Friday, 30 November 2012

Billy is missing....

Of all the animals to wander off, I never expected it to be Billy, however, yesterday morning he vanished into thin air. Billy was there when my daughter went to school, swimming around the pond as he always does in the morning, but by the time I returned from the school run at 9am he was gone.

Jessica/Justin is still here which is strange as Billy is never far behind, but he is no where to be found. I looked everywhere, in his favourite hiding places, up and down the barranco, in the reservoir  but no Billy. he hasn't been eaten, well unless the predator ate him whole, leaving no trace.  It is upsetting when an animal wanders off, especially when you have no idea why.

Billy never came back last night, which according to Google is not a good sign, as he should have returned when he got hungry, but no Billy! I am worried about him now, a she would have been out all night, which has never happened. I hope he returns soon, as I think if I put up duck missing posters in the local shop, the Spanish will think that I have finally lost the plot.

Lets hope he waddles home later, or operation duck search will need to be extended further today! how far can a duck waddle? Come home Billy!!!!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Searching in the dark

I live in the culo del mundo, which is dark, really dark, darker than dark, no light pollution what so ever, therefore its dark! Are you getting the picture now that its dark, which in my world equates to scary, as I am not so good in the dark. In fact I am the worlds worst for having an active imagination, and believing that every noise and movement is an axe murderer coming to kill me.

So, typically as nightfall approaches and casa chaos descends into darkness, everything is put to bed, and I remain in the house under a duvet! I don't like going out in the dark, and avoid this at all costs, however  last night I found myself in the dark, searching for a chicken! This was not by choice, and more by a stressed husband declaring that "something attacked a chicken"

Something is a horrible word to use, as it could mean anything, and the likely hood that the something was still down there was big, and scary! My husband works long hours, and comes in through the night, so when he woke me, I was scared to look at the clock. He knows never to wake me, as the one thing I love more than coffee, is sleep.

He braved this fact and woke me and told me to come with him, I felt like being a small child, and whining "Do I have tooooooo" but no I acted my age threw on some jogging bottoms, found some flip flops, and followed. The only problem was I was now behind him and he had the torch! which is the magical item that protects me. I am not sure what I would do if something jumped out at me, possible throw the torch at it and run!

Anyway, off to the orchard we trudged, hubby with the torch, and me with, well nothing! We checked everywhere, looked for this chicken that he claimed had made a horrible, dying, I'm being attacked noise.  We found...nothing, just a bunch of chickens trying to sleep, two goats that thought we were insane, and although I never thought I would agree with a goat, yes we were.

At this point he declared that it might not have been a chicken after all....WTF did you get me out of bed for to trudge through a dark orchard then!! Men, sometimes I could seriously kill them, and off I stomped back to bed, still with no torch, and convinced that I was being followed by the axe murderer!!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Outfit change

When my children were little I was aware that I used to have to check my top for baby puke before leaving the house. Every mother knows that babies have an ability of dribbling down your back in a spot that you cannot see. Therefore, you learn to check your top before leaving, and often changing into something else.

Now my children have grown up, I thought I was saved from this daily ritual, but no with animals I have to check every part of me. I will often be out and someone will point out that I have something on my shoes, jeans, jumper or in my hair. This unidentified substance can be anything including, flour, animal feed, straw and poop!

Thankfully I do try and avoid going out with poop on me, but hey who knows living where I do! In fact the other other I did question a strange brown substance that was on my jeans. Some woman pointed at me and told me that I had something on my leg, I wasn't in the mood for stupid comments, so answered with a flippant "yeah, probably poop" her face had this distorted look of disgust.

So I stuck my finger in it, licked my finger, waited long enough for her to look truly disgusted, and commented "oh, no chocolate" This did brighten my day, however, I did make a mental note to check everywhere before leaving Casa Chaos, to ensure that I am clean, presentable, and ready for the outside world.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Escaping Jill

Jill is testing my patience at the moment, and has decided that the best game in the world is to escape, thankfully Jack is far better behaved and remains where he is in the orchard. We are not sure if Jill is escaping for food, because she can or to escape jacks advances, which appear to be morning, noon and night.

The story begins as it always does, with a small hole...from the small hole came a goat sized hole, which Jill is taking advantage of. Every time we block the hole, she makes another, and another, which she thinks is a fantastic game. We will put her back in the orchard, and around she runs, and back through another hole.

We have gone from listening to the screams of "the pigs out" to "the goats out" which is boring now. Thankfully jill doesn't go far, however, she does head straight for the orange trees, herbs and chillis, and as I battle to keep these alive at the best of times, she can really stay away!

