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bucket o’ crabs

crabs

This, if you can’t tell, is a bucket of crabs.

I was done early today, so we lit out for a nature reserve at the seaside. There, we met a dour woman catching crabs. It was an older couple with their granddaughter, but clearly only grandma was into it. And boy, was she into it.

She had a crabbing net (an open-topped wire basket on a string, for those who, like me, grew up a thousand miles from the sea) baited with rotten chicken. She’d go to the edge of the pier and play it down into the water until it touched bottom, let it rest a couple of minutes, and haul it up again. She had two or three of the little pinch-monsters in there every time (plus a few shrimps).

She let them go in the end. At least, she said she was gunna, so we could watch with clear conscience. I could never stand watching food struggle to escape.

After that, we went to a cafe for a sandwich. It was sunny and fine. The end.

p.s. First time I ever saw the ocean, I was nine. I’ll never forget my dad showing us the right was to pick up a crab. He scooched it up from the back, gave an almighty howl and flung it out to sea as far as ever he could. We thought he was clowning around, but no – he was bleeding freely from the hole it pinched in his thumb. Heh heh.

August 16, 2017 — 9:34 pm
Comments: 10

Chook update

chooksupdate

No, no…these are not new baby chooks. This is the trio from last year, who are now all growed up and doing well. It occurred to me I hadn’t given you an update in a while.

The two millies are fat and happy and each lay an egg every day like little champs. The lavender has gone broody and sits on the nest sulking.

These are by far the most neurotic chickens I’ve had. They haven’t warmed to me at all. Usually, a chicken — by virtue of natural gluttony — will ultimately come to love you, because you represent FOOD. These girls? Scream and run away from corn if you throw it at them.

Run away. From corn.

They’re greedy enough. They come back and eat it eventually. They’re just super, super spooky and neurotic.

And old Mapp is doing fine. She’s seven this year, which is a damn good run for a bantam. And, yes, she’s gone broody this year as she does every year. Poop out three eggs and then go broody. Useless old bird. She and Colette sit on the nest together and scream at the other chickens.

I’ve made her a promise: if she makes it through another Winter, I’ll give her some fertile eggs to sit on. Motherhood would serve her right.

Right! Tomorrow, 6WBT, Dead Pool Round 99! Be here or I’ll give you some fertile eggs to sit on.

August 10, 2017 — 10:26 pm
Comments: 3

Come into my parlor…

house

Remember the feral cat who was making Jack’s life miserable? We hadn’t seen him for ages. In fact, we started to wonder if the Monster that Chewed Charlotte had got him.

But, no. He’s back. And the reason is: the food I’ve been leaving out for the hedgies. I haven’t fed them for two days because Ginge keeps knicking it.

Poor old boy. I do feel bad for him. Because he’s a working farm cat, they don’t feed him, and a skinny rough old thing he is. But he beats up Jack and then Jack beats up Charlotte and…no, we just can’t have it.

So that beehive looking thing in the picture is a hedgehog feeder. Or house. It’s sold as both. The opening is too small for a tomcat.

It’s not weighted at the moment, so I reckon Ginge could get his head in the opening and toss it aside, but it’ll slow him down enough I can catch him at it and shoo him off. I watch them cameras like a demented hawk.

Funny thing: it’s wire covered in twigs and it’s almost invisible, tucked up under the hedge. But it screams out on the surveillance video, see? Another IR anomaly.

August 9, 2017 — 9:33 pm
Comments: 21

Huh. Must be egg bound.

porcelain

This came across my Twitter feed today. Most useful thing I’ve gotten out of Twatter in a long time. Yes, there’s color. I must have this thing.

Still dealing with home-broughten work at the moment.

RIP Glen Campbell. Poor bastard had been dealing with Alzheimer’s for a thousand years. And Uncle Al had ‘im in the Dead Pool. That means you-know-what, here, Friday, 6WBT.

August 8, 2017 — 10:03 pm
Comments: 21

Mad as a wet owl

wetowl

Is that a saying? It should be a saying. Another picture from Saturday’s owl deluge.

In the previous thread, Ric Fan says: “I love the Old English name for August, ‘Weodmonað’ – Bede says it means ‘the month of weeds, because they are very plentiful then’!”

I know this! I’m currently working my way through a History of England podcast (from the departure of the Romans to…not sure. Haven’t finished yet). Most entertaining. He listed the months of the year in the old Anglo Saxon (per the venerable Bede), and I thought it was so cool I wrote it down. Rough notes, I’m sorry.

I’m indebted to Ric Fan for the ð – I used the audio ‘th’. Other Anglo Saxon spelling howlers, undoubtedly.

Here we go!

