Sunday, 30 September 2012

Swimming pig...

Peppa was a nightmare yesterday, she was having one of her Im not staying where you put me moods, which is fine if she was smaller. However, she is rather large now, which means that when she has her temper tantrums the whole world hears about them. She not only smashed her way through her pen, but also discovered that if she run againgst the side orchard gate that springs open.

Now Peppa being loose in the orchard is a nightmare enough, but Peppa being loose in the drive is a completely different matter! Not only do you have to contend with the pig, but also the 60+ chickens that follow her! It was a complete scene of chaos, chickens everywhere, ducks going frantic as Peppa is attempting to break through their fence to get to the prize.....the pond!

Ok, her mud pit is getting small for her ever expanding arse, but leave my pond alone, it is not for you in any stretch of the imagination. Thankfully we intercepted her just as the first trotter was entering the water, with the ducks frantically flapping to try and stop this large, smelly creature from joining them. Back she went like a small child that has been caught doing something they shouldn't be.

Now the issue of the chickens who were running in every direction, like prisoners who have escaped from the POW camp were the next problem. Food wins every time, and part from a few stragglers they all followed the bucket back to the barracks. The few that thought they were being clever, soon discovered they were on the wrong side of the fence when it can to feeding time....and after sulking happily joined the other chickens.

This cat and mouse game happened four more times, thankfully the chickens were having none of it, just Peppa the rebel. Eventually I expanded her mud pit, and chained her door firmly shut with a huge chain, so she was staying put.....for the moment!

Why I do what I do.....

One of the most heard statements from people I come into contact with is "oh it all sounds so idyllic  when they hear where I live, which amazes me as does the name Casa chaos not give you an indication of my life. I think people have this image in their heads of a cross between little house on the Prairie and Emmerdale Farm. Trust me it is neither and it is incredibly hard work every single day, however, there are some moments within the chaos that make it pleasurable.

One of the reasons I love it so much, is that the possibilities are endless, however, with those possibilities comes decisions. Some people consider me to be crazy, which I am slightly, but I am also practical, therefore, this finca has to make money. Therefore, many of my decisions have to come from a business prospective. I know we will never get rich from Casa choas, however breaking even would be nice!

People often refer to all of our animals as pets, which is the first wrong statement as many are not pets, and have to earn a living whilst they are here. We love them, feed them, name them and treat them well however, in return I expect them to serve their purpose. I think this is the difference between business owners, and people who keep animals as pets.

I do have a heart, although it is well hidden, therefore, it is difficult to say no, when people keep trying to give me all their abandoned animals. However, I have to remain practical, and at the moment I feel we are to the limit of what we need at Casa Chaos. People looked shocked when I tell them that Peppa will be going in November, and that Jack and Jill are here to produce babies to sell and eat. That the chickens will be dealt with when they no longer lay and that the cockerels will be culled soon.

That is farm life, and I am not an animal sanctuary, I am a working farm that needs to pay the bills and never want to let my heart lead us to bankruptcy. So is it all about the far from it, it is that feeling when you can walk through the orchard and pick your own fruit, or when you go to collect the eggs and there is a bounty. Those small things in life are free, and can make a huge difference to your day.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

I'm famous....

I enjoy writing the blog and begun when my life changed and I wanted to document everything that happens here in Casa chaos. Some people ask if writing it is a chore, and that confuses me, as surely anything you enjoy is never a chore! Other people question how I have the time to write the blog, again it takes very little time, as I am simply writing what happens on a day to day basis.

The support and amazing messages that I receive are incredible, and I didn't realise that the mad ramblings of a crazy lady in her mad world, would attract such attention. However  it seems i have caused a stir, and even the local papers want to get involved. The Canary News approached me and asked if I would allow them to publish the blog, with some ground rules in place I could see no problem.

Therefore, you can now read about me here in my blog, and in Canary news which is rather good, and even I am shocked to see it in full page spread. My Dad always knew I would be in the paper, however  he was concerned it would be in the most wanted section! I do feel a sense of pride, and amazement that people enjoy the blog, and will continue to write it as I'm sure the chaos will get larger and larger, as my quiet day the other day was short lived!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Chickens in trees.....

When I was younger and we had chickens, I remember the task of having to put all the chickens into the coop before it got dark so that the foxes didn't have a midnight snack. If you were to ever open the coop at any stage through the night, you would discover them on perches asleep off the floor. This is normal all over the world, however, in typical fashion here at casa chaos nothing is ever normal.

My chickens don't get put away at night as there are no foxes, and as far as I am aware no predators which will kill the chickens through the night. the mums and chicks have boxes to sleep in at night, but that is to keep the chicks safe. Therefore, there are no perches in my coop, and this ponders the question where do the chickens sleep.

It didn't take me long to work out this question as one night on walking through the orchard there was a deathly silence other than the slight rustling of trees. As I looked up I could see feet and feathers and realised that the chickens and roosters were in the trees. This was an incredibly strange sight, and I moved quickly away, not because I was shocked, but because I was concerned I was going to get chicken shite on my head!

