Two years.

Got to mention it today, two years ago today since my dad died. Balk at mentioning it in a way because I can imagine some going, aah she’s on about it again. But yes, I am, two years ago and it still affects me quite a lot, for various reasons, the most basic of all being, he was my dad. But anyway, we’re ok and we’re going to celebrate his life today, or I am anyway, because as far as I can see, I have two choices, celebrate or descend, I descended a bit last night and now I’m just having a relaxed day with the boys. God bless you dad, I’ll light a candle today and think about things and pray.

It’s also been two years since I saw my daughter who lives in London, she was at my mum’s that week, so it’s quite a long time really. Here’s hoping to see people some time over the next year or two. If it gets to September it’ll be two years since the boys and myself actually went back to England! It also marks two years since I started looking at Catholicism, that started more seriously after my dad died really. I’d been Christian for about 10/11 years before that, but things started changing again after he died and God started taking us on a different journey to what we were used to!

As some will already know, we’ve hatched yet more quail, ten more, to be precise. It’s the first time that one I’ve helped out of it’s shell has been ok. Doesn’t seem to be struggling at the moment. I let it push itself out, I think that’s the most important bit for their leg strength to develop. I try not to help, but it was taking too long and I think it would have died if I hadn’t. They’re very cute and tiny! Seems weird to think that in a few weeks they’ll be looking like adult birds. They’re funny little things, you really have to keep an eye on them when they’re little, I’ve already had to rescue one from the side of the heater in their brooder this morning, it was stuck on it’s back. They can get too cold very quickly at this age and that would kill them. (I was going to upload a photo but the signal isn’t playing at the moment, so you’ll have to do without.)

We also have 9 duck eggs incubating at the moment, I think there’s just under three weeks until they’re due to hatch and I’ve ordered some hens eggs to incubate as well, they should come today, then, I think my incubating for this year will be done… I think….maybe…

The bad point about hatching your own is that if you have too many males you have to deal with that, and as there isn’t really much market for cockerels or whatever the male bird is, there are only really two options which are, keeping male colonies, which would be fairly pointless and expensive but always tempting, or killing them. I don’t like the killing as I ‘ve said before, but, it is the sort of life that we came for, to produce our own meat, or that was one of the aims, so it’s part of it. I’ve chosen duel purpose ducks and chickens (suitable for meat or eggs), so I’m hoping there aren’t many males, but if there are, we will be dispatching them at the right time. As I saw someone write recently, don’t hatch if you can’t dispatch….

The weather’s getting better and it’s fairly warm in the polytunnel, so we’ve planted some seeds – salad mainly. Some of which are germinating already. I love this part of the year, when plants start growing or sprouting new leaves and buds. I’ve also planted some raspberry canes and have 5 redcurrant canes to plant this afternoon. Chris has also planted some Silver Birch seeds and is going to try growing them, which is really interesting, we’ve never grown trees from seed before. Chris has also planted a Copper Beech hedge all the way along the front wall, hopefully they’ll grow well and change the look of the place once again.

It seems weird to be sharing this to facebook but not actually being on facebook until Easter at least (if I hold out), but also sort of cool, that I won’t see anything or any reactions! Hello!

I’ll leave it at that for now. God bless you one and all.

Cathy.

Take my hand now, lead me closer, Lord I need to meet you there.

Take my hand now, lead me closer, Lord I need to meet you there.

I’m just sat in the living room with youTube on in the background. The River, by Brian Doerkson has just been on. I love that song. Take my hand now, lead me closer. Yes please Lord.

I didn’t really get Lent until this week, didn’t really get why it was different to other times of the year, I mean, I got the basics like it equating to Christ spending 40 days in the wilderness fasting and resisting the devil and that the tools spoken about were fasting, praying and giving and that it was preparing for Easter, seriousness and sorrow prior to Jesus crucifixion, almost suffering with Him and then having rejoicing and joy with His resurrection. But somehow, I still didn’t ‘get it’. Perhaps this is due as well to the general view of giving something up for lent and people generally give up sweets or alcohol or social media and all that, stuff that generally isn’t very good for them. But I failed to see how that was anything to do with Jesus in a lot of ways, I guess it isn’t in a lot of people’s lives.

I then asked a friend about it and when it was described as (as part of it) a yearly mot, a way of looking and getting rid of any baggage that was getting in the way of your relationship with Christ and living the gospel. Going deeper with Jesus and submitting fully again to Him. Denying yourself in order to be closer to Him and be changed by Him. Being honest about absolutely everything with Him. That the liturgical year is actually a gift from God, guided by the Holy Spirit. Then I got it. I got quite excited about it really and asked God to lead me through it. So I believe He is.

I’m not going to go into the personal aspects, I just want His will in our lives, so I’m submitting basically again, being honest about things that aren’t good in my life (we all have stuff) and trusting Him. And I’m expecting exciting things, I always find some very small things are very exciting, such as when he changes little things/ways in us that aren’t the best and it has a knock on effect of us walking in His ways and His will rather than ours. Change at the very core of ourselves, change that is real. Change that effects other people’s lives too. Change that has eternal consequences.