Usually the goats are fun, and very little hassle, however, at the moment Jill is pushing her luck, and I have now got to convince my husband that he wants to spend a whole day blocking every hole, regardless of how small in the orchard....I will add it to the "to do" list, which seems to be ever growing!

Operation parsnip update.....

As some of you will know that have the read the blog from the start...and shame on you if you havn't!!! I am growing parsnips. Now this is an amazing achievement as I kill everything, but needless to say I approached this task with confidence, and Google close to hand. I love parsnips, and would eat them all the time, so the desire to grow them was selfish, but also profitable I felt.

The fraggles have needs, and if I can fulfil these for money then I will try..Parsnips are one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. Many fraggles love them, and last year I watched as countless people drove around the island in search of the mysterious parsnip. Therefore I decided that I would grow them, meet the demand and help to pay the bills in Casa Chaos.

One problem with my plan, I am not patient, and parsnips take forever to grow!!! and of course they are underground so how do I know they are growing at all!!! gardening is stressful, I have no idea how Alan Titchmarsh remains so calm.

I Googled how do you tell when Parsnips are ready, and one site said to gently tug at the parsnip, which I did....and it appeared out of the ground, ooops too much tugging, oh well I now have  a parsnip in my hand, and in all fairness it looks good, it actually looks like a I sound shocked hell yeah!

So, operation parsnip appears to be going well, and hopefully I will get orders for them, or we will be eating parsnips on Christmas day, boxing day and every day after that....

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Forever homes needed

I do a lot of work with TARA  who are the animal charity on the island as they attempt to change peoples attitudes towards animals. This incredible organisation have no funding, and rely entirely on donations, and volunteers. We have some of their dogs here, on a foster basis, some before they fly off to their forever homes and others, whilst they are stills searching for their perfect forever home.

We have fostered quite a few, they come they go, and not many touch my heart, however, we have one at the moment, Barney! Now Barney is an old man, who was dumped, which is not unusual for here, I will never understand people, but it happens all the time. When I got the call to go and collect Barney, I was warned that he was a state, and oh boy was he ever!

It was obvious that Barney had not seen a bath or brush in many years, and the poor old soul could hardly see for the hair beneath his eyes. However, once clipped, he had kind eyes, and very big ears. Barney is sweet, and loves everything, and I am hoping that he finds his forever home very soon! For people that read the blog here in GC, please don't buy puppies, adopt, and if you can take a moment to consider whether you could give Barney a forever home :)

Barney when he was found..

Thursday, 22 November 2012

New Gates

I decided yesterday that I have reached a new level of sad, as I was so excited when my new gates were finished. Everything in Casa Chaos has to be done on a budget, and even then the budget is tiny, therefore, it is incredible that anything gets done to be honest. However, we had coped for long enough attempting to keep jack and jill in one orchard with bits of wood and old fence.

The guys that came to do the gates were brilliant, they knew that we had a tiny budget, and attempted to keep the costs down. We recycled so much stuff that was just laying around, and thankfully they were up for seeing what they could make from old bits of metal. If you find someone that has the same mentality as you, it is always better, for both the environment and your pocket.

I had forgotten how much tea workmen drink but after 2 days, numerous cups of tea, several mandarins, which they claim just fell into their hands, I have new shiny gates. Now these gates may not be winning any innovation awards, however, they are new, open and close and lock. We have real bolts and hinges, which is amazing.

I found myself staring at the gates in awe, and slowly opening and closing them to see how well they work, and at this point I considered that maybe I had gone insane. Oh how my life has changed as at one time I would never have spent so long gazing at some metal. I slowly stepped away from the gates, walking backwards so I could continue to see them every step, and sneaking a last peek, before returning up stairs.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Expectant mother

I wasn't nervous when I was carrying my own children, however, I find myself panicking about Lucy and her eggs every day. We usually leave the chickens to it, until they hatch and then perform a rescue and dump them in the maternity wing, some live, some due, thankfully more are surviving. But Lucy and her eggs are special, they will be our first set of ducklings, which is exciting.

This thought is causing worry though, as I am constantly checking that her and her eggs are OK  still warm, getting fed (obviously Lucy not the eggs) however,in all fairness we don't even know if these eggs are fertile, so it could all be for nothing! But we hope that they are and that in time we will have little bundles of fluff.

For once I am Googling before the day and not after we have the ducks and are staring at  them not knowing what to do. I am hoping that with all my expert knowledge things will go smoother, and that we will be prepared. Of course I am hoping that Lucy is a good mother and that a huge amount of the mothering responsibility will be dealt with by her.

