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Little House on the Ebook

♥Feb. 3rd, 2015 // 06:11 pm
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Having never read them, I developed a hankering to work through Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. Mike used to own them on paper, but they went many years ago. He did manage to find me an eBook of the first volume on gutenberg.ca, but only the first volume: there's presumable some sort of hellish copyright thing going on that someone is enforcing strongly (possibly because of a TV series that I vaguely remember hearing about?). As a last resort, I figured I could use my Amazon slow-shipping-credits to actually buy the eBooks, but apparently they don't exist. Wha?

Here, have a video that could be entitled "It started out as such a normal day in the field...."

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Umm... hang on...

♥Dec. 24th, 2014 // 09:07 pm
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So, there I was, doing the usual evening check-and-feed on the boys. It's chilly outside, slightly frosty. Earlier, we watched the International Santa Sleigh pass overhead.

As I picked up GB's haynet, I flashed the torch into his stable to wake him up (he's an old man and although all that waking him up usually causes is for him to have a wee, I don't like to risk surprising him) and there was an unexpected sparkle on the bench outside the barn. I flashed the torch back to have another look and found we'd acquired a few more ducks....

Also, for anyone who's both a fan of The Archers and Tom Robinson, a Christmas treat!
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♥Nov. 11th, 2014 // 06:34 pm
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Three months of the valley:

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♥Sep. 22nd, 2014 // 06:22 pm
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You can just about, if you're me and therefore know what you're looking for, see a slightly greener strip up the middle of the field: we've just moved the boys from the right half of the field to the left-most third, ready to start moving them along in stages over the winter.

Also, Mike made a Jodie video. In slow motion!

I may designate this 'nag the council" day: Mike's just reported what looks like some asbestos that's been dumped in the woods (it's been there for ages, I just hadn't realised what it was: oops), and now he's going to re-request that they fix the bloody roads....
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A day in the valley

♥Aug. 2nd, 2014 // 11:24 am
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We've been getting lots of misty early mornings lately, as the cold air swirls along the bottom of the valley. It's quite pretty, in a bleary-eyed-going-to-the-loo-then-back-to-bed way.

(That's still uploading, right now: it may be pretty here, but the internet connection goes some way towards making up for it....)
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Strange happenings in the woods....

♥Jun. 16th, 2014 // 02:53 pm
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The woods are full of mysterious symbols! When we took Jodie up there for her walk, we kept coming across white powder on the floor. Sometimes it was just blobs by the side of the path, but at the junctions there were circles, and at random other places there were T-shapes (usually where there was no distinguishing feature on the path).

Either someone had taken exactly the same route as we did or they'd been on all the paths. Mike hypothesised that someone was having a session mapping the paths for Open Street Map (although they're almost all on there already) and wanted to keep track of which bits they'd already done.

We spotted a couple of pyramidal orchids as we walked back along our lane. That's three varieties so far:

More ducks! They get their corn (in a bowl of water to keep the wild birds off) on the way in after Jodie's walk. Esme was a bit more dubious than the others about staying so close to me.

Which reminds me that I was meaning to check how much they should be getting fed. They eat everything that I put down for them, but I'm not sure if they'd do that anyway. They're laying less than they should, but then they're young and I think Esme hasn't started yet.

The internet is unhelpfully vague. Lots of people list, in great detail, the feed that they give, including brand names and the fact that they give a measured quantity twice per day, but they don't say what the bloody quantity is, except where they say that they just feed ad-lib.
People saying 1/4lb, and 4-6oz, and 6-7oz: well, similar ballparks. But runners are on the small side for big ducks, and they're wandering around eating bugs all day, too: other people are saying that they shouldn't need feeding at all if they're 'genuinely free range', which I suspect ours are. Hmm.
Aha: the people who sell Eglus have an actual *table*, with amounts by weight of duck! A radical concept! They reckon 160g. Right. I shall go with that: must remember to take the scales out with me in the morning, so that I can see how much I've been feeding them!

Right, then!
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♥Jun. 16th, 2014 // 11:06 am
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We herded the girls into the front garden today, with a bit of help from Jodie.

