Thursday, 19 April 2012


This must be the start of my egg pun series. Feel free to contribute your own in the comments section.

Mike and I are both so tired that we've entered the hysteria phase - you know after denial, sadness, anger, eating too many cookies, washing cookies down with wine, and talking to your animals (doing both voices).

One of the incubators is faulty, and it's tripping out the circuits so all the hatchers and incubators go off. That's 20,000 chicks on the line. There is only one person in the UK who repairs these machines and he can't get here for a few days. Mike's only choice is to sleep in the stone barn with the machines, on a cot in my L.L. Bean sleeping bag, and make sure the machines keep running and the eggs stay warm.

What we do for our livestock...

It's not just Mike who has to suffer for his animals; Our flock of sheep is too large to lamb in the small paddock outside our house this year. They will have to lamb at Milkweed. I'm trying to source a small caravan on Ebay that I can sleep in, for pretty much the whole of October. I'll need to borrow that sleeping bag back from Mike.

I'm keeping the home fires burning - both of them, as north winds have brought winter back to England - and managing the non-pheasant related jobs. The tired hysteria has extended to my cooking, and meals appear to be a random amalgam of leftovers: beef stew over nettle pasta last night, fish with wilted spinach and macaroni cheese tonight. I think Mike is afraid to come home because of the food.

Be extra concerned because my job at the cafe started this week. In fact I was late for my first day of work because I had to break up a cock fight between Patches and our newest cockerel, and four hens tried to follow me to work. I had to bribe them back by throwing part of my lunch (a peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon sandwich...) up the driveway and shutting the gate. Chickens appreciate my culinary talents.

There is some good news on the animal front: Alan got a new foot today from the farrier. His infection is gone but it took the outside of his front hoof with it. The farrier used essentially acrylic nails for horses and built up the missing hoof. As a horse carries most of its weight on its front feet, conformation and stability is paramount; badly-shaped feet can lead to leg injuries and back problems. We're going out riding tomorrow morning (weather permitting) to try out Alan's newly fitted saddle and newly made foot.

We'll ride by the hatching barn and give Mike a wake-up call.


Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

Hmmm. I wonder what it says about me that your meals sound really actually pretty good. Oh, wait, it says that MY idea of cooking is a bowl of Lucky Charms with soy milk. That pb, honey and cinnamon sandwich sounds the best of all. I might actally be able to manage THAT for lunch tomorrow. Or, wait, dinner tonight. I really DID finish the LC's last night...

Maria said...

The things you do for your animals.... I hope Mike's eggs come through all good. Your food sounds good to me also.

Your egg-jokes reminded me of another thread... this time of Eck-jokes (what does it say about me that I still remember this? it made my day, it was so funny)
see the comments at:

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Seems like an eggsistential crisis to me. Eggsasperating! Eggstraordinarily irritating!

Sorry to hear about the incubator. One of the advantages of doing thing on the dilettante level, as I do, is that, if something goes wrong, you can shrug and move on to the next thing. When you're in it for serious, you have do be so damned responsible. Which, of course, you are.

Looking forward to a repaired incubator, cute lamb pictures, and a well-balanced horse.

Anonymous said...

I am curious about the reason you choose to "lamb" in October. Here in Colorado the sheep growers plan on their ewes lambing in February or March and ship their lambs in October. Love your blog and check it out almost daily.

Jennifer Montero said...

Partly economic reasons, and partly personal circumstances: Lambing in Oct means the lambs are fit for table just in time for the spring market, which means they fetch a premium price. Everyone wants new season lamb for their Easter table.

From a personal point of view, it means we can lamb during shoot season which is a quieter time of year for us - when all the hard work of hatching and raising pheasants is over, and we're simply feeding wild birds. So as the pheasant crop finishes, the lamb crop begins. Then the lambs go to market just as we start picking up our first hatching eggs, and the process starts all over again.

The Dorset breed is fertile out of season and is so prolific, it can of lamb 3 times in 24 months with a more intensive feeding regime. We don't do that, but we appreciate their tendency to produce twins and triplets.

So glad you're enjoying our blog!

Jennifer Montero said...

Hurrah - eggsellent punning Tamar. And there is nothing dilettante about the way you and Kevin care for your livestock! Incubator is repaired and Mike salvaged the hatch so pictures of cute chicks to follow.