Charlotte not much improved: vet today.

Peaceful day on the Farmy.  Later in the day the sun came out, and the wind dropped right away.

Poor Houdini can’t even have her dust bath in peace.

Mama has been doing a fence inspection

and is not impressed.

Charlotte is still limping dreadfully. I had to stay out of the barn yesterday as every time I checked on her she tried to drag herself up to see what was going on.  If I feed them seperately she does eat quite well.  At one point I fed Sheila then sat in front of Charlotte as she lay down and ate from a bin lid.  She ate everything too. 

And she is getting up to go to the toilet outside and drink her water. And seemed better in the afternoon. But I am not convinced she is improving. I shall call the vet again today. Sheila on the other hand is excited and busy and desperate to get out, but I cannot take her for a walk alone, it would upset charlotte too much, so she has to stay in as well.

The Daily View is still the same.

And the temperatures are still dropping at night though quite pleasant in the day. 

Good morning. Though the farmy was quiet yesterday the keyboard was not and the story roared away picking up 8,818 words so far.  As Bulldogsturf  advised me, just get as many words down as you can right at the beginning. Then I am committed. After that story will take over. So I am going with the flow. And I am loving it. Just letting the story take me where it will is so much more fun than trying to jam a story into a predetermined time line.

I will let you know how it goes with Charlotte, we have almost no chance of getting a vet to visit just for one pig.  Industrial hog farming has changed the perspective of an animals value.  And I am not seen as a real farmer so I have even less clout. And my favourite vet is a cow girl. She does not do pigs or sheep. And I have even less chance of getting the poor pig  up into the stock trailer to visit a vet. We will see. Fingers crossed.

But this is farming and we will keep on working at it. You all have a good day.


Charlotte the Pig is Feeling Poorly

She has started limping quite badly. And a fat pig limping is a very sorry sight. 

It is  one of her back legs below that rather large ham of a butt-hock. Sorry Char had to say it. I have called around and on occasion a pig will pull a muscle when they are young and growing fast and fooling around, so it is bed rest for her.   She is still eating and drinking and coming when she is called so I am going to play ‘wait and see’ for another day or two.. Poor Charlotte.

I have palpated up and down the leg, and looked into her little dainty hooves. Nothing untoward at all. No swelling. No heat. In fact she did not even flinch and just sat getting her ears scratched with no worries at all while John and I looked her over.

Sheila is more than happy to lay down with her and keep her company while she is on bed rest. Maybe she will get her fair share of the feed while Charlotte recovers. That pig needs to go on a diet. A pig on a diet is a bit of an oxymoron!

Apparently Kupa and Tui have the situation in hand.

We had another windy day yesterday with a bit of a nip in the air. When the Guinea Fowl hunch their already hunched backs I know it is getting colder. 

In the real winter they will not even go outside, they just hang out in the barn. It will be interesting to see what the peafowl do when it gets Really cold.

Today I begin The Writing. I will not bore you with the details as I go along. However, if you would like, I will give you a word count so that you can be an informed support team.  My goal for the first week is 2,500 – 3,000 words a day.

The Daily View.

Yesterdays temps. Remember that when reading the max and min temperature gauge. You read at the bottom of the little pin. For the highs (on the right) you read the numbers climbing up and for the lows (on the left) you are going to read the numbers climbing down.  That is clear as mud. But once it makes sense to you it is easy.

You will remember that The Father – my dad – is charting our temperatures. So here is almost a months worth of Central Illinois highs (blue) and lows (pink). As you can see, the cold is coming! 

Thank you Dad.

And now it is time for the milking and the animals. There is a wee change in  routine in the mornings now. I go out to milk in the deep dark with my torch, I open the gate for Daisy, turn on the lights in the barn, put out hay and grain for the pigs, hay for the calf and a little for Daisy, milk the cow, clean up, feed the calf his milk, feed the cats and dogs their milk, feed the pigs their milk, and fill a dish for the peacocks (or they steal the kitten’s milk). Then let Daisy back out to her pasture, turn the lights back out in the barn and leave with my own milk.  At this point the barn birds and animals  all yawn and settle back down to sleep again until dawn.  When the sun comes up I go back out and do the chickens and the sheep, who have slept right through the first shift.

Daisy needs to be milked 12 hours apart you see.  Well, as close to that as I can get anyway.  It makes me smile to turn the lights back out in the early morning and hear them all shuffle and grizzle then settle back down to wait for the dawn.

You all have a lovely day.