The next day I went down earlier to watch how they got into the trees as I was curious now to see if they flew, but they didn't. The chickens performed a strange movement of climbing using their beaks, which was incredibly affective. They all seemed to know when they had to head for the trees, and within minutes they were all safely out of the way.

I found this amusing and mentioned it on some chicken website (sad I know) where the "expert" chicken owners doubted my claimed and named 101 reasons why this was not possible. They made out that I was either a) clinically insane b) drunk or c) making it up. Now I would admit to one of those, but the other two not at this point.

Therefore I set out to prove them wrong, so camera in hand I marched to the orchard and begun taking pictures of my equally insane chickens. back I stomped to the office and uploaded, frantically trying to post pictures, and write sarcastic replies all at the same time. When finally I had posted and had they proof they wanted, I received a short answer back of "well they are obviously a native breed to your country, as normal chickens do not climb trees" I had it confirmed my chickens like me are not normal!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Calm before the storm.....

Yesterday was a very calm day in Casa Chaos, so much so that I kept checking that everything was still alive. There was no disasters, escapes, or broken items, the chickens laid where they were supposed to, and the noise was kept to a minimal. Does this mean that we have broken through the wall of chaos, and are through to a calm place, or more likely this is the calm before the storm....

Talking of storms, Nadine didn't really come to much, a lot of rain one night but that was it, no week long event as we were promised which was disappointing. The trees are looking brighter, and the dust levels have subsided, however, it wont take long for the dust to return.  As we approach winter we are in unknown territory as we have no idea what winters are like here, but we are always up for a challenge.

There are loads of projects going on at the moment and whilst the to do list doesn't appear to be getting any shorter, things are slowly developing. Operation duck extension had to be put on hold as we thought it was going to rain for longer. However, as the ground is now drying this could be this weekends project, and allow the ducks some more room.

Without the daily chaos there isn't a lot to write, and although I should be pleased that I had a "normal" day Strangely I missed the chaos. I'm probably going to regret that statement, and today will be double the madness, but hey with that comes double the fun!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Quick Sand.....

We had a major panic yesterday as Charlie went missing, and for two hours we searched for him without any luck. Unfortunately, Charlie is a wanderer and regardless of the amount of fences,walls and methods of defence we put up, he finds a way out. Being a small dog, Charlie can fit in the tiniest of holes, therefore, you have to keep an eye on him at all times. This didn't happen, which resulted in him taking him self off for a wander.

Typically when Charlie wanders he returns quickly, or when we notice he has gone we go and retrieve him from the barranco/road/neighbour. There have been many discussions about Charlie, and the fact that one day he will get hit and killed on the road, or someone will snatch him as small dogs are popular with the Spanish. Therefore, when he didn't return, these were the two scenarios which we thought had happened.

My husband was sent out on road kill duty, but there was nothing, which although I was relieved, meant he had been taken. My heart sank as I knew that although he was microchipped, if someone had taken him, they would not take him to the vet. We searched high and low for over two hours, before I decided that he was gone.

Just as I was beginning to prepare the information of a missing dog for the websites, and ringing the vet to notify them that the chip needed an alert placed on it, I thought I would have one more search. Thankfully I did as I found Charlie, looking very sorry for himself stuck in wet sand in the baranco. With the rain through the night it has made the barranco a combination of wet sand and uneven ground.

As Charlie had made his bid for freedom his little legs had got stuck in the wet sand, and unable to move he begun to sink. The more he struggled the more he sank, until he had got himself firmly wedged in the sand, with only his head poking out. When I saw him my emotions went from anger, to relief to loud laughing as he did look incredibly funny. I pulled him out, took him home and told him off in-between laughing at him. Lets hope that stops the wandering for a while.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Time to build the ark...

Its raining...which for many people would not be a cause for celebration, however, the island needs it so badly that we are dancing in the rain. It has been a long hot summer with no rain for the last 18 months making it the driest winter since 1947. Again if you live somewhere that has rain a huge amount this would seem like heaven. However, once you live on a finca on a hot island you begin to dream of rain, and this downpour is much needed.

We are in fact experiencing the tail end of Hurricane Nadine, and altough we don't have any of the wind that goes with a hurricane, we are experiencing rain. Yesterday was hit and miss, it started to rain, but soon stopped. Facebook was alight with comments from all over the island with statements of "its raining" "its stopped" "not where I am" it does make me chuckle that regardless of where you are in the world the weather is a top topic of conversation.

The rain has now been going all night and the trees are looking fresh and rejuvenated, the ducks are loving it, the chickens not so much. Jack and Jill are sheltering under their house, and Peppa thinks the mud pit god has arrived. There is one small issue with the rain, apart from the muddy footprints that are coming through the house...I live on the other side of the barranco!

For those that don't know what the barranco is, it is a very basic form of storm drain designed to filter the water from the mountains back to the sea. Now, for all the time we have been here the dry bed has been dry allowing us to drive our car to and from our property. People have told us of tales of the barranco filling and previous occupants being stranded! Up until this point these stories didnt bother me, however, its dark, raining and I cannot see how much the barranco has filled.  I have to wait until daylight to see if I will need a boat to get my son to school. hmmmm where did I put those plans for the ark....

