Oh don’t we complicate matters?…

I asked J this morning (one of our sons) ‘why did Jesus come?’ and he simply said ‘to save us from our sins.’ In a world that seems to be getting so complicated and the gospel being unclear to so many. I love that. Because that is exactly why he came.

I was interested, because I’d just written down on a piece of paper, What is the gospel? I wanted to clarify it in my own mind, partly because I think we do complicate matters so much, I wrote:

The good news. Jesus is the good news.

Lived a sin free life, died on the cross, was separated from God at the point of death because he took our sins onto himself.

He descended into hell.

Was resurrected.

Ascended.

Will return.

There was more, and there is more to it than that, but I’ll leave it there. Read one of the gospel accounts and you will see (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John).

I’d also just watched a short satire video about an interview between a present christian and a first century christian, it is funny but also uncomfortable because of some of the truth that is in it. If you want to watch it it’s here: https://youtu.be/7Zrve6NMWxk. You can make your own mind up.

So, If you are aware of being stuck in your sins/things you’ve done wrong, patterns of behaviour that aren’t right, of looking to this, that and everything to try to remedy matters, in need of hope. It’s simple, you need Jesus. He will cleanse you from your sin and make you new. The journey then starts! and what a journey it is. It is one that I have never, ever regretted.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).

I am a simple being, but I like it that way :D.

Amen.

Cathy.

It’s Autumn but Still Sunny!

Hi, so we’ve been out a fair bit recently, making the most of the good weather. We’ve been walking, playing, we met another home ed family for the first time earlier this week, it’s been great. But just for now it’s stopped, the jeep needs a bit of work, so we’re at home again this week. Which is actually completely fine with me. There’s so much to do at the moment and it’s mainly stuff I really enjoy, so bonus!

As people who see my instagram will already know, I posted about my morning, I made passata from cherry tomatoes, I got the recipe from a lady who has a facebook page called ‘the Cottage Garden Dromahair’ and again I will repeat, it’s worth looking at if you’re interested in gardening/cooking etc as I think it’s brilliant.

I also did some chopped tomatoes, I got this method from another facebook page called ‘The Preppers Pantry’ and again, I love her page too, it’s actually got some pretty unusual things up. There’s a few jars of chutney from the beginning of the week as well and I got J to draw the labels this morning. I got going early this morning as it was supposed to be raining, but the weather is actually still quite good. I also froze some eggs for the winter as I’d lost track of what were old and what were new, so I just decided to start again and freeze them for our own use. You just mix them up like you’re making scrambled eggs and freeze them.

The flower growing is quite exciting, I love that we’re growing our own plants. There’s some that we might have to overwinter in the greenhouse in pots and then plant in the spring as it gets so windy and rainy it tends to kill plants that aren’t well established. I have lots of lemon balm, ox eye daisies, snap dragons, aqualegia, chives, lupins and some others. I also ordered some new vegetable seeds from a new Irish online store called Sow and Grow and they arrived the next day and were really well packaged. One of the principles (I think) behind the company was to minimise waste and not to put too many seeds in the packets as so many seeds often don’t get used. I will definitely be using them again. I’m also going to start growing some half hardy annuals this autumn in the greenhouse in the hope that we may have some early flowers for the garden next year.

The homeschooling or home education as I am tending to prefer to call it nowadays has started in earnest this week. J had started complaining he was bored early in the day (he wanted to go on games on the phone), so I’ve started doing our formal type work (which is still quite minimal) early in the day and it’s gone well so far.

A short local walk yesterday.

Generally, as in this morning, I have been trying to get jobs done early and then do the language arts and maths after that, but what I find, is I then try to rush everything. I was getting stressed trying to rush the jobs and then not concentrating on time with the kids so I changed it. I’m finding that being more in the moment and making the effort to actually ‘be’ with whoever I am with and concentrating on what we are doing at the time is a lot better for everyone. I also really, really like ‘to do’ lists, so they help. I just like notepads and pens really.

