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AWOL

I didn’t realise I’d been gone for such a long time, but I can’t believe March went by that quickly.  At the beginning of the month we celebrated Steph’s birthday here with a party in the evening.  We were also celebrating dad’s 79th too of course and as usual it was a combined gathering.

The past week has been taken up with work.  Daniel departed on his holiday to Thailand and is expected back at the end of April.  He wasn’t going to go at all as he didn’t want to leave us to cope on our own even though his partner and several of his friends had made plans, but we told him he’d be silly to pass up an opportunity that probably won’t come his way again.  In the meantime we’ve become foster parents to the lovely Lola and although she’s coping well, it’s plain she’s missing him.  There are lots of long sighs and a fair bit of whimpering – I know how she feels.  Milking is fine when done twice a week as there’s a light at the end of the tunnel come Sunday evening, but at the moment I’m milking every morning for the next month and twice a week at least in the afternoons when Gordon has to ‘bed-up’ the animals. The last time I milked this regularly was about eleven years ago before Daniel came to work with us.  I found it hard then and I’m a lot older now!  Roll on the day when they can go out into the field – hopefully by the end of this week.

Our main herd started calving this week too.  The first calving didn’t go well and the vet had to be called to assist one of our old girls.  It wasn’t a good calving and she’s down now.  I think she may be despached this afternoon.  To add insult to her injury she had a very large bull calf.  The second cow to calf was easier, but also had a bull although the third has presented us with a heifer this morning.

Bring it on.

Quantocks

Today Terri and I decided we should go to the edge of the Quantocks to see the snowdrops around Fyne Court and Broomfield before they were over and thought we’d call into a cafe in the hills for coffee and cake en route, but sadly they were closed for the winter.  We pulled in to turn around and ended up in the car park at the base of Cothelstone Hill so decided to walk there first.  There were a lot of birds in the vicinity including several that I rarely see here; a nuthatch and a coal tit.  Once I’d finished taking photos we walked to the top of the hill and back again.  The wind was wicked and there was snow on the ground, but it certainly blew away the cobwebs.

NuthatchA blue tit and a coal titCurious blackbird

I love catkins, don't you?

I love catkins, don’t you?

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We did actually manage to see the snowdrops at Fyne Court afterwards.

Silly Thomas

When I started to feed the cats this evening there was no sign of Thomas. This is very unusual for him as he’s always clamouring for food come six o’clock. I asked Gordon if he’d seen him today and although we both thought hard about it neither of us could recall seeing him all day. Owners of old cats will understand that little moment of dread when you wonder whether he’s taken himself off to die especially since he’s so old.

We both called him – pretty much a waste of time as we know he’s as deaf as a post, then Gordon looked outside in his favourite haunts while I scoured the house. I eventually found him in the only room with a closed door upstairs – our guest bedroom where I keep my craft stuff.  He was fast asleep on the bed and gave a little jump when I picked him up.  The door to this room was open for maybe an hour yesterday but the door to the hall was probably open for five minutes while Gordon replenished the log basket. 

Good job we missed him or he could have been in there for the next week! I know that cats are often stupid, but Thomas should get a medal.

Spring? Is That You?

On my way into the house this morning after my chores (feeding the calves and washing down the milking parlour usually) the twisted willow that grows beside the front door glinted at me and of course, being me, I came in, fetched my camera and spent the next half an hour or so wandering around with it.  I also topped up the bird feeder since they seem to be emptying it every day and sat quietly in the summer house (damp seats) to see what came to feed.

These are a few I managed to take.

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Foxy Overload

I had a phone call last week from my friend Caroline who’s a very good artist, specialising mostly in animals.  She’d been in touch with Secret World to ask whether she could photograph some of their foxes in order to complete a few paintings.  They were very helpful and agreeable as they have four or five there as permanent residents; basically those that have been so hurt that they can’t be released back into the wild.

Being the good friend she is, she asked whether I could go too as her ‘backup’ photographer and below are the results of our morning’s excursion today.  These little foxes are completely tame and used to being fed by hand so had no fear when we entered the enclosure.  About an hour later we decided we probably had enough shots!  What a great way to spend the morning.

Just after we'd arrived and the foxes were fed.

Just after we’d arrived and the foxes were fed.

Such a cute little foxy face.

Such a cute little foxy face.

See how bothered I am that you're here.  Being fed is exhausting and it's so warm and sunny.

See how bothered I am that you’re here. Being fed is exhausting and it’s so warm and sunny.

The magpies were on hand just in case anything was left.  See how blue the sky is?  It almost felt like Spring.

The magpies were on hand just in case anything was left. See how blue the sky is? It almost felt like Spring.

Poser? Me? Surely not!

Poser? Me? Surely not!

But this is my good side.  See how beautiful I am?

But this is my good side. See how beautiful I am?

Smiling for the camera.

Smiling for the camera.

Is that a cat?

Is that a cat?

How I currently feel

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This is me.  Now.  I’m ill and those of you who know me of old know I hate to be ill.  I absolutely hate it.  Today I’m better than I was yesterday unless you count the fact that my ribcage feels like it’s had a good kicking and my nose feels like someone is trying to peel the skin off.  OK, I know it’s not the flu, but I’m still suffering.  On the plus side, I slept most of yesterday as I felt too weak to stay on my feet for more than a minute or two and at least I’m upright today.

The photo was taken in Prague, by the way.  It’s one of the saints on the Charles Bridge, but saint or not, there’s no respect from this seagull.

Robin

Gordon likes to feed the birds in the garden and this robin was hanging around for a long time, making a lot of noise about waiting in the queue.  I think it may have been taken through the window which is why it’s slightly fuzzy.

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