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Rotten fruit

Regardless of how much we try to pick all of the fruit a proportion of it falls from the trees, often bruising and remains there going rotten. Many people think that leaving the fruit on the floor is the best idea as it helps fertilise the ground. However, you need to imagine the sickly smell of rotting fruit, combined with intense heat and then decide if leaving the fruit on the floor is a good idea.

I came up with this brilliant idea  to pick up the fruit off the floor, however, no one else seemed as enthusiastic as me, therefore, I was left to do it alone. After a while I was bored of this idea, and thought there must be a way to encourage children to pick up mouldy lemons. As I was throwing a lemon over the fence in frustration, it hit an old abandoned car in-between the fincas...I had my penny dropping moment (clunk, clunk, clunk!)

I gathered the troops, and asked them to start picking up the lemons, which was met with groans and complaints. However, this soon changed to happy faces and surprise when I told them they could throw them at the old car. My son asked how many points he got for hitting the car..err I hadn't thought that far ahead, so 5 I shouted. He then asked how many points for getting a lemon in the back broken windscreen, why cant my kids just throw the bloody lemons!

So, after the points, rules and basic concept was explained lemon throwing began, and it went very well as my children are incredibly competitive and will compete over everything. Who can eat the fastest, drink the fastest and often belch the loudest. The rotten fruit was very quickly leaving my orchard, which was great! not so good for the land outside my orchard, but hey its good for the soil isnt it?


Growing up my grandparents had stunning gardens, beautiful flowers, and vegetable patches to envy. Therefore, I believed that If I took nothing else from the Gene pool I would take the ability to grow plants, oh how wrong I was! Growing a garden is very similar to raising children, there is more than one way to get it right, and many ways to get it wrong.

My garden always starts of well, unfortunately after a short period of time it often shows severe signs of parental neglect. How I raised four children without killing them I do not know! I need to take control of the gardening situation, and focus more time and energy into getting it right. However, the main problem to that is I have neither time or energy!

Gardening is all about timing, and knowing when to plant things, this is an issue as I work full time, and often forget what day we are on let alone what month. The thought of trying to work out if I should be planting carrots or potatoes fills me with dread. In my defence the relentless heat this summer has not helped, and many of my attempts have been destroyed by mother nature.

I always have huge plans for the garden, and romantic images of beautiful flower beds and tasty vegetable patches. I have now learnt that simplicity is best, and starting small might actually gain results. I was speaking to A Spanish guy the other day who has the most amazing range of vegetables and he told me that I need to be more relaxed, go with the flow and embrace the chaos. Wise words as always, however, if I embrace the chaos much more I may become as crazy as everyone else here in casa chaos.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Miss Thunderpussy returns...

We have had a few stressful days with the rabbits escaping and causing us a headache, so we had to build another new enclosure for them to live in. Unfortunately they displayed amazing digging abilities, and refused to stay where they were put. One of the rabbits decided that he didnt want to live in the enclosure and leapt out every day, much to the house guests amusement when they found him sat on the door mat every day waiting to come into the house.

However, Miss Thunderpussy decided that she would dig a tunnel in a similar fashion to the great escape and left the compound. We looked for her, but to be honest there is hundreds of square feet of mountain to explore, the chances of us finding her were slim. All I hoped was that she had gone off to live with a colony of wild rabbits and was running free....

Days passed and no thunderpussy, so we moved the enclosure, recaptured hoppity and made plans to replace miss TP. But amazingly she was found, by my son who was in the bottom orchard playing when he spotted miss TP casually eating mangos. I was so shocked, but also relieved as it is never nice loosing an animal.

So, Miss TP is safely back home with the other rabbits, they have a nice new enclosure with a concrete base, armed guards, and 24 hour surveillance! She was welcomed home with some bunny loving, and a big bowl of food, so lets hope she is happy and contented now.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Operation duck pond and extension

I am beginning to feel that I spend most of my time walking round in circles repairing things that have been broken. When the duck house and pond were first built, we never imagined how big the ducks would grow to, and now we have three large ducks and Jessica the monster duck. We keep eyeing her up and deciding how many duck pancakes she would make, honestly she is HUGE!!!

People even comment when they arrive, with oh wow ducks, oh my god look at the size of that duck!! therefore, our compact and bijou duck house no longer can accommodate the ducks. We think this is why Lucy has stopped laying, therefore, a duck extension needs to be built sooner rather than later. I not talking a mansion here, just something that can be built on the side of the house to accommodate all of the ducks.

The duck pond also needs replacing as Billy has decided that chewing through the liner again is a fantastic idea!! So, this weekend I can see operation duck pond commencing which is a horrible job, but someone has to do it!! As my helpers have now left, to go back to the cold UK, with big smiles on their faces pleased to escape Casa chaos, looks like the duck renovations will be left to us.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Lizards are a creature that we see quite often here, whether they be sunbathing on a rock, or climbing up the outside of the house being stalked by cats! They range in size from very small, colourful blue lizards to larger dinosaurs, that terrify everyone. Sometimes they come in the house, which is never good as they have to battle with the cats and an excited puppy.

