Livestock = Problems

So, One Of The Twins (specifically twin with heart shaped spots rather than speckley twin) today was found minus one right eyeball. Quail are second only to sheep regarding unfortunate accidents. Said twin (who we shall call Heart for future ease) has a badly damaged right eye, suspected to be caused not by cannibalistic tendencies (entirely possible, see chickens re: seeing red), but by misadventure regarding a wire feeding ball. Heart is on pain relief and antibiotics, so finger and talons crossed.

Quail. Tiny tiny sheep.


That said, I’m doing well in regards to intermittent portions (given that about eight quail eggs are needed for one portion) of scrambled egg on toast.

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Having a quail of a time!

It’s taken a few years but finally one of my life aims has come true! I own livestock!

Quails! I have 3 girls and 1 boy. They’ve been here about 2 weeks now, and moved outside on Friday. They are settling in famously, and today marked an important event…

First full quail egg dish! Took 9 eggs but no chicken eggs required to have enough for breakfast!

Egg quality is improving – someone is laying nice orange yolkers and I haven’t had an error egg for about a week now they are on layers pellets instead of chick crumb. 


No names yet, though the brown one gets called Brownie, the boy is The Boy, and the other two get called the Twins. 

The boy is in the far corner. 

And I clipped their wings! Thank heavens for YouTube. They aren’t big flyers but the hutch isn’t ideal in that the main access is through the hinged roof, and I don’t fancy chasing flying quails around the garden on cleaning day. I had to buy the hutch in a bit of a rush as they were in the house in a guinea pig cage but they attracted flies. They will be upgraded at some point. 

Also – with 3 girls and a boy I can breed them… O.O

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Adulting fail

Today I tried to adult and failed.  AnM and I have started snowboarding lessons, so today, on day off, I decided to go and get boots. I went to 3 shops in my town, and they were either closed or rubbish. So I drove 45 minutes to AnM’s town, and her shop was open (yay) but the guy was waiting for someone else to come in (boo) so I failed to achieve boots. I was so proud of actually leaving the house as well, let alone going to another town. Usually I just sleep on my day off. To cheer myself up at this adulting fail, I went shopping for a feather duster so that I might start cleaning my bombsite of a house. I specifically wanted a real feather duster so I can dust without disturbing things and get good haptic feedback. *nods convincingly*

I bought:
– the wrong feather duster (I wanted a small handheld one, got a 4 foot long overpriced one but that was all they had, eh) Alf thinks it’s a giant cat toy, Spock thinks it’s a demon. Kiz has no opinion.
– an expensive mattress topper (my bad back means I sleep on the sofa at the moment, I need to solve this, lady in shop spoke convincingly and made me coffee which cheered me up after adulting fail)
– some white wicker shabby chic baskets (to put things in)
– a mop (I gave in – I hate them, dirty things that they are, but they are perhaps necessary. I draw the line at owning an iron though. That’s what hair straighteners are for.)
– wooden spoons (can you ever have enough?)
– some jars to put tea and coffee in (I did not need these)
– and some scotch (…)

Put topper on the bed, dusted the ceilings (I get a point for that) but then drank the scotch, watched two episodes of Buffy and played Kingdom until 1am. It is now 1.30am.

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Something fishy…

So today I am experimenting. I am curing fish. I have never done this before, so we’ll see how it goes! I have taken a lot of salt and some sugar… bog standard, nothing special…

Salt and sugarI had some fish on the turn (brought cheap from the reduced aisle mostly, other than the trout that was from the fish counter). The fishmonger man said “It’s boney…” o.O I felt like answering “Yes. It’s fish.”

I have cured rainbow trout with Talisker…

Trout and Talisker

Sea bass with a random cucumber and dill oil I had and garlic…

Sea bass, dill and garlic (and cucumber...)And my favourite idea, fish and chips, hold the chips! Plaice with malt vinegar and lemon…

Fish and chips - Plaice with malt vinegar and lemon

They are now sitting in the fridge for a couple of days. I’ll let you know how I get on!

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Masquerade – A Harry Potter Fanfic

Dated October 2001 this fanfic was my first and only attempt at a fanfic. I submitted it to the Sugar Quill and there is an element of Mary Sue about it, however what stopped me continuing it was that the beta replied with “oo another Snape angst fic!” or something along those lines. Whilst this may be viewed positively, my mind focused on the word ‘another’, read it as ‘yet another’ and ignored the enthusiasm; filled with the sense that what I was doing had been done before, I abandoned it.

I think I write fairly well for a 20 year old undiagnosed dyslexic. All tipping errors are left intact for posterity:

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Turn of the Year

God Jul!

It is the turning of the year, and like Janus I am looking both backwards and forwards. Beware – today is a day of multiple posts.

