Saturday, 22 August 2009


I had a day out today with my knitting friend Collette at the Fibrefest in Devon. It was like a petting zoo, but with coffee and yarn for sale. Collette is the creative one and knows how to spot a bargain so she came home with lots of goodies. I was restrained (i.e. a tightwad) and only bought some buttons shaped like chickens (wouldn't you?!?!) and a little hand held tool for making rag rugs. We feed the wild birds peanuts through the winter which come in hessian sacks, the basis for making these rugs. And as I wear my clothes until they're threadbare anyway, I though what a great way to recycle them and get that last bit of use out of them (again, a tightwad). I also bought Mike a pair of alpaca/wool gloves with really long cuffs to cover his forearms on shoot days. They're big enough to fit over the special anti-scar gloves he still needs to wear awhile longer.

There were some really talented people there, and some characters in homemade outfits like Mrs Eaves here. I had a long chat with some keepers of different sheep breeds. After our orphan lamb experiment, Mike has convinced me to invest in a small breeding flock, but I want it to be 1) multi-purpose: good fleece and good meat and 2) idiot-proof: need I say more? I was swayed by the Shetland sheep. A bonus with the Shetlands is they're a smaller breed so I won't do my back in wrangling them at shearing time. And, I can say from experience that their meat is VERY tasty. You might as well have quality.

My big day out means I escaped doing most of the chores, though I sold 4 more chickens this morning before I left. Mike did all things pheasant related by himself today (AND bought me flowers, love him). And he uncovered the mystery of the disappearing pheasants at The Hill Pen: someone had cut a large hole in the corner of the wire.

Country sports such as shooting and fox hunting are very contentious. There are even professional saboteurs who interrupt hunts and shoot days in protest of killing animals. Everyone has a view on the subject. I don't guess this was a 'professional job' but it could be a protest against shooting pheasants, though a misdirected one since the saboteur caused the needless death of 200+ young poults by letting them out and leaving them vulnerable to predation. They will still be replaced so we have enough for shoot days.

The countryside, particularly access to it, is also grounds for many disagreements. Much of the British countryside is privately owned but locals and some of the more extreme hikers feel they should have right of way over it. Recently due to an increase in thefts and lambs killed by dogs, the landowner has been forced to padlock the gates, though he's always been very generous with access over his land. Many more aren't. This may have inadvertently upset walkers and hikers who mistakenly took it out on our pen of birds. We might just be 'collateral damage'.

Whatever the reason, we have patched the hole and will increase our vigilance against unwelcome visitors, whether vulpine or human. I think I'll offer to take up the evening watch, as I can knit while I sit in the truck waiting for the birds to go to roost. Definitely the cushier option - no wait, I've made THAT mistake before...


Poppy Cottage said...

I am glad you had such a good day. Snap I did too. Fantatic yarn, brilliant bargains and great company. What more does one need.

Have you thought about renting Mike out? Flowers when you got home. Boy that man's good. I came home to....washing up!!

But I did sit in my shed looking at my wool, stroking it, smelling it and the best thing of all... I didn't need to hide my shopping from anyone!!! Maybe I can live without flowers!!

Jennifer Montero said...

I'm the most ungrateful recipient of flowers. When Mike brings them home my first thought isn't "Thanks darling, how thoughtful!" It's "Great, now I have to add flower arranging and cleaning out the sink to my evening chores"! I really don't deserve flowers.

Glad you had an evening of 'yarn porn' when you got home. Sorry about the dishes. My dishwasher's acting up so I'm just about to try and disassemble the in/out pipes and see if I can get it working before I do a few hours' work at the cafe.

Don't you spend all Sunday doing DIY - get on with some crafts and relax!! x

Poppy Cottage said...

DIY all day but Jose going back tomorrow so I shall craft and sort in the evenings!!!!!

(after I have done the floors in the kids rooms!!!!)