Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Team Talk Time

Unfortunately I have to report that as I write, there have been no eggs laid by the Three Degrees. La D, and myself, are not amused.
They have all the creature comforts they need. They are being fed with top quality – at least that’s what the chap said who sold it to us – feed designed for egg laying. Yet, no result to date.
I thought it was time to give them a bit of a pep talk. Well, to be truthful, La D said to me “L’uomo chi fa, if the Three Degrees don’t start showing a return a ROI very soon, I am going to hold you personally responsible and will exact punitive measures on you for their egg laying failure.” Gulp. I preferred not to seek clarification on the punitive measures. I had just finished my breakfast at the time.

So, armed with a piece of bamboo, a smallish blackboard and easel, some chalk and a serious demeanour I entered the chicken run.

“Right, girls. Gather round. I have something eggciting to talk to you about” I said, in a commanding tone. I set the blackboard up and wrote on the top, “Daily Egg Production” and drew x and y axis lines.
“Pay attention” The chickens didn’t really seem to have got the hang of this sort of thing, but I thought I would persist. I said to myself, “Speak more slowly and louder to be understood.” You know the sort of thing you do on holiday in a foreign land.
“I want to talk to you about your egg production, or rather lack of it.” I said. The clucking and scratching suddenly stopped when I mentioned lack of egg laying. I thought, “Aye, aye. That’s got your attention.” But no, I think they must have just yawned in unison because they soon started up again and continued to ignore me continuing to scratch about and cluck quietly to themselves. Mind you, they could have been saying “What‘s he on about?”
“Now, I am going to try and be eggsplicit as I can. Let me eggsplain.” I said. I went over to the blackboard and put a cross where the x and y axes met. “In terms of egg production we” – notice the inclusivity – “ are here. The same place we were when we started.” I pointed my bamboo at the cross to help them understand. I then put a mark between 2 and 3 above and to the right.
“Where we need to be is here. Everybody with me so far?” More clucking, foot scratching and neck twitching. “I do hope they are paying attention” I said to myself..
“Good, good. You see we, that is La D and myself, bought you for the eggspress purpose of having fresh eggs whenever we wanted them. We are not trying to eggsploit you. This is what you, as chickens, do. To date, this has not happened. Do you have any eggsplanation for this? I know it’s only been two weeks, but we were told you would laying within two weeks. So what are we going to do? We are not eggsperts in keeping chickens. We need your help. Do you need more eggsercise perhaps? Do you eggspect something more from us? Do you need to eggcert yourselves more? I mean you really don’t seem to have totally eggsplored your surroundings at all. Apart from you, 2nd Degree, because you keep eggscaping over the fences. You probably know more about outside your run than in it!” I said eggsasperatedly.
“Let me be very clear. Unless you girls start eggspediting eggs, and PDQ, we may have to take eggstreme measures.. You might even become eggstinct” I said.
Just then there was a lot of eggscitement and clucking and scratching. I thought eggscitedly that may be an egg was about to be laid, the first egg of the Three Degrees. Then they started to flap about and I looked behind to see Bert lying down, tail wagging and his head cocked just looking at the girls. He does spook them sometimes.
So, I packed up my blackboard and easel, put the chalk in my pocket and my bamboo cane under my arm and left the pen to sounds of more clucking and scratching. I am very unsure whether my little pep talk will have the desired effect. I do hope so. Kitting this lot out and buying feed for no return is not a good deal in terms of financial investment in these straitened times.
I took a look back at them and said, “Remember girls, Casa Grotta eggspects!” and trudged wearily up the hill to debrief La D, in the military sense of course, on the mission.

Kitten Update

The worst thing about having young animals, like cats and dogs, is that they are so damned lovely and entertaining, that you find your decisions made about their future becoming wobbly.
They are four weeks old now and clambering over Starlight and Mum. Bertie often lies with them and they are taking quite an interest in him I don’t know whether they see him as a big brother or uncle or some kind of relative. I am sure when they are a bit older they will soon realise that actually, Bertie is not one of them!
We hope we have found a home for one of them and we are going to try and find a home for the other three. However, I have been given a stern ultimatum (I don’t know whether you can have a stern ultimatum, but it sounds better than just ultimatum) by La D that we shall be keeping one of them.
“It’ll keep Bert company” she said. I didn’t bother to point out that he has enough cat-friends around him already. It wouldn’t have made any difference.
Anyway, we need to sex them first so we can decide whether to keep a female or male.

Vegetable Glut

We have zucchini, pomodori (toms) and citrioli (cucumbers) coming out of our ears, and probably other orifices soon. Fortunately the holiday house next door has someone in it now and we have been able to give them some and also the neighbour opposite who doesn’t have an orto. We have tried to give our other neighbours but they have orti too and of course they are in the same boat as us. They have too much. It doesn’t really matter because what we don’t eat goes into the compost or given to the Three Degrees and will be used as fertiliser for next year. So nothing is wasted. It just seems a shame when these beautiful fresh vegetables are not eaten.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

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