This morning, the kids were playing really well, therefore I did do the jobs. They were jobs I really enjoy as well, such as seeing to the animals and sorting the greenhouse and making (cake and passata). And then we’ve done the formal stuff. What I have found that we didn’t do any official ‘learning’ over the summer, but we do talk about words and numbers in everyday general life and situations, and J actually hasn’t really forgotten anything, if anything he knows more than when we finished in July. So I can see how the unschooling approach could work really well.

I’m hoping to do some woodwork and some sewing/making this year as well with him, because he is very practical and enjoys doing. I love choosing what we are going to learn about and tailoring it to us, discarding what doesn’t go well and adjusting our path to what is needed and will work. The only thing I need to sort is starting to learn Irish, so I’m going to look at a couple of websites that schooldays.ie recommends and take it from there (I know virtually no Irish apart from failte). So I’m looking forward to it too. There’s something called Rosetta Stone that I’ve seen advertised and seen people commenting that they use and recommend, but I think that’s probably for in a year or so’s time, when the boys are a bit older. (I haven’t used it, this isn’t a recommendation!)

So it’s going quite well, we’ve started to meet other home schoolers in the county and surrounding area. Early days yet, but looks promising. We are in a gorgeous place, loads to do, but I actually quite enjoy that and I am very thankful that I have the privilage of actually being at home with our kids. It’s a miracle that I do really! Thankyou God.

Right, I’m going, see you all soon. Love to family and friends.

Cathy.

Happy Tuesday.

Evening! I don’t know what it’s been like elsewhere because I haven’t looked, but it’s been really warm and lovely again over the last week here. So this morning, I’d just written out a to do list as long as my arm (seriously) and done the essentials, as in the animals and the greenhouse. I looked around, breathed in the air and just decided we were going out. I’ve been feeling some stress recently, having difficulty prioritising what I need to do and balancing it out with spending time with the kids but I think I definitely made the right decision today. When the weather is bad, we don’t tend to have the car, and J (eldest boy) really likes going out. So off we went, in the Jeep with the scooters in the back.

The first stop was Drumshanbo park. It’s a lovely place, next to Acres Lake (there’s also a boardwalk) and it was less busy because most children here have already gone back to school. Our August bank holiday is earlier than in the UK. The kids loved it and littlest conquered his fear of going up the big slide. He went halfway up the ladder a few times and came back down each time, then I turned my back to look at something J was doing and he was up! There was no stopping him after that. He loved it. I LOVE that he did it and in his own time too, he was very determined and kept trying.

It was nice as well, because there was another English woman there who I got talking to who lives in Drumshanbo. I’d never met her before and It was really lovely to have a conversation and just chat. We both miss England too, so we had that in common! Haha.

Next stop was for food and toilet. There aren’t many public toilets in Ireland (hardly any where we are), so that had to be Tesco’s in Carrick on Shannon. (Hardly any bins either and still generally very clean.) So after that, we parked up next to the waterfront, the parking is free on the road and took the scooters out and had a walk up there. There’s a long path that goes along parallel to the road but far enough away to be safe with kids and it’s lovely. There’s a wild area at the beginning with some wild flowers and long grass and willow sculptures/tunnels.

I’d love to do a willow structure.

Then we walked/scooted and the boys climbed on the wall. J insisted on going on his scooter on the wall. Which sort of scares me but I know he’s really agile and good with his balance and I like him to push himself a bit, so I asked him to watch where his wheels were going and left him to it. There’s no way I would have let littlest do it though!

There’s also a bridge with benches that goes partway out over the water.

After that the boys enjoyed playing at the water’s edge for a short while. look at the reflections, it was beautiful.

It was very peaceful

Finally, theres a free library at the side of the path. We took a couple of books and we will take a couple back at some point soon. I think it’s really funky. It’s a brilliant idea. I’ve heard of people doing them for seeds too in different areas. My head keeps filling with ideas I’m not sure what to do with! I’m sure it’ll come clear at some point!

Then it was home time. The turkeys keep getting out so I’ve clipped their wings again tonight with the hope that it’ll stop them. I’m not sure that it will!

Run! Ruuuuunnnnn, be free!

Anyway, it’s far too late now. I’m off. Thankyou God for a beautiful day. Good night and God bless you all.

Cathy.