PS For the duration of The NanoWriMo Writing, I am going to suspend the Year Ago Today portion of my daily WeB-Log and please forgive me if I do not get to visit your own sites as much as I would like.  However I will certainly be here every morning before dawn, bringing you the news, pictures and weather from the Farmy.

The men came…

… and hauled the crop away. 

Good riddance, I said

But now everything is grey.

Golden has had its day.

The chickens and the pigs and I

Stayed inside to Play. It was cold outside

Yesterday. A Gale had come out to say


The wind was chasing after itself all day

And L’il Puss the Scrapper said; if you don’t stop with the really bad poetry I am going to go and live with the Surrogate Milkers.   Really I am. I cannot bear one word more and while I am on the subject. You can’t sing. Stop the endless singing. If I hear Red Rain is Falling Down one more time I swear I am throwing myself off the barn roof.  Just food, then just cuddles. That is all.  Well, some milk too after the milking and then that is all. And, just for the record, poems don’t have to rhyme anymore. That is SO Tuesday.

And then the sun set

Everyones a critic, pet

The End

Good morning. Have a lovely day today. Thats all I’m going to say. (he he)


NaNoWriMo – Let’s Take our Characters for a Walk: Everyone can Play!

When I was a teacher of drama, in a high school in New Zealand, we would frequently devise characters for  improvised plays.  One of the exercises, when we were devising, was called Take your Character for a Walk.  Everyone in the classroom would assume his or her favourite character,  then the students would move about the room discovering physical quirks about their character that might show in their walk, or their face. Next I would call out and they would turn to someone close by, introduce themselves as that character, and ask and answer  two or three open ended questions. The characters would have a conversation with each other. It was endlessly entertaining.

This was not to promote their storyline, particularly, but it did help to develop a little of the back story and the predominant emotion of the character on this particular day.  From our improvised plays we wrote scripts. Scripts do not always elaborate on everything about that character. In fact if you did that it would end up being the most boring work in the world. So unless someone’s back-story comes up in conversation or is part of the story, it is not used in any way other than being known.  And that little bit of knowing is wonderful when writing.

So is a little Lamb Curry.

Now, obviously, I am working alone on the story that I will begin writing on Thursday during the NaNoWriMo challenge.  So, how do I get my characters up out of their chairs and talking to people, discovering their personal stories, without actually beginning to write.

I thought maybe YOU could mingle with them and find out what you can. Whether you are writing a novel or not, it is a fun exercise in imagination.  If you are also writing a novel, in November, maybe you could ask questions of My characters as one of Your characters.

We need a location.   Let’s see: the road that runs along the beach. You are driving, you see one of my characters standing on the side of the road with a red petrol can, he or she needs  to get to the garage and you, being the charming and neighbourly person I know you to be,  will offer them a ride.  Rain is coming.   The ride is short, what will your  first question be?

Here are four of my characters. Take your pick.

So there is Salty whose real name is Roger. Salty is about 70 something,  very, very bright,  taciturn,  and active. He wears polyester pants, gloves and a big red tartan jacket.  It is early summer. He has lived in this area most of his life.

Jennifer  is in her late 30’s. She has short, straight, dark hair and green eyes. She is tall and too thin. She has three children and has just started working part time at the gas station. She is also Salty’s daughter in law. She has recently come to live with Salty, and look after him, while she writes a book.

Michael is the local undertaker. He is stocky, cheerful, balding, not terribly tall, leads with his stomach and his hearse is painted sea green with a very discreet seahorse on the drivers door. I do hope there is no-one in the hearse if he is walking down the road with an empty gas can.

Alfie. Alfie is 12. Alfie is Jennifer’s eldest son and should be in his new school.  Now why is he walking down the road with a gas can? Or is he on a skate board? He had better not be getting into cars with strangers either, so maybe you have already been introduced.

So, if you want to play, and we can play all day if you like, (especially if you are locked inside with the storm raging outside and still have power) – your question might go something like this. “Hi Alfie.  Remember me? I’m your neighbour from across the gully. Your Mum told me to look out for you. What’s with the gas can, honey?”

And Alfie will answer you.

And if you don’t feel up to playing today, leave a message anyway and I will send one of my characters to visit you at your place!!   One answer leads to another question. Everyone can steal each other’s threads. All characters welcome.

Good morning. Is this crazy or what!? It’s going to be great. Jump in!

