Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Christmas Dinner

Christmas can be an expensive time and this year it has been particularly so. We haven't spent a lot on presents and I even managed to keep the catering down to fairly sensible proportions but I have spent loads on bird food. It has been so very cold and snowy for such a long time. How could I look out my warm and cosy living room window, while tucking into my second box of chocolates, and watch birds like this poor crow wading through the snow late in the day. Of course I have had to put out copious amounts of food for the garden wildlife.

On some days it has been like Piccadilly Circus with birds coming and going from the feeders. They have all got on very well with each other except for the pigeons. They haven't been aggressive with the other birds, just amongst themselves and I have seen some awful bullying going on. One pigeon repeatedly stood on another one pecking savagely at it. Then it would fly away only to return a few moments later to lay into the same bird again. I didn't know pigeons could be so nasty but I guess in extreme weather it's everyone for themselves.

Friendly Robin has been bobbing around outside the patio doors each morning, waiting for his breakfast. He seems to be surviving his second winter very well and looks fat, healthy and happy (not surprising with the gourmet food he's been dining on:)

A good number of pheasants have now made themselves at home in the garden thus avoiding the Boxing day shoot:)))) They are so intelligent as birds go and quick to become tame. If they see a movement from within the house they run over to the window making little chirping noises. Needless to say I have a big tub of grain at the ready to throw out the window for them. One of them has also found the small bird's bird table and regularly wedges herself in it to finish off anything that friendly robin has left behind. How can anyone enjoy shooting these lovely birds or any other living thing come to that.

As well as being expensive with food it has also been a busy Christmas as, with snow on the ground, the ponies have needed hay every day as well as having the ice removed from their trough and their water topped up. The hay and water have to be carried over to them so it is heavy work and time consuming but very rewarding when we are greeted with a whinny of welcome from a hungry pony and a lovely way to start Christmas morning:))))))

We also have some additional sheep to check. They are on a site in a beautiful nearby valley. It is quite a walk to get to them but their hay and water is in the wonky barn so we haven't needed to carry it to them. The site they are on goes steeply up the side of the valley and was very slippery in the snow but thankfully most of the snow thawed last night so today's visit was easier. I am looking forward to seeing what wild flowers and butterflies there are at this site in the summer. It also looks like there are some good place for reptiles too.

Finally, I was looking in 'Culpepper's Complete Herbal' (a Christmas present to myself) and found that back in 1653, when his book was first published, Dr Culpepper suggests Holly berries to, 'purge the body of gross and clammy phlegm'....yuk...I wouldn't recommend it though, if you are one of the many suffering with a bad cough this Christmas, as I think Holly berries may be poisonous. On the other hand if you are suffering with a bad case of, 'worms that breed in the ear' you should be ok with a dose of I love this book but I am so pleased I didn't live in the 1600's:)))))
Happy New Year to everyone.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Oh No, Snow!

In my last post I mentioned that I hoped we wouldn't get as much snow as last year as it made checking the ponies such hard we are, one month later, with even more snow than last year! It has been snowing for the last three days depositing around one and a half feet of the white stuff. The ponies don't seem to mind though. They have icicles hanging off their coats, manes and tails and the snow comes above their knees but despite a supply of good fresh hay they prefer to dip their noses into the snow...

...and eat the grass underneath.

They don't seem to have any trouble wading through the deep snow to get around...

...however, I do and after three days of doing the mile walk to and from their field up to my knees in snow, my legs ache and I feel exhausted.

The scenery has been incredible though and I have taken so many photos but sadly I can't show them all. The one below is of the snowy valley as we walked back home yesterday. It was totally silent and very beautiful.

This next photo was taken of our little house (bottom right) when we were nearly home. We had popped into the local store and bought chocolate bars to have with steaming cups of coffee when we got was lovely and as I am sure I must have burned thousands of calories on the hike to and from the ponies, I didn't feel guilty at all :)))