Friday, 31 August 2012

The too hungry caterpillars

Or should I say "gazzilions" of stripy, hungry caterpillars (and eggs, grrrrrrr) in the no-idea-what-they-are-but-look-like-cabbages plants.  Today, being one of the few nice days of late, was a garden day, Grandad and I picking the caterpillars off the plants and putting them in pots to give to the chickens (who incidently didn't touch them!).

I must be the only person to find the Very Hungry Caterpillar MIND NUMBINGLY DULL AND BORING (sorry Eric Carle fans!), so we never read it, but C and I have watched this you tube vid  quite a few times; needless to say one of us was pleased to see so many caterpillars and eggs. At one point we did have to say that C could only play with the caterpillars outside the veggies, as quite a few were successfully helped in their bid for freedom from the pot and were dropped back on the plants - never to be found again.

C played with them for about half an hour; "giving them kisses" (eeurgh!); "cuddling" them (it's actually under her finger!)....

....stroking(!) them....


....sticking them to her jumper.....





....sticking them to her wellies














 (which they don't).....












....feeding them grass.....




...and although C was very careful not to squash them, she was very matter of fact when one did 'stop moving'.


I just hope I can tap into some of that 'groundedness' when the first of our animals leave us in the next couple of weeks.....



Sunday, 19 August 2012

Just another evening.....

The summer sun is setting, gently casting an orange hue over the paddock......


The flies buzz quietly and move unhindered by a single breath of wind.....


Animals contently finish their evening feed, basking in the evening warmth........


 The milking is finished.....and all that remains to do this evening is.....


kiss goodnight a 'sleepy' child bathed and ready for bed.....but, hang on a second..........


A look is exchanged between Nanny Southwellski and Grandpa Southwellski.

"Don't ask", he says, "At least I won the battle over her wearing 4 pairs of socks".  Fleecy pjs in August! I ask you. 

Going on holiday


There was  a time a few weeks back when whoever C asked to play with my reply was "they're on holiday".

C: "me go on holiday tooooooo"

Me: "ok, we can go on holiday.  What would you like to do on holiday" (it's so hard to explain the notion of holiday to a 2 year old so I turned the tables - clever eh?)

C: "feed ducks; walk, walk, walk; eat brown sausages".  The reference to brown sausages actually means unbattered, unlike the ones we have got for her from the fish and chip shop.

I may not be a duck but FEED ME!!!
Well, with that list in mind (ignoring the fact that we actually have ducks here that she could feed AND we could walk down to the forest or river AND that we could purchase an unbattered sausage), Grandpa Southwellski and I took C 'on holiday'.  We went to Pensthorpe.  The only place I could think of guaranteed to have ducks to feed, whilst providing a change of scenery for us adults too.

It was actually great fun.  If that sounds unexpected, it's intentional!

We pond-dipped; played croquet; fed ducks; and "walked, walked, walked"; but alas, alack we forgot to pack brown sausages in our picnic!

Oh well, that just means we will have to go on another 'holiday' soon.


Anyone for croquet?




Monday, 13 August 2012

The animals came in two by two....

Wow, a WHOLE MONTH since I've blogged.

C continues to be interested in  obsessed with nursing, the milking variety rather than medical.  Poor Blossom and Scarlett (2 of our bitches) are constantly having to roll over for a "teat inspection"; even the cats (male and female) have had to endure a teat finding session - cats aren't terribly cooperative and it's every bit as difficult as it sounds I can tell you!  So although C has her nursing cat and nursing book she was very excited to actually get to do some milking herself.  Enter our new milking Nanny, Simone and her cheeky and immature goatling pal, Ashia.



Simone and Ashia are "part 3" (veggies were part 1 and chickens, part 2) of our self sufficiency plan, but more about them another time.  Part 4 and 5 followed on very quickly from part 3 - about 23 hours in fact, with the arrival of 2 weaner pigs ("piggy pig-pigs") and 2 lambs ("sheepy sheeps").  I'm guessing you can tell by the 'impersonal' names that these four are around for a specific purpose.  And a specific length of time too. 

So, it' been quite a month really.  As for C, she has taken it all in her stride - but was especially fascinated to find out that the pigs were actually gilts - and that even from the other side of the fence she could see their teats.....