Saturday, 10 October 2009
A string of setbacks plus a fish
It's not gone well today. Hazel, the spaniel with the severest case of spanielitis, decided to do a runner this morning. Mike left it to me to retrieve her as he had pheasants with wanderlust to see to. I took the quad bike and headed in the direction she was last seen. I look for birds breaking cover and can usually find Hazel at the centre of that action. No birds breaking. No spaniel.
Then no quad bike. It just conked out. I checked all the obvious reasons - no gas, flooded engine, wet electrics. And of course I forgot a phone. And no one drove by who would stop to give us a tow. So I pushed it the mile or so home. Mike got home shortly after me, less sweaty and wheezing than I was. He pointed out the 'kill switch'. A safety device in case you roll it, you can turn the engine off and at least save the gas and the environment if not yourself. I must have hit it by accident. You can't start the bike if you don't put it in the neutral position. I learned something new and I got some much needed exercise.
And I was back out to look for Hazel, who by now was looking for me as she was tired and wanted a ride home on the bike. Bloody dog. It's not her fault really. Shooting season started and all the dogs got geared up for it and then....a two week break. They're frustrated and I don't blame them. We start up again next Saturday, solidly until Christmas break, then again til February 1st. They will be too tired to run off by then.
Since this morning I have noticed the chickens who sleep in the big hen house have had another outbreak of scaly leg. So I will be catching them as they go to roost and spraying them again. Not a fun job for any of us. Did I mention that all my carefully hatched Japanese bantams turned out to be cockerels? And they're scrappers. I've kept one back to live with the pekins, and need to re-home the other 3 into a pheasant pen tomorrow. No harm in them taking their chances out there. I know what their chances are if we have to go visit the log pile together.
Dakota got good and muddy assisting me on my Hazel reacquisition mission, then curled up on the upholstered chair I had just scrubbed clean from the last time she did that. Did I also mention she ate the butter first, and left the half-empty tub by the front door? She's a charmer. Almost as good as waking up last night to the sounds of a heaving labrador under the bed. Why do dogs always throw up where it's hardest to reach there to clean it?
I have to clean today as we have relatives coming to visit tomorrow, and I want to fool them into thinking we live in a marginally hygienic home without mud encrusted furniture and the whiff of dog vomit.
The vomit smell was fighting with the smell of decomposing kale in the veg basket. Both have been evicted from the house, then quickly replaced with the smell of burnt tomato sauce. So that's off tonight's menu. And the dryer is officially broken, so I have to keep the wood stove stoked up and dry clothes on the airer above it, and on any radiator that is working. I need to bleed some of them. And order oil, we're nearly out.
And now the fan part of the fan oven is making a strange noise. Sort of lumpy-sounding. It doesn't bode well. I am drawing the line at digging a pit in the front lawn and cooking over an open fire.
And the meat chickens are ready to go into the freezer, only I haven't got another freezer yet. I've had to expand their pen again.
And flies keep hatching in my bedroom. For a couple of weeks I've had to hoover the ceiling of these tiny black flies before going to bed. And every day there's another hatch or infiltration from outside. I will be glad when their life cycle is complete.
Mike sensibly went off fishing and left me to burn food, break appliances, fight flies, and generally be disorganised in peace. He caught a trout for Mr and Mrs Puzey as a 'thank you'. They shut our chickens in for us one night so we could go to the movies. Mike and I had never been out to a movie together until last Wednesday.
Lady S offered me the harvest from her crab apple trees for my jam, so I've quickly picked some fruit, and a bunch of flowers from the walled garden for our guests. I've run out of jam jars so I'll have to use some of our drinking glasses, which are french jelly glasses anyway.
I must tackle cleaning the downstairs. Mike wanted me to go shoot a fox for him tonight but he's going to have to put it on the list and I'll get to it when I can.
By tomorrow I'll be organised. Probably. Possibly.