Some months ago I sent Mr E a photo of a lizard attacking my daughters shoe (yes whilst on her foot) and he informed me that if he ever saw one he would..just DIE!!! Well up until last night he had been fortunate and Mr E and our scaly friends paths had not crossed. However, in typical casa chaos style he was never going to get away with not seeing one.

So, last night Mr E popped off to have a shower, and within minutes this high pitched screaming/cackling/snorting noise was being heard. Although I was curious to know what it was I was slightly afraid that he would have no clothes on so Mrs C was dispatched to see what the noise was about. After several more strange noises, and some heavy footed running across the terrace, the noise stopped.

Mrs C returned and explained that Mr E had encountered his first lizard, and "claimed" that a HUGE lizard had run down the back of the suitcase, and she had to go and find it. Earlier in the day we had a discussion on how large 7 inches was, therefore, she knew that his claims of HUGE were likely to be wrong.

Mrs C found the lizard and discovered that in typical man style his measurements were wrong, as she released the small, terrified lizard back into the wild. Mr E continued onto his shower not realising that lizards always go out in pairs, and Mrs C probably found the smaller of the two, lizards can survive in the hold of an aircraft can't they?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

No Electricity....

I apologise for there being no blog yesterday, and I didn't realise so many people followed it until I received emails and messages asking where the blog was! Unfortunately we had no electricity yesterday for a huge proportion of the day, which was a huge pain. We were notified that there was to be no power all day, however, it still doesn't help when I rely so much on the power.

In casa chaos there is so much going on that if the routine gets muddled, the chaos gets worse therefore, no power caused a huge disruption. I work from home and need the Internet (yes I work as well as chase animals) so without power I went stir crazy...However, I did manage to fit in a very nice cup of coffee and a croissant in town with mrs C and  my son.

Then what to do, I did consider sitting under the light switch and pressing it every few minutes to see if the power was going to come back on, but guessed it wouldn't really help. I would love to claim that I had a full day of constructive activities, however, I didn't. After I stressed that I couldn't even have a cup of coffee, I decided that sleep was the only other option. Yes sleep is my next vital thing after coffee, and I embrace both.

After a little sleep I went to collect a kitten from the local animal charity, which is coming to join us in casa chaos. We decided to adopt another kitten to help  the rat issue, well that's the official line given to my husband, the truth is she was cute, small and had take me home eyes! Tazzy as she is known due to her behaviour like the Tasmanian devil is settling in well, and I'm sure she will soon understand the level of chaos.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Horse racing....

Who doesn't like a bit of horse racing, the thrill of the betting, the power of the horses, and the getting dressed up for the day in posh frocks, sipping champagne. However, in true Gran Canaria style, why bother with the race track when you can gallop down the main road. Whenever I think that living in Casa Chaos cannot surprise me any more, something jumps up and makes me stop in my tracks, and the horse racing did that on Saturday.

There has been a local fiesta in the next village for the last two weeks, and when these events are in full flow they have some odd traditions. Now, I don't mind strange traditions as long as I don't have to be involved. Don't get me wrong I have followed Sardines, jumped over fires, thrown tomatoes and danced in the foam. However, things have been busy around here lately so we didn't attend the local fiesta, and I had no idea what was planned.

Maybe if I had taken the time to go and read the poster, I might have known about the galloping horses! Saturday started as usual, chaos, shouting and general stress, however, it was annoyed further by a Spanish guy going up and down the road screaming into his megaphone. At points I listened, but just presumed it was the typical village idiot declaring his unhappiness about something.

I was wrong, it now appears that he was in fact indicating the start of the race! Eventually he shut up, and i went back to my desk, however, that was short lived as a policia bike went down the road at full speed, followed by two galloping horses, the man with the megaphone on the back of a pick up, and another policia bike.

If this had only happened once, I might have thought I imagined it, but no it happened several times, and we begun to watch. Road racing in Ireland is incredibly popular, however, they have banned it for safety reasons. As the Spanish and safety never quite understand each other, I presume why these riders are allowed to gallop full speed along a main road. Oh well it kept us amused for a while, and increases my belief that nothing amazes me any more...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

New Battery's......

After the success of rescuing the last set of batterys and the fact that their feathers are now growing back, and none have died, I thought it was about time we did the same again. After many weeks of negotiating with the chicken man, haggling over the price, and trying to arrange collecting them whilst having guests here, the day had arrived.

My son had kindly offered to go with his sister to the "dodgy" area and collect the chickens. This caused much amusement as he had a hire car, I wonder if that was in the terms and conditions...1, do not drive off road...2, drive sensibly...3, do not transport chickens in hire car!! I also warned him that he was not to leave the car unlocked, or parked in one position for too long, or the local people would strip it bare.