So, the countdown begins, and Lucy is settled on her eggs, which I would like to confirm that we did not  need to kill any chickens in this process. I think they simply got bored of being thrown out of the duck house 20 times a day. We think we have about another 20 days to go with Lucy and her eggs, so Christmas ducklings which is brilliant!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


You must have so many eggs, is a statement that people say to me all of the time, but in reality my egg numbers increase and decrease on a daily basis. Like many I believed that you simply give a chicken a box and it will lay, however, this in reality is very different. Chickens are so temperamental, and anything can stop them laying. This includes:

  • Too hot
  • Too cold
  • Stress
  • Different bedding
  • Different food
  • Not enough food
  • Too much food
  • Illness
  • New chickens
  • Noise
  • Predators
  • Broody
  • Molting
  • Eat eating....the list just goes on and on, and to be honest I'm amazed that we get a single egg as most of these things happen daily here in casa chaos

I was reading tips on how to increase egg production and one lady claims that if you place curtains on your nesting boxes, the chickens will lay more. Now I'm not sure if this is insane or pure genius! the theory is that the curtains make the box cosy, warm and out of view. However, surely the reality is that the curtains simply produce more things to wash/clean and maintain.

When you Google curtains for chickens there are 140,000 hits, therefore, this is a popular subject it seems. Now there is a huge part of me that considers this to be a stupid idea, but a very small part that so wants curtains on my nesting boxes. So, do I spend hours sewing pretty curtains to attach to the nesting boxes hmmmmmm well I will add it to the to do list and see how far I get with everything else!

Monday, 19 November 2012

It didn't all fall apart....

I took the day off yesterday, from everything work, casa chaos and the blog...sorrry! It was our youngest son's birthday and we island hopped to Tenerife and spent the day as tourists which was fun. It was a very long day and we had to leave casa chaos for 16 hours, which was stressful. I worry about everything, and have to be organised, and in control. Therefore, when away I worry about the animals, and what is happening in my absence, however, it appeared very little did actually happen.

My daughters boyfriend had the duty of letting the ducks out and putting them away, this is a privilege and I made sure he knew that if he he got it wrong, I would remove his heart with a spoon. Yes, I am really that scary, and he is scared of me which is always good. However, in his defence, he did actually do a good job, and managed to retrieve Jill from up a mountain, and give the rabbits water, so small pat on back!

Everything else seemed to cope, which was fantastic, and restored my faith that I do not need to be here every hour of every day. Although I love Casa Chaos I have begun to feel that it has taken over my life, a friend asked me to join the gym the other day, I pointed out I do not have enough time to brush my hair let along leave the house.

Maybe I need the animals far more than they need me! who knows but it was lovely to have a day off, but even better to be home, back to the chaos, noise, and stress. Now its light I will survey to see what damage was done yesterday, as already found a dead rat, eggs everywhere, oh and JIll out again...welcome home!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Stagnant duck waste

Dirty, dirty ducks, is all I have to say! How people have ducks in their houses amazes me as they are dirty! Our pond is cherished by the ducks, to the point that Billy spends most of his time in the pond, which means he poo's in their all the time. Billy also has an obsession with the pond lining, which has become an issue as he pecks his way through it on a regular basis. We have discovered that the easiest way to clean the pond, is to remove the old lining and start again.

We have thought about other options including cementing the pond which will stop Billy eating through the lining, however, this is expensive, and not something I have the money for right now. So, a new pond liner was needed. A Spanish guy did suggest cutting his beak off, however, this I felt was a bit extreme, and maybe a step too far.

We begun the mission with enthusiasm, however, stinky duck waste is vile, and soon my youngest was finding other jobs to do, but my daughter and I got on with the task of removing the old liner. Once this was out, the ground sheet could be dried. As with every task here all the animals get involved, and soon we had the ducks, cats and dogs all watching us and getting mucky in the process.

Flippantly my husband said "why don't you dig the pond deeper since the liner is out" and in a split second of madness I considered this to be a fantastic idea, and rushed off to get shovels.

What should have been a 30 minute job, I managed to transform into a 3 hour job, but it was a good job done, as the ducks can now freely swim around the pond. Billy was first to jump in and spent the rest of the day ensuring that the water would not remain looking so clean for very long!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Cat biscuit thief

Food in our house appears to vanish, whether it be chocolate, and biscuits out of my kitchen, or cat biscuits it all seems to evaporate into thin air. As a Mum I know that kids eat, eat and eat, and my two are no exception, I can go to the supermarket and within a few days all the food I have bought has been eaten. Now my kids take the odd thing they aren't supposed to, however, unless they have lost the plot, they are not eating the cat biscuits.

We keep the cat biscuits, dog biscuits and rabbit food in the kitchen in tubs, with lids, that are closed at all times. However, the cat biscuits are rapidly declining, and with my ever increasing feed store bill, I could do without that too be honest. So, I pondered the cat biscuit issue, as i have nothing better to do with my time!

