Sunday, 20 November 2011

Easy Sunday Morning

It's perfect Sunday morning weather: grey, foggy, a bit of drizzle on the windows. I don't need much of an excuse to drink a pot of coffee and read. The weather is a sign.

Still, livestock has no respect for my lazy tendencies. Eudora is limping so after coffee and a few chapters, I checked the sheep and caught her up to trim her feet and jab her with an anti-inflammatory. I'm not sure what god has against sheep, but he's cursed them with every disease going, and the propensity for having only three working limbs at one time. The lambs have stopped dying - for now - though Matilda had a bad case of bloat that kept me up one night on lamb watch. She pulled though but I weaned her the next day. She's got to make her own way in the field now, with an evening meal of lamb nuts and barley of course.

The weather hasn't turned cold yet; in fact it's been so mild that I'm still finding ticks on the dogs, a week before Thanksgiving. Most of the dogs were still in their beds this morning, with their noses poked up their bottoms, when I brought them breakfast. We've been shooting most days, though it's illegal to shoot on a Sunday so all are guaranteed a day of rest. On the last drive yesterday, I watched Spud excavate a little sleeping nest for herself and lay down to nap, while waiting for the action to start. She's getting experienced enough to know to take a rest when she can get it.

I'm also learning to maximise my time. On shoot days, there's a lot of time stood waiting for guns to get ready and birds to move, so I now keep a small knitting project in my coat pocket. I'm knitting Mike's Christmas present: a hat knit from our own sheeps' wool -

Still life with 3/4ths of a hat and footrot spray

Living in my coat pocket means there are a few feathers that have accidentally been knitted in with the wool, but I can extract those later, or leave them in and tell him they're part of the design. Poultry chic. I'm working on a pair of socks too, but those are my evening project, as they take more concentration than a knit 2, purl 2 hat.

Shooting season means means a glut of meat. The dogs are eating so much now to hold their weight that I ran out of dog food. So did underkeeper Pete. I'll breast off a load of pheasants from yesterday and cook them up with rice and oil - that can double as our dinner, as well as the dogs'. I know it's shooting season when I open up the fridge and find pairs of legs poking out between the butter and the bacon -

Giving Quincy her breakfast this morning, I noticed spots of blood in her bed. Quincy is having her first season, which means she's no longer a puppy. It also means all the loose, male dogs in the neighborhood will be pining outside our kennels for the next fortnight. I'll have to protect her maidenhood during our training sessions in the field. Quincy is doing so well. She's passed her Gun dog Puppy certificate and is moving up a grade.

Quincy and her partridge dummy

She's just shy of a year old now, born Christmas week 2010. She is going to be a happy, talented little worker. She'll take Pip's place next year. Pip was always going to have an early retirement with her dodgy hips. I'll take Pip and Quincy out together, so Quincy can gain a bit of confidence following a more experienced dog. So far, all Pip has taught Quincy is how to make a dent in the couch.

Speaking of making a dent in the couch, Christmas movies have started on TV and I have a crop of dried beans to shell for next year's spring planting. I don't feel guilty watching TV if my hands are busy shelling beans or knitting. I love schmaltzy Christmas films because of the themes of hope and redemption. It's the same thing I feel when I think about the vegetable garden. I can visualise a whole crop in a tiny seed. I plant all my hopes that a successful harvest will come to fruition, even though I know there are bound to be some failures.

I hope your Sunday is equally as restful - accompanied by the sound of snoring dogs, and next year's seeds.

6pm last night, two tired workers.


Frogdancer said...

Love that last shot!

Poppy Cottage said...

Yep, Christmas movies already!! how are you getting on with other handmade gifts? New wool shop in Bridport is really nice. She has lots of interesting yarn. The latest Wow in my life is Jasper has asked for a pair of knitted socks!!!!!!!!!

CZLion said...

I really look forward to your dog and bird exploits.
My bad knee has kept me from the field but, hopefully,
with a new knee next year things will be different.

Yesterday we did a drive to Westport and Tokeville and
ate a bit of seafood. It was a lovely day for a drive.

Thanks for the update - glad the lambs are doing better.


Hazel said...

Poor Matilda- that's got to be it for her now, hasn't it?! Glad she's ok again. And poor limping Eudora; my children and I (I sound like the Queen...) enjoyed watching 'Victorian Farm', and I remember the shepherd they got in for advice telling them "all shepherds know that a sheep is the only creature on the earth looking for the quickest way to kill itself." What with that and all the diseases and infections that they are likely to get, it's amazing there are any sheep left. Trying to keep them healthy must be a full time job (on top of your other full time job!)

I'm so impressed with the hat- it looks fabulous, a beautiful colour. And to say it's with wool from your own sheep is definitely a step up from cooking with carrots from the garden!

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

I so love your writing. Besides the subjects you write about, which are interesting and completely captivating for me, personally, you're just a really good writer. I LOVE your wit, the way you look at things and turn a phrase.
It always makes my heart smile when you've posted a new "episode" from your life.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Love your still life. But that is apparently the only part of your life that is still -- so much to do, so little time!

Some day, would you write about just how you go about training a gun dog? They seem to require a large repertoire of skills, and I'm very curious to know how you teach them.

Meanwhile, if there's any of that pheasant-and-rice dish leftover ...

Seester said...

I love your still life! I am most boggled by a book titled "Great British Cooking" though.
How's the ram lamb doing?

Paula said...

Loved the last pic, but it's making me sleepy Well, I should have been inbed a half hour ago- what's a couple more minutes?

CZLion said...

When we lived in Iowa we had a cold cellar crawl space and I'd hang the pheasants for a week or so and then we'd have a cleaning party and sit down pheasant dinner. I miss those days and family that have passed on. My mother would flip out if she found a feathered bird in the ice box. heheheheheh