Monthly Archives: July 2019

Update at the Zedery

I haven’t written because not much has happened. I used to write regardless of whether I had anything to say, which might have made me more inventive and entertaining, or might have been deadly dull: I can’t judge that without looking through years of daily posts and I don’t think I’m up for that.

The chicks are still doing well and I have an admission to make – which hasn’t gone out on Facebook or anywhere else; only Tim and Wince know; which is that Scrabble is sitting on more eggs. Rose always says she’s unreliable and she did leave them for a little while yesterday, but she has been sitting for over a week. She had been scooting off to lay an egg as soon as I released the chooks from the henhouse each morning, but when I dished my foot, I disregarded numbers for a few days, so didn’t notice that she wasn’t returning at night.

The coop is ready, I’ll put her in it in another couple of days and, if she is unhappy enough to abandon the eggs, she will be let out again. If she stays, she’s in it for the duration. I think she’s sitting on eight eggs, so probably six chicks at most, which will hatch early next month.

I think we’ve got at least three, probably four, hopefully not more cock chicks. One of my favourites is, I’m sure, a boy, so I must not have favourites as we can’t keep any boys. They’re all doing very well. Wince and I moved the run yesterday, so they’ve got fresh grass, and I tried releasing Canasta, but she was so unhappy that I put her back. Good mummy.

I’ve tried to add photos but, though I can upload them, I am only given the options to delete or unselect them. Perhaps WordPress will get its act together and iron out this glitch. In the meantime, I can only suggest you befriend me on Facebook, which I know some of you object to on principle, not without reason. I’ll try again tomorrow.

On the seventh day…

The end of the week was gratefully reached. After driving well over 300 miles in three days, when I often don’t go that far in a month (and that’s when Tim and I go to Reading), and an early start and late finish yesterday, I didn’t want to do anything nor go anywhere today. I took Rose to the bus station yesterday at 6 am, for the start of her visit to her West Indian family, and picked Ro and family from the airport, which should have been at 9 pm but the plane was late and it was 10.15 by the time they were out, and over an hour later before I got home again. So, apart from making a loaf of bread, I’ve been thoroughly lazy today.

I must take more photos of the chicks. Their plumage has changed over the last few days, the final fluff gone and more colours coming out. The brown showed first, but now there are black and white feathers on some of them too. They’re very pretty. The run that Tim and I made for them is plenty big enough, though Canasta has dug a lot of holes in it – it’s charming to watch them dustbath, but she’s gone rather further than strictly necessary. Perhaps we’ll be able to move the whole thing in the next few days, they’d certainly appreciate it. Canasta is still happy to be with them, but we’ll probably take her out in the next week or two, when she’ll be ready to join the others. Things have changed since she became broody, because Rose’s chickens have joined ours in the henhouse to roost. Rose had enough on her plate and it’s no extra bother to shut them all up together. In fact, it’s less than one of use shutting them in two different places. I’m sure Canasta will catch on pretty quickly. And Jenga, the cockerel, will soon make sure she troops in with the others.

I was very relieved yesterday, when Betty, the feral girl cat, turned up to be fed in the evening. I hadn’t seen her since we got home, which was only a week but long enough for me to start to worry. She’s more independent than her brothers, so I thought she’d be all right, but father RasPutin had come for food a couple of times, so wild food couldn’t have been in that great supply. I’m sure that the mother cat and Zain, the tabby ex-kitten, found families to live with, because they wanted to be pets and were very tame and friendly, but none of the three remaining siblings will ever be adopted. They’re all cautious, though all allow me to stroke them now and are as fond of me as they are able to be. I’m fond of them too, but don’t think of them as pets. It doesn’t mean I don’t care or get anxious, though.

The foot bone’s connected to the … whoops!

Tim is away until tomorrow, which left me without feelings of guilt for being out a good deal. Last evening, I had a meeting in regard to the impending creating of a Multi-Academy Trust of three high schools, one of which is the one I still call ‘mine.’

The meeting itself, which was really for the benefit of those governors who are remaining a governor of their particular school but not getting involved with the others, was a success. My entry to the building went less well. It was at a hotel/conference centre/health’n’beauty spa/golf course and I went into reception to find the way to our room. So I was able to gather a little group of people and show them the way. Unfortunately, and I have no idea how I managed it, I stumbled on nothing at one point and went over quite hard on my left foot. It was probably very much the movement, though lower down, that did in Eloise cat’s knee. As my foot twisted, I heard a squelchy crunch, unlike anything I’d come across before.

“Excuse me if I hobble for a while,” I said and everyone politely pretended not to worry until they forgot about it, six or seven seconds later. I was wearing fairly substantially strapped sandals, so hoped that would stop the foot swelling to the point I couldn’t walk.

When I got home, I supped on a glass of wine and some toast and Marmite, as it was 9.30 and I was more tired than hungry, and then went to bed with whisky and chocolate. And some ibuprofen. And I slept well, left in good time for my next appointment, which involved a five hour round trip, and when I arrived home I realised that my foot was more swollen. So I took the advice of Facebook friends and took myself off to A&E.

In short, I’ve broken a bone in my fifth metatarsal, or little toe as we unqualified people say. It’s the last one before the actual foot bone. But it’s stable, hasn’t shifted and only needs support, not a plaster cast. I’m very lucky. As it’s my left foot and I drive an automatic, I’ve even been given the all clear for driving, which is just as well as I’d gone to hospital on my own (if they’d said I needed a cast, I’d have asked to go back the next day). I am wearing a substantial boot, strapped all about and secured with Velcro, and it’s much more comfortable to walk, though rather hot. I’m told that it’ll heal in four to six weeks, though it’ll take at least eight months for full recovery. But it could be so much worse.