Dec 25th is Modrenecht: “the night of the mothers”. Not sure what that means or if it’s a pagan festival that predates Christmas.
Month 12, 1 Juil: (Jule, Yule). Last month of the old, first month of the new.
Month 2 Salmanac: the month of cakes. Or mud. They made buns.
Month 3 Arethae. Should that be Areðae or something? No further information.
Month 4 Aeostre. Easter you should recognize.
Month 5 Trimicle. Three milks. Cows are milked three times a day.
Month 6 and month 7 Lethe. Something about the moon. He says we know no more.
Month 8 Weodmonað. The month of weeds, as Ric Fan said.
Month 9 Halechmonað. Spelling unk. The month of sacrifice, festivals, harvest.
Month 10 Wintirfirað. First full moon of Winter.
Month 11 Blodmonoð. Blood month. The time when it makes more sense to slaughter livestock than feed it through the Winter. Much feasting.

I’m getting quite addicted to using podcasts to get me through dull, brainless jobs. This one is recommended, if you have any interest in Jolly Olde.

August 1, 2017 — 10:43 pm
Comments: 24

This guy

kitteh

I met this guy at a village fete over the weekend. I was allowed to hold him and Uncle B got some closeups of his handsome face, but I thought you’d like to see the whole beast.

He wasn’t huge, but he was densely muscled and heavy to hold. He noms half a chicken a day.

I asked if he was a Bengal and the owner said no, his grandaddy was a serval. That would make him an F2 Savannah, but I’m not sure the owner knew exactly what he was talking about.

He’s a kinda sorta rescue cat, since his first owner couldn’t handle him after a new baby arrived. You do see orientals of various kinds turn up in the cat rescues here after owners find them too much. Orgs are careful who they adopt them out to.

These guys never leave this boy alone (the wife works from home). The cylinder around his neck is a GPS/phone card because he sometimes escapes (and they didn’t say it, but I suspect he’s worth a lot of munnies).

Beautiful, beautiful beast…but I’m not sure cat-like enough that I want one.

July 25, 2017 — 9:27 pm
Comments: 13

A conversation with Rudyard Kipling’s chikkens

kiplings

The whole flock right there. Nothing much to say for themselves, actually. I don’t know if they kept chickens in Kipling’s day, but the mill was already there — meaning grain — so probably.

I can identify a Buff Orpington and a Light Sussex. The rest are just…you know…chickens.

We did a field trip to Bateman’s (Kipling’s place) last Friday on the idea that when the weather is nice, we’ll pack sammiches and go. It’s how you have to approach an English Summer.

It has been thoroughly miserable ever since. Damp, overcast and nighttime temps in the fifties. We have the heat on tonight. IN JULY.

I sometimes wonder how much more traction they might have gotten in Britain if they stuck with their original idea and threatened us with global cooling instead.

July 24, 2017 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 13

Dead boring

fourcams

Uncle Al asked why we didn’t just broadcast WeaselTV as being infinitely more entertaining than anything on the box. I don’t because it’s not. It’s hours and hours of nothing followed by a couple of seconds of something dark skittering across the field of view, if you’re lucky enough to be looking at the screen when this happens.

Case in point: the arrow is pointing to a baby hedgie. See him? And it’s cheating, because I’ve put a dish of catfood out to lure him.

Most exciting thing that happens is a spider crawling across the lens like a Fifties horror flick. This happens so often that I suspect either they’re attracted to the camera’s lights, or bugs are and they’re attracted to the bugs.

The real fun is arranging the cameras, within the limitations of the wires (they’re not wifi). I tinker with them constantly. (Aside: they need a spirit level on the top. They’re deuced hard to get straight).

At the moment, I have Cam 2 way too close to the ground. I get to watch slugs make their way slowly across the back patio. This is a surprisingly disgusting sight.

July 20, 2017 — 10:22 pm
Comments: 13

SQUEEEEEE!

squee

Baby hedgehog. BABY HEDGEHOG!

For once, not from my kitchen. I saw it bumbling past in the drive and realized it was a little ‘un. And so, of course, I had to run out there and pick it up and scare it out of a year’s growth.

I tried to pick it up without gloves at first — holy cow, those spines are really sharp! It’s a little hard to tell scale here, but this one is about half the size of the adult we’ve been seeing — assuming it’s just the one adult.

Wikipedia tells me pregnancies peak between May and July and gestation is 31 to 35 days. So about right.

Ohmygod LOOK AT THAT LITTLE NOSE!

July 18, 2017 — 10:11 pm
Comments: 14

Not my cat

kett

In honor of Charlotte’s return, we went to an open house at a cat sanctuary on Sunday. Okay, yes…we would have done anyway. But it seemed particularly appropriate just at present.

Not quite as posh as the Celia Hammond one, but I’m not sure the cats could tell the difference.

Amazing how many black and black-and-white cats were pining for adoption. It’s true in the States, it’s true here. People are weird.

We had an awesome time, bought lots of good things cheap and had a long drive across an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. (No, really, that’s a thing — it was an officially designated AONB).

This guy bites. The guy in the picture. I knew that, but I didn’t tell anybody. I just sat on a bench nearby and watched the fun.

One of those cats who strings you along happily for a while and then goes full psycho for a nanosecond. He didn’t seem to hurt anybody, so I could spectate with a clear conscience.

Who could have guessed a cat that looks like Hitler would be evil?

July 17, 2017 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 13