Monday, 31 January 2011

Looks Like Starbug

We have been having problems with the tank washer, which automatically cleans the bulk milk tank when it has been emptied. Its one of those machines that always seems to go wrong, water, pcb, iodine and steam add an electrical supply and you have breakdowns and malfunctions.
Anyway the latest manifestation was the pumps failing, of which there are two and this is one of them. After a very frustrating couple of weeks, during which Richard has been cleaning the tank by hand, we have two new pumps and new fuses, fortunately the little electronic brain seems to have survived to think another day.
Richard tells me that these pumps always remind him of Starbug from Red Dwarf, the little space ship they use to fly around outside the mining ship. Now he has told me it's all I can see when I look at this.
More sheep, well really its less sheep, these are the last 3 boy lambs from last year, we decided to sell the rest as store lambs, for someone else to fatten up, it would take us ages to get them ready for slaughter and we can do without all the extra cost involved in giving them extra feed. Next year we will sow some stubble turnips as winter feed, although several neighbours who have done that for this winter have lost most of them with the very low temperatures, they can't cope with minus 13 c.
These last 3 sheep have sore feet and so will go into the small paddock, when they are better we might sell them or just keep them for the freezer.
They are in the garden at the moment, with a notice on the gate reminding people to keep the gate closed.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Life Skills

I'm wondering when is a good age to teach my children how to change the sheets and duvet covers on their beds.
I started doing mine when I went away to boarding school at 11, we were issued with a clean sheet and pillow case every week or so and told to put "top to the bottom and bottom to the laundry". We also made our beds every morning and those who had never done it before learnt pretty quickly.

My children are 14, 12 and 9, and whilst the 9 year old would probably struggle to change duvet covers and the sheet, she should be able to manage the pillowcase, and the other two with a bit of tuition should be OK.
I realise that it may be hard for them and make their arms ache a bit but I dont think it's unreasonable. Generally I dont ask them to do much in the way of housework, a bit of bedroom tidying and setting the table for meals, also putting stuff in the dishwasher.
Part of me feels that it is my job and since I dont work off the farm I do have the time to do it, but on the other hand these are life skills, like tying laces and telling the time,and since I do intend for them to leave home eventually they should learn them.

I think the time is now, I will proceed with a plan to offload all the things I hate most, hoovering, changing beds, sewing on nametapes and buttons. The children might leave sooner than planned.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Who Needs TV

Our oven died just before christmas, inconvenient but no great loss, I still had the Rayburn to cook with and the old oven was one that we bought for £40 about 8 years ago.
Anyway we ordered a new oven, after consulting Which, the consumer report people, and it arrived last week. It is so shiney and new I am almost afraid to use it, but I forced myself.
This is sunday where I turned some leftover pizza dough into something pizza-ey for lunch, it had bits of blue cheese as well as cheddar on top and the children were facsinated by the different ways the cheeses behaved when heated, the fact that this oven has a light that works just made the whole thing better.
They stayed there for ages and I had to kick them out of the way to get the food out of the oven. As entertainment its not quite as good as reruns of Top Gear but its way better than CBBC.

Sorry about the carpy photo, I cant remember how to do macro on my camera.
This is a cows tooth, its about an inch square in size and we found it balanced on the edge of a water trough in the cowshed.
We find about 2 or 3 a year, mostly outside, which is amazing considering how relativly small they are. The children suggested that the cow had carefully placed the tooth hoping for a visit from the tooth fairy, if so she was disappointed as after a wash and brush up the tooth has gone into school for show and tell.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Good Deed for the Day

I went to give blood this evening, I've been donating blood since I was 19 and am up to 45 units now, which considering time out for 3 pregnancies is not bad.
I do it because its the right thing to do, it doesnt hurt or cost me anything other than time, and I used to come away with a nice glow of righteousness at having done a good thing for society as a whole. I have O rh negative blood which is the universal doner, means that in a crisis they can put it into anyone and it wont cause a problem, so I have always thought it even more important to give blood.
My spouse works in a fairly high risk industry as regards accidents, and I wont let him give blood as at 6'4" and only 11stone he has nothing to spare.

As time passes I find the whole rigmarole of giving blood more and more irritating, I hate the questions that they ask each time, I feel I am being asked to justify being there, now they tell you to drink a large glass of water before you donate, and if you say you have already had a drink at home they seem to think you are lying to them.
Occasionally I have cancelled an appointment because I was ill or was pregnant, OMG you'd think I was trying to get out of paying income tax, Its none of their business why I cant make it, they behave as if they are doing me a favour.
I come back all cross and angry with them and feeling that I wont go again, so far it has worn off by the time 4 months is up.
One of these days it wont wear off and I wont go back.
I reasise that I have a problem with people telling me what to do and hopefully I am the only one who feels like this, otherwise our brilliant system of freely donated blood will fall apart.

I should have called this "rant for the day"

Monday, 10 January 2011

Its Been So Long

Wow its been ages since I posted as I have been reminded by my loyal reader, thankyou Fluff!
I find that its one of those things where the less I post the more it takes to get me to get on with it.
We have done christmas, with all the trimmings, tree, pudding, snowy landscape, frozen water supply to livestock, tractors that wont start, broken oven.
Despite these things we all had a great time, my brother in Brisbane said it rained all day for them and though he loves life down under he misses cold chrismas .

We had a particularly perfect tree this year, Richards sole christmas task is to choose and buy the tree, I do the rest, cooking shopping wrapping etc, most of the presents come as a big surprise to him.
This tree had stood in a bucket of water/ice in the barn until chrismas eve and on bringing it into the house we found it was full of snow, not much chance of that melting outside so we stood it on an old sheet till it was frost free. Its great now the children are old enough to help with the tree and to have an opinion about what looks good as opposed to how much can we get on it!

We cooked the pork in the solid fuel rayburn, instead of stuffing I rubbed the inside with crushed fennel, salt and garlic and it was delicious, I couldnt get the crackling to crackle but it didnt matter. This is my flaming christmas pudding, I have a bottle of grappa made by one of my brothers in laws, it is completely undrinkable but boy does it flame!!
The tupperware in the background is full of home made brandy butter, if you let it defrost too much it separates, and thats my excuse for not putting it in a bowl.

It seems ages since christmas now, the children are all back at school and the snow is long gone, mind you it is also a long time till spring. We noticed that one of our boy lambs must have escaped with his manhood unaltered as he has been happily tupping away at the girl lambs. They are now separated but we will have to scan the girls in case any are now expecting.

Hopefully I will keep on posting now I have started.
Happy 2011 everyone.