While you do that I am off out into the freezing wind to milk the cow and feed the animals. We are not in the way of the big storm, but it looks like fingertips of high winds are reaching all the way over here and the temps are at freezing. Which is nothing compared to what many of you are enduring.  I hope you are ok.

Love celi


Sunday Farm Cameos

It seems we had a day of cameos. Solo performances. A Sunday.

Son of Son of Neanderthol Man.

Just watching. Author with his big liquid baby eyes. 

The Duke Of Kupa on the prowl. 

Paisley Daisy does calm Sunday very well.

Sheila the Babe doing her imitation of Charlotte’s flying ears.

The Daily View. 

And Cool Sunshine. 

Waiting for harvest. 

Another Sunday.

Good morning. There are so many things I was going to write to you this morning but now that I am sat at the keyboard I find that all my thoughts have flown the coop. I am looking deeply to see if there is a thought in my head, no, nothing.

You all have a wonderful day.  I have plenty to keep me occupied today. I hope you do too. Busy is good.



There was a car hiding in my barn – off with its head!

The peacocks have done a good job of camouflaging this car. It is a parts car, for a project that is on hold, and was using up an entire bay in the barn. So out it goes into the cold. To make room for animals in the winter. 

Now you see it. Now you don’t. As usual there was an audience. 

We worked in the barn for the afternoon, still toiling away at returning it to its origins. A barn without animals is sad. Our barn must have been sad for years and years but slowly we have pushed all the old vehicles and accumulated detritus back out and made room for the farmy.

Big Dog is still wearing his coat.  Yesterday afternoon came out a little warmer so I thought to take it off and shake it out, but he lay flat on the ground and gave me the eye. I was not to touch. Often this dog surprises me with his acute responses.

So TonTon did not feel left out, I put John’s nephew’s dressing gown on him,  purely for my  own amusement you understand, TonTons lack of amusement was tangible. I caught him intercepting John in the corridor, beseeching him to relieve him of the ‘orrible outfit.  Dogs faces are so expressive. Of course I was laughing out loud.  Mean Miss c, he said.

Good Authority- soon to be shortened to Author (thank you Betsy)– and LuLu …

…came out to play in the sun yesterday. They had a lovely day and though they were not terribly impressed about being put back into the hay loft for the night, they were happy to curl up and fall into baby sleep.  They were tired.


Cooling down a little.

When I let the cows back out into their pasture last night I was greeted, or rather farewelled, with this glorious sunset.

Good morning. It looks like the old man in our story is going to be called Salty.  Thank you Barbara. Though his real name is Roger. (Who also says dreadful things with a wicked glint in his bright eye.) The woman who tells this story only calls him Roger when he is doing something particularly cantankerously old-man-like. Mercy I will never be a writer if I cannot find the right words.  But I do not write at my best in the morning. I am an afternoon with a cup of tea writer. And into the evening with a glass of wine, if all is going well!

I made myself a White Russian  last night before going into the study.  John said, I thought you had given those up. Not ’til November, I said, stirring. Better have two then, he said. So I did.

Have a lovely day. Unless Sandra is moving in to your place. Then, keep your head down.


On this day a year ago. The corn was Harvested. Uncle’s beans are still waiting for the ground to dry.

Big Dog’s Coat of Not Many Colours

It was cold today. I mean not too cold.  My words are too short. I feel I should be writing something poetic about the approaching winter and I know that Smidge would say this with a whole lot more elegance and poetry but there was a wintry feel to the air that blew around our heads today.   So we put Big Dog’s new coat on.

He had begun to actually shiver. He is old, and though he eats very well, he does not carry a lot of warming blubber. His blue coat may attract some giggles from his co-workers on the farm though I am sure that the mirth will be firmly hidden behind paws and wings  because he seems to be quite happy with his coat. He has not tried to roll it off, or drag it along tree trunks. He trotted off to his bed in the barn, curled up in his blankets and went straight to sleep. 

After he  told TonTon the Wellington Dog that if he so much as imagined a snigger, his head would be chook food. 

Daisy, as usual, watched the proceedings with sublime detachment. 

And Li’l Puss the Scrapper chose the wisest course of turning a blind eye. 

I forgot the Daily View.  How did I do that? I remembered to take the shot of the thermometers and walked straight past  the Daily View.  Ah well.  No animal was harmed in the making of this forgetfulness.