So, off they went with promises of better chickens, prettier chickens and chickens that were the best. After last time my feeling was they could get no worse unless they were dead! My daughter text me whilst at the chicken mans hideout, which is a bit like the batcave but less glamorous. She informed me that the chickens appeared to have feathers...she also sent me photos of the "other" area of the chickencave, which held all the other animals.

We were told they were on route back to us, there were 4 boxes this time, all neatly packed with my new chickens. They were taken to the orchard and emptied onto the floor, and immediately you could tell that these were far better, they had feathers for a start. They had also had their beaks clipped, which indicated that they were on route to the battery factory, rather than leaving there.

This set of batterys are far more confident, they have no fear of twigs or leaves, and fit in well here in casa chaos. They do not know how lucky they are, as we saved them on their journey to hell and allowed them some time to be a chicken, rather than an egg producing machine, lets hope I am rewarded with lots of eggs.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Nature is strange....

Vicious Muma finally hatched, and although we waited days she only had one chick, which is incredibly odd. From a cluster of 16 eggs we expected slightly more, especially as she had 21 last time, however, it is just one of those things, which I cannot explain! When she begun to hatch we waited and waited, however, only one chick appeared. Then one day she was outside the feed room with her one chick meaning that she had abandoned the other eggs.

We rushed over to the eggs, but they were all still in one piece, which is when my heart sinks. You have to consider are they chicks, are they eggs, what do we do? On this occasion we popped them back under muma in a different location where she sat for another day, however still no chicks. At this point we resolved ourselves to the fact she wasn't going to hatch, and moved her and "Solo" to the maternity wing.

This chicken may be a bitch, but she knows her mothering skills, and I took her instinct that for whatever reason the other eggs just weren't going to hatch. When things don't quite go to plan, it is the time when my children look at me and ask 100 questions, which I just don't have the answers to. I don't know why they didn't hatch, maybe its just nature, which is an incredibly funny thing!

Solo is doing great being protected by the mum from hell, but he is a fighter and looks so small in the maternity wing. Hopefully with the wing clipping activities that is the last batch of chicks for a while, and the chickens can get back to laying eggs which is what they are supposed to be doing.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Miss ThunderPussy

Miss ThunderPussy has arrived and there is a buzz of excitement around the finca, you may be wondering who she is, and for those not on Facebook, she is of course our new female rabbit. We have been asked many times about bunny farming, and it was never something that I had considered until a Spanish man gave me the breakdown of potential earnings. Don't get me wrong it isn't all about the money, however, it does help pay the bills.

We have three very randy rabbits, therefore, Miss TP was never going to be lacking male attention. I did research rabbit farming before we got Miss TP, and was surprised at many of the things I discovered. Firstly I didn't know that rabbits are awful mothers who will eat their young, like something out of a horror movie. Also if they do not like their male companion, they will rip their crown jewels off with their teeth. This I can relate to and can think of several men that deserve this, just not using my teeth.

You may be wondering about the name, this has nothing to do with me, although I do happen to like the name. Mr E was given the privilege of being able to name the new rabbit, and after much debate, well actually no he got very excited, shouted GLORIA and then diverted to Miss ThunderPussy. I didn't ask his methods of choosing names, however, I do hope he spends more time on his children's names in the future.

So, Miss TP is home, and in her new sexual boudoir, however, Hoppity is not overly sure of what she is, or why she is there. There is a lot of movement, but I think that is where he is running for his life, and trying to get away from her, I might have to Google later and see the courtship rituals of bunnies, but for now she is thumping her feet on the floor looking dominating, and he looks terrified...reminds me of a few relationships I know!

Pig wrestling part II

Pig wrestling as you all remember is an activity that occurs often, usually with a lot of stress, shouting, swearing and complete frustration. Peppa is secretly related to Houdini, and has the ability to escape every defence we build, therefore, she is often seen belting round the orchard. You can guarantee that this happens when I really do not have the time to be chasing a pig..

Yesterday was a disaster in the pig rearing world, Peppa spent the day escaping, and just as we were attempting to go off to do important things, she decided that would be the ideal time to break out. At this point I had flip flops and white jeans which was not a good thing to be in the orchard wearing, and by the end of the session I was filthy.

After much screaming, shouting, and pure frustration, the back up crew arrived in the form of Mrs C and Mr E. Mrs C made me feel overdressed in the orchard and won the award for most inappropriate outfit for pig wrestling in a bikini and white dress. However, she was in the orchard where as Mr E offered support from behind the safety of the fence.

I knew I had to leave and stomped out of the orchard admitting defeat, however, Mr B was on hand to perform the best bit of pig wresting I have seen. My son has no experience of pigs, however, his impressive war cry that he performed scared the s**t out of Peppa and she ran so fast that her fat dumpy legs could take no more, and she went back in her pen to get away from the manic man chasing and screaming at her.

With one pig captured we all felt relief, and as we turned Mr E had walked into the orchard unaided and without safety harness, helmet and protective suit. One small step for man, one giant leap for the house guest scared of every animal on the planet.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Farmers helpers...

