Monday, 12 November 2007

The Farm, Day 4

I've been awol again I know, but really haven't known what to write about that I haven't already said before. Today is the last day for looking after the dogs, cats and sheep, and as usual have enjoyed it on the whole. There's been a few things that I haven't enjoyed quite so much this time, but I won't go into great detail here. Only thing I will say is it's a bit upsetting seeing the conditions the dogs live in, and the state of Barra in particular. I've tried to improve both, and hope that Kate won't take offence. I will try to be as tactful as I can without causing any upset. I know they are outdoor dogs, but I still feel that grooming could be a part of the regime. If she hasn't the time or inclination to do, I am more than willing. I've removed in excess of 20 tics from him this week, cut out a few of the knots in his fur and been brushing him every day. It's strange that Skye doesn't have any of these problems, ie no tics, no matted fur, and no smell. Thing is where do I stop with the trimming, if I were to remove all the matted fur he would be virtually shaven around his rear, tail and ruff. Living out would mean a lack of insulation, like shearing a sheep in January, so I don't want to go too far. I really must think of a way of broaching the subject.

The other thing that has been a bit upsetting is walking the dogs round the fields, which they sold off to another farmer, he just doesn't seem to be looking after his sheep very well. There are the remains (either bones and fur, or actual rotting carcasses in ditches) of at least 8 dead ones in the three fields. Those that are alive are either hobbling badly, or have green diarrhoea hanging from their rears. Very worrying, yet he seems not to care. Has been spending the last few days renewing fences and putting in another gate. Sigh. Must mind my own business I guess. Kate & Terence did a very silly thing, which they readily admit to, selling off the four best fields to him when they bought the farm, they are the flat, level ones, the ones they kept for their sheep are on a sixty degree slope down the valley. It's very hard work to keep an eye on all the sheep, it's been killing my legs walking up and down to check them. I also think the ewes, which are in separate field now to this years lambs (there are 30 in all now) are going to run out of grass before they come back from holiday. The field is shaved nearly already, and they have another week yet. I haven't seen any hay around the place either which is obviously given to them during the winter, perhaps they haven't had any delivered yet. They should have kept the fields they sold for hay if nothing else, and just rented them out.

I've been getting quite attached to the kitten, Biggun I think they are calling him (as opposed to Little'un maybe, don't know about the small kitty, he's not very tame yet) The big one is so funny and purring and meoowing in my face as I am doing the food, and playing with bits of string, chasing leaves. I wonder if the she cat will appear any time soon with some more kitties. If it weren't for having the budgies indoors, I could be quite tempted...... noooooo, mustn't, anyway, would hate the fact that something I love and cherish could go outside and be run over, I couldn't have a pet that you can't have any control over its destiny.

I'm hoping to get some photos when I go back in a short while now, but thought I'd write this up whilst I've got a few minutes to spare. This morning, I was thrilled by the sight of 12 donkeys in the next field! I bet they won't be around when I go back. Also Red Kite circling within a few feet of me overhead, looking for pickings on the dead sheep I guess. Also a flock of at least 50 Wood Pigeons, wow, I've never seen that many together before, could have been even near 100. And lastly, a airplane came so low overhead, I could almost see the pilot! These often come over here, they are old transporter planes I think, dark green coloured jobs, they literally skim the tops of the hillside, and of course up there I am even higher than here, it was fantastic, right over the field I was in.

The one bit of bad news is I think poor Diddy boy is fading fast, he is indoors completely now, Anonymous will be pleased about that, but he has little interest in eating anything at all now, all his favourites get a tentative peck and maybe eat two or three bits of sweetcorn, or grape, but he's really not bothered. I have been sitting with him, holding stuff out in my hand for him and he will take a few bits, but he's really eating about enough to keep a small bird alive, his comb is starting to go a bit blue, which is a sign of heart trouble. It's breaking my bloody heart, held him and cried yesterday, I just pray that he will pass away peacefully in his sleep, and not just get so feeble that I have to take him to the vet to end it. He's like a skeleton under his feathers, he perks up now and then, so it's not like he's really ill and I'm being unkind by prolonging it I don't think, no point in taking him to the vet for advice, they haven't a clue about birds, so would just be stressing him out for nothing.

Well the skies have cleared now, so I guess we maybe in for another cold night here. Last night it dropped to minus 4c (26f) and we had a really heavy frost of course. The bird drinkers in the aviary shed were frozen solid at 10.30 when I went to do their feed, poor bloody birds. Good job Diddy wasn't still out there, that would have finished him off I think. It would actually have been colder out in the main garden, the water by the back door where the thermostat is didn't actualy freeze, so I reckon it was probably around minus 7c up the shed. It killed off the last of my summer plants, my trailing lobelia is now hanging black and yucky in the pot, so will have to get busy sorting the garden out once I'm back to normal tomorrow then.

Been watching a bit of telly the past few nights, hence my absence from chat, last night watched David Tennant and recorded the thing about Rudyard Kipling's son in World War I, which starred the boy who was Harry Potter,Daniel Radcliffe, have watched half of it but got to 11 oclock and had to call it a night, so looking forward to watching the rest later. Also enjoying Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor as always, and tonight it's Autumn Watch, yippee, and then I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here starts tonight, so I shall probably be absent most nights, sorry folks, I love that show.

Oh well, time for the off, my last session sadly, although I may still pop up at the weekend just for a walk if the weather is okay. Will post some photos later hopefully.

6 comments:

oldcrow61 said...

Aw Jan, I'm so sorry to hear about Diddy. I don't know how much longer my old hen has although she is bearing up pretty well but getting thinner. I hope she too goes peacefully. So happy to hear that you are helping the dog. Those knots and ticks must be causing him all sorts of pain. The cats are real beauties. Lovely pictures.

Pete said...

poor diddy. hope its quick and he doesn't suffer

Anonymous said...

Oh thats so sad about Diddy. Ten years must be old for a chicken and I think he had an enjoyable life with you. Maybe Damien might have some ideas whats wrong with him. Surely its just old age but it could be something else. As to the animal issues you noticed on the farms, they are distasteful indeed. Pets do have charmed lives compared to farm animals.

Janine said...

Sorry to hear about poor Diddy. But he has had a great life with you and could not ask for a better mum.

nicola said...

sorry to hear about diddy jan, hope its a peaceful passing in his sleep...

Anna said...

I'm sorry about Diddy too. :(