Many years ago I began to write a play about an old man who spent the summer living in a cherry picker raised up into the trees above his big old house by the sea, he would lower a flax basket down to his daughter-in-law, she would load it with food and books and he would haul it back up with a reluctant grunt of thanks.  He very seldom spoke, and was full of crushing wit when he did, as he slowly worked his way through the grief of becoming old and the other various and sundry  disappointments that follow us through a life.

This old man popped straight back into my head at 4 .30 this morning and asked ever so politely if I could write him into my NaNoWriMo Novel.  Because he lives up on another level, and there are not very many characters in my story, he and his cherry picker are most welcome. He does not have a name yet though.  He needs a name.

Have a lovely, lovely day.


Pania Pouts as New Kittens Named

Miss c: Hey, Tui and Pania, come over, we are going to name the two kittens.

Pania:  Tui, shove over, you are in the way.

Tui: Miss c.  Pania is touching me with her snotty beak. Get out,, Pahn! Aaaah!

Miss c: Pania did you just push Tui off the beam?

Pania: No. We were playing Push Me Out of the Nest. 

Miss c: You mean walk the plank.

Pania: What’s walk the plank?

Miss c: Pania stop being disruptive we are naming the new mouse catchers.  It is naming day. A very important day on the farmy.

Pania. Honk.

Lets just ignore her bad manners for a minute shall we.  Everybody, on your left is Good Authority. Because this little puss spends a lot of time  telling me what I should be doing. Like; I have it on Good Authority that you should be bringing us warm milk four times a day, he says. Or I have it on Good Authority that the dogs get real meat.  Stuff like that.

And on the right is LuLu. She is the sweet one. And if she is a male, as most ginger cats are, we will call her LouLou. 

Pania: Tui! Where is that hen, she always blames me.  Always falling off stuff and saying Pania Did It!

So here is Li’l Puss the Scrapper watching out for Good Authority and LuLu. Not quite friendly yet though.

Pania: Huh Good Authority. What kind of name is that?

Miss c: Well, you can call him Goodie if you like.  Is that easier?

Pania: Goodie! I’ll give you Goodie. I steal his goodies every morning. How come he gets cat food and not me anyway. 

Miss c: He is a baby cat, Pania. You are a  bad tempered big Bird. 

Pania: Do you want me to throw myself off here, is that what you want. A dead peahen on your conscience.   Think of the mess.  Tui, where are you?!  TUI!!!

Good morning. It was warm and windy yesterday.  I’ll take it.  Is that the last day of warmth?

I hope you are all going to have a lovely day.  It is Friday here. Shopping day. Stocking up day.


A gypsy summer day with three new teensy weensy arrivals

First this most magnificent day in chronological order because that is the way we do things. It was like a sumptious spring day yesterday. All cushiony and warm and loud with birdsong.

A scanty bright sunrise over the swimming pool. 

Fat sheep!! A growth spurt in the fields and gardens.  The bees were out in force gathering the last of the pollen. 

Plenty of visiting birds with their strange calls as they rest in the trees on their way South. 

The Duke of Kupa keeping an eye on things.

And here she is. The first of the new arrivals. I only shot a picture of one as the mother hen was in quite the mood by the time we had caught them all and settled them in a safe place. Hatched by a naughty barn chook at the wrong end of the season in the hay loft. There were only three and they are all in a big box in the barn, with their mother and a lid – Li’l Puss the Scrapper was in and out like a Jack in a Box trying to get at them.  

Their mother will protect them but I have seen more than one chicken killed by its own mother, standing bewildered in the wrong place, in the middle of a fight. They just get tromped on. So it is best that they are locked up for a wee while. I had to don my new orange welding gloves, catching chickens with a wild mama chook after you can be a dangerous business. So they will live in this big airy sunny box, in the barn sunroom,  for a few weeks, safe under their mama’s spread wings.

By the end of the yesterday I was in a singlet and skirt. Quite deliberately catching the very last of the summer with my bare arms and legs. 

Someone has got to come with a tow truck and take away the jeep that hit the stationary grader in the lane, with a speeding teenager at the wheel, a few weeks ago. No harm to the boy but the vehicle is written off.  I really, really hope we do not have that in our Daily View for too much longer. It is a very sore point.  But a good lesson in having some respect for speed.

Ok, changing the subject quickly. Look at that –  over eighty! 

Good morning. Last night was warm. I had all the windows and doors open catching the last of the autumn breeze. One of the toughest things for me in winter is having to keep the windows and doors shut at night.  I am not good at being shut in.