Either the kids were eating them, tasty and nutritional it claims on the bag...hmmm maybe not! or something was getting into the tub, and closing the lid, which is the bit I found strange. So I waited and watched, again I have nothing better to do with my time. In fact it didn't take long to catch the cat biscuit thief, as they had become complacent and thought that no one was watching.

Just to clarify I was not sat in the kitchen under camouflage waiting for the thief, I was in there baking, when Diablo appeared. Now he often sits on the tubs that are next to the cat biscuits, so I didn't think there was anything strange i his behaviour. However, I soon realised his position had an ulterior motive as he could sit on one tub, and flip the lid of the biscuits with his paw.

Just a few quick motions and the lid was up, Diablo was in, and enjoying his breakfast. Now Tazzy being a curious, pain in the butt kitten, decided that she wanted to see what was going on, and joined Diablo in the acrobatic attempt to lean in the tub, and recover the biscuits. Unfortunately  Tazzy is far smaller and fell head first into the biscuits.

At this point she couldn't get out, but Diablo knew he had to close the lid, and back away before anyone noticed him. Therefore, he closed the lid on Tazzy and left her to face her fate alone, when she was caught with her paw in the biscuit tub. Thankfully I had witnessed the whole event, or Tazzy would have been blamed for the whole event.They say there is no honour amongst thieves, and this is so true in Casa Chaos.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Lucy is not a happy duck...

I have never seen so many different animals want to sit on one batch of eggs before, and Lucy is not a happy duck. She has decided that she wants to sit on her eggs, which is fantastic as duckling sis something we really want. However, there are two chickens which are stalking the eggs, and at any opportunity also want to sit on the eggs.

This caused territory wars yesterday where both billy and Lucy had hold of the chicken with their beaks attempting to drag the chicken off. But she was determined they were her eggs, and she was staying put, in the end my son went and removed the chicken. The only problem is he noticed that there were two chicken eggs mixed in with the duck eggs, and before he could grab them, Lucy was sat back on her pride and joy.

I wonder what will happen if Lucy has chicks, I presume the only issue will come when she tries to teach them how to swim!! Therefore, we need to extract the chicken eggs, and contain the chickens in the orchard  which I feel is going to take a cut the escape route not the chicken! This should hopefully leave Lucy in peace to hatch her babies, and ensure that they all float when they are in the pond.

Talking of ponds, we have to replace the pond lining again as Billy has decided that this is his afternoon entertainment to peck at the pond until it leaks. Thanks Billy another job to be added to the "to do" list! which never gets any shorter. Oh to be rich and employ someone to carry out all necessary maintenance and repairs....we can all dream!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Breeding rabbits

Ok, I am beginning to think that I know very little about many subjects, as I always believed that rabbits breed a lot, hence why people say "breed like rabbits" however, there is no breeding going on at casa chaos. Before getting Miss Thunderpussy I Googled, and it all seemed quite complicated, therefore, I turned to a Spanish guy I know and asked his opinion.

In all fairness it was his idea in the first place to breed rabbits, and he advised to just "throw her in with the others, and let them get on with it" now this seemed far easier, and more sensible. So, we did, Miss Thunderpussy now has some friends, but we don't appear to be having any babies. She has been in there for 2 months, and nothing, not a sniff, SO, back to Google I will go.

I have a dreaded thought that I will need to extend Casa Stew, and build another area, for Miss Thunderpussy to be placed separately, and then added for breeding. Why can'y even my rabbits just get on with it, cause me no headaches, and produce what they are supposed to! If I didnt want babies, I would have hundreds....

So, operation build another wing of Casa Stew will need to be scheduled, I havnt told my husband yet, I might just leave that for later, when he is in a good mood, and hope that he smiles and wanders off to get a hammer!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sitting on eggs

Usually when I see a chicken sitting on eggs feeling broody I panic, and want her off so that we can use the eggs, and have no rescue attempts of chicks. However, when I wandered past the duck house the other day something caught my attention. The eggs that are positioned neatly in the corner, had someone sat on them, however, it wasn't Nellie or Lucy.

It was a bloody chicken, who had decided that in her wisdom she was going to sit on the eggs. Now this puzzled me for  a moment, is it possible for chickens to hatch ducklings, or would they very quickly realise that their babies were in fact not theirs. if we allow this crazy chicken to remain on the eggs, what will happen?

So, I Googled, and apparently people have let their chickens hatch the ducklings, which seemed to be a success. Until, the small matter of the fact that ducks swim and chickens don't. This in my mind is a rather large issue, and could cause problems when the batch of ducklings want to take a little dip. Will mum chicken stand on the edge guiding the ducklings, or will she at this point think her brood are completely insane and give up on them completely.

