Thursday, 20 April 2017

BLOODY MILK ......,,

28th March
I'm made a clock for my studio (I'm too tight to buy one!).
This afternoon we went round to Judith's for afternoon tea; she has a lovely big quinta with mowed lawns and flower beds.

29th March
Brett and I had a gardening day. I sowed lots of seeds and excavated channels, for watering, in the polytunnel.
Brett cut grass (tractor) and rotavated (rotavator, until it broke (again), then tractor).

30th March
I hate housework!!! I tidied, swept, dusted and washed the floor this morning - by this afternoon the floor needed doing again (I didn't!!!).
Pam, Nicky (her house buyer) and Taliss (Nicky's daughter) came round this afternoon - they exchange contracts tomorrow.
Brett finished the supports for the vines,
then plough the vegetable garden field
- looks good.
This evening we went for our 'last supper' with P&M at O Fontanha (skewer restaurant) - we might never see them again!

31st March
Well we did see them again (this afternoon) when we went to give them an agate and leaded glass roundel that I spent today assembling, as a house warming gift.
I forgot to take a photo after it had been completed!
Brett did more ploughing and grass cutting in the vegetable garden; tomorrow we're going into CB to buy fruit trees and new vines (eating grapes, preferably seedless so I can make sultanas).

1st April
We bought three peach trees, two plum trees (well one's a greengage) and two seedless vines (one black, one white); we're very excited.
We also bought paint for the remaining gates - so that's me sorted for next week!
I heard the first bee eater today (definitely summer!).
OMG we've just ordered a proper milking machine; we've gambled and gone for the cheaper Ukrainian one (£375 v £1100), fingers crossed it's not 'too good to be true'.

2nd April
We're well into this gardening lark; Brett rotavated the unplanted side of the polytunnel, while I carried on weeding the herb bed - I uncovered/discovered horseradish, comfrey and wild rosemary (all of which I thought I'd lost). And I dug up and (I'm very proud of myself) disposed of (ok I stuck it in heaps under trees, in the hope some of it might grow!) FIVE, very full, wheelbarrows of mint roots. Now I need to get herbs and edible flowers, to fill all the space I've created.

3rd April
This morning we spent lots of money (several hundred euros) on posts etc for supports in the vegetable garden (mainly for espaliering and fanning fruit trees and bushes/canes) - let's hope we can keep up with the weeding!
When Nicky & Rich came round they gave us a whole load of vegetable seeds, many in envelopes with hand written names; one merely said 'mole deterrent plant', so I sowed some of the seeds today. Then I researched, on the internet, to see what it might be, as the seeds are very distinctive; turns out it's Castor Oil plant - the most deadly plant to man!!!!! It's the plant that Ricin comes from! So they're going in the bin then ......

4th April
Happy Birthday Alex xxx
Our milking machine was dispatched today.
We went to lunch at Tim & Zoe's quinta (we've never been before). It's HUGE, 10 hectares, fabulous views (including Monsanto), very nice. Tim had cooked a veritable feast. We had a lovely time.
The muscovy ducklings have started hatching ......
We have the weirdest radishes growing; they are over (soft and hollow) but when I pulled them up for the pigs there were new radish (crisp, hot and juicy) growing below the original radish.

5th April
The mother ducks (yes there's two sitting on the same nest) are sitting tight, so far I've managed to count five ducklings.
A&K had a lunchtime BBQ birthday party for Alex; it was great fun. Unfortunately we were the first to leave as we had goats to milk. And thank goodness we came back when we did - Lucy was so full she was literally squirting milk out (she must have been pressing on something in her lying position), very weird.
Poor old Diane & Thomas are struggling with their new cow, she not used to being milked and she's rather feisty ........
One of our young chicks was in their water bucket this evening. We have no idea how long it had been there, it looked dead (it was soaked through and freezing cold) ....... but five hours later with lots of TLC, a box in front of the heater, a hot water bottle to sit on etc it seems to be recovering.
We put her back in the shed at midnight (it was the best way to keep her warm).

