Oh dear! I do get really annoyed when our clocks go forward signalling the start of British Summer Time. Don't get me wrong, I do love the summer but now, instead of it being light enough in the morning at 5.45am to let the chickens and turkeys out of their houses, it is still very dark, and the process is delayed for an hour.
There is not a lot of point in me tramping across the fields to bottle feed the lamb in the pitch black, (why can I never find my torch?) so Little Lamb gets grumpy because she is an hour later getting fed. Yes, the animals get used to the new timing after a day or two, but I have to delay the start of all my outside chores and it seems as if I am always rushing around, trying to catch up. Sorry folks, but I much prefer lighter mornings and darker evenings! Now, please do not misunderstand me. I like the warmth of my bed as much as anyone, but when the alarm clock rings, I know I have chores to do, so I must get on with them
In the mornings, I am rather like an automaton. I switch on the kettle, warm bottle for Little Lamb, make a pot of tea. Put on my wellies and outside gear, let the dogs out, feed the cat, grab poultry house keys and toddle off across the fields. Feed lamb, ensure she has enough water and creep (lamb feed), let turkeys and chickens out, check poultry feeders and drinkers and then head back to the house. Wash and sterilise lamb bottle, open window blinds then sit and enjoy my first cuppa of the day. Sometime after my second cup of tea, I start to wake up. See, I am normal, sort of!
Just after sending out the previous newsletter, and as it was such a glorious day, I abandoned the office and enjoyed a wonderful time in the garden. I dug up and disposed of a variety of weeds, pruned the roses, restored order to the runaway ramblers and gave haircuts to the hydrangeas, lavender bushes and honeysuckle.
I managed to get part of the vegetable garden dug over and manured in readiness for planting out the beans and other vegetables later this month. Once all that was done, I cleaned off the garden tools, put them away and came back indoors feeling quite tired but very satisfied with my efforts.
Frank, together with his trusty tractor, managed to get all the fields topped, and they are looking super. Plus, as a bonus, everywhere you go there is the heady scent of newly mown grass. Just wonderful.
Two of my Bramley apple trees didn't make it through last winter, so I nipped down to the local nursery and bought replacements. What with apple pies, crumbles and dumplings, etc., I do use an awful lot of cooking apples.
Alas, I have some very sad news because a few days ago, just a couple of hours after letting the turkeys out, I found Henry, my beautiful turkey stag, dead in the orchard. He was just a youngster, there was not a mark on him and I could see no reason for him dying. Oh, such an awful shame. My Norfolk Black turkey hens adored him and do not care for the Narragansett stag, so I need to get another chap to take over the duties so ably performed by my poor Henry.
I had a telephone call from Laura about the Hebridean lambs and she said they will be fully weaned and able to leave their mothers in just a few more weeks. Before the lambs arrive, I shall need to walk the perimeter of the field to check all the electric fencing is intact and in working order. I do not want any of the little, trainee Houdinis to escape, do I?
I had a 'senior' moment the other day! I had forgotten to take my basket with me when I went to collect the eggs, so rather than troop back to the house, I was lazy and tucked the eggs into my sweater. Things would have been fine if on the way back to to the house, I hadn't stepped into a hole, (chickens dust bath) lost my balance and fallen forwards. A dozen or so eggs squashed into a woollen sweater does make an dreadful mess! Serves me right for being so idle, but lesson learned and next time, I will fetch my egg basket.
Thank you for all of your emails. It is a wonder to me that you find my prattle interesting or perhaps the truth is that you find my newsletter chatter to be the perfect cure for insomnia! No matter! I am just thrilled that you are happy to share my rabbiting. Oh, and I have a little message for Alan; I hear you bumped into my chum Jan, a few days ago. It was nice to hear from Jan that you enjoy the newsletters and yes, I do like my cuppa. However, much as I may chatter on, I am a complete novice when it comes to Jan as she can talk for England!
Congratulations to Doreen for being a Parish Chest 'big spender' and your book is on the way to you. I do hope you will find it interesting and useful.
Now it is time to get your cuppa, biscuits or slice of cake, and settle down to read all about the new suppliers and products we have available here at Parish Chest. I'm ready to start, so how about you?