With this in mind, I do not know whether to leave the eggs and hope that one of the ducks will decide that they do in fact want to sit on them, leave the insane chicken, and see what happens, or take the eggs and make a cake...decisions, decisions.....

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The day arrived.....

Yesterday was the day that Peppa was butchered, and although I knew it was happening, and I had complete confidence that the butchers knew exactly what they were doing, I had a few stressful moment leading up to yesterday. I have learnt that with farming, you cannot get attached to anything, as things die, they go wrong, and this can cause heartache. With everything I do in life I stand back and assess the outcome, I research, take notes and ensure that it was the right decision, and Peppa was no different.

Raising Peppa for food was an experience, and I can stand with my head held high knowing that she had an amazing five months, she ate the best, lived like a queen and was treated with care and love. The atmosphere yesterday was calm, quiet and organised, which is not like casa chaos. The children knew Peppa was going, my daughter shed a few tears, but understood that this was going to happen, and maybe wished she hadn't got so attached.

As Peppa was lead from her pen, she followed dutifully, and in a weird way knew her fate, she didn't bolt, and run around which she typically does, she calmly accepted this was the end of her journey. I will not go into graphic details, as I do not need any more complaints, however, the butchers were skilled at their task, and the job was completed quickly, and efficiently.

The butchering process was interesting, and we were there for every stage, discussing what we did want, and what they could take. The Spanish eat every part of their animals, which I find fantastic, however, we don't so when offered the brains, heart and tongue, I received strange looks when I declined. However  when I said that I wanted the liver and kidneys, they seemed puzzled.

We discovered that a huge majority of the pig was fat, and even the butchers said she was incredibly fat, and that she should have been leaner. There were several learning curves, which I will take forward, to determine whether we will go down the pig rearing journey again. However, the morning was a success, we had a butchered pig, a freezer full of meat, and a happy butcher.

Our pig raising journey was complete, we had seen it to the end, and been there at every stage. I still stand by the fact that our method was natural, humane and will produce the freshest pork. My children were mature, and walked away without comment when they had seen enough, and returned when they felt it was right.

I am proud of my daughter, as although she might not have agreed with the butchering, she was there from start to finish, which showed an immense amount of maturity. She helped to clean up, clean the meat, chop and bag the meat, and even muttered that the butchers were skilled. At present she is refusing to eat the pork, I'm hoping this will change in the future, who knows! I keep being asked if we will get another pig, my son wants one to call it Hamlet!! hmmmm at the moment I am enjoying the fact that I do not have to worry if a 100KG lump is smashing anything the future....never say never....

Saturday, 10 November 2012

New Chicks..

I was only thinking the other day that I seemed to be controlling the broody chickens, and that we hadn't had any chicks for a while. In a way I had missed the little bundles of fun, but with so many other things going on I was secretly pleased that none had appeared. There had been no frantic grabbing of gloves, boxes, and climbing up mountains...until yesterday.

My son was supervising dogs, or that is what he should have been doing, however  in typical 10 year old style he was exploring. Now his exploring usually entails him finding some piece of junk, which I have to hide and dispose of once he is at school. However, when I heard the distinctive tone of "mummmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeee come quick" I knew this was no typical junk. With that he let out  a machine gun speed set of words "chicks,mountain,falling,oh NOOOOOOOO!

I reached the spot but realised that I was in fact on the wrong side of the fence, but was there to witness two very small chicks go cascading off the edge. As I rushed to the bottom orchard I was amazed to see the chicks happily stuck in the furrow, and mum fussing over them. So, operation grab chicken begun, and typically even with only three chicks this took longer than predicted.

We finally had mum and babies contained and released them into the maternity wing, where Peppa gazed hungrily through the wall at them (yes she is still here, manana, manana, manana) they looked so small compared to the other chicks that really should be released into the big bad world of the orchard. I decided that it is nice to have chicks, and I might turn a blind eye to the wandering broody chickens, as long as they return with chicks!

Neglecting friends.....

I have a hectic life, I had a hectic life before moving to casa chaos and now it just seems to be never ending. There simply is not enough hours in the day, to complete all of the tasks I have to on a daily basis. I find myself juggling too many balls and occasionally I drop some, and they smash! Unfortunately  the ball that gets dropped far too often is my friends.

I have some very close friends, who understand my life means I have very few spare hours, therefore, broken conversations, and days without speaking is normal. However, I feel I have let one friend down, and I feel awful. This friend is going through a time in her life that no one would want to experience, as recently her husband died. I cannot imagine this awful thing happening to me, and think that she is coping with it far better than I ever would.

