31/10/2014

So that’s the end of another October. Let’s see, what have I been up to this week? Well, on Monday I poured the first lime concrete in the barn. I was amazed to find that it took seven batches with the concrete mixer to fill each form (a form in building terms is a rectangular mould). And seven batches in the concrete mixer equalled an entire 35kg bag of lime. So as I only had two bags of lime, I’ve only been able to pour two forms! Having let the lime concrete dry for a couple of hours, I then scraped the surface level, and left it alone to set.

On Tuesday morning I discovered lots of little footprints in the still-drying mix. They’re Hubert-shaped. (Hubert is the hedgehog, if you remember). Little blighter. Just wait until he licks his paws.

A local farmer is renting one of our immediate neighbour’s fields. He’s been seeding winter wheat this week, and I found a small pile of grain which had spilled next to the road. I took a couple of handfuls and scattered them in Borehole Field to see what happens. The grain is all dyed a red colour though; so it’s obviously been treated with some sort of pesticide. If it grows, fine; we’ll have some food for the bunnies and hens. If it doesn’t, too bad!

LSS had called the chimney sweep to enquire whether he was still interested in doing the work. He was unavailable, so she left a message. On Wednesday evening he called back to say they would be doing the job on Thursday afternoon.

There’s still no news on the aged FIL’s burned-down-garage. LSS has tried calling the insurance company to get an update; but during the brief times she is available to call them, they’ve either been on holiday or closed.

Thursday dawned bright and shiny, although somewhat chilly. The temperature has been steadily decreasing recently although we have not yet had a frost. I think we will soon have to transfer the lemon tree into the polytunnel. In the afternoon the chimney sweep visited! Finally, after having promised to do the work by mid-September, we now have a chimney liner installed, together with a rain cap. The boiler stove certainly seems to be working a bit better now. And this should also mean the stovepipe will not need to be swept quite so often, due to the better draw.

The aged FIL is being transferred to a hospital in Paris on Wednesday next week, for an operation scheduled on Friday to replace a heart valve. LSS was given a few pamphlets of information regarding the operation, with diagrams and everything. Apparently the aged FIL should not go jogging for a while after the operation. I expect he was delighted to hear that. Not that he knows what “jogging” means, of course. They call it “footing” here.

We definitely have a hedgehog in the barn. Goodness knows what he’s eating. I’d gone in after dark to check something, wearing my miners’ LED head torch, and surprised him. He scampered away across the tarpaulins, and dived in between two cardboard boxes. It’s quite amazing how fast these little things can move when they want to!

So that brings us to today, Friday. I had intended to take the Renault 5 into town to buy some more lime. However, the best-laid plans and all that…. This morning I discovered that two of the bunnies had died last night. Not too sure what they died of; possibly over-eating. They had some stems of broccoli yesterday afternoon. Rabbits certainly are delicate creatures. Oh well, as I spent the morning skinning and butchering, that means we have Sunday off for the next two weeks (Sundays have become rabbit-processing days, as this is the only day of the week that LSS and I are in the same place at the same time. And she’s better at processing bunnies, as she has smaller fingers). I’ve started tanning the next batch of pelts – only four this time; hopefully the reduced number will be a bit more manageable. The last lot are complete, and I’m very pleased with the result; they’re lovely and soft!

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