I hope you all have a lovely day. There has been a dearth of  good material happening a year ago so I have not bothered to link you back. However tomorrow, a year ago, (if that makes any sense) – Look what I found! No need to read it, just whizz over the pictures!  You will laugh.

Have a lovely day.


Decisions: Managing the household and farm during NanoWriMo

I have made a few decisions. The hardest decision is to give up my night time White Russian made with home made Coffee Liquer and raw milk. We will not discuss the Vodka as it is against the law in America to have a Still. I will only drink tea in the evenings in November.  Though I will still have a wine with dinner. That is a good decision.

Decisions themselves take up a lot of time and imagination so I will also give up decision making itself for anyone other than my animals and myself for the month of November.

I won’t tell anyone else how to be. Or say ‘I hate to say this however..’, or ‘I don’t mean to interfere but..’or ‘well in my opinion…’ because I will be floating about in my own little bubble and I will allow the family to empower themselves by working this stuff out by themselves. 

I won’t nag about  ‘homework’ or ‘you’ve been gone for hours what have you been up to’, or ‘You are going to drown in one of those potholes, one day, if you don’t fix the lane.’ 

Everyone can do their own laundry and I will not nag them to ‘get on with it or do you want to go to school/work naked.’   Something I do not want to see. I will  not harp on about boys cleaning the boys bathroom,  and ‘why is the grout a funny colour’ I will not whine on about how if they want to ‘leave water and soap all over and slip and wack their stupid heads that is their  own choice’.

You see how easy this is going to be. In fact My life will be nicer as long as I do not have to actually go into the boys bathroom.

However I have been making very strict decisions for myself. Every Sunday I shall arrange a weeks worth of my own clothes into  daily bundles, stacked neatly in piles. Farm pants, tops, warmie, knickers and bra all folded together.  Seven of them. Then I do not need to make decisions about what to wear.

Every Sunday I shall write a menu of  dinners and create the grocery list accordingly. Then I will not need to make decisions about food. In fact I should do this for the rest of my life -I always have trouble deciding what to cook for the ungrateful masses.

I will ask the Matriarch to feed the teenager in town once or twice a week and monitor his homework from there. I will ask John to cook me those fabulous Thai soups more often.

Someone else can do the grocery shopping and go to the feed store. Can I give away all the jobs I hate? Just so I can write a book?  Thinking deeply. Um. Yes.

I don’t want to make too many decisive changes because I might forget what they are and then I will spend time and brainpower trying to remember what I have decided.  But I will use the fridge doors to write lists as I think of things so I don’t have to think about remembering things.  And I am going to rename myself The Little Red Hen. I like her attitude. 

Mostly I am clearing space in my head but I also need to clear space in my day. So here is the TimeTable.  I have a timetable of sorts anyway but this one will be in stone for a month. What do you think?

  • 5am -6 am – Get out of bed and stumble to computer then Write to you and post the blog.
  • 6am. – Milk the cow, feed the animals, take photos and all that stuff.
  • 8 – 9am – Breakfast. Hang out in the Lounge of Comments and do a wee bit of visiting; I would hate to miss out on what you are up to so drop me a line if i miss an important post.
  • 9am – 10 Fast forward housework. (I do this already) I love to do housework in fast forward. I do everything once and as quickly as possible.
  • 10 – 11 am -Visit the old people, write to children, correspondence: my people cannot be neglected just because I am writing a book.
  • 11 – 1 pm- Prepare dinner. Take pictures. Farm work.  Load pictures onto tomorrows Weblog page. Read yesterdays writing. Block out todays writing.
  • 1 – 4 pm- NaNoWriMo – two thousand legible words a day minimum. Though in the first week I want to give myself a five thousand word buffer in case of emergencies.  Always stop in the middle of a sentence or action so it is easy to pick up the next day.
  • 5 – 6.30pm-  Milking, feeding out, farm work.
  • 7 – 7.30pm-  Finish dinner and feed dinner to family.
  • 7.30 – 8.30 – Load photos onto tomorrows blog,  shuffle about the blog world a little. Shower, bed!

Good morning. In fact the only real change to my normal timetable is writing The Book, which is called Potatoes are Your Best Friend by the way, from 1 – 4 pm each day. Usually this time is spent in the gardens, watering, weeding, taking photos and playing with the animals, with a little writing thrown in.  Now that the gardens have been handed over to the Shush Sisters I have more time.

That all makes a certain amount of sense to me. Have you any ideas? We have a week to make any changes.

Now it is 6 am and I must get moving..

You all have a lovely day.