As you know my son arrived on Monday which is fantastic, however, he brought two friends with him which means we have two other unexpected helpers here. We have always had a policy of everyone helping out, regardless of who you are, as I do not have the time or manners to run round after anyone. Don't get me wrong I am a fantastic host for the first hour, then after that it is fend for yourself or die, as I simply do not have the time.

These friends, are also friends of mine, and one, Mrs C has been here before, so understands the chaos, noise, mud and level of insanity that you have to possess to visit. Although she lives in a town in the UK, she has no issues with being near the animals, holding chicks, or stroking goats when needed. Mrs C is an incredible friend, and shaping up to be a brilliant unexpected farmers helper...

However, Mr E who is new here is struggling slightly with the noise, chaos and anything that moves. I was warned that he was not good with bugs, roaches, lizards, chickens, well basically anything other than a domestic cat or dog! This was always going to be a challenge, however, I love challenges, and thought I would meet it head on and break the fear...

Slowly, slowly he is getting closer to the animals, and in all fairness on the first night he did experience cockroaches, and was brave enough to squash (alcohol fuelled I would like to add) Yesterday he stood and watched the chickens through the metal fence, which is a step towards being in there. Mr E does have his uses though as he makes a nice cup of coffee, which is vital in this house.

Mr E also likes food, and is a big eater, which again is vital in this house, as I cook for an army, and like to see people that appreciate the gigantic meals placed in front of them..lets just say that there will be no weight loss until he starts running round after the animals.

Monkey business

Don't worry I havnt lost the plot and bought a monkey, although that would be quite amusing and would guarantee the status of casa chaos was truly justified. However, I did visit some friends the other day and returned with a banana tree, which is amusing as I am allergic to bananas. Thankfully I know of this allergy, and have never eaten bananas, and I can touch them without turning into the elephant man.

Therefore, anyone gifting  a banana tree may seem an odd choice of gift, however, I think it is fantastic. Banana's are grown here in there thousands, and you can see the banana plantations in several different locations around the island. I may not like banana's, but my children and husband do, and there are plenty of banana recipes available.

So, as we left with the banana tree bundled into the car, I was pleased with my gift, and proudly returned home to show off the latest item. My husband has begun to puzzle how I have the ability to visit friends, and return with the strangest of things. As I got out of the car, and said grab a shovel he did wonder if I had finally killed the nosey neighbour and wanted to bury the body.

My banana tree is planted, away from the chickens, rabbits and psycho pig, nestled in a corner with the ducks, who better leave it alone or they will be ending up in orange sauce. I have no idea how to care for the tree, how long it will take to have bananas growing, or how to pick and store them, but its all fun, and that is what they invented Google for!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Excitement building....

There is a definite excitement around here today, everything is up early, and ready to be cleaned, polished, and be on their best behaviour. Why, you may ask, well its because one of our older sons is arriving today! We have not seen him for over a year, which is far too long, and everyone misses him a huge amount.

People often ask me what I miss about the UK, and if there is anything I would go back for, and this answer is simple...I miss my son! You will never understand the feeling when you walk away from your child, and although he was 18 when we left, it made it no easier. Our son is amazing, and I know all parents say that about their child, but he truly is, and we miss not having him in our lives on a daily basis.

This will be the first time that he has been to casa chaos, and I know that he will fit in perfectly, as when our son comes home, it is like a missing piece to a jigsaw puzzle being returned. When we are all together, it feels complete, and as every family should be every day. So much happens over 12 months, and although we keep in constant contact, there are still gaps.

The blog will probably involve our son over the next few days, as he will feature heavily in the day to day chaos that makes our world go round, and remember if you have children cherish them, never let them out of your sight and stalk them everyday. They may may think you are weird, but they will also know that you care!!

Operation Parsnips....

Parsnips are one of those foods that you either love or hate, however, people tend to only go crazy for them at Christmas time. Alongside the dry turkey that  no one enjoys, parsnips are dumped on the plates and scrapped into the bin afterwards. This delicious vegetable is considered rare here, and the fraggles go mad when there is a wiff of parsnips anywhere on the island. They are attracted to parsnips like cats to catnip!

The parsnip is related to the carrot, which they grow and eat in huge quantities here, so why not this delicious vegetable. I am a fan of parsnips and will eat them all year round, so when I discover them here, I tell no one, and sneak back and forth to the veg shop until they are all gone. My desire for parsnips has grown, and I need them al year, so why not grow them I thought.

After contacting some friends in the UK operation parsnip has begun, I received the seeds by pigeon post, and admired them when they arrived. Gently turning the packets in my hands like a kid at Christmas with their favourite toy. Sad I know but I don't have much human contact, therefore, parsnips are exciting..

well the parsnips are in the ground, in a secret location guarded by armed guards at all times, to ensure that we have to veg thieves in the night...and now we wait. I don't usually like Christmas at all, but with the excitement of parsnips, I might just get into the whole Christmas spirit this year...

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Finally she is hatching...

