Two steps forward, one step back…

Lambing time again

 

There’s lots of spring-time activity in the glen at the moment with the arrival of this season’s lambs. There’s been some unplanned spring-time activity at Garybuie however, which has resulted in taking several steps back from our more usual regular tasks, which includes keeping up with the blog of course. Consequently, there are several newsworthy events to report, so, are you sitting comfortably? 

 The unplanned activity involved re-vamping the kitchen. It’s fortunate that I’m in charge of blog entries as you can feel secure in the knowledge that you’ll get a true account of events leading up to the latest DIY project. None of that journalistic spin that a certain electric drill-wielding man about the house would use to lay the blame firmly at my door, oh no, not on this blog! The plain and simple truth (in a nutshell) is that I requested a small, metre-long extra work surface and before you could say ‘B&Q’, that’s exactly where we were, filling our trolley with kitchen units, replacement doors, paint… it was definitely Kevin’s idea whatever he might tell you but who am I to upset his plans?! 

Two days old

 

A  kitchen is not the only new arrival at Garybuie over the past week. Six ducklings hatched a couple of days earlier than expected and Broody Brenda, who took over the nest under the coop, appeared five days ago with her new family consisting of ONE chick! She’d actually been sitting on 18 eggs, so not a great success. We also suspect that she left the nest a wee bit early, as the day after she appeared with her chick, Kevin went to clear the nest and found one newly hatched dead chick as well as another egg fairly advanced in the hatching process. For the first two nights, she returned to the nest but must have decided that she wanted an up-grade, as a couple of days ago, when I let the ducks out in the morning, who was sitting in the straw in the AR’s house but Brenda and offspring! The ARs had obviously stayed out of her way overnight, as the duck had laid her egg just by the pop-hole. That evening, Brenda opted for an early night in the duck house and I was concerned that the ARs might not want to share. They went in with no fuss though and an inter-species agreement must have been struck, as the following morning, the duck had managed to make her own nest in the straw next to Brenda and lay her egg! Now it seems as though Brenda and her chick are permanent lodgers and it will be interesting to see if the chick stays with aunt and uncle duck when Brenda returns to her more usual roosting place up the tree with her sister. 

Small family

 

Neighbouring nests

 

On the subject of nests, Biggles is still sitting tight and has maybe about a week to go to the arrival of her first family. Puff, on the other hand has managed to find a nesting site in an unknown location. After thoroughly investigating underneath the chicken coop next to the polytunnel, she decided it wasn’t enough of a des. res. for her standards and moved on to who knows where. Try as we might to see where she flies, she’s clever enough to fly only when we’re not looking! For the past few days she’s been missing but returns at night, so whether she gets into the full swing of things remains to be seen. 

Another important arrival, or should I say return, in the glen recently is our neighbour Dorinha, who has been living in the sunshine of California with her husband Paul for the past year. Unfortunately she  returned just with Lalo, the dog, as work commitments are keeping Paul away for a few weeks longer. Even so, it was great to see her again and last Sunday she invited us to lunch along with other neighbours Mark, Gerlinde, Brian and Andy. Dorinha is a wonderful cook and delighted us all with a delicious – and enormous! -rib roast with all the trimmings. 

Kevin, Dorinha and U-bend

 I was too busy enjoying the beef to take a picture of it, but I did manage to get a shot of the ensuing entertainment when Kevin tackled Dorinha’s blocked U-bend (!) while simultaneously re-designing his trousers with delights from the drain! Drain-pipe trousers perhaps? Anyway, it was a lovely afternoon and must have inspired Andy – also a passionate cook – and Brian to reciprocate Dorinha’s hard work by providing another delicious Sunday lunch yesterday. Our calendar has certainly provided more interesting reading recently than the usual, ‘hen sitting’, ‘eggs hatching’ ‘flea & tick treatment for cats’…. A choice between lobster and crab Thermadore were the stars of the show which neither of us have had before so it was a real treat. Looks like I’d better be dusting off some of my ‘posher’ recipe books!!! 

Brian & Andy with Dorinha, Kevin and the Kinloch family

A whole new world

To return to things more ‘Garybuie’ than gastronomical, the weather recently has been quite spring-like, so definitely time for some of our feathered friends to experience the great outdoors! Our first chicks of the season moved into their new garden residence last weekend at six weeks old. It didn’t take them long to thoroughly explore their new, more interesting environment. Meanwhile, the ducklings – at one week old – have enjoyed their first experience of grass and at least a view of the wider world! 

Ducklings on the loose!

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