Oh dear …

I got so carried away with The Writing that I did not get enough decent images for you yesterday. Or at least I forgot to check to make sure I had enough shots. Which I did not. And then it was too late.

This is the only one worth looking at and Daisy is all foreshortened, with her rump blending with the sky, she looks more goose than cow and Queenie is disinterested. 

I was going to talk about the ecosystem of the barn, how it all works together, how the kittens bring just the right tone of pragmatic cuddly, but it was so dark all day, so dreary and no-one would hold still for their photographs in the barn, and then it started to rain. Well, more of a drizzle, to go with the dreary.  Later the drizzle turned to slushy snowy rain. Not real snow though. None of that yet, thank goodness. Just wet and drippy.

So, I leave you with the Daily View.

Another cold morning.

And a story with 24,746 words. So far. I told you I worked well under pressure! Nanowrimo does introduce pressure.

Have a lovely, lovely day.


Beautiful Cold

Winter came, just popping in to remind me that he is on his way.

No resting on your laurels, miss c.

Winter is still a gentle voice in the distance, but he is on the road. 

But so beautiful, this cold. I guess the spiders are gone. Their webs are frozen solid.

I shot the Daily View early. So you could see what I felt. Are your fingers feeling that cold?

And then I encountered an interesting problem. Because the cover of the old temperature gauge is broken, the inside was all iced up and misty. I wonder if we will even be able to see it when it gets really cold. This will be interesting.  However the maxi/mini tells it all. A low of 18 I guess.  Minus 7C. Not too cold yet.

It is 24 (-4C), out there, as I write.  That is still within the bounds of live-able cold. And the sky is bright so we will have a good day.

I wrote an adequate number of words yesterday, but today, after visiting the Old Codger, I expect to get in a good afternoons writing.

You all have a lovely day.  Please feel free to steal or share any of these images. I don’t mind sharing.  My favourite for my pinterest page today is the one with the treehouse in the background.

Rug up warm..


A Delicate Shade of Lady’s Gray and Chocolate Mousse

Sunrise. Do you see that particular shade of barely bruised gray just above the uppermost layer of new light? I hope to find a scarf in that colour one day. Or maybe a full length skirt. It is such a delicate shade. 

Charlotte is back.                                                                                                                            She is still listing to starboard but gamely waddled out into the field and had a lovely day in the cool autumnal sun.                                                                                                               Much as I love that word autumnal I shall soon have to put it back in the book and take out the word: Wintry. Sigh. I am not a wintry girl.

Chocolate Mousse. 

I have discovered that there is NO WAY I can write my Novel while The Bears (Football, not to be confused with Footy) is blaring away in the room next door. My little travelling headphones were not up to the job, I need a noise-OUT pair. So I gave up and read some more of  Last Chance To Eat by Gina Mallet. And then I made Ulisse’s chocolate mousse. When in doubt – cook.

This is so simple and so decadent. Use 8 very fresh eggs. Todays eggs are best.

In one bowl 8 egg yolks beaten, in another bowl 8 egg whites whisked stiff.

Melt 8 oz of chocolate with 3 tablespoons of very strong coffee, then add 1 good slug of brandy.

Beat the melted chocolate into the egg yolks, then fold in the egg whites. This is a very old French recipe, and demands the very best ingredients and all I had was ordinary cooking chocolate bars and rough cooking brandy but still I was having real trouble waiting for it to cool enough to eat. This is light and divine. When you scoop out a portion it is all gorgeous pockets of chocolate air like a souffle.  A very healthy dessert. Gabrielle we must make this when I visit.

Refrigerate until quite cold and set. Eat in tiny portions or you will get as fat and happy as Sheila.

Daisy is milking much better with her new cups, it is a bonus for me to be able to see when the milk stops flowing through the little window at the top of the cups. So there is no danger now of over-milking her. She is happier. The surrogate milkers are happier too. They still come every evening. They chose to start the training early and it was a good choice as it has taken a while to establish a rhythm that works for them and the cow. She only gives about 20 pounds a time now, which is about four gallons a day.  This barely covers the calf and the pigs and the cats and dogs and about a gallon a day for the house. So the days of piles of yoghurt and fresh cheese are over for a while. I am seriously looking at the grass now to see if it can sustain another milk cow.

The chickens are just coming out of their molt, and will soon start laying better again.  When I come back from New Zealand I shall extend their days a little with a light. But there is no point pushing them quite yet. If we all ate eggs in a natural rhythm then there would be few eggs on the supermarket shelves during the deep winter. It is a natural rest time for the birds, (especially after their first year) they need 14 hours a day of light to lay well, but consumers demand eggs all year round and so they are forced to lay with artificial lights shining in their eyes day and night.  However my new pullets (Easter chickens) will toddle along (I get 6 0r 7 a day)and cover for the old girls who need a lengthier recuperation period. And as the days get longer egg production will rise.