Vicious Muma has already had one batch of chicks this year, but she is a very determined chicken, and even after her wings were clipped, she climbed and fell onto the other side of the fence, so that she could sit on her eggs. In typical feral chicken style this stupid chicken decided to lay her batch of eggs in the furrow. When the furrow man turned up the other day to maintain the system, we enquired when they were letting the water go, and he said any day.

This meant that it was a race against time, regarding how quickly she would hatch, and the water being released, and washing all her hard work away. What feels like an eternity, and thankfully delays on the water system, she has begun to hatch....However, as with everything here, she seems to have only hatched one egg. This is really unusual as the last batch she had there were 16 chicks, however, we have one!

I have decided to leave her a few more days, however, with the ever impending threat of the water, she will need to be moved as soon as we can. This will be a challenge in itself as she isn't called vicious muma for nothing. She is the chicken that guards her babies with her life, and that you need the magic rake to enter the maternity wing when she is in there. I have never seen a chicken karate chop the air before, however, vicious muma manages it will style....

Friday, 7 September 2012

Max update....

Max is fantastic, I know I am bias as he is our super pup, but he is great, and we cannot imagine life without him! As far as pups go, Max is incredibly good, and well behaved, he hasn't decided to chew through the furniture, or cause havoc when we are out. Don't get me wrong he is boisterous, playful and chews my feet when I first get up, but on the whole he is brilliant.

Like any puppy, Max loves anything that moves, and considers every animal to be his personal chew toy!  Which is fine, however, there are some animals, which dont take kindly to him hanging from around their necks! Jack being one, and will happily butt Max out of the orchard when he comes to play. Max has worked out that if he hangs from Jacks horns, he can be swung around like a rag doll. What might look painful to everyone else, Max finds fantastic, and returns for more, time and time again.

We think that Max's mum was a Labrador/retriever type, as he has fantastic skills when it comes to bringing me birds, as he proved the other day. Both dogs always come in the orchards when we are in there, and although Max is wary of the bigger chickens, the "10" who have recently been let out of the maternity wing are fun, as they run and flap, whilst squawking loudly, perfect attraction for a boisterous pup!

Max decided that one of the "10" needed bringing to me, so he happily grabbed one, placed it in his mouth and bounded across the orchard like an expert retriever! He didn't harm it, bite it or scar it, he did however, scare the s**t out of the poor bird, that was stunned when Max dropped it at my feet, Max had no idea he had done anything wrong, as he sat wagging his tail, proudly looking at the bird he had brought me, hmmmm might have to work on the "what Max can pick up skills"....

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Teaching a pig new tricks.....

My son loves YouTube, which I am never sure if that is a good thing or not, as he spends hours on there watching videos. However, in his defence it is usually videos about star wars or Lego, and how to build a zombie colony from numerous plastic bricks. Another favourite subject of his is to look up rabbit toys, games for ducks, or as eh did the other day how to teach a pig tricks.

I don't have the same relationship with peppa as the kids do, and they see her as a play thing, where as I see her as bacon. Don't get me wrong my son is fine with the thought of Peppa being in the freezer by Christmas, however, they are convinced that she can be taught like a dog. This I am really sceptical about, and think that she is simply a lump of lard.

The kids begun by teaching her to sit and then lay down, which is all encouraged by food, however, my sons mission was to teach the fat lump to roll over. Which is a monumental task in itself given her size, however, she just about manges it encouraged by the thought of lettuce. Yes she is yet another animal that goes into a frenzy when she sees lettuce.

My son is incredibly proud of the fact that he can get the pig to perform like a circus poodle, however, as I keep saying on a daily basis, we are not keeping Peppa regardless of what tricks she can perform, and how cute she looks when she is laid on the floor waiting for him to scratch her belly. However, when she is laid on the floor, she is distracted and not trying to smash her way out of the pen, I wonder if he would move into her pen for the next three months...hmmmm

Swapping Mango's

We have discovered that other people love mangos, we don't which is a huge issue for the sheer amount that we have here, however, they are good fruits to barter with. Alongside selling the mangos, I have discovered that people love to swap them for a huge number of different things, and some are amusing. If you have been following the blog you will remember that I swapped mangos for Jack and Jill, which was strange, but everyone got what they wanted.

Since then I have swapped more of this sickly, stinking fruit for books, potatoes and expert advice. People seem to love the idea of bartering fruit, and will happily take bags of them for something I want, which is funny. I even paid my lawyer in fruit and chickens! (you do need a certain type of person to accept that offer)

I think people love the concept of swapping fruit for services, or other items and it reminds them of a far simpler time, when money didn't make the world go round. I am trying to see how far I can push the fruit swapping and want to see what the next big item will be! I am realistic and know that a car or house are out of the question, however, I was offered a horse the other day in exchange for mangos!!!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Goat Therapy.....

I can see why many people consider goats to be clowns of the animal kingdom, as they have a way of amusing me every time I grab my boots and enter their orchard. They may not have the sleek, beautiful appearance of a horse, or the speed and agility of a dog, however, they have an incredible sense of humour. If a horse is a king, the goat would be the court jester, ready to entertain at every opportunity.