Ooh it’s been a scorcher.

Last week that is, it was absolutely boiling hot, mid 20’s upwards, brilliant, but I now understand why God didn’t send us to somewhere a bit hotter than Ireland, I’m not so good at dealing with constant very hot weather, haha. Anyway, it’s back to some rain this week and the temps are more like between 15 and 20 (celsius), so it’s nice.

It’s bank holiday weekend this coming weekend and it’s looking dry, so we’re really hoping it stays that way so Chris can finish or at least get a couple of coats of paint on the house. He’s been gradually hacking away at it, it was very hard for him last weekend and the weekend before as it was so hot and he was up on the roof in a very precarious position painting the chimneys. He’s done it though! Which is marvellous. Now the second coat on the walls and window sills etc to do. It looks brilliant (picture on last blog post).

The ducks are still all in together and ok, it’s funny, the original 5 and the newer 6 (females) they still gravitate towards their original groups.

The front five are the original ducks.

In the hen pen, the broody hen is now back in with all the other chickens and the three chicks will remain separate until about 16-18 weeks old (ish). It’s looking good, the chicks look like they might all miraculously be female.

The turkey’s are growing well, they’re about 5 weeks old now, They have a dog kennel for shelter, which after they’re gone, we’ll use for the ducks. We had to clip their wings as they kept escaping, and so far no more escape attempts. They don’t go far, but I really don’t want the cat or other wildlife to get them.

It’s summer! We’re taking a break from any formal schooling stuff we do for August, but will still be doing lots of other things. J is currently busy with the hot glue gun making things out of ‘popsicle sticks’. I need to mow around the chickens and it’s looking like I might have to do it in the rain, I’ll give it a bit longer. The trouble is, the grass has grown up around the bottom of the electric fencing and that means it might not be working properly. So it definitely needs doing. Littlest is legoing in the living room.

The veg in the greenhouse is brilliant, I got a beetroot larger than my hand yesterday. I grated it up for a salad and it’s lovely, not woody in the slightest. It’s also the first time I’ve ever grated up a beetroot for salad!

We’re also still growing flowers, there’s some more lupins growing in pots and aqualegia, plus other bit and pieces. The front borders look lovely at the moment, but a lot of what is filling them is annual flowers so come autumn/winter it’ll start thinning out somewhat, so I need a plan.

This may be me being a little defensive but, someone asked me a question the other week, a question I am somewhat tired of, it hasn’t been asked loads, but enough..it was ‘how are you getting fed?’ (as in spiritually, God and all that). Believers – it is perfectly ok to get your ‘feeding’ directly from God and by knowing and sometimes talking to other believers from different backgrounds and watching/reading other reliable sources of sustenance. I get you have to choose carefully and I do but pleeeeeaaaaase, stop thinking that if believer’s lives don’t look like how you think they should look, that they’re wrong. God does things his way and his way does not always look like our ways and we often have to wait on him and this life is for the long haul.

I love writing to Him and drawing and writing down any thoughts I have whilst praying or just being with Him, writing down things I think are from Him and just being in his presence. I love being outside being aware of the beauty and His creation and presence, I love being in my kitchen with God, talking, singing, listening, ranting, just being. I love being in bed at night in the pitch black thinking and listening. No matter what ‘church’ you are part of, you are still part of the bigger church family and we are all connected by God. I’m still waiting with eager anticipation for Him to do more great, great things, things we don’t even imagine. One of the things I love most about God is how He can work in us, how he can turn our worst messes and self pity and rubbish into beauty. As the bible says, he gives beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3). I love how he can change your day at the drop of a hat, or your life. I am far from perfect, but Jesus is my peace.

My main prayer for the past 8 years has been ‘lead me in your ways and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation, for you I wait all day long’. (part of Psalm 25, it’s a beautiful one, as are many of them, try reading it) and I will continue praying this, because this is what I want for our lives, nothing else will work.

Thankyou for reading.

Cathy.

Ferality (is that a word?) and other stuff.