(Actual video, not time lapse.)

They seem happy enough. It didn't take them long to find the patch of grass under the bird feeder and start picking through it for left-overs. I'm sure that I saw Gytha noshing a slug, too: she had a bit of trouble when it got stuck to her beak, but she managed it in the end!
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Things not missed when Jodie was on the lead all the time...

♥Jun. 9th, 2014 // 07:37 pm
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Oh, is that the whiff of badger poo that I detect?

We had a very heavy bit of rain in the early hours, and it was a bit rainforestey out in the woods at lunch time:

The girls are now being a bit better about going outside, and they've done a very good job on their feed today. Duckies:

(Is anyone else finding that Gmail's spam filters are less good than they used to be? Today, I've even had some Flexible Hose and Chris Garcia Pure Garcinia make it to my inbox.)
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♥Apr. 15th, 2014 // 04:28 pm
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It's been another lovely day, although colder than the last few: we had a frost first thing this morning, and I was glad of a jumper during our riding lesson:

We've been busy with K&M staying for the last few days, which was lovely but I'm tired now! There was much walking around the woods and admiring the bluebells, which are very fine.

Here are some less fine bluebells, from when we went for a hack a few days ago:

We went into Canterbury for dinner last night, as the pubs all seem to close on Monday evening. Much to Jodie's relief, the Belgian beer place allows dogs, so she just went to sleep on Mike's feet. Before we ate, we had a little wander around town. There's a very peculiar tree in the grounds of the cathedral:

It has little fuzzy red flower balls on it, and what looked like the remains of last year's seeds were brown balls about an inch across. No idea what it is!
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A harrowing experience....

♥Apr. 3rd, 2014 // 04:36 pm
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Finally managed to get the farmer pinned down, and this afternoon he came and harrowed the field for us. He also did Next Door's field, which we watched while the back lady was checking the boys (all good, although she agrees with my feeling that GB's getting annoyed about his saddle; as the saddler's coming next week, this is not a problem! It's always gratifying when she turns up and says something like "Wow, doesn't he look wonderful for his age?"). Next Door's field is, in places, much steeper than ours, and there were a couple of times when we all held our breath as he turned the tractor around! No accidents, though, and we've much less moss now. Next time we have a bit of rain forecast, I'll go and throw some seed around (I've been saving the seed that falls out of the hay, and I've got three sacks tucked away in the barn for just this time of year).

Not terribly exciting video of the shiny red tractor:

(I was *somewhat* irritated to learn, via Next Door, that TWWOTV had phoned up the farmer and informed him that he wasn't to harrow either field, because they didn't need doing and we were just being silly. It's one thing -- although incredibly rude -- to do that about Next Door's rented field, it's another to do it about ours!)

After all that excitement, I took Jo out for her walk. Even though I'd had a look at the weather radar before going out (mostly because I didn't believe the Met Office's suggestion of showers at tea time), there were several times when it got quite dark and windy and I thought I was about to get soaked: not ideal, as I was only wearing jeans and a thin, pale t-shirt....

The bluebells are looking very fine, and did have a noticeably scent a couple of times when the wind was in the right direction:

The wood anemones are also still being very pretty:

Yesterday was quite blergy with the smog, bit it is a bit better today. We've been having some misty mornings:

(That's still uploading. It should turn up eventually....)
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Walking in the woods

♥Mar. 10th, 2014 // 05:58 pm
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Jodie has been terribly full of beans, today: not sure what's got into her! We took her out for a nice walk, in a wild flower reserve (lots of space for bounding around whilst keeping us in view) and then in the woods. We found a rather unfortunate bluebell:

It's ok, though, as a) we rescued it after I took a picture and b) it was not alone:

The wild flower reserve had some terribly clever not-stiles, very well suited (one stereotypes) for use by elderly ladies who want to look at the flowers but aren't quite up to clambering over the regular type of stile:

Yesterday, mindful of complaints that previous videos showed the boys darting too quickly around the field, I shot one with the frame rate dialled right back. It was quite tedious to watch. Here's one that's a bit quicker than that, with special guest appearances from the two mares owned by TWWOTV, who like to stay close to the boys when they can.

