The Bat Cave

You know the cold is coming when Sheila my big fat pig starts building her bed.  Last night she had gathered it all up high,  she stands in the middle of her bed and goes round and round scraping the straw up with her hooves and her nose moving up into the centre of her bed as she goes round – building her house of straw higher and higher. Then satisfied and  with a great sigh, she folds her front legs under then lowers her considerable rear end down into the centre with a grunt and she is so heavy she sinks straight down into the straw making a warm bed wit high sides. (She makes room for Poppy but you know Poppy  – she does not really care).

Following Sheila’s lead I have built a warm Bat Cave hut for  Tima and Tane.


In the old days the farmers would often make a bale house for new born calves to keep them warm. Two bales stacked on either side two in the back, a piece of board across the top and straw on top of that too. A lovely draft free hut. Straw is an excellent insulation. So I made one of these and stuffed it full of straw for Tima and Tane.  It took a wee while to make, so I was very grateful when they huffed and whined like squeaky quarrelsome trains and chugged straight in the door, in under their straw blankets and snuggled down for an afternoon nap.

There is nothing like a grateful pig  or a grateful chicken for that matter.



Chooks always look so STERN.  On the left above – is one of the new roosters.  What a beautiful boy. I hope he will breed us some lovely chicks next summer.   The one above that  is a sneaky Old rooster, he has the tell-tale frost bitten comb from the bad winter of 2014.  Now we are facing another bad winter in 2014/15.  But that is OK.. it IS winter after all.

I will tell you something else  I have noticed. The older animals like Sheila and the peahens and elder chickens always go to bed before the younger ones. The older cats are in bed first. The older dogs.  Though we lost a few of our elders in the last year –  the next generation are stepping up  to remind us that early to bed means early to rise.  Though to tell the truth Sheila is  never the first to rise. First to bed and last to rise is our Sheila.  I will finish her  Christmas calender this weekend do you want one?  I need to work out how many I should order.  Shall  I set up a Christmas Calender page?

Queenie is doing well at her vacation home. Though things are very quiet and there is no sign of her being in heat yet.  But soon I think.  I will leave her there for a month just to be sure.

I booked the next round of tickets for New Zealand last night. I am going out to celebrate the nuptials of my Senior son and his beautiful girl in January. Though it will be a much shorter visit. January is peak  – summer in New Zealand. Suffice to say I have decided to patch my old clown suit instead of buying a new one. I think the jacket is beyond repair but no new clown suit photos!   We need to save our money for the new cows.

I love budgeting. I am pretty good at it actually.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love your friend on the farm


55 Comments on “The Bat Cave

  1. Good Morning Celi — Tane & Tima’s Bat cave looks nice and cozy! We used to do that too! The chooks are beautiful even in their sternness. I would love a Sheila calendar. I haven’t switched over the October picture of Boo and baby Marmalade yet cause I love that picture so much. Have a good day!

  2. Your weather forecast is not looking too good. When you get bad weather, we get the tail end. This year the forecast coming from the Russian plains is not any better, so it looks like we will be attacked from both sides. Skii pants ski tubes, boots and a warm hat to the ready, me thinks, or else I should buy some straw and build a cave to hibernate in! That way I’ll have no excuse to write my story for you. I’ve just finished another one for a book in aid of a cancer charity. I need to open the windows of my mind, before beginning again on a different subject.

  3. Have you told Sheila what happened to the little pig who built his house of straw! Never mind…no wolves in your parts, I hope. What snug piggies you must have. And the chickens! My God, woman, they are BEAUTIFUL.

    • Sheila would laugh in the face of a wolf i think, there is talk of them coming back to these parts too, though i think it is all talk.. c

      • We were told the wolves would never come here and stay where they were released. Not true. They are here now and killing livestock.

  4. I would love a sweet Sheila calendar! Lately I have been early to bed and am always up early to beat the traffic!

  5. I would love a Sheila calendar please Miss C! {If you’re posting to Oz, that is 🙂 }
    … Actually, I would also love a bat cave! But I fear my Mini Me’s would take it over hahaa

  6. We used to pack straw bales around the foundation of our aged farmhouse each autumn to keep out the arctic winds that swept across the prairie. This was when I was growing up. Still, the house was always cold. I suppose the leaky windows and a single oil burning stove in the center of the living room didn’t help with warmth.

    • I remember my father and brothers putting straw bales and sometimes “compost” around the house too

  7. People used to build their own homes out of straw too – it’s exceptionally good for insulating. I don’t think the pigs would like the Bat Cave I used to go to in the early 80s – it was a nightclub just off Dean Street and is considered to be the birthplace of Goth Music 😉

    • Sheila would love it then, i think she is a secret Goth.. I was a bit of a Grunge girl myself! Goth takes too much time to get ready. Those kids at cambden market on a saturday morning must start getting ready at three in the morning!.. c

      • I think you’re right, though it’s mostly the people who work there who are Goths, the people who go there seem to be tourists. Camden Lock was am excellent market in the 70s and early 80s, but since then it just sells very expensive tat. I wonder if Sheila gets up to party in the middle of the night… 😉

  8. You take such good care of all your animals. Good luck with finding a ticket to New Zealand . I’m flying to Germany next Wednesday. I’m waiting for ” beam me up Scotty ” space transportation .

