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.


Lesley said...

Oooooo, hope I never get a dose of worms in the ear! :O) It was lovely to read about all the birds you're feeding, Helen, and the ponies and sheep too. I love the photo of the pheasant on the bird-table. :) The poor crow in the first photo' is half-submerged in the snow! Your pigeon sounds vicious - like you say, it must be everyone for themselves..... a bit like people at the post-Christmas sales! You must be kept very busy feeding all the wildlife, but you must get enormous fun and satisfaction from it. :)

Helen said...

Hi Lesley..Yes I do get enormous satisfaction. We used to have chickens, dogs and cats but now they have all gone its lovely to still have something to lavish attention on.

Lesley said...

Hi Helen, just popped in to ask how you are.... and have you signed up for anymore O.U. courses?

Helen said...

Hi Lesley...I'm good but have been really busy. I keep planning to do a post then something comes up and i don't get round to it. We are also planning to replace our bathroom but didn't realise it would require so many trips to bathroom shops and we still haven't decided what we would like. I haven't signed up for anymore O.U.'s as I really feel I should spend spare time doing work on the bungalow as it is really getting a bit tatty:)

Lesley said...

I know what you mean Helen. I get lots of ideas for posts..... then life gets in the way!

I hope you enjoy re-doing your bathroom. I would love an art deco one..... all black, white and silver and mirrored tiles. :D

I'm not doing any courses at the moment either. I enjoy studying but need a break every so often as it gets very time consuming preparing for the assignments. I'm going to concentrate on some leisure activities for now.... as well as decorating the house and doing the garden! :O)