This friend is super, super strong,and I think this is why I have neglected her which makes me a bad friend! I was speaking to her briefly last night in a quiet time of casa chaos, apologising AGAIN for not going round and seeing her, and that I will make the effort soon. As I keep making the same promise, I'm sure that she is tired of hearing it, and for that I am truly sorry!!

Thankfully this friend has been to casa chaos, reads the blog and understands that I REALLY do not have enough hours, but even so, that is no excuse. So, I considered that If I cant leave chaos, she could come to me for a cuppa and a chat. This seemed to be an excellent idea, and she was even happy that she would have to listen to Jack the horny goat whilst enjoying her coffee. As she said anywhere else you get offered biscuits, in casa chaos you get to listen to horny goat noises!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Goat Loving.....

All day yesterday Jack was expressing his love for Jill, in an incredibly vocal way that is a mix between a BAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH and a strange BWAHWAHBWAH (sorry goat vocals are not my strong point) which caused me to have to get up several times to check they were ok. Now Jack like all red blooded males is a determined chap and no matter how many times Jill head butted him out of the way, he kept coming back for more.

This weird noise was entertaining for a few hours, however, all day was getting boring, and Jack still wasn't getting the fact that Jill just wasn't in the mood. There were clear signs that she had no interest in any goat loving today, but Jack just kept coming back for more. How many more times did she need to head butt him, lay down with her legs firmly shut, or running away from him.

Like all men, Jack stopped his advancements when feeding time approached, and preferred to stick his head in the hay and munch away for a few hours. I hoped that this was the end of the goat loving for the day, but no Jack was fed, energised and up for round two. His odd bleating continued into the night, which is disturbing as noise travels a long way here at night, and the neighbours must have wondered what the hell we were doing.

Finally Jack stopped, I pondered whether he got his wicked way with Jill, whether she had succumbed to his advancements and given up, or whether he had sulked and stomped off to bed. Regardless of the result it was quiet, and I hoped that it stayed that way. I am thankful we only have one male goat, as the noise from a goat farm must be deafening when they all get horny!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

I must be getting soft....

Over the last few days I have met some fraggles that are..well..OK, they are not like other fraggles, and it has shown me that there are some normal people clinging to this rock we call home. I have been chatting to other people that have the same interests as me, and understand why we live in this chaos we can home.

There was one lady that made me smile yesterday, I know her, and have met her a few times, but never had a real in depth conversation with her. However, we were chatting as she lives in a finca on a different part of the island, and she wanted to come and visit. I pointed out that it is chaos, and this apparently was what attracted her to visiting.

Where Mrs N lives is calm, peaceful with her 5 chickens, and a beautiful vegetable patch where she grows her herbs and daily delights. Her finca is smaller than ours but beautifully formed, which poses the question...why isn't casa chaos like that!! I want peace and tranquillity  perfect vegetables, chickens that lay all the time, and the typical good life.

I enjoy chatting to Mrs N as she understands the mud, animals, and daily toils of life in Spain, trying to cope with the heat, people, and way of life. Mrs N is one of the nice fraggles, however, I did find another this week, which amazes me they are like buses none for years and then two come along in a week. A lady bought some lemon curd (yes I am a domestic goddess as well as mad farmer) from me and we had a conversation about casa chaos, and she also really understood.

Many times when I explain where I live, people have no interest, and listen momentarily, before their mind wanders off to the thought of English TV, or where to get the cheapest pint of lager. However, this lady listened, and got it, and was interesting, and informative. So thank you ladies, you have restored my faith in the fact that I am not the only normal person on this island, there are a few of us...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012 it or hate it...

When the barranco flooded last week, and the rain came down, there was a definite divide of love and hate. Some animals loved the water, and could be found running around enjoying the water, however, others were trying to find any available dry space to hide. As for the humans, well I loved it for about 10 minutes, then my feet were wet, and my head was cold, so I sided with the hiders!

When the barranco begun to drop my son could go and go and play in the water with the dogs, but being a child no matter how many times you tell him something he does the opposite. So, when he was told only go in the shallow areas with your wellies, he decided that was no fun. being a child, he jumped straight in the water, deepest area he could find and proceeded to sink.

As the water went over his wellies, and his socks became a sponge, he did what any normal child would do, he continued to jump around with Max. Now max was with the water lovers and thought the whole watery mess was brilliant. There were sticks, and rocks, and floating things to chase, however, Charlie did not share his enthusiasm, and tried to stay on dry land.

Again, as any child would do my son decided that Charlie needed to join in the fun, therefore, one soaking wet dog was returned to me some time later. The playful water antics went on for some time, which was peaceful, until welly removal had to occur. Getting wet wellies off is never any fun, and a child moaning that his feet were wet and cold makes the task even longer!