6th April
And this morning we couldn't tell which was the drowned chick!!!! They all rushed out saying they were starving. Feeling good ........
Mrs Muscovy came out with eight ducklings, later Mrs Muscovy 2 (he has two wives) came out with three more very young ducklings (who shouldn't have left the nest yet) so we shut her (Mrs 2) in the shed with them (there could still be eggs hatching)
Brett prepared the ground ready for vegetable plugs and seeds. I cooked as Wendy & Kevin are coming to lunch tomorrow.
This afternoon Brett called me over to Lucy, so I could see her leaking milk (I hadn't seen it for myself); she had a continuous fountain of milk flowing from her udder (she doesn't 'let down' that well when she's being milked!). She was just lying on the ground with milk pouring from her.

7th April
Twelve ducklings came out of the shed this morning!
Wendy & Kevin came to lunch today (chilled pumpkin soup. Focaccia, sundries tomato jam and rocket tart, our dried ham (ours)
with melon, coleslaw and mixed salad).
This evening we planted four trays of potatoes (ours from last year). This year we're planting everything close together hopefully this will reduce the number of weeds.

8th April
Off to CB to look at farm machinery (sythe mower and hay turner) and to buy furniture for the lower deck (the table and chairs on it atm came with us from Wales and are on their last legs).
There were only eleven ducklings when we got home. We searched and searched but couldn't find the twelfth.
This afternoon I planted our fruit trees, while Brett finished the post and wires. When we got back to the house there were only ten ducklings!
This evening we castrated our three male kids; a really horrible job, we feel bad, but it means they'll have longer lives.

9th April
Our goat kids aren't happy .........
We feel mean!
They're not feeding much so their mothers are full. We milked Jelisa (both sides) this morning 3/4 litre and again this afternoon 1.5 litres - we're literally taking off enough to make them comfortable (the machine isn't capable of anything more). We found blood in the milk from Lucy (panicked as it could indicate mastitis) we were actually relieved when we discovered she had a cracked teat (treating with vaseline), and feeding her milk to pigs and dogs!
We had afternoon tea at Claire & Phil's, and came back with .... Lemons!
This evening Brett was standing on the decking and saw a wild boar on the abandoned quinta next door (we're bordered by at least fifteen quinta and quite a few are abandoned) - of course, by the time I got out there, it had disappeared into the undergrowth.

10th April
1 litre from Jelisa (both sides) and 1/2 from Lucy (one side) at 9.00 a.m. Hope our new milking machine arrives soon.
We went to Fundao market today for vegetable plugs: brocolli, cabbage, piri piri, capsicum, onions, cauliflower (white and Romanesque), tomatoes and Brussels sprouts......
A full litre from Lucy today (just milking one side), unfortunately she's still bleeding so we can't use the milk (lucky dogs and pigs!). And another 3/4 litre from Jelisa (one side).
I made Halloumi and Ricotta; tomorrow I might make ice cream.
We didn't get all our plugs in, mainly because we had to wait until it was a bit cooler and then we have so much to do (animals, watering etc); but those we did get in are looking good.

11th April
It was over 30C on the decking today ......
We had lots planned and it all went to pot, as Brett's tooth pain hit crisis point, and we had to take a trip to CB for him to a
 have root canal work (took out the nerve).
We managed to get all the plugs planted today; the tomatoes are looking rather limp/dead!
Oh dear Z&T found an abandoned calf (which they brought home!), just days old and hungry. Fortunately D&T's cow took to it and allowed it to feed. Now they've got to find the owner.

12th April
30+C in the shade ..........
Hoorah, we didn't need to milk either goat this morning; it won't be such a chore once we have our new machine (hopefully any day now).
We have Diane & Thomas coming to dinner Friday; so today I'm busily making goat's milk and goose egg ice cream, I'm stirring away when it suddenly dawns on me ...... Diane is allergic to goose eggs (well duck eggs actually, but she doesn't eat goose eggs, as a precaution) and, as the boys are feeding again, I'm now out of goat milk - bugger!
Lots of vegetable gardening today.
This evening Jelisa gave us an easy 1.5 litres and Lucy 1/2 litre (we're still feeding hers to the dogs and pigs)......

13th April
30+C ........
One of the duckling was smothered overnight; then there were nine!
Lucy's milk is blood free (it needs to settle overnight and the blood precipitates out, very easy to see); Hoorah from us, boo from pigs and dogs.
It's so hot and I have no summer clothes so I spent the day adjusting dresses I made last year; removing the underskirts and sleeves - much more comfortable/wearable now, if a trifle short!

No comments:

Post a Comment