The goats bounce around the orchard like "kids" full of energy and enthusiasm of every task they attempt. When they fall over, they get shake themselves off and go back to doing the exact thing which caused their fall. King of the mountain is a game that Jack and Jill play for hours, and never seem to tire, of who can reach the top and push the other off the mountain with a mock head butt.

The goats love people and attention, and will come running when they see you approach, which is very rewarding. The like to use you as a human scratching post, which can be rough now they are getting larger. Jack loves to bring his face really close to yours, starring at you with his deep brown eyes, just before belching in your face and running off, like a small child.

No matter how bad my day is, or how I am feeling spending time in the goats orchards is a fantastic way to lift my spirits and relieve stress. I love watching them having fun, with no cares in the world, other than how many mangos can Jack fit in his mouth in one go, or jills obsession with trying to climb up the trees. Therefore, if you feel stressed, or need some time away from the everyday chores of life, grab yourself a goat and enjoy some goat therapy!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Alcohol and animals.....

I learnt yet another vital lesson over the last few days that alcohol and animals simply do not I have a hangover, and every animals seems to sense this and wants to cause me an even bigger headache than usual. I can deal with the chaos, which is produced her every day just about when I have a clear head, however, today it isn't going to happen.

We were invited out last night which doesn't happen that often as I don't play well with other humans as my husband puts it, however, we embraced the invite and went out for something to eat and a glass or two of vino. Unfortunately, away from the chaos, the vino flowed too freely and a glass or two turned into three bottles. The quantity is not so much an issue, as the getting up the next morning, which I have struggled to do today.

As I raised my head off the pillow later than normal the cats and dogs were staring at me with a disproving look, indicating that they did not approved of my time keeping. Every noise, squawk and squeal today seems to be louder than normal, and I am praying for a peaceful, non eventful day. However, this is never going to happen, but I can hope!!! I just want one day where I don't hear:

  • The pig/goat.chickens/rabbit/dog is out
  • The fence/wall/pond/coop/pens are broken 
  • That anything is dead/injured or in need of me moving
  • That anything needs cutting/pruning/picking or planting
In fact I just want a normal day, where I can drink coffee, watch crap TV and quietly die in a corner....and for the person who just text me asking where the blog is today, and why it is late, I am getting there...just slower....

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Feathers everywhere...

Every aspect of chicken keeping is a learning curve for me, and there are far more aspects than I ever thought to keeping them happy and healthy. My egg production took a nose dive a few weeks ago, which I put down to the heat, stress, and just one of those things. However, it hasn't picked up and I was beginning to get concerned that there was something that I was doing to stop the eggs being produced.

Not only were the chickens not laying, but they are also very quiet, which is odd, as they make a huge amount of noise from morning until night. Google is usually my saviour, however, on this occasion there was hundreds of things listed, which could be affecting their mood and egg laying abilities. Then the feathers begun to appear, not just one or two, but hundreds, everywhere.

The orchards look like someone has emptied a pillow all over the floor, at first I thought the chickens had been attacked and that all I had left was feathers. But the chickens were still there, still quiet, but with less feathers. Everything was getting far too confusing, so back I went to my office and Google. You would be amazed at the strange things that I Google, and on this occasion I typed..."feathers everywhere help"....and if by magic the answer chickens were moulting!!!

I didn't have a clunk, clunk, clunk moment as I had no idea that chickens moult, why they moult, or how this affected eggs, but after 20 minutes of reading I felt better informed.  Apparently all chickens moult, every year, and whilst they are moulting they don't lay eggs!!! Now this process can take up to 16 weeks, which is quite a period of time to have walking, eating machines, and no eggs!! But hey, its all part of being a farmer and an unexpected one at that!

Saturday, 1 September 2012


I write many articles about composting and knew that a state of the art, super, duper compost bin was going to have to be constructed...It would save the never ending debates of what to do with the old bedding  garden waste and fruit. Unfortunately, compost piles, go hand in hand with slimly insects that love the moist, humid conditions.

My compost pile plans were progressing nicely, and then the debate of where to place it begun. It had to be not too far away, as small people do not like walking any distance to complete any tasks! However, not too close to the house as there is a change in this heat it would smell. Now, I know they say compost heaps don't smell, but they do, not a pungent smell, but a mild decomposing smell.

With the compost bin built and the waste being placed inside, it had begun to compost down nicely, however, placing the waste inside is a challenge. I am convinced that there are all number of creatures living inside, which causes this feeling of dread about placing anything in there. If I get too close to the bin, I might see "them" and as we all know the things that lurk and are referred to as "them" are the worst possible nightmare!

Approaching the compost bin carefully, you have to learn to get the waste inside quickly, and without the millions of compost living flies shooting up your nose and sucking your brains out! I have pondered standing some distance away and throwing the waste, however, I am a crap shot and this would only result in me dropping it all, and having to tidy it up.

I have decided that maybe I wasn't put on this earth to compost, but I am giving it a try, and I have decided that this can be placed under the daddy job list! I love the idea of composting, and write so much about the benefits of good quality compost, however, for the moment we will continue to fill and see what happens without much effort.