Thankfully the water is now all gone, as wet dogs, children, cats and muddy footprints do not mix well in my house. We did have some rain the other morning, and I panicked leapt out of bed moved the car only to discover that it lasted about 10 minutes, oh well at least I was better prepared this time!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Now I understand why people buy their pork prepacked!

As the date looms for Peppa to go, there are so many things that need to be organised, I really am beginning to wish I had thought this through a little more! As with everything in Spain, it is never straightforward, and the image I had of bite sized pieces in shrink wrap, is just not going to happen. The Spanish butcher we have is experienced, knowledgeable  and confident. Therefore, I trust him, and know that he will complete a quick and effective butchering.

However, he has a list of requirements, which will need to be bought, and in place for the date, which is daunting. Again, I had a very idyllic idea that he would arrive driving a mobile kitchen, and within minutes I would have a clean, prepared, shrink wrapped pig. Hmmmm this image was quickly burst the other day, when his list involved numerous knives, rope and cleaning materials.

I have also been advised to buy a huge tarpaline, which when asking why I was reminded of the time the chicken man came and how much bigger Peppa is! oh god now I'm scared! As I prepare my list I feel like a serial killer, and am beginning to feel nervous about the whole thing. The trip to Leroy is planned to gather my tools, cleaning materials and to see what the largest piece of plastic sheeting I can buy.

Again I am incredibly confident in the butchers ability, mine however, is rapidly diminishing, and I am worried I will run and hide! Don't get me wrong this pig is going, with or without me there, and at the moment I think I might be hiding in the kitchen planning pork recipes!

Sunday, 4 November 2012


As many of you will know I have fought relentlessly to keep the chickens contained where they should be in their POW camp to ensure that we don't have any stray eggs/chicks. This appeared to be working quite well for a while, and every chicken was present and correct. However  there are two rogue chickens and a rooster, which are refusing to play fair!

I spend most of the day letting them back into the orchard, for them to appear behind me 30 seconds later! I refuse to be outsmarted by a chicken, however, they are doing a good job of it at present. It started with just a rooster, which wasn't a big issue as they don't lay eggs, so I allowed him to wander. Big mistake this was taken as an open invitation to who ever could escape to join him on the other side!

So, one day there was one rooster, then the next there was a rooster and a chicken, and now we have a rooster and two chickens. I am worried that in a week there will be a tag team,and half the orchard will be wandering. Thankfully the batteries were not born with brains, incredible laying potential..just no common sense or brains.

After one attempt at putting them back, I watched to see how they had escaped, convinced they had pecked their way through the fence, or built a little wooden ladder out of twigs to escape. Alas, it was neither, as they appeared on top of a roof and gently glided down to freedom! Therefore, they must have been climbing the tree to escape. Now there was two trees that it could have been, and I had a 50% chance of cutting down the correct one.

Yes, you guessed it I choose wrong, and managed to lop a tree that had nothing to do with the escape plan. Damn! ok, well now I know that it is the other tree which is aiding them in their escape, today's mission is to lop the remaining tree and hope that was the way they were escaping,or at this rate i won't have any trees left!

Is ignorance bliss?

I'm sure there is a sign on the gate that says please only enter if you are really stupid, and test my patience! Ignorant people seem to be growing in numbers, and I wonder if it just concerning animals that they are dumb, or every subject. I must admit my tolerance level for stupid people is incredibly low, therefore, if you act stupid, or say something stupid around me I will let you know.

So, we had a visitor come to pick up us mango's which is fantastic, all sales gratefully received, however,  that does not mean that you get away with being stupid. This women did the typical, wow you have animals, real animals! errr yeah, I thought I would progress from the plastic ones. Visitors are always drawn to the ducks as they think they are cute, so off she wandered to have  a nose at the ducks. From that moment on the conversation went down hill rapidly..

"Wow you have ducks" (why do people feel the need to add wow to every sentence when they are here)
" yes four of them"
"are they going to have babies?"
"yes we are hoping for ducklings"
"wow isn't that duck big?" (you know who she is pointing to at this point)
"yes that's Jessica the monster duck" (I know her name should have been changed, but Jessica suits her in a weird sort of way!)
"She is huge!, is she going to have babies soon, is she pregnant, is that why she is so large"
"err no! ducks don't get pregnant, they lay eggs!"
"Yes I know that, but to have babies they need to be pregnant don't they?"

Why do I always have to get into a basic knowledge of animal reproduction with everyone that comes here, is it that difficult for people to learn what animals have babies, and what lay eggs! I find it hard to believe that there are a whole generation of people that honestly do not know that ducks do not get pregnant!

