Friday, 16 December 2016

9 More Sleeps 'til Christmas

I finally got around to getting our Christmas tree last Sunday. I joined Mike on his morning feed rounds, which passes the tree plantation, so I could make use of his off-road buggy to haul out the tree. Molly, his regular feeding partner, wasn't keen to share her front seat-

Being able to choose and cut a Christmas tree from the estate's plantation is a great perk of the job. Mike defers to me to choose our tree. I cut it down and loaded it in the buggy -

 while Mike fed maize by hand to the pheasants -

Pheasants love maize, probably for its high energy value. Mike broadcasts handfuls as he walks along feeding rides (areas). The pheasants stick around, scratching the soil and picking at the maize. A good feed keeps them at home.

Molly and I used the time to do a little training: sitting steady while pheasants fly over us out of the hedgerows.

Our training goal is: alert but steady. She's pretty good at it.

I cut the tree on Sunday, but it was Thursday before it was up and decorated with lights and ornaments. I managed to do a little bit each day, whenever I could scratch together a free half hour.

It is a nice tree, even without the decorations, and fits the space just right. It's even got a job after Christmas - we recycle Christmas trees to put in the flushing points (i.e. where birds fly out from on shoot days) to build up the natural cover that has died down from repeated frosts and wind.

The house is beginning to look more festive, inside and outdoors. A few leftover ornaments put in vases make centrepieces for the Christmas dinner table-

Festive Chicken tablecloth!

The fallow deer skull by the back door gets a few lights and an evergreen wreath -

Very Saturnalia-esque, don't you think?

The front door has a wreath with lights too. The guys say they can see it through the woods, just on dark, when they are finishing their evening feed -

My first store-bought wreath, and I really like it.

The mantelpiece just has a simple green garland with a few lights for decoration, and Cecelia our stuffed red squirrel, of course. I had some leftover red yarn so I knitted her a little nisse cap -

Nisse are the little people of Scandinavian folklore. They protect the farmstead and bring luck if well-treated. Besides the cookies and milk for Santa, and the sweet feed for the reindeer, I will have to leave a bowl of porridge for my squirrel nisse this Christmas eve. I can use all the luck I can get when lambing season starts.