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They’re winning…

This here is what it’s all about. I have my own self-sustaining protein snack factory.

Actually, they’re wearing me out. I have to eat a minimum three a day or they start to outpace me. I hard boil them and put them in salads, mostly.

Oops! I hit ‘publish’ on that prematurely. Oh, well…it’s not like anything happened today.

April 8, 2020 — 7:50 pm
Comments: 4

Nice timing



There’s a huge arable field across the road just to the west of our house. It’s mainly used to grow animal fodder, something different every year.

This year it’s rapeseed.

We’re allergic to rapeseed.

Well, maybe not allergic allergic, but there are volatile oils in the crop that irritate some people and cause bronchitis-like symptoms. Also, it smells nasty. And looks ugly.

The prevailing wind blows right across the crop and into our front door. The main symptom? A ragged cough.

It’s all I could do getting through my shopping yesterday without having a hacking fit in front of strangers. THE faux pas in the time of Coronavirus.

Honestly, I’ve had so many lung issues this year, I’ll never know if I get the bug.

Except fever. I keep my eyes peeled for fever.


April 7, 2020 — 8:23 pm
Comments: 8

We escaped into the wild…!

We are allowed to shop for food occasionally, of course. But we took a very, very roundabout way to get there. Uncle B was worried about the car sitting idle for so long, so we gave it a good run on the way.

Gosh, it was beautiful out. Sunny and warm. The hedges are coming into bloom (hawthorne, mayflower, all in white) and lambs EVERYwhere. It’s an unremarkable cellphone pic through the windshield, but I feel compelled to share it in color.

We had a long debate beforehand:
Farm shop? Nearby. Low risk. Not much more in stock than milk and bread, though.
Supermarket? Far away. High risk, but they’d have all sorts of things we’re running low on.

In the end, we settled for a large local independent market, which fell halfway between the two on all counts. Still a pretty daunting experience.

All the open shops are organized along ‘one comes out, one goes in’ principles. We queue up six feet apart all down the sidewalk. We aren’t both allowed in at the same time. Slathered in disinfectant at the door, hands and the handle of the shopping cart. All cashiers behind plexiglass shields with a hole cut in for the credit card machine (they’ve raised the contactless limits. I hope we aren’t seeing the death of cash).

Today was the first time in fourteen days I’ve put on a pair of shoes.

April 6, 2020 — 8:07 pm
Comments: 10


I didn’t make that image today. I made it six years ago in a post wondering if ebola was the overdue pandemic. Probably not, I concluded, but buy some extra cans of tuna just in case.

Told you I’d been waiting for this sucker for a long time. And yes, I bought plenty of extra tuna in February.

Now comes the close of Week Two of the Lockdown and I heard a rumor today there’s a confirmed case nearby, though no-one seems to know exactly who. Have a good weekend and take extra care!

April 3, 2020 — 7:46 pm
Comments: 18


This is fun: Bird Song Opera. Holy shit, I know what everyone’s doing with their downtime: scraping YouTube. I can’t tell you how many videos got shared on my local Whatsapp today. (This one’s from Uncle B).

The bird in the picture is a robin. We’ve discussed this before: British robins are a completely different species than American ones.

The European robin is a beloved bird because it hangs around all Winter and is not very afraid of people. Hence, they’re often on Christmas cards.

Truth be told, they’re assholes. Highly aggressive and territorial with each other and not afraid of people because, well, they’re assholes. But they’re so little and cute nobody cares. They remind me of chickadees.

They hang around me in the garden because chicken food. One little bastard buzzed me from behind the other day and actually grazed my cheek. Adorable asshole.

April 2, 2020 — 7:24 pm
Comments: 8

Riddle me this…

If I order non-essential stuff online, is that a good thing because it’s propping up the economy, or a bad thing because it’s diverting resources away from vital food deliveries? I don’t want to be a civic baddie. But, see, I’m running out of Aero-press coffee filters.

