all that!

Did you have a good day? Did Santa bring you your heart’s desire? Or were you too naughty…?!

I bet you didn’t have as much fun as my lot:

Snipe - 25 December 2008

Snipe - 25 December 2008

Snipe, Mac and Midge - 25 December 2008

Snipe, Mac and Midge - 25 December 2008

I received lots of lovely presents which shall have their own post tomorrow when things return back to normal (well, as normal as they ever can when you live in Cardiff but keep pigs…)

Enjoy the rest of the holiday!

The cats felt left out

The cats have been complaining that I never post any photos of them.

Since I’ve come home in the middle of the day to get the wrapping done, I thought I’d make an effort to keep the peace and take some photos:

Queenie - 24 December 2008

Queenie - 24 December 2008

Horatio - 24 December 2008

Horatio - 24 December 2008

Mac - 24 December 2008

Mac - 24 December 2008

The gay threat

I think Pope Benedict needs to get out more:

Pope Benedict XVI has said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

He explained that defending God’s creation is not limited to saving the environment, but also protecting man from self-destruction.

Source: BBC

The mist in the valley

This is how things were looking last year at Mum’s. As I recall, it was a gorgeous day, filled with sunshine and a welcome break from the seemingly endless rain and mud.

The view from Mum's yard gate - 23 December 2007

The view from Mum's yard gate - 23 December 2007

The little things that aren’t worth blogging about on their own

  • I have moved the chickens to a new patch of grass. They’re not happy as they can’t hang out under the old apple tree any longer.
  • Some bastard has swapped all the frost for mud. This exchange sucks.
  • Tia and Scrumpy dug up an old saw in their enclosure. I’ve told them to find something very old and then all our money problems will be over!
  • The weaners have settled in well and I think mum’s enjoying having pigs back again.
  • Don’t say anything in case she finds out, but Midge is currently eating a bowl of Tesco Value dog biscuits instead of her usual branded ones. Is this the breakthrough I’ve been hoping for? Probably not…
  • There’s a few (non-Christmas) things that I’ve forgotten to buy but I don’t know if I can be bothered to brave the shops this side of Christmas. It’s bad enough that I work in one…
  • Having not watched a single second of the X Factor, I’m amazed at how good the winner’s voice is (no idea what her name is). I wish Terry Wogan and Aled Jones had done better though. Still, that’s one hell of a lot of money raised for Children in Need 🙂
  • Cookie and Squeak have settled in well and their new owners (and their kids) sound completely enchanted by the pair. Hurrah!
  • We have a Christmas tree!
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...