Moving house, sleepy chickens and grease...

Emma Heseltine - 02 September 2012

The quantity of rain this weekend combined with the imminent harvest means I’ve decided to move the pigs today. They have made a nice muddy mess so now its time to move them up in the shelterbelt to a new patch. This is why I got electric fencing, to make moving them easier. It’s still quite a strategic task. I have to keep them contained whilst setting up the new area adjacent to the current patch. Luckily they have learnt big respect for electric fencing so as long as I don’t take too long about it they don’t notice I’ve turned the thing off. The trickiest part is getting them to cross the line where the old fence was and come into the new section; even after the tape is removed they are reluctant to test it. I don’t blame them really. Eventually they are ensconced in their new patch and have a jolly time rooting up all the grass.

I’ve just come home and its getting dark so I figure i'll put the birds to bed. Trouble is the naughty sheep have knocked the hen house door closed and so the chickens are locked out. Time for a sleepy chicken hunt. They are pretty easy to pick up when they are half asleep which is a good job as I’ve 22 to find. There is a bunch on the step outside the office and five or six huddled in the metal box by the run, once I’ve picked up a few some of the more late night girls notice I’ve opened the gate and go scurrying home. Next I find one perched on the bench and one on the railing, I’m up to 19. I have a look in the compost, a favourite chickeny spot but no luck. Nor under the butterfly hotel. I find one girl curled up in the hay in the extension shed which looks like a very cosy place to be. I suspect the last two are in there as well but I don’t want to go climbing about chasing chickens on the hay now it’s totally dark. The other two will have to find their own way home, I hope no ill comes to them, but I guess if they are not in an obvious place they should be okay. Finding sleepy chickens in the dark, it’s a new game.

It feels somewhat autumnal today and I’m collecting rowan berries at Tarraby. We need to make rowan jelly and the lovely red berries are all over the place at the moment. On my way back I spot blackberries in the hedges, it feels too early but I grab a pot and get collecting, can’t let them go to waste!

We’ve got the John Deere Combine out and John is giving it a look over. I’m being especially helpful by getting in the way and poking my hands in things and saying ‘what’s this for?’ I can help with the greasing though, there are two diagrams under each flap and it’s a case of de-coding the pictures and locating the grease nipples (no giggling at the back there) – some are a bit of a hunt. A combine harvester is a pretty complicated bit of kit, wheels, belts and gears galore. We get most of them and locate a belt that might need a bit of TLC. Bring on the harvest.

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