Not long now, before Santa Claus arrives and Molly can't wait! As sheep don't really have much use for small trinkets, Molly suspects that her stocking will contain something eatable. That, in her book is a perfect beginning of the festive season.
The hens are a bit cool about the whole thing. Decorations in the stable are fine, as long as they can reach them. First I try out places for a few bits and pieces and then the hens come along and finish the job. This means that most of the decorations end up hidden in the hen house. So I have to see that some festive cheer can actually be seen by our dear sheep, throughout the holiday season.
This year I thought to make some decorations for the hens, mainly using seeds and straw. We will see how it goes. That way I don't have to worry that Lina ends up eating satin ribbons. She would, if she could get hold of them... I also learned, last year, that decorations should not be up before the night before Christmas, so they might stand a chance of seeing Christmas.
I cleared out everything from the henhouse, filled it with new, clean sawdust, straw and hay as to be sure it stays fresh through the colder months. That plus dusting the whole stable and washing the walls took up half a day, but it looked wonderful when its was finished. Having hens anywhere near a clean, tidy area means that within 24 hours, it all looks the same again. Homey, they tell me, but at least without all the dust. The hens now have a big wooden box full of sand for bathing in and nibbling at, and we have extra sand to fill up with, later in the year. Hens need sand for digesting their food, as well as for keeping clean and healthy. As you can tell, we are getting ready for winter and for Santa. (I will try and have a small Christmas tree for the hens this year. We will see how long it lasts...).
I decided not to support the palm oil industry, after visiting Durrell zoo last summer. As many of us do, I knew about the rainforest and the animals, but looking into the eyes of a beautiful orangutan makes it more real. So since August, our home has been a palm oil free zone. It's appalling how many food products you can't buy if you avoid palm oil. It's also surprising how healthy you get! As a dear friend pointed out to me, the stuff you do eat tastes better. And it's true! Palm oil is not only killing the rain forests, it's unhealthy to eat and should be avoided at all cost. I noticed that our cookies tend to be a bit boring, the chocolate of higher quality and the baked goods from small, local bakery's. In order to use palm oil, the taste has to be killed with something else.... Boring cookies it is and now we have our home made ginger bread sheep cookies to eat. Made with real butter! So next time I meet an orangutan, I can honestly say that I'm trying to help out.
Mr. Chip is looking forward to the holiday season, he tells me. People tend to eat more, children spill food and there are presents. "What more can you want, being a dog with an healthy appetite?". There is also a nice smelling Christmas tree in the house.
Last year I went out in a tiny snowstorm to find a Christmas tree for our home and one for our sheep to nibble on. I found a beautiful, lush tree for us, and a wonky, bushy tree for our stable friends. I was in a bit of a hurry and Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My got theirs first. They were very impressed and started munching away. When our tree had thawed my dear husband asked if I was feeling all right? I was a bit miffed by the question until I saw our tree. No wonder the four M’s were pleased. Our Christmas tree was wonky, bushy but beautiful all the same. And it got a bit more decorations than we usually put up. It still smelled as nicely as the one being eaten by happy sheep.
This year I am apparently not collecting our Christmas tree. But I already know which one the sheep will get. It's a beauty.
P.s. Mr. Chip went to a specialist to show his leg. As long as we can manage with his leg being slightly loose in limbs and ligaments we can carry on as usual. An operation may loom in the distance, but fingers crossed.
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.