Eloise cat is very much enjoying pottering around in the garden and she isn’t running and jumping yet. I think her leg still aches after a while, because she limps once she’s been out half an hour or so.

This has been two firsts for me. I’ve never been to A&E on my own account before; and I’ve never broken a bone before. It’s only a little practice bone and I didn’t actually go there as an emergency, so they were amateurish efforts, but I do my best.

Chick pics

It’s been pointed out that my description of the chicken run makes little sense. I’ll try again. The coop is six feet long, so the extra run is 6’x4′ and the three boards are three sides, with the coop itself being the fourth side. Here it is.

It’s a great success, the chicks and Canasta are very happy. The chicks are over three weeks old now and they’re looking like miniature hens. Sadly, one of them keeps squaring up to another and it’s fairly clear that they’re cockerels. I say ‘one’ and ‘another’ but I’m not too good at telling brownish, speckledy birds apart and it could well be more than two. I’m sure we’ve got some girls anyway, though.

The brown and yellowish bit, bottom right corner, is where the run was last week.

When a cock gets his spurs caught

We’ve made a very simple run. A six foot board, two four foot boards, four uprights, all screwed together into a rectangle, wire netting staple-gunned onto three sides, then the whole thing attached to the coop, with easily undone wires, and netting over the top. We moved the coop to fresh grass and then let the chicks and their mother out. They’ve had a lovely day, with plenty of room to run around. When I went out to shut them back in the coop at about 7 o’clock, one was still outside but she ran behind the door, so I could easily pick her up and pop her back with the others. The only small flaw in the plan was, because the netting draped on the ground all around, when Jenga the cock went to inspect his offspring, he got caught up. I picked him up and untangled him, and covered the netting on the ground with extra boards. He took it all in good part and didn’t panic, fortunately.

Otherwise, apart from usual stuff, we’ve taken some time out. We went out for lunch yesterday and had a delicious “innkeeper’s platter” which comprised several fish oddments, several meat oddments, salad and two sorts of cheeses, with hummus, homemade chutney and nice bread. We had a small portion of chips too, which were good but probably too much food. As a result, we couldn’t eat all our dinner and it’s forming the basis of tonight’s meal, which LT is cooking.

What happened was, when we saw the specials board, we were both drawn to the crab salad. We were also drawn to the shared board. So I suggested that we have the latter and pop into the fishmonger next door for a couple of crabs for dinner. Tim was mightily impressed, as well he might be, and that’s what we did. We also called into Simon the greengrocer, because we knew via Facebook that he’d got the first Kentish cherries in. I value and appreciate local/English/British food in season and I know how chancy it is to grow cherries, so I buy them in quantity when they’re available. We bought salad things from the local Care Farm too, which is a great place that really helps vulnerable people whilst providing truly excellent food too. Anyway, when it came to dinnertime, we should really have shared one of the crabs because we each left at least half of ours. And Tim has done a pasta dish with tomatoes and crab tonight. I also bought more cherries and a punnet of local raspberries, most of which I ate in front of Wimbledon this afternoon.

The only fly in our ointment is that I haven’t seen Betty, the outdoor girl cat, since we arrived home. But Rose said that she turned up sometimes, not all the time, when we were away. So I am reasonably confident that she simply is catching her own food. I do like the cats to touch base with me though. Mother cat and Zain have found their own families and they deserve that, they’re sweet and lovely cats that wanted homes, but the others are friendly but definitely feral; though Betty is the friendliest of the three remaining kittens.

It turned cold this afternoon. I had to put on a cardigan. What’s that about, hey?

Home, and now Eloise cat is completely confused

On the drive home, on another sunny day, we were delayed by more accidents. What does sunshine do to people?

The visit was a success, in particular because of Eloise cat’s enjoyment of LT’s house. We’re very tempted to bring her again sometimes. The downsides are, of course, the journey and that she can’t be allowed outside. With a fairly busy road, much closer than she’s used to, it’s too risky. All the same, she adjusts quite well to indoor living and we do miss her awfully when we’re away.

The cat carrier, which is actually Rose’s, is quite battered. When we had Billy working for us, he dumped a bag of cement on it, which cracked it. I mended it with gaffer tape but we had decided to buy her a smart new one – as if she cares, of course, but we do. And then, when I was letting her out on our arrival home, the knob that keeps the door in place broke off in my hand. I was able to open the door (and the whole thing takes apart if need be) but it’s not conveniently useable again, so I went straight to order a new one. She’s going to the vet for a final checkup on Monday, after which we hope she’ll be given the all clear to go outside.

The other pleasures of the visit, of course, were in seeing our friends. We’d invited one couple for Sunday lunch and the other for dinner on Monday. And then on Tuesday, we called on a sort-of relation by marriage of his, a splendid lady of 96, who Tim used to see every week until he took up with me. I asked which year she was born; it’s the same year as my mother.

All is fine at home. The baby chicks are getting speckled wings and are in great health. Their coop is not as big as they – and their mum – would like and we’re adding a run to it, tomorrow. We discussed it before we went away and have it all planned. It has to be covered, but I’ll use the netting that is covering brassicas at present. The purpose of that was to keep pigeons off the seedlings, but they’re rather bigger than seedlings now.