We have some sad news to report. Sad news with which to be bringing in 2019. Our 'toaster' mouse met a snappy end the other day. Although a pest he became known as 'toaster mouse' and we asked daily if each other had seen him. He (and his chums) was the only form of farm animal we had at West Bastlebog. And we had to take our hat off to his boldness in running around at any time of day. So to dispatch our only farm animal was with a slight sadness. However we are delighted to report that the rest of the moose clan seems to be gone. Seven in total. If not gone, then they are at least invisible and silent.
Since the last diary entry the apples have come to an end and our final apple crumble was on Christmas day. I kick myself now for not trying to salvage more for washing and storage. But there's been a hundred and one other things that have seemed more important. The weather has been kind and allowed us to start to sorting out the yards and stores. For now it's just been a case of dumping, burning and trying to salvage what we can. It is quite a large task and wherever we walk we see other broken things and jobs. Some bigger such a weir repairs but others that just require carrying a small toolbag with me wherever I go. We have both commented on how much more in tune with the weather we now are but even more so the limited hours of daylight. My past jobs have never been at the mercy of daylight. While some of you will likely have been nursing hangovers this morning after last night's Hogmany celebrations I was gate building at sunrise. Squeezing out the most from the day. Oscar has been a great helper. Harriet less so. She seems more interested in eating soil or drinking stagnant water from a decaying and slimy water butt. But it's organic so it must be good!
I said it was with a sadness to be reporting the loss of our only small farm animals, even if they were just mice. However on New Year's Eve we were really excited to collect our first hens. There are ten in total plus a Light Sussex cock the farmer threw in for free. It's a bit of a runt of a cock and barely bigger than the hens so he may find it difficult to keep his house in order. I just hope his noise won't carry to the village. We'd be really popular newcomers. As I write the flock are still on their house as we kept them in all day to help them acclimatise. Such was the shock the journey that the two Columbian Blacktails had laid eggs. Poor wee things. They at least have a good free range life ahead of them.
We had thought that it wouldn't be until later in January or February until we were ready for hens but we found a hen house in fairly good condition in another small orchard. It was a bit of a task for Alexa and I to get it out through the undergrowth and then onto to the back of the trailer (while Harriet wanted to munch her way through woodchips and old chicken poo) but after a wee bit of joinery we were all ready. The question is, hen will we get our first proper eggs? Hopefully before the next Bastle Blog.
Until then I shall leave you with some more photos of our sunrises and wish you every happiness for 2019.