Mr. Chip had his spring check up and everything seems fine. The Cushing syndrome is kept in check by medication; two tablets with food, each morning at eight o'clock. We are organised to a fault but if it's helping the little lad, why not? Next visit concerning the Cushings will be in the autumn, if all goes well. We will go back next week for some injections that are due to be renewed. Mr. Chip will not be thrilled but getting rabies can't be a laugh a minute, either, so we are visiting the vet again. We are also on a diet.... Our poor dog has gained some excess weight and it's mostly my fault. When the weather conditions were very icy we could not walk so far as Mr. Chip has a wobbly leg that should not slip sideways. We still ate normally as he eats surprisingly small portions and without food you tend to die. Now there is some weight to loose and we'll get there.
We are bringing home four or five chicks in the beginning of May. They are coming from the same breeder as all our hens and we can't wait! I have high hopes that Darya will take them on, as she is kindness on legs and still a bit of a loner. A week after Eric had moved away, Darya got in to such a foul mood that I thought I would have to take her to visit him. She was snippy and grumpy and only polite to the sheep. Her mood lasted for a week and she walked around on her own a lot so in the end I think she was feeling broody and contemplating building a nest. Then all of a sudden she was back, being her lovely self again, so maybe it was not Eric after all. She just decided not to start nesting. Pippi is in a brilliant mood and clearly moving on after her son flew the nest.
Monty has started a rambling club. He takes the hens for long walks all over the place. As this is the time when hens should be kept in their outdoor cages, I worry a bit. I tried keeping them locked up but the complaints were loud and painful to listen to, so once again, I caved. Most of the migrating birds have arrived by now anyway, I guess.
The ramblers take a break on our step, where they get water and some nice biscuits. Then off they go again, Monty in the lead and five minutes later we see him running in all directions, trying to keep his little group together. It's not easy being a walking leader and he falls asleep first, in the evenings. All you can see is a drooping head while he leans on a hen, fast asleep. He does wake up very early, as well....
Our lovely sheep are itching less and I have not found any tiny visitors, since the medication. Fingers crossed. We will do a repeat performance with the stuff in four weeks time. By then they will have less wool and it will be an easier task. We are also looking at alternative to sawdust for their loose box. Hemp is one option. It works like peat, you only take out the wet spots and build up a mattress for the floor. Hemp should be a more environmentally friendly option than peat but I still have to read up about it. It's also much more expensive than anything else on offer but we could compost it in the garden. It's basically chopped up stems of a plant, I think. Sawdust is lovely and keeps a fresh home for the animals but it sticks to the wool and it tends to builds up on the manure heap. And even the better quality still dusts a lot. The clue is in the name.... I turned part of the manure heap on Sunday morning. Some go to church, some... Anyway, I dug down to the bottom of the heap and it was really hot and burning well. All of a sudden the hens turned up trying to jump head first into the hole I had dug. I saved them from becoming a bbq brunch, but you have to move fast. They were very surprised by my behaviour and called me this and that as they stomped off. It sometimes worries me that they are so trustworthy. Anything could happen to them as they seem to believe that whatever we do, they are welcomed to join in. Sweet but worrying...They still have not figured out that the tractor contains my dear husband, when it passes them. The day that fact is brought home to them, they will want to ride along with him. And then dear husband will want to move far, far away, so I won't tell the hens.... Mr. Chip used to ride along in the tractor when he was younger, him and his best friend. The hens have to stick to our game "Wheelbarrow taxi", where I push them along and they look like something out of a road movie. More "Thelma and Louise" than Jack Kerouac, though. But it's a fun game and our four sheep look at us with bewilderment, bless them.
Spring does open up the world, both mentally and physically and it's just to go with it and enjoy. The feeling of more space, again, makes you happy and Mr. Chip celebrates the fact that the ice has melted away. Now all we have to do is walk a lot and to remember to pull in our tummies, at the next vet appointment.
They say that hens dream. They experience REM sleep, just like us. How wonderful!
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.