Odds and ends

We have a sick household at the moment.  I came down with a nasty head cold last weekend which I generously shared with the rest of the family.  Thankfully by the time they were all falling like skittles I was improving and mostly able to keep the household running.  Right now the lounge room is echoing with the sounds of coughs and splutters.  At least I can sympathise as I know just what it feels like.  It amazes me just how wretched you can feel when all you have is the common cold!  I moaned and groaned my way though it.  However you really appreciate your heath again when you start to improve don’t you?  I am still congested and get that horrible tickle in the throat when trying to sleep, but I am much better than I was.  Hopefully the others will start to pick up again soon.  Lydia wants to go to a poultry sale in Devonport tomorrow so I am hoping she and I will be well enough to go.

We just finished a scrumptious home grown turkey roast dinner with all those delicious roast vegetables to go with it.  Mostly I have been cooking the breast meat as I would with chicken and mincing the leg meat.  The leg meat is dark, not like chicken at all.   I am glad to think that our birds had a good and enjoyable life, and we knocked them off quickly in familiar circumstances to minimise any stress.  I am also glad that they make nice dinners.  🙂   Anyway, they had a much better life than a store bought bird has had.  The dressed weight of the last batch of young gobblers was between 3 and 3.6kg which we thought was quite respectable. I must say it is nice to have only 8 turkeys to lock up at night, and only 1 gobbler among them.  The gobbler is happy the others have gone too, as they were all starting to challenge his place as top bird, and I am not too sure that he would have managed to maintain that status much longer.  It took them a little while to get used to being such a small flock again, but they seem settled now.  They take themselves off to bed each evening when it is getting dark and I have to remember to run down and lock them in to keep them safe from predators.

I like to be out at dusk.  One of the things I love about going to national parks and rain forests is getting out of the car and hearing all the bird song.  Now I just have to go outside when the day is nearing an end and I can hear birds singing in the swamp from my scruffy front yard.  It is beautiful and never fails to make me feel more peaceful.  Mind you I can rarely see the birds.  The swamp is pretty much impenetrable.  I guess you might get through it if you were wearing waders, leather jacket and gloves and armed with a machete.

The other night Kim went down to lock up the turkeys for me when I was sick with the cold.  He discovered that the birds had company in their house in the form of a brushtail possum who was curled up fast asleep in one of the nesting boxes.  He endeavoured to evict it but it resisted all efforts and seemed to be very groggy so he determined to go down later when it would be more awake.  On returning he found the possum sitting up on the perch with the birds.  🙂  The possum did not want to leave.  He had decided that living under shelter with a nice warm bed and grain delivered each evening was a good lark.  The trouble with possums is that although they can seem quite fearless, if they panic they react rather like cat and just go berserk.  They also have long needle sharp claws so one needs to be quite careful handling them.  Kim used a stick to try to push this little fellow out but he clung vigourously to perches, nesting boxes and wire.  Eventually Kim’s persistence paid off and he managed to get him to climb up the door wire and out onto the top of the roof.  While Kim locked him out he scooted up a nearby tree and growled and grumbled loudly at him.  I so wish that I had been well enough to go and take photos of the event!

The piglets seem to be going well.  Mum is eating and eating and eating, no wonder since she is eating for 9.  The other pig is due to have her litter next week we believe.  The cow is, well, being a cow – in the insulting sense of the word.  Izzy is always very nervous and anxious, despite Sam treating her very calmly and gently all the time.  She is a shocker for kicking and if she does not settle down by Spring we may consider getting rid of her and starting again.  It might be better to hand rear a calf instead so that we can have one that is quiet and used to being handled.  The chooks are doing okay.  We ate the Barnevelder rooster who was getting rough with his hens and a few of them have now started laying again.  I am pleased about that as I sincerely hate buying eggs when I have so many chooks.

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