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Archive for April, 2011

Royal Wedding

Saturday 30 April 2011

I seem to be running a day behind on my blog, but did you watch the Royal Wedding?  I wasn’t going to.  I had no intention of wasting my morning watching people I don’t know get married.  Then my friend Vivien invited me to her house to watch it with a small group of friends, which made the whole experience much more sociable.  I have to confess that I actually enjoyed seeing it, feeling very patriotic, admiring that beautiful dress and listening to the service.  We were slightly mystified by the nuns sat next to William, but decided they must be fairly important.  We should have done our research I suppose, although Viv’s friend Mary did have the itinerary from the paper which explained stuff in detail.

We left the television for a salmon salad lunch, went back for the balcony scene, then finished off the experience with a delicious Bailey’s cheesecake made by Debbie.  Of course, I had to come back to help Gordon in the afternoon with the milking, but had a lovely morning thanks to the company of some really nice ladies.

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Rescue Mission

Friday 29 April 2011

Yesterday Gordon rushed in at about 5.30 pm and told me he needed some help with one of the cows on the canal bank.  Apparently she’d calved then gone down to drink and tumbled into the ditch, but instead of climbing out she’d walked along until she was wedged under a patch of hedge.  We ‘buy the grass’ on four stretches of canal bank, two of which can only be reached by driving under the motorway bridge that crosses the canal.  It’s very low and even on the quad we have to duck down, so any rescue attempt with a larger machine involves going around the long way.

I got there first on the quad with all the necessaries such as rope and several bottles of calciject, as Gordon suspected the reason she may have slipped is because she had milk-fever.  This is something cows get immediately after calving and is caused by a sudden drain on the amount of calcium they have in their bodies.  It causes extreme weakness and the cow goes down.  Despite struggling to get up again they’re rarely able to due to being so weak.  This cow was well and truly stuck under the bush, and since they rarely do reversing  or turning around, we had a problem.

Some minutes later Gordon appeared in the distance driving the yellow matbro, which you can just about see.  I’ve uploaded this photo without making it smaller, so if you click on it you might see it better.

Once he got to us he cleared the way as quickly as he was able.  It looks a bit harsh, but the bush will recover and the cow might not have.  She was starting to shake violently since it was pretty cold for her standing in the ditch.  When they’re in this situation they almost looked relieved when Gordon appears on the scene as if they know they’ll be all right now.

He went down to talk to her and slipped a rope around her neck.  This is the tricky part, apparently.  A cow has to be dragged by the neck, which is fine as long as the knot on the rope is between the bones of their bottom jaw, ie directly under their chin.  If you try to rescue a horse in the same way, you snap its neck.  Similarly, if you try to drag a cow in the same way as a horse you can do massive damage.  Luckily Gordon’s done this many times before and knows what he’s doing.  I tend to stand around looking anxious as it always looks so harsh.

No photos to show you of the actual dragging out part of this rescue mission since Gordon had me down the bank keeping the knot in place so she didn’t strangle herself.  It was a bit prickly down there and both the cow and I were glad to be away from the ditch.  There was a moment of anxiety as she struggled to get upright and rolled over towards the ditch again, but she eventually got to her feet and started looking for her calf, which was sleeping about half a kilometre away, totally unaware that anything was amiss.

I went on ahead to wake the calf and stand him up so she could see him.  Once she had him in her sights she started trotting along, mooing and calling him.

The pointy hand thing shows where we found her in the ditch.

Once mother and baby were reunited Gordon drove off to get back to the farm and I followed on with the quad.  You can see from the photo how muddy she was, but other than a few scratches she was fine.

We walked them both back to a warm pen and let them rest.  When she came into the parlour this morning I put a thick layer of udder grease on the worst of her scratches and hopefully she’ll be all healed up in a few days, but in the meantime she’s a little bit tender.  We’re also having to feed the calf as he seems incapable of getting his head in the right place!