It has come to my attention how feral I and the kids have become. On the emerging out of lockdown thing that seems to be going on but not going on, but going on, but not going on….repeat as necessary. And because of living where we are living and the start of doing things or starting to do things like plan to meet people, go to mass, go out in public in general… I have realised we lack a plethora of things. Such as shoes (we have wellies), clothes that don’t have holes in or stains on, which aren’t bleached by the stuff that we cleaned the house with, or actually, actual clothes, a regular bath time, clean ears, an ability to converse with others and actually be bothered about talking to them, decent hair cuts, a clean house with clean windows (I’ve been very preoccupied with the outside) and etceteraaa etceteraaaaaa. There is slight exaggeration going on there…slight…

I actually don’t mind feral, but I think we might have to reign it in a bit to actually mix with others. Y’know, like not smell of chickens and have hands and knees covered in mud sort of thing.

So I think we’re off to the beach in a bit, feral doesn’t really matter there. Chris is the more civilised of the lot of us really, (he has to go to work).

In other news, we still have the turkey poults, they’re now three weeks old and outside, I put them out yesterday, they were making the house smell a bit. They’re very healthy and friendly, I think I might attempt to sell them in a few weeks, I’m now not sure I fancy rearing turkeys, I’ll let you know.

The little ducks have gone in with the big ones, there is a bit of bullying going on, but they seem ok, no damage done anyway and they’re getting closer together.

The chickens are all fine, the three little chicks are about five weeks old now I think, still with the mum and doing well. They won’t need her really from now on, so she may come back out and with the rest of the flock soon.

Chris has started painting the house as many people have seen, it looks lovely already and it’s only had a watered down coat on so far. The garden is also blooming! It looks really nice, but it’s a work in progress still. I still need to fill it with more plants and get more ground cover in. The weeds are a nightmare, there’s horsetail growing all over the place, buttercups, bindweed and more. But it looks brilliant considering!

Chris’s silver birth trees that he is growing from seed are also doing really well, as is the greenhouse. I tried to keep the growing simple this year, as I didn’t want to end up with loads of wasted produce (which is always very possible). So far we have a glut of cucumbers (from two plants) and loads of tomatoes, of which some are starting to colour up. We still need to get an honesty box and stand up and running as we have loads of eggs too, I’m just having to use them in baking etc at the moment. I don’t think quail eggs are going to be a big hit round here, they’re a bit little and fiddly, I’m mainly using them for egg mayonnaise for Chris’s pack up at the moment. I don’t think I’ll be hatching any more quail, they’re lovely but not that practical, egg wise.

So goodbye from our feral selves. I think I prefer this life to the sterility of having to conform every single day! It is good for today, only God knows what the future holds! So all is well.

I would talk about the fact that Chris now has a motorbike, but I know absolutely nothing about them, so I’m afraid I won’t be! But he loves it very much and is planning a good future with his bike :D. (It is very nice and I’m glad he enjoys it so much). He now gets me to drive the boys and he rides his bike to wherever we are going.

Hello to everyone!

God bless you!

Cathy.

So this morning..

I actually wrote this earlier in the week but then decided not to publish. I think it’s strangely apt now so I am polishing it and publishing it!

So, yes, this morning I was doing the washing up whilst listening to Lauren Daigle (Look up Child). I found myself thinking about things that had happened in the past. Not particularly the distant past, more the last decade or so. It was quite emotional, to be reminded of things, things that hurt, things that I’d done, things other people had done. Actually, it was very emotional and quite a release really, as I thought and thought and cried and spoke to God and tried to listen.

What then occurred to me is that if we all knew all this stuff about each other, because we don’t, we don’t in general know much about others, we would probably be absolutely horrified and others would be horrified to know certain things about us. In some cases we probably wouldn’t want to even associate with each other. And we would almost certainly almost revel in putting each other down and talking about each other.

But God is actually the only one who will ever and does know absolutely every little thing about us, every thought, every action, even before they happen and still wants us and loves us.

‘Oh Lord you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. (Psalm 139:1-5).

He is also the only one who if we go to, will forgive us, but not only forgive us but put our sins as far from us as East is from West. He cleanses us and makes us whole, makes us new, through the blood of Jesus. As the popular scripture says in 1 Corinthians 13, ‘Love keeps no record of wrongs..’ and;

‘if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’. (1 John 1:9).

