Saturday, 12 December 2015

The twelve days of Christmas

This week’s post is brought to you through the medium of song. Ok, so I know that the 12 days of Christmas is actually intended for the days after the Big Day but I hope you will allow me some poetic licence in posting this on the 12th December with 12 days still to go. Oh and I’ve provided the York Notes guide to the lyrics below, just to fill you in a bit on what we’ve been up to of late. So here goes…

“On the 1st (2nd, 3rd, etc., etc.) day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

                Twelve slugs a-sliming[1]

                Eleven rats a-robbing[2]

                Ten leeks not growing[3]

                Nine chooks for roasting[4]

                Eight fields a-flooding[5]

                Seven hens not laying[6]

                Six drains a-leaking[7]

                Five crumbling barns[8]

                Four tons of kale[9]

                Three mad turks[10]

                Two porkie pigs[11]

                And a white hen with no tail![12]"

So there you have it. We’re all gearing up nicely for our first Christmas at our new place (read: have not yet done a bloody thing - apart from the meat obviously.... in that respect we are triply covered).  I’m sure I can pull it out of the bag over the next 12 days. And if I can’t there’s always next year. Merry Christmas y’all!

[1] This week we have had an inexplicable slug invasion in the house. Not sure whether this is to do with all the rain or our eldest daughter’s penchant for gastropods and bringing them into the back porch to "look after them". Either way we are running a little short on salt. Must add it to the 14th page of the ever-expanding shopping list for Christmas. So much for self-sufficiency...

[2] Rats still at it. Although they are now having to form an orderly queue behind the turkeys – see [10] below

[3] My leeks still resemble blades of grass. At what point do you throw in the towel and put a raised bed down to a bad job?

[4] It’s been an epic week for chicken. My husband embarked on a marathon execution run on Saturday, dispatching nine of the Ross Cobb chicks. He is like a machine now, 40 minutes per bird and didn’t even stop for lunch. I have never seen breasts so large (oo er missus) but joking apart, one of them easily feeds a family of four. Maybe the rats are not that efficient after all…

Dolly Parton of the poultry world

[5] Desmond has not been as unkind to us as some parts of the country but we still haven’t escaped yet more centimetres of rain. Wellies and full waterproofs still very much the order of the day.

[6] We now have nine hens left and are getting a paltry offering of two eggs a day. Fair enough, four hens are designed to grace the dining table rather than the laying box, but for the remaining three who are still freeloading, they need to have a long hard think about their new year’s resolution or the stock pot will be calling.

[7] Perhaps a little unfair. The drains are actually working fine but there has been so much rain that the overflow has been perhaps inevitable. (Never in my life thought I would spend so much time thinking, talking or writing about drains. What have I become?!)

[8] No change there then. Yet. Although we have now cleared them all out and are gearing them up for their next incarnation. Watch this space.

[9] That and the sodding chard is all we have left to eat from the veg patch now. Oh and one solitary cabbage which we are saving for a sunny day (we can but dream).

[10] Not a great time of year to be a turkey but ours are certainly making the most of being on death row. Their days are spent charging around the pen like pterodactyls on speed making the most extraordinary noises and doing crazy (borderline rude) things with their wattles (they can become red and erect - no idea what the evolutionary design behind that is, go figure!). There is also definitely something of the Mick Jagger about them as they fluff up their feathers and strut about. Pleasingly they are now too fat to fit through the door of the hen house (a good sign). A slightly more tragic sign of their current weight was Snowy the Black Rock hen who was literally flattened and killed this week when one of the monstrous beasts accidentally sat on her. We were not too distraught given that she has not laid a single bloody egg in over ten months now. She was on borrowed time anyway…

Gimme Shelter (especially now I no longer fit through the hen house door)

[11] Strictly speaking we now only actually have one alive pig (sorry to break the news to you like this) but who am I to let a little fact like that stand in the way of a good lyrical line...?

[12] Not quite sure what is going on with this particular chicken but there aint any feather action going on at the rear end there at all. Most bizarre.

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