Uncle B went for supplies today. Bread and milk, and gas for the lawn mower. He said it was a little freaky; people seemed scared.

We had to get a two-gallon jug of whole milk, so I’m’a have to do my thing (I love milk).

I wonder if I’m the only gamer sitting down to kill stuff with a big ol’ glass of milk.

Oh, and I got something weird in the mail from Amazon:

The Dutch market surveillance authority: De Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit (NVWA) has published a recall notification about the below product that you have bought on Amazon.co.uk due to the risk of overheating.

Epson Perfection V300 Photo Scanner (4800 dpi,USB 2.0)

I looked it up. I bought the damn thing on March 4, 2010. What are the odds it’s even still in service? (It is. It’s fine).

And what does that have to do with the Dutch?

April 1, 2020 — 7:46 pm
Comments: 14

I’ll take “things unexpectedly impacted by Covid-19”

No, I am not an unlicensed stoat. This is a license for trapping stoats AND MURDERING THEM.

I’ll give you “vermin”!

I think we’ll venture out tomorrow. We’re about to run out of milk. Not sure if they’ll let us both in the store at the same time, though. It’s gotten that weird.

At least we can go to a small local grocer and avoid the supermarkets.

March 31, 2020 — 8:15 pm
Comments: 6

The Stoats of Science!




Stoats as a Unit of Measurement. Get your poster here. No, not my work.

A reminder:

American           British
Weasel              Stoat
Least Weasel        Weasel

First lambs today! I could hear them yesterday, but not see them, so I went in search of laa bam at dusk today. I couldn’t get close enough for photography, though — the mamas didn’t like the look of me at all.

The lockdown continues apace. It’s as quiet as Christmas morning out there. We’re doing fine, though we’ll run out of fresh milk soon. My spies tell me the shop in town has plenty of everything. May go for a field trip soon.

Welcome to Week Two of the Plague!







March 30, 2020 — 7:42 pm
Comments: 11

The Return of Spoon

I hauled myself out at six this morning, no Spoon. I had plenty to do in the garden (it’s a mess after six months of daily rain) so I hung out and pottered around and about 8:30, a blackberry bramble in the drive began to softly “bok?…bok? Bok?…bok?”

You’ll have to take my word for the question marks. She sounded puzzled. And, honestly, who among us has NOT woken up in a hedge mid-morning with no idea how she got there?

She was about six feet up a bramble, in a kind of hole. I had to get my gloves to lift her out or I would have been torn to bits.

She was safe enough up there. The polands generally go way high and are protected for the night. The danger is next morning, when they flap down to ground level. If there isn’t a human around to stink up the place and keep the foxes at bay, there’s a real risk.

Tonight, all my chickens are right where they should be. Perhaps I can get a decent night’s sleep and a bit of a late morning, for once. Have a good weekend, everyone! (As if weekends held any meaning).

March 27, 2020 — 7:19 pm
Comments: 13

Nothing happens to me now that doesn’t involve chickens

I had a brilliant idea to take Mo, my most violent cockerel, and shut him up with his girlfriend in the fruit cage, so he could get some free ranging time without being within murdering distance of the other boys.

Bad plan. He managed to escape in about ten seconds flat and corner the two poland roosters way deep in the hedge where I couldn’t get to him. I’m crawling on my elbows through brambles trying to grab his scrawny neck when the kitten wonders, academically, whether it would be fun to chase the hen around the fruit cage, violently.

I got everything sorted in the end and sat down, scratched and muddied, to an ice cold cup of coffee.

Say a prayer for my girl Spoon, pictured, who didn’t come home at roll call. I think the two cats energetically playfighting in the garden occasionally spooks a chicken out of her usual territory. I’m not out with them all the time. I walked around and called to her until it was too dark to see anything.

Cross your fingers that she turns up in the morning. She’s my favorite chicken.

March 26, 2020 — 8:33 pm
Comments: 10