    • I want ‘beam me up’ too. Just imagine! We would have to make funny beam me up noises as we go though. I still remember them!.. c

    • Ohh so am I ! The amount of times I have been sitting in an airport thinking that x

  9. Think of the nice workout you got while building the pig(let) house. I’m sure they’ll bury themselves to deep this winter that they may fail to come out on really cold days. 🙂

    • I have heard of an old farmer who (in the deep winter) fed his sows huge amounts every other day, in between they did exactly that, burying themselves deep into a wee hoop house full of straw.. c

  10. Your roosters and chickens are fine looking specimens, but every animal looks well fed and cared for on the farmy. I would love a Sheila calender , now I’m up and running with pay pal it’s spend spend spend! Dangerous 😊x

  11. As a kid I used to “help” make hay bale houses for calves – while I didn’t play dolls much, creating a calf hut was fun. And I’m sure the calves appreciated the decorating efforts. HA HA
    Are the hens hoping to impress the new rooster with their serious looks? Not wanting to appear flighty, you know.
    We’re already bundling up here – our first hint of cold arrived last night.
    (PS. if posted some pretty sunsets today – while you have oceans of fields and I have water, the big sky is so similar. This sunset looked like a swan song for warm weather on Nov 1. )
    Stay snug (and nothing wrong with patching things with a lot of wear in them…more should be happy with that.) Oh, another trip!

  12. Seem to be a day behind just lately and this is the first time I have read one of your blogs the same day you have posted – sigh not sure where all the time is flying to!!
    Yes please to a Christmas Calendar (can I be greedy and ask for two? Would like to send my Mum one)
    Yep the cold weather is leaching it’s way down here – need to add more straw to the chickens house to keep those nasty drafts out. Been mighty windy these past couple of days too. Spent this morning preparing a nice beef curry for dinner tonight – simmering slowly on the stove right now. Made tons of Beef and Chicken broth past couple of weeks, so freezer is ready for all those soups and stews!

    • You can be as greedy as you like. I love having broth in the freezer, did you know you can make pork bone broth, i really like it.. c

      • Never thought of pork and I have some lovely bone in roasts from pastured hogs! I like to freeze mine in ice cube trays and then bag the cubes. You can take out jus what you need.

        • bring the bones to the boil and boil for 5 minutes or so then pour all that water off (it looks a bit scummy) , then add veges and herbs to the bones, fill with water again and simmer for a day or so.. it really is very good.

  13. As others have already said, your chickens do look healthy. Love the bat cave! I’m sure it will keep them both toasty this Winter. That Sheila has inspired me to go make my bed. After all, if Sheila, a pig, can make her bed, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t make mine. 🙂
    Have a great day, Celi!

  14. Yes I’d like a calendar too. Sheila has such personality. Like a housewife with a broom, sweeping sweeping. Very funny.

  15. They will be snug as a bug in a rug as my mother used to say when she put me to bed. The chooks are just gorgeous.

    • SNOW.. oh dear.. I was so hoping winter would hold off just a bit, there is still so much kale in the garden and i LOVE kale.. c

    • Have not worked that out yet but they are not cheap.. They are sold to make money for Sheila’s winter feed. I will find out and make a calender page.. let you know.. c

  16. Me too for a calendar 🙂 Those cooks look so healthy, and from what is discernible from a. cook -happy. The roosters’ colours are gorgeous, they look like they have been brushed by an artist or stylist. So many times I have made a bed for a furry-one only to have them look at it, me, and walk away, so at least Tima & Tane have good sense 🙂

    • I know, all that work and they decide to sleep on a brick by the cold door, i was so gratful when they walzed in and settled down.. good piggies..

  17. I would love a Christmas calendar of our pin-up girl, Sheila. The new rooster is quite handsome. They are beautiful fowl, fully-combed or not. I’m glad Tima & Tane love their new home/bed, and Sheila’s constructions always amaze me. She’s just an amazing pig.

  18. hey Celi…………..are you only doing a Sheila calendar? If there’s going to be a general Farmy calendar……especially with pics of Boo… I’d have one of them, but otherwise I’ll have a Sheila or two.

  19. I’m enjoying the mental image of TIma and Tane charging into their Bat Cave at full pelt and flopping down in the snug warmth with a sigh. Eyes closed, Miss C, off to sleep, we’ve got a busy day tomorrow…

  20. So Sheila has been teaching you how to make a piggy bed. I love your description of how she does it. Your winter will seem so odd, punctuated by a little smash and grab raid on our Kiwi summer and then back to the icy blasts. The bat cave looks just perfect and must have been fun to make.

    • I am looking at the weather and worrying about it too.. they are awfully expensive, i would rather put the money towards a cow so we are scouring ebay, looking for one there.. c

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