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Fitness Pal

Saturday 23 April 2011

Alex has decided to watch what she eats prior to her first-ever on-her-own holiday to Greece in May and has therefore installed the Fitness Pal app on her Blackberry.  She reckons it’s pretty good so I wondered whether I could get something similar on my computer, not being the owner of anything complicated enough to run an app on.  It turns out there’s a website and it’s free to join, so I did.  It’s like an interactive food diary which calculates what you should be eating, what calories you’ve used for the day and how many you have left.  You have to be honest with it of course, but it seems that you’re the only one that can look at your diary – probably just as well in my case!

If you fancy taking a look you can find it here and if you like you can track me down and ‘be my friend’ (sounds a bit desperate, doesn’t it?)  My user name is the same as the one I use for here.  If nothing else it’s quite educational to see what I’m actually eating each day.

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Thursday 21 April 2011

Imagine me with my hands on my hips, shaking my head sadly.  The poor old hall is still unpapered, but in Gordon’s defence he and Dan have ploughed and power-harrowed a twenty acre field, finishing around 7.30 pm each evening.  I can’t complain I suppose since the weathermen originally predicted rain this weekend and they wanted to get it sorted before we lost this glorious weather.  However, I’m reaching a kind of feng shui breaking point with all the clutter.  Why does decorating one area of the house seem to impact so hugely on the rest of it?  He’s promised to attend to it as soon as the maize is in, but before silage-making, which is the best I can hope for.

I visited my neighbour and friend Viv last week and we were stood around her newly-refurbished garden pond, my donation to which was six small goldfish from our garden pond.  She’s really lucky as she’s got newts in her pond and we were pointing them out like excited children: “ooh look, there’s one!”, and “that’s only a baby one, look – it’s very small!”  Her 21 year-old daughter was joining in the fun so I asked her if she knew what a baby newt was called.  Without missing a beat she answered “a mi-newt?”  It’s not right, but I think I like it better!

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Tuesday 19 April 2011

Since it doesn’t happen very often, I’ve gone with it.  The computer has stayed firmly off until today (which of course gives me a backlog of junk mail to clear) and I’ve been getting on with other stuff, mostly decorating and gardening.  The hall has finally come back into play and Gordon is promising to start the wallpapering this evening.  Whether or not it happens remains to be seen, but you can be sure there’ll be photos if it does.  He’s also grudgingly been helping me in the garden clearing away overgrown shrubs and flowerbeds.  I have sorted out the greenhouse and am actually growing things in it this year: courgettes, beans, tomato plants, lettuces and geraniums at the moment, all from seed.  Some things are ready to go out into the garden, but I’m not sure whether it’s warm enough yet.  I normally don’t get round to doing this sort of thing until at least May!

While I was away from the blog, the girls visited – Alex on Monday and Tuesday and Steph, who travelled with her on the train, from Monday until Friday afternoon.  It was great to spend a bit of time with them.  I’m not sure whether they’ll be home for Easter but Steph has end-of-year exams in May so possibly not.  Alex starts her new job at the end of April and I know she’s looking forward to not having a thirty-minute bus journey at either end of the day.

I had lots of strange comments left in my absence including one telling me the blog was rubbish and boring.  It might be (I’m not fishing for compliments, honest), but it’s my ramblings about my life and if you aren’t interested in it, please don’t bother telling me.  Just don’t visit again – really, it’s that easy.  I’ve chosen to not publish it on my blog – hey, it’s my space, I can have what I like on it!  I’ve visited blogs that don’t interest me, but I’ve never been spiteful enough to leave a comment to that effect.  There are thousands of blogs out there and we can’t be fascinated in all of them, but to those of you who choose to return to read my prattlings – Mwah!  Thanks for coming.

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Mr Tom

Saturday 9 April 2011

The sun is shining, the cats are outside soaking it up and Mr Tom has decided to sit on the bonnet of this tractor.  Since I was wandering around in the sunshine with my camera I was able to capture him.

I also got this photo in the garden.  I love bluebells.

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Friday 8 April 2011

I met my sister, dad and a friend for lunch in Burnham-on-Sea today.  The sun was shining so we walked along the seafront.

It was like being on holiday.

The locals often to refer to Burnham-on-Sea as Burnham-on-Mud.  You can see why!  Spot the odd bird out, by the way.

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