Isn’t that amazing? God, God! who knows every last thing about us, every good thing, every bad and terrible thing, will forgive us and cleanse us. He does forgive us and cleanse us.

So, who are we to look down on others? Us, who have done so much wrong in our lives but been forgiven? As scripture also says…

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5).

There should be truth and there should be love. And part of that is walking in truth with each other and telling each other when there’s a problem and also being able to go to trusted people when we have problems. Also, if there’s any abuse, that should most definitely be dealt with openly. Closing ranks should never be an option. But! God loves us and forgives us, that should be and is a game changer.

For those who don’t know Him, I will reiterate, He is the only one who will ever know anything and everything about you and still want to know you, love you and not keep a record against you. All because of Jesus and His life, death and resurrection. He will change you, but only in good ways. Why wouldn’t you want to know someone like that?

Amen!!

The picture is simply because I think Sweet William’s are gorgeous!

Thursday 24th June 2021.

It’s raining, it’s pouring! The old man is snoring. He went to bed and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning…

That’s a strange rhyme really, isn’t it? I still like it though, reminds me of when I was a kid.

It is raining, unusually, haha (joke). But! it’s meant to be good weather after this for a week or so, so that is excellent news.

Thankfully, it will water the new annuals I planted on the front. The garden’s looking great, it’s starting to actually fill up a bit, cottage styley! And, almost even more thankfully, it was dry for our St John’s Eve bonfire last night (last year it poured down). So we managed to burn all excess wood and a mountain of cardboard and it was nice and even enjoyable! The kids were riding up the field in the jeep with their dad, bringing stuff to be burned in the trailer and when they weren’t in the jeep they were playing at the top of the field or helping (with supervision) to throw the wood on. They were late to bed but that wasn’t a bad thing because they had a lie in this morning.

We’ve just had dinner (lunch if you’re posh) and they’re playing with lego and playdough, it’s quite peaceful. We haven’t done J’s letters and numbers yet and so we’ll do them in a while. He’s quite happily making at the moment so we’ll definitely leave it for a bit. A beautiful home education bonus – flexibility.

There are a lot of bonuses, I love it most of the time. I suppose the negative aspect might be that our home is often quite messy, but hey ho, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives as far as I’m concerned. And I actually do really enjoy being with them which is cool and has grown and grown over the last year.

We’ve just hatched some turkey’s, all six hatched, so the boys are involved with looking after those too. We’re going to look after them for a few weeks and then decide whether to bring them up ourselves or whether to sell them on. At this present moment we have five ducks, six ducklings, seven hens, one very young rooster, three chicks, twelve quail and now six turkey poults, so I need to have a think. As someone has pointed out to me, turkey’s get quite big! So yeah, will have a think and see how we get on. It may be the last hatch for this year, but we’ve probably got enough to be going on with I suppose.. watch this space..

Still haven’t sorted the picture problem.. think I may have to pay a subscription if I want to put more photographs up and I’m not sure I want to do that, so it may just be writing. There’s always the instagram!

See you later!

Cathy.

Always on my mind!

There’s a few things on my mind at the moment, so, whether to go with the mind things or whether to focus. I could just focus on this place and the animals, or I could wander round as my mind takes me. Let’s see…

So, number one on my mind is….God and becoming Catholic. I’m (we’re) getting excited again about this, I still don’t know when it’s actually officially going to happen, but my heart literally leaps within me when I think about it. What I should understand, but quite frankly don’t..still..is some people’s attitude towards it. I should, because I used to be like them and only believed what other protestant’s told me and I even thought Catholics needed converting to ‘our’ beliefs. But that shows you what happens when people don’t get proper information, just chunter amongst themselves. My advice is do some reading, or watching if you want to know more. Bishop Baron (word on fire) is a good place to start, as is Keith Nester (ex Methodist minister), EWTN’s The Coming Home Network for conversion stories, for the more intellectual, Scott Hahn (his conversion story is quite something) or Catholic Answers (there are actually a ton of resources). Don’t slate it if you know nothing about it apart from what other people tell you, you have more of a right to if you actually have knowledge..! Thankyou for listening to my rant. Haha. Of course, you may not give a monkey’s and that’s ok too!