The chaps have, it appears, now entirely finished the kitchen, including unexpectedly patching up the missing bit of plaster in the dining room ceiling, by the front door, and have now moved onto the hallway. The wooden panelling is more than half done (and that's the tricky half, with the radiator to deal with), and the woodwork has had a first coat of white: already looks much lighter and brighter in there, which is good.

Tomorrow, The Parents Arrive. This should be interesting (they are not staying here, but in a B&B nearby). I'm, in some ways, pleased that it coincides with the chaps causing mess and chaos, as it gives me an excuse! Father has Plans for our spherical pigeons, which reminds me that I must warn the Next Doors not to worry unduly if they hear gunshots coming from the house....
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♥Feb. 28th, 2014 // 09:24 am
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Boringly, I did manage to catch our sneak thief on film, and it's a rat.

It seems to only be *one* rat, and there's a lot of to-ing and fro-ing through the night, so I suspect that somewhere near our barn there's a big pile of pony nuts! (This would also explain the lack of poo, I suspect.)

(There's a lovely shot of him at 3:45am, when he's perched on the bucket rim having a rest. Certainly looks nice and sleek! Don't worry, the video isn't the whole night.)

Now, to think of solutions. The only ones that spring to mind are not doing the feeds at all (but then Mike has to make the feeds in the morning), covering the water bucket (but with what? It's have to be a good fit), or hanging it from the ceiling on a rope. The last of those has the advantage that, if it's a smart rat, I'll then be able to get some *really* cool pictures....

([Taps fingers] Come on YouTube, finish processing so that I can post this and head off to Pilates!)
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Stupid ouch

♥Feb. 23rd, 2014 // 06:57 pm
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Yesterday (pre, I hasten to add, pub), I fell up the stairs. Whilst not as painful as in the other direction, I managed to bruise my heel in the process. It's most uncomfortable, and not to be recommended.

Also, it strangely turns out that you get fewer responses-per-job on MyBuilder.com when you live in the middle of nowhere than when you live in central London. Who'd'a thunk it?

Anyway, have a wuffly dog. She wakes up if we move, which is why you have such a bad angle and a great shot of Mike's deeply cool slippers. Mike tells me that vertically oriented videos are Bad And Wrong: sorry.... It is a terribly cute noise that she makes, though.
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♥Feb. 14th, 2014 // 04:04 pm
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I made it to the hairdresser, and back again. There weren't any unexpectedly closed roads, which was good. I scandalised the hairdresser by insisting that she just dump my big coat on the floor, rather than hanging it with the other customers' nice coats, on account of it was covered with hay and, almost certainly, less savoury hay by-products.

Mike's dam has failed (this is his own fault for digging some of the mud out of the drive this morning), so he had a go at re-building it. I'm a bit dubious that it will work, though, unless he makes it about twenty yards long.

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♥Jan. 19th, 2014 // 04:14 pm
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The Baby seems to have something against his feed buckets. They get mangled very quickly, but he managed to be very impressive today:

(It may be that he just doesn't like pink, or maybe he just gets really annoyed with them when they're empty and don't magically fill back up.)

I took GB out for a hack, so that Mike could have the school to himself. It was all rather marred by having to negotiate the gates across the road: the one outside our house was ok, although it would be better with a one-handed mechanism, but the one at the far end of the road, which was a bit pathetic-looking even before a tree fell on it over Christmas, is downright dangerous. It's not so much the way that you have to drag it, screaming, across the road. It's more the fact that the mechanism's bust, so it's held closed with a loop of rope that just about fits over the gate post and, when not hooked over it, hangs down to about two foot off the ground. So I was having to hang off the side of the horse, with all of our eyes about three inches away from some barbed wire, flailing around to grab the rope and then trying to force it back over the post and hoping that, say, a cyclist wouldn't come down the hill and make GB jump into the wire.... As it happened, I saw the farmer as I was coming back and told him (nicely) that he had to get it fixed. I'll be saying the same thing to TWWOTV next time I see her: I'm not going to close it again from on the horse, so they can either fix it or they can have the sheep get out! I've had a look online and not found anything, but logic says that if the landowner installs a gate on a public road (I suspect it was grandfathered in when the road was adopted, in fact, but not sure) then the landowner has to make sure that it's fit for purpose! ([personal profile] raven - don't suppose you came across anything similar in the old job, did you?)

It's been a lovely day today:

Plus, the days are getting enough longer that we're not going straight from walking the dog to bringing the boys in. Today, therefore, we committed Gardening in the extra hour of daylight. I proved to be absolutely brilliant at instantly sorting plants into "weed", "not a weed" and "no idea", whilst randomly chopping bits off some smaller plants, and Mike did an excellent job of hacking branches off some of the bigger ones. I fail to understand why people do this for fun, and am now plotting ways of making the field bigger by giving the boys some of the garden. (And, it must be admitted, simultaneously working on turning a patch of waste ground into an orchard. I'd probably actually rather turn, eg, the whole back garden into one, but there's a lot less stuff to get rid of on a patch of waste ground.) *And* some bastard plant corroded my arms, though my fleece. Bah.

I filmed the birds today, and got a few inadvertent gardening action shots. I think I need to avoid it on days where there's a mix of sun and cloud, though, as it is a bit strobe-like in places (and that's after I cut out the morning stuff!)

I don't know what this is (other than "a plant"), but I walked past it in the garden and thought it smelled nice as well as looking pretty, so now I have a minimalist flower arrangement in the hall.

It actually matches some of my test patches of paint quite well....
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It didn't rain!

♥Jan. 2nd, 2014 // 06:43 pm
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Well, not until about 5pm. I suppose that's an improvement (although the boys had to stay inside anyway, as it's like a swamp out there).

I had a thoroughly unpleasant night, last night, feeling rather feverish and meh, but today I seem to be ok other than achiness.

Both of which are good, really, as we had our fortnightly riding lesson this morning. Look at the pretty pattern I made:

(Mike pointed out that I really should have decreased the time between images, so there's something for you to look forward to in a couple of weeks!)

Seemed to go well, and Mike was getting the Baby moving along reasonably well. Next time, we're swapping. Lucky Mike, poor me....
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New year

♥Jan. 1st, 2014 // 05:36 pm
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Happy new year, everyone! We had an infestation of Cabal, so I've not really been online very much and have a stack of emails to catch up with.... I'm just pretending that I don't know about the laundry mountain until I've had a decent night's sleep.

I'd quite like for it to stop raining now, if someone could sort that out for me? Each storm seems to be causing a new leak to appear. The other day, it was the dining room ceiling, very slightly, and this evening it's the door into the store rooms. There are new trees down every time we go in the woods, too:

I think that I am going to have to give up posting photos, because most of the ones I've taken lately are just a greenish blur. I could post videos of what the horses have been up to, if you like?

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Now with video!

♥Dec. 26th, 2013 // 03:47 pm
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My Christmas present from Mike was a time-lapse camera, so I tried it out this morning while we were out hacking:

(I assume that that will work!)

(It's the Next Door horse, not either of ours.)

While we were out hacking, we noticed what the tree that came down at the end of our lane had done to the road sign:

Oops. Hope no one is relying on that to get to us in the near future!

Hacking was tediously muddy. Even GB was slipping around at one point. We decided not to take the pooch up there, partly because it was so muddy and partly because we weren't sure which way the Hunt were going to go, so we went to the beech instead, having this time checked to make sure that it was low tide. It appears that lots of other people had had the same idea, so Jodie had a nice time meeting lots of other dogs and tiring herself out chasing after the birds. Lovely afternoon.

We'd left the boys in the stableyard again, as the field is still muddy. They wandered back up into the alleyway, but that was fine. Then they decided that the field did actually look quite appealing, and turned themselves out! The electric fence was both switched off and half come undone in the wind, but they apparently respected it anyway and stayed in the right half. I'm afraid that they're not going to be allowed to do that again tomorrow: if they go out at all, they'll have to have the gate shut to keep them in the stableyard. Bloody weather, we need a good freeze, rather than just the half-hearted frost that we got last night!
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