Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Muddy Endings

Thanks to everyone who enquired about my Mum. I visited her yesterday and she was able to communicate a little but today she was asleep and although I woke her briefly, she slept through most of my visit. I could not find anyone to tell me what was going on, but the young doctor said that as she had only just moved on to the ward they would not have anything to report until this evening. I spoke to the sister this evening and she said that they are doing various assessments but will not know the prognosis for two or three days.

Yesterday I started to muck out the barn and we decided that the resulting soiled straw should be taken down to the bottom paddock where we have a pile of other rubbish bio-degrading. We have a small trailer and I loaded approximately half of the much on to it. I was really impressed with myself as I managed to reverse on to the trailer, hitch up and then reverse it across the yard to the barn where I loaded the trailer and set off to my destination feeling quite pleased with myself. I turned into the bottom paddock and decided to do a right circle so that I. would arrive next to the dumping area, at which point everything went pear shaped. The ground was so muddy and slippery that the landrover just sank into it and I could not move either way. Trevor, who is helping out from time to time whilst Mike is recovering, came down and we tried to dig our way out but to no avail. At the moment the landrover and trailer have been abandoned awaiting a tractor tow.

As a result I have decided that whilst the alpacas can still have access to the paddock I am not going to risk taking a vehicle (such as the quad bike) down there again until the mud has dried up a bit. This means I cannot take hay or feed down to the big shelter in that field so we have decided to make the barn into a night shelter and feed them in there. Because of the logistics we have decided to use deep litter rather than completely cleaning out the barn each day. This should have the added benefit that the alpacas will have some time everyday when their feet are not covered in mud or water.

This evening was the first time for a few days that they have had access to the barn and I thought I might have to drive them in, but when I got back from the hospital I noticed that they had all moved up to the paddock nearest to the barn and were more or less expecting to go in, so I just shouted "Come on Girls" and they all trotted in as though they thought it was about time too.

Far from going off lay, the chickens seem to be laying more. Yesterday we had ten eggs from eight chickens and most days we are finding at least eight.

The mud everywhere makes life a little unpleasant at times and the dogs have to be washed off every day - especially Jake, who has a very long coat.

The neighbour who helps me clean the paddocks came in this morning after staying away last week with a nasty bug. She brought her dog along, as she usually does, and they all had a lovely time getting as muddy and dirty as possible. We dunked them in an unused trough in one of the paddocks. Although they like swimming in rivers, given the chance, they do not seem to appreciate being washed off just to please me.

Kittens rule OK. When I feed them the chickens try to pinch their food, but although the chickens are about twice their size, they stand their ground and eat with their usual dedication whilst I chase the chickens away. The latest ploy is to feed them on top of the wheely bin which low enough for the hens to fly up to but has such a small surface that their is no room for them to land when the kittens and their bowl are on top.

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