Of course, to those who have actually been open and honest and been people who I can actually talk to, thankyou. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou! It means a lot.

Number two. I’ve forgotten what it is, so onto here and the animals and garden and all that… if you’ve got this far, thanks! It’s sometimes a disadvantage that you only see the first few lines on the facebook page.

Do you know what? I love Jesus, I absolutely so just love Him. Sometimes, like this moment, His love just fills me, and it’s often when I’m not at my best, like when I’m defensive or hurt and He just fills me and yes! makes me ‘feel’ wonderful, but also just know Him more and more. Since we’ve come here, we’ve often not been part of church meetings and more on our own and whilst I wouldn’t normally advise people to stay away from Christian meetings, it’s been a good experience of learning to walk with Him, to hear Him for ourselves, to go to Him with everything and not just wait for a ‘meeting’ but to meet with Him every single day, worship Him, talk to Him and get to know Him better, to trust Him no matter what. Gets you away from this consumeristic type worship where it’s all about us and our lives, it becomes more about Him and His will. He teaches us all the time, there is so much in me that is wrong and He teaches and leads me. Telling me when I’m wrong too, which is actually a very good experience.

Anyway, I’ll blog about the house, ducks etc in another post. I’ve just realised because I didn’t update my subscription, I can’t upload any more photo’s, so I need to look into that. Having read it, it’s a little all over the place, but I sort of like that, so I’m keeping it.

Have a lovely day. Hello to all our friends and family in the UK! It’s been nearly two years since I was last there. It’s gone fast but it is still a long time not to have seen anyone. When I said in my blog after I came back that it was now Ireland time, I had no idea how true that was. Hello pandemic! Hopefully Goodbye pandemic at some point!

See you soon. God bless you one and all.

Cathy.

Smallholding.

It’s been a gorgeous day today, both sunny and slightly windy, so we’ve made the most of it and have been outside most of the day, the boys playing and running around while I’ve been mowing and planting and weeding. Whilst I was planting onions (it’s a bit late, the weather hasn’t been great), I was thinking. It was a great way to think, down on my knees planting onions, with the sun shining and the wind blowing. The kids were happy too, so it really was nice.

So, I was thinking and I got to thinking about how I’d wanted a smallholding for quite a long time. A memory came to mind of an away day I’d been on with the district nursing team when I first went on the district full time. We were all around a table and we had to tell them something about ourselves they didn’t know, I said I would like a smallholding one day. I also know that I’ve wanted one since I was about 5, there was one in the area I grew up in and I used to walk past with my mum and look at the goat and the chickens and really want that very same thing. It just looked so cosy, to use a really strange word to describe it.

Then I started thinking about how scripture says ‘delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart’, then I started thinking about how we talk about how when we delight ourselves in God He changes our desires in line with His and therefore our desires change, which is often true. But it suddenly dawned on me that it’s not always true, I now have what was the desire of my heart when I was about 5 and I’m very glad I’m not God, because if I was I’d be saying, ‘I’ve given you what you wanted and what do you do? you moan! nothing’s every good enough for you!’ haha. And this has been true at times, the adjustment has been hard sometimes and so has being away from family and friends. I’ve also questioned occasionally whether it was actually God’s will that we came here or whether it was my own selfish ambition (which the bible also warns about). But God doesn’t say that, He just carries on changing me and working in me for His good and is patient and kind. He put desires in me which were good desires even when I didn’t know him. He knew me. Even back then.. We know that’s what the bible says, but when you have real examples of it in your own life and see it, it’s so beautiful. Now to trust Him with the rest of it and do what He tells us.

Some may argue or say, well, you obviously made it happen, you wanted it so much. Whilst there is a degree of truth to this as we did have to do our bit to get here. I would say no, as it wasn’t that long ago I was completely in debt with no way out for what looked like a long time, God dealt with that, He put Chris and myself together, He gave us the kids and the means to do it. His ways really are a mystery but I do know He loves people and life and what happens really is a massive story unfolding, one that we often have no idea about, but He does.