As is traditional at this time of year my online friends have posted our yearly Resolutions thread. I notice I did not complete one last year, perhaps due to failing to complete most previous years’ resolutions. Let’s review previous years:

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We had a ha-ha

Although according toTerry Pratchett it was more of a ho-ho…

A ha-ha is a one sided ditch that prevents cattle wandering across your lawn, whilst still allowing you to enjoy the view  unenumbered by fences, inbetween the odd game of crochet. Or if you listen to Pterry, it was to stop inconvienient peasants maring the view. Given the cattle that often wandered along the A123, and the boys that loitered  at the end of the school field, our ha-ha could fit the definition either way.

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Let the fur fly

The relative results of grooming my three cats. Sadly the most productive in fur is also the most reluctant to be groomed.

One domestic shorthair, black, very anti-grooming. One Bengal, brown tabby, very pro-grooming. One Oriental-cross, dilute tortie, utterly confused by the whole process.

Also, cat fur felts. Fact.

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Turning Point

It started as an innocuous “what pet would be best for my child?” question. Of course I answered guinea pigs, or rats for older children. No brainer. However it got me thinking. Dingbat was the first to bring GPs into our family, accidentally, as she was supposed to get a tortoise, specifically our grandparents’ tortoise. The tortoise ‘ran away’ a few days before her 6th birthday. In reality this was during the years when it was illegal to import tortoises so I suspect said tort was pilfered, being very valuable at the time. Either way Ding ended up with a too-young-to-leave-her-mum guinea-pig Sophie as a substitute. And an era was born.

Sophie co-existed with Bobby the rabbit for a while (Bobby being my second rabbit). Eventually Bobby went the way of most of our rabbits and died young of colic. I remembered the day clearly – I loved Bobby, but had already realised that I could best serve animal-kind by instantly adopting (buying) a replacement. So I bought Squeaker, a guinea-pig, from Barkingside pet shop, on the day Bobby died. This was the turning point. I believe it was the 6th July, approx 1989, though I can’t be sure.

All was well for some years, until at five years old Squeaker (and his three year old son Rascal) succumbed on the same day to suspected ragwort poisoning. I was a perfectly normal CofE child before that point, happily accepting of all of the Church’s faiths as gospel, but at the sudden death of Squeaker I could not comprehend how any benevolent deity could allow the seemingly senseless death of an innocent creature. I was 12-13yo, and I had rejected Christianity.

And that was that. None of my family went though the same process so I am slightly separate to them in beliefs now. I got over my brief guinea-pig inspired dislike of Christianity many many years ago, but I very definitely still view Protestantism with the same light as any other religion, in that it is something I find intellectually intriguing, but not personally compelling. I adored my visit to the Vatican and want to go again very much, and I loved visiting churches and abbeys in Ireland, but I view them with the same interest I would view visiting a mosque or similar. Great respect, and true enjoyment, but no personal involvement.

I do not dislike religion. I state this, as I feel some of my friends and family suspect I do dislike religion (note: sitting in a Christening thinking about Buddy Christ and giggling with the toddlers about tractors does not equal a dislike of religion, just a dislike of toddler censorship and an inappropriate sense of humour regarding Alan Rickman. LET TODDLERS GIGGLE.) I find the culture of religion fascinating, and I am not non-spiritual myself. I love visiting churches etc., I find it all incredibly fascinating, and I tend to steal saints to incorporate into my own philosophy, but the Christian God I read about in my illustrated bible also took away my guinea pig, and things like that can irrecoverably damage a relationship.

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Operation Christmas!

So I have a week off (ignoring that I’ve been in to work already to sort things out – the perks of being the boss!) and as I’m already behind with Christmas it is time to get in gear and get preserving!

Over the years I have foraged well and froze a lot of bits and bobs. I decided it was time to unearth the contents of the freezer.

Frozen bounty
That’s sloes, a whole kg of rosehips (!) which is astonishing as I even threw some away that looked a little dodge, and plums, some wild, some tame. Missing from there are 850g of crumbled chestnuts. Plus I chucked the elderberries as I’m not keen on the flavour and a handful of blackberries I couldn’t think of a use for.

A trip to Tescos for vast quantities of sugar, booze and nuts, and the marmalade is on the go:
Orange Marmalade

The chestnut jam has been made:
Chestnut jam

And the fruit cakes are in the oven (but I’m not showing you a picture of that as the oven door looks awful).

As an aside I got this lovely bit of furniture from Ikea – I don’t have a lot of kitchen space so this doubles as larder and extra work surface:
Lovely larder
*notices in the picture that she put the cream on a shelf – quietly puts the cream in the fridge*

Also on the to-do list is Christmas pudding flavoured fudge, honeycomb, homemade Irish cream, actual Christmas pudding, plum chutney, rosehip jelly and sloe gin. I also found some frozen bottles of juice but I can’t tell what fruit are in them (probably hedgerow mixtures) which makes turning them into jam a bit tricky… (unknown pectin levels) so I’ll probably not bother with them. Plus I’m running out of jars…

I also made these little cinnamon(ish) salt dough tags for putting on presents:
Salt dough tags

Somehow I have to do most of this before the weekend and some of it before Thursday. Unsurprisingly I have a spreadsheet!

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