Cool? I find it all very exciting.

Holy Spirit you are welcome here.

Struggling is not a bad thing.

As a bit of a follow up to the whole no more fair weather christianity, I just want to say, in case you get the impression/opinion that I’m saying ‘you have to be strong! mighty! you have the Lord! Pull yourself together!’ …that wasn’t actually what I was saying.

I’m going to say something now which may or may not sit well, I’ll whisper it, (There’s nothing wrong with feeling like you are struggling in life). Back to normal voice now. No, I positively regard it as a blessing to be honest.

So I’m not talking about other people, I’ll talk about myself. I struggle, quite frequently, with how I feel about myself, my family, my feelings, life, everything, haha. What it does do, as a massive gift, is enable me to know God more. When I don’t even feel like I can pray and I just say, help! Help me! I can’t even pray, I don’t know what to pray, He is there. He works in me and whatever is going on and just draws me into His presence more and more.

A massively brilliant quote from the bible is when Jesus is talking about worry and about being provided for. It says:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33).

This is something I just want to apply in all circumstances, in every aspect of life, ‘seek first the kingdom of God’.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

God’s hope, God’s presence, God’s power, God’s reassurance, God’s spirit in other words will be given to you. He will change you and your life and your knowledge of Him.

Don’t underestimate God is something I said a couple of weeks ago on a post, but now I’m going to say, don’t underestimate suffering or struggle in life. Take yourself to God, wherever you are and whenever you need him. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or how you feel, even if it’s really bad, just go to Him, cry out, know Him. Take it as the gift that it is. ~Even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Cathy.

We have some quail!

We have quail! Eight out of the twelve quail eggs hatched. They only incubate for about 18 days, so I don’t bother messing about. The eggs go in and are left without disturbance, on my incubator you can add water for humidity every couple of days to an outside reserve. On the 15th day, the temperature gets reduced slightly from 37.5 to 37.2, the humidity gets increased slightly (although I have seen a few people saying that because Ireland is so humid, dry hatches sometimes work even better), turning the eggs is stopped and a hatching mat which stops the chicks slipping when they’re hatched gets added. You then leave the incubator closed until they hatch, you wait until the majority are hatched and dry and then put them into your brooder, which is essentially a box/cage with a heat source to keep them warm, a non slip surface and food and drink. If you open when a chick is hatching, apparently the membranes of the egg can dry out and then make it impossible for the chick to hatch, so I try and avoid that! Although there is conflicting information everywhere when you look. The quail are so small, you have to be careful they can’t drown in any water and that they won’t get cold.

Unfortunately, we had a casualty during the night, we came downstairs this morning and J (the nearly 6 year old) yelled ‘one of them is on it’s back’. It had come out from the heat for some reason and was hardly moving, looked very ill and was very cold. So straight down my top it went, it warmed up and started moving more, I gave it some water with a little honey in it, just a very small amount, a bit of chopped egg yolk (which sounds strange, but it is high in protein) and kept it on me for a bit longer, then put it back once it was moving properly. It’s now back under the heat and seems ok at the moment. I guess we’ll see, tonight and tomorrow, whether it is ok. It looks it at the moment.

Last time we hatched some, I bought a spare heat plate just in case we had any that needed separating, so that’s currently in a box heating up just in case we do need to move the quail out and keep it warm. It’s always a good idea to have a spare. I’m keeping them in the living room in their brooder cage because it’s so much warmer than upstairs. It can drop quite low upstairs during the night. The living room is generally warmer and we have the fire on all day, every day at the moment.

I made a few mistakes last time we hatched them, which I’ve learnt from, they need a surface which is non slip at least for the first week or so. I’m putting towels in for the first week this time, changing them daily (they eat their poo if you don’t keep them clean), then I’ll change to shavings. Last time I just used paper towels and shavings and I got one with spraddle legs, which apparently can be cause by dislocating their hip whilst they’re very young from slipping. Also, I think they tend to eat the shavings if you use them in the first few days, which I did. An article I read recently, recommended the grit paper you can get for caged birds (a bit like sand paper), so maybe I’ll try that next time. They were also upstairs, which, as I’ve already mentioned, can get cold during the night.

The feed was also an issue last time, I didn’t have a high enough protein feed. Quail chicks need a high protein starter crumb. You can also use game feed or turkey starter. I’m waiting to see if our local agri store has managed to get any in for us, it’s supposed to be there today and Chris is calling in on its way home. I’m just feeding normal chick crumb at the moment and hard boiled egg yolk (on the advice of someone from a facebook smallholder group). But it will be a lot better if I can get the right feed. It seems really hard to get hold of in Ireland, but also, it’s almost impossible to get certain things from the UK at the moment, so we’re more restricted than we were.

They’re lovely little things, absolutely tiny, but they will grow very quickly. Apparently the females can start laying eggs from about 6-7 weeks, so that could be interesting. Here’s hoping it goes well! I love watching them, there’s also something so special about watching them hatch too.

I need to get a grip though, I’ve been looking at bigger incubators online, it’s soooo tempting!

Over and out!

Cathy.