Anyway, I wasn't in the mood to explain any further that Jessica was in fact Justin, no she wasn't pregnant, and that this woman was incredibly stupid....So with a smile I ended the conversation with " yes, Jessica's is having babies, she is carrying at least 15 ducklings in there, that is why she is so large, lets hope for an easy birth in 9 months!

We parted company  her with her mango's pleased with herself that she now has seen a pregnant duck, and me knowing that thank god I have intelligent children!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Pumpkin excitement

I love Halloween, and although it was a washout this year with the storm, we still had the annual pumpkin carving. There are some incredible creations available, however, we have never been that good, and tend to stick to the triangle eyes, and scary mouth. A design that is traditional, easy and enables my son to get involved with the carving process.Never going to win any awards, but causes us amusement for a couple of days.

In previous years we would simply throw the pumpkins in the bin, however, this year I know exactly who would like to try some of the pumpkins. I have no idea why anyone or thing would want to eat this slimy, stringy, sticky, seeded mess, but the chickens love it. As I place the trays down with the pumpkins all chopped up and ready to go the chickens proceed with caution.

This is something they have never seen before, and the circle the trays like sharks waiting to attack, once one picks up a stray pumpkin seed, it seems that is the key to feeding frenzy. There is chickens running around with bits of pumpkin dangling from their beaks, and clumps of orange goo being thrown around. They never cease to amaze me how quickly they can turn a dish of food into nothing.

Within minutes the pumpkins were devoured, and nothing was left of our fantastic carvings. Oh well, at least everyone got to enjoy the pumpkins this year. Roll on next year for more pumpkins, for both us and the chickens.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Ducks and their eggs!

We bought the ducks to provide eggs, but more than that we want ducklings. When Lucy arrived we had a flurry of eggs, but then they stopped, which could have been a number of reasons. However  we were disappointed  and kept hoping for an egg or two to appear. As the other ducks are getting older, eggs should have appeared, but as we now know that Jessica is in fact Justin, this only leaves Lucy and Nellie.

However, the wishing and hoping paid off as the other day an egg appeared, and then another, and then another. Smaller eggs were also appearing so we think that Nellie is laying as well which is fantastic news. however, in typically stupid duck fashion they decided to lay in the doorway of the duck house! so ewe have had to move all the eggs into the duck extension. As soon as we did Nellie jumped on them and begun mothering, I think we have found her purpose in life.

Google was consulted and it seems that they will continue to lay eggs until they have at least 20 eggs, and then hopefully one of them will set. With some luck, and good mothering we may have ducklings, sooner than anticipated! 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The day the rain came

We were predicted a storm, the weathermen stressed, the government announced we were on red alert, and I was advised to get my car out. The rain came, a bit of wind, but nothing amazing, and still the car sat in the drive. The rain came heavier, and the storm arrived, the schools began to evacuate, which is normal here, and still the car sat in the drive.

At this point I had no real concern, yes it was raining heavily, yes the barranco was wet, but not filling at all. I was telephoned by a friend in the village, who said get your car out, or you will be stuck, and I mocked and said "its only a bit of rain, I will do it in a minute".....oh shit maybe I should have moved faster, as we heard this almighty rumble, and there it was...water....the speed, and velocity of the water was incredible, and once I had got over the amazing site, it dawned on me oh SHIT my car was still sat in the drive!
My smugness went to panic as I realised I had no way of getting my son from school, oh and getting him across our new river. A few frantic phone calls and Mrs S stepped up and offered to get it from school. Problem one solved, now onto how the hell does he cross the river safely  Unfortunately  I didn't think to pack a boat in his school bag that morning!
Some more frantic calls and it seemed there is an escape route from our finca, through the next two fincas, to the road. Off we went on operation rescue child. It was confirmed Mrs S had small child, oh wait he needs to change out of his werewolf slippers to make the journey home..ok delay over he was on route.  I must admit the support, calls and offers of help made me feel humble, so thanks guys you all know who you are.

Ok, small child home, after Mrs S spent at least 5 minutes mocking, saying didnt you get the car out...rookie mistake..yeah whatever! he enjoyed the walk home with lots of ooooo's and wow's as the water rushed past us taking everything in its path....and just as I reached the drive, I realised I didn't have a drive, oh crap, the water was rising, through the gates.

The ducks loved it, and kept peering over to see if they could leap in, thankfully they didn't. Every other animal took cover, and stayed indoors. The rain finally stopped and we just stood walking in amazement at the speed that the water came. I felt stupid that I hadn't listened, and that maybe I don't know everything! My husband couldn't get to work, which was not amusing. The water begun to drop and the storm time I might just listen to what people have to say...or buy a boat!