Our summer seems to have been very short, as we are now back down to only plus 4 degrees C in the mornings. Slightly stormy days have not helped the matter one small bit. Mumble, mumble...
We have an overly optimistic hare mother who places her young ones around our little house. I'm quite convinced that it's as much for shelter from the wind as for safety from predators. What the caring mother has not really counted for, is the fact that one of the biggest safety issues lives in the house. Our dear Ebba dog thinks hares are toys or entertainment. This she informs us by sitting by the windows in the evenings, bolt upright, following their every move. When it all gets too exiting, dear Ebba comes and either bites me playfully (she takes my hand in her mouth like the big puppy she still seems to be. It hurts!) or tries to climb up in dear husband’s lap. This is not the best idea, as it's like sitting with an elk on your knee when she scrambles up.
Speaking of elks - Ebba met her first elk family. Now as I write this, it hit me that it was not a complete family of elks for I saw no bull. Anyway, we had an evening walk, dear dog and I (It sounds better than having a mad dash through thick foliage and closely growing trees). Anyway, we were bobbing about and suddenly Ebba tried to dive into a large patch of raspberry bushes and there stood two small, identically sized, chocolate brown young elks. They are about as sweet looking as any baby animal can be. Apart from hares, dogs, birds.
I stopped Ebba from that encounter when I heard their mother huffing and puffing behind me. The problem was that we were in the middle of the elks and the poor mother just wanted to get to her young ones. She was very agitated, and rightly so, the hairs on her neck all standing up. We all walked together for a while, the calves following us on one side of a small forest path and the mother on the other side. In the middle dear Ebba jumped on two legs, straining to get to meet at least one new neighbour? I felt very small but, I do so like elks.
In the end, we arrived to a mini clearing and the poor elk got to walk over to her babies who by then thought our funny dog must have been their daily entertainment. A bit like a clown at a birthday party. I had started wondering by then if dear Ebba is not altogether there as they say in the Durrell books.
Our happy hens are roaming the countryside, chicks and all. They are once again legally free and happy and as there are 21 of them, it looks impressive when they all head off for their adventures. Poor Monty has given up trying to keep them all together so instead he just runs around, visiting everyone. He looks a tad stressed and when the evening is upon us, he's the first one to fall asleep.
I finally had time and a sunny day for it, so I cleaned out the stable after a long winter. I emptied the sheep pen, although that's cleaned twice a day, and then took everything out from the hen's two loose boxes. It took me eight hours to clean, dust and refill with clean stuff. Eight hours!! All this because clever old me had thought peat and linseed straw would be better for the animals to sleep on, during the winter.
All I can say in hindsight is that peat might be better for the hen lungs but it nearly had mine. Every surface in the stable was covered in brown dust when I had ferried out the peat. I washed and muttered all day and I would still be going if dear husband had not stepped in to help with filling up with new, wonderful sawdust.
The linseed straw (chopped up like slippery sticks) was probably not a bad idea. However, we now know that peat belongs in the bog, full stop.
The stable is now very clean, very fresh and I do love the feeling of four happy sheep going to bed in a dust free home. The hens don't seem to notice and when they finally do, they quickly make everything messy again. Hens are funny that way.
The summer theater season is fast approaching and today our dog is joining dear husband for a day out. Ebba is going along for the rehearsals and this will probably be a day to remember. I have a party to put together for a lovely friend so sweet Ebba is turning thespian. Fingers crossed and I'll let you know how it all turned out.
Must dash, cakes to ferry, dress to find and flowers to be gathered. You would not want me as your party organiser, trust me. At least the sun is out. Will get back to this one, next week as well.
Enjoy and be happy, as our hens would say. Just looked outside and the mother hare is sitting munching away outside our house, baby at her side. So sweet.
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.