A New Year Year – Here we go!

We had a quiet Christmas this year as the family stayed at home rather than trying to brave the 350 mile journey to Wales.  We missed them but it gave us an opportunity to have some quality time together, except that Irene came down with a heavy cold and spent most of Christmas Day under a duvet!  Fortunately she got better quite quickly and New Year was spent down the local pub with friends enjoying welcoming in the New Year.

The weather here is still very wet, so much so that we have been unable to use our rented paddock for the horses simply because the surface is too slippery!  Fortunately our bark school has come into its own this winter, so the horses and goats have at least had somewhere to stretch their legs, rather than being stuck in their stables.

We had a hen last year that decided to creep off and sit on over a dozen eggs!  We rescued as many as we could and let her sit on 12.  She actually hatched 11 out of 12, which is something of a record, and she successfully reared them!  The only downside was that there were only 3 hens amongst the 11 chicks.   So now, come mid-January, we have 8 cockerels getting fat enough to be ‘necked’ to go in the freezer.  Not a job that I relish but it has to be done.

The ducks have decided it is too wet to lay any eggs so we have become a bit short. The hens must have agreed with them because they have been reluctant to lay too.   However we have tried an experiment by putting lighting in the Hen House, which has worked and we are now getting between 3 and 4 eggs a day from 6 hens.  Not bad and at least we now have some eggs.

The polytunnel is being cleared steadily and hopefully will be ready soon for the spring crops.  The main vegetable patch is far too wet to touch, so that will have to wait for a while yet but with all the manure we have, we should get a bumper crop this year.

We managed to get the horses out a couple of times before Xmas, but Toby the Irish Draft, gave us a scare when he reared up in the cart and refused to get on.  When we got him home and checked him over, his teeth were like razors and had obviously caught hs mouth on the bit!!  The equine dentist soon sorted him out and he is his old self again.

The cats and dogs are fine, as are the sheep Mollie & Millie (pictures of all soon).

Irene’s E-Bay business (cinderellafabrics) is doing well selling all sorts of vintage and antique linens, materials, lace doilies etc., as well as anything retro or interesting or unique.  She even runs a monthly ‘Stitch & Bitch’ day at the local pub, introducing ladies to all sorts of crafts including quilting, sewing, card making, rag rugging etc.  The local auction house is a mine of useful items and Gary is helping with E-Bay by listing all the ‘odd’ stuff we pick up!

Gary has got his brewery back up and running and he has brewed a nice Pale Ale and Stout which has been ready since just before Christmas.  He is only aloud a few pints at the weekend as he is watching his figure!  His bike club is also doing well and he is getting everything organised for the coming ‘biking’ season.

‘Billy’ the on-loan kid has now completed his duty so he will shortly be going back to his owner.  This means that Gary has the task of cleaning out all the goat pens, disinfecting them and getting them ready for the patter of tiny goat feet in the spring!  A New Year and new life is on the way.  With a couple of new grandaughters last year, our ‘family’ is growing steadily.

Well that’s all for now.  I hope to make these updates more regular in future.

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