Life with God is exciting and it can be unpredictable and I love that and I never want to forget it. I love being surprised by God.

Cathy.

Update May 2021 (mainly to do with birds!)

I’ve just been looking back over posts and I noticed I haven’t been doing that many and there’s quite a bit that’s changed, so here we are! For those who read it, I’m not sure what the layout is going to look out after today because I’ve renewed the domain but not the wordpress plan and I’m just waiting and seeing what it will be like. I think it means that there may be some ads on the blog, but otherwise I’m not sure.

Well, the ducks are now about ten weeks old, we lost one of them, I went up one morning and it was dead and had a small cut on its neck (I’m wondering whether a mink tried to grab it somehow), so we now have five ducks and I’m still waiting to see whether they’re male or female. There’s two that I don’t even know what breed they are, they were meant to be Ancona, but they aren’t. They’re a paler brown than the three khaki Campbell’s and have orange beaks and legs. They all seem healthy and happy. They’re now kept up on the field within a large square of electric poultry fencing. They have our old bath for a pond and they’ve succeeded very well at making half of their run a muddy watery plane that they seem to love. They love mud and muddy water and are constantly dabbling and foraging in it.

The chickens next! Well we have two Buff Orpington girls (the original ones that we hatched just over a year ago).

I had to dispatch the rooster as he got vicious. But since I last wrote about the chickens, I’ve bought two hybrid birds from a company called freeway poultry (they deliver to drop off points throughout Ireland),

One has just started laying and she is laying blue eggs, which is a nice surprise.

I also bought two ten week old cream legbar hens off a man who hatches them in Longford. He has a really good set up and he showed the kids and myself his chicks in the brooder. He has brooders (where the chicks go when they’re first hatched) set up in his garage rather than brooding them in the house like I have. The leg bars are now about fifteen weeks old and have just been let out with the other four in the main run.

They’re doing ok but the buffs are doing their best to put them in their place. Such are chickens! Pecking order and all that. They’re fine though, no blood shed, just a bit of pecking. They won’t be laying for a little while yet.

Cream Legbars.

Last but not least, the three light Sussex that we hatched are now outside in our old coop which has a little run on it and they’re alongside the other chickens so they’ll be slightly used to each other once the time comes to let them into the main run. That’ll probably be in about six weeks I think, or possibly before if they get very large.

So to sum up, at the moment we have six hens roaming in the main run together, there’s three more waiting until they’re big enough and I’m going to try hatching one more time and then I think we’ll have enough. The eggs that I’m waiting for are for Silver Laced Wyandottes. They’re very nice looking birds and again like the sussex and the Buffs they’re dual purpose, so are good for meat or eggs.

The light sussex.

The quail are all outside in their run, I’ve had to remove most of the males this week. There were too many of them and the females were starting to look a bit bedraggled. They’re a lot happier since then and are laying really well. I’m keeping them outside on the grass unlike a lot of other set ups I’ve seen and they seem to really like it. I think we now have eleven girls and one boy. Trivia fact! A group of quail is called a covey.

Some people may wonder what I’ve done with the males, I processed them and they’re in the freezer to eat at a later date. I don’t like killing the birds (I think I’d be a bit weird if I did), but I do like that they’re healthy, happy birds that have been kept well and that’s a bonus to a meat eater. We have also noticed that since we’ve processed a few of our own birds we are more picky and actually have more of a thankful attitude about the food we eat whether it’s ours or shop bought. I suppose you just become more aware of the work that goes in, in a lot of ways.

There’s also a lot of growing etc going on at the moment, it’s the growing time of year I suppose, but I won’t write much more as this is fairly hefty as it is. I do looooooove the growing though. We have a lot growing at the moment. I’ve tried to be a bit selective this year, to minimise wastage, so to me, the greenhouse looks a bit bare, it isn’t – everything is just spaced properly for once. Haha.

Anyway, see ya! Oh yes and apparently we can register for our vaccinations at some point this week. Not sure how long you have to wait, but it’s definitely a step forward. Bring it on!

Cathy.