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
6pm last night, two tired workers.