Bertie the tree is up and decorated, sitting on a reindeer skin in the front hall. I made a kissing bough for the warm habitable room, and a holly wreath for the front door. Old Bertie's got a bit of a lean to him - I must remember to stuff some newspaper in the tree holder to straighten him up before the 'big day'
I took Hazel out on the less formal boundary shoot yesterday, with her collar on, and she worked very well the whole day. She didn't run off, which was our goal, and she found a lost cock pheasant so a big pat for her. We have a few things to work on like quicker recall but it's a good start.
I pleased to say that Dulcie is fully recovered from her injury and has been given the 'all clear' to go back to work. I'm going to take her for a half day tomorrow so she can build her fitness level back up and expel some of that spaniel energy.
Things are mixed on the chicken front. The little barbu d'uccle hen is still fighting on but only marginally improved. Still she's so independent even with a paralysed leg that neither Mike nor I can face taking her to visit the log pile.
However, one of the young brown pullets has taken a beating from her siblings. The only thing crueler than teenage girls are chickens. The minute they draw blood, they don't stop until they've killed (chickens not teenage girls). They can be brutes and bullies (chickens AND teenage girls). This poor hen had both eyes swollen shut and blood-encrusted neck feathers from being pecked. I syringed fluids and a special food with antibiotics into her and put her on her own in the spare kennel to recover. I hope the shock of the attack doesn't kill her.
I also meant to go out a harvest a deer but the gamedealer had a spare 40kg youngster gralloched and skinned which he's left for me in the chiller. I can practice my butchery skills, but it's going in the freezer. We've eaten too much venison recently, I'm going to grow antlers.
Mike is making Christmas dinner this year (more fool him for volunteering) and he's decided on chicken. Fresh chicken. The meat cockerel still free-ranging in the garden who has just started to crow. So I'll be plucking next week. There's still a meat hen left in the garden but she's small and may lay eggs so we'll wait til spring to decide her fate. Depends how empty the freezer is then.
I still have a few cards to write and a few presents to make but it's getting there. I hope you all are ready for Christmas with full larders and time to relax and enjoy a well-earned rest.