Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Egg Production Yet To Start

A quick update on the 3°s.
I was beginning to wonder if in fact we had been sold some stuffed birds.
For two days, all they did was stand and stare at the inside of their coop. It was quite unnerving. But with a little persuasion – I shoved them out using an old besom – they came out, and then went straight back in again.
Hmm, I thought. This might get tricky.
Bertie, bless (blast) him, even tried to help by barking at them and looking as threatening as he could just outside the fence, and then seemingly wanting to take charge of proceedings, he crashed over the fence. However this action put my mind at rest at having been sold stuffed birds. They can really move you know, especially when being pursued by a large, slavering, wolf-like beast. I’m actually thinking of setting up some chicken racing event. Novel. Could be a € spinner.
But now the little wonders are getting on fine. They roost OK, come out in the morning for some food and water and go back at night with a little help from La D and myself. They actually went into their coop last night with just La D doing the shepherding. Mind you I think it was advisable from their point of view as I did overhear the persuasive tones of La D as she shooed them in. “Listen busters, do you want to see light tomorrow? Well don’t mess me about or you’ll be on the Sunday dinner menu” I’m sure it was the tone not the words that worked, but they fairly shot up their steps and onto the perch. One of them even tried to shut the door from the inside. Silly thing, there is only one catch and that’s on the outside. Tsk. How daft they are.

Nice Melons
La D and I are very partial to melon at the moment. Not the huge water melons but the other ones. Charantais-like ones. Juicy and sweet orange flesh. Delicious.
In fact, just the other week I went along to our local town to the travelling fruit and veg van to get some fruit. I noticed they had some great looking melons on the counter.
“Vedo che avete molto bella meloni maturi signora!” (in English: I see you’ve got some lovely ripe melons missus!.) Pity she took it the wrong way completely. I now have to shop for fruit in another village. I haven’t told La D precisely what had happened, in fact I just said the van doesn’t go there any more. “I wonder why not? How strange” she said.
Anyway, I digress.
We did think at trying our hand at growing some this year. La D even went as far as following some advice she had come across and kept a few seeds from a melon we had had in a moist piece of kitchen roll. But after several weeks they were still just seeds, so we threw them away.
In our lower orto where we have spuds, runners, peas and French beans, we had noticed some cucumbers were growing along one side of the fence. It is really weird because the few plants that are growing are all along this piece of fence which of course allows for a lot of support for a climbing plant like cucumber. When we prepared the ground early in the year, we had put in some of our kitchen compost that we had been mulching in the compost bin for months and months. Obviously it contained various seeds from any produce we had eaten. We thought we would just leave them and see how they got on as an experiment. We wouldn’t water them.
A couple of days ago we were doing some maintenance work in the orto and we saw that in fact they aren’t cucumber plants, but melons. There are loads of them, growing extremely well. If you click on the photo you can see the size of one of the little beauties.

Casa Grotta Cats Home

Well our little furry friends are still with us.
We came back from our weekly visit to the beach – it was awful. Cloud free sky, slight on-shore breeze, water as warm as you’d want it, soft sand, …. Apologies, I won’t go on painting this terrible picture you might start to feel sorry for us.
As I said we arrived back and blow me, there were only three little kittens sitting with Mum and Starlight – now remember, Starlight is their mother and we think that Mum is Starlight’s mother. We heard this squeaking from the room under the stairs and when La D checked the fourth kitten was in there. Starlight, presumably had brought three of them up the stairs and whether she had forgotten the fourth or was just going to get it when we turned up, we don’t know. La D brought the fourth one and put it with its brothers and sisters.
The two cats sort of formed a doughnut shape and the little kittens were contained in the hole the cats made.
But, and here is the interesting bit, the kittens are now suckling Mum. Mum did have a litter just after Starlight, but we have no idea where the kittens went, but there is no trace of them. So it looks like Mum is acting as a wet nurse. A Granny wet nurse. Extraordinary. See photo below.
Bertie is lovely with them. He’s fascinated. He sits down opposite them and just watches. Occasionally he gets up and goes and has a sniff, his great big tail swishing from side to side. An odd bark or two, but no more really. We just hope he doesn’t get too excited and accidentally steps on them. It could be fatal.
La D announced, “L’uomo chi fa, we will have to do something about getting kitten food for them”
I did try and remonstrate with her about them not being our responsibility, and I was tempted to say that it was either them or me. I’m glad I resisted. Her searing look pinned me to the door. We will be looking for some food this week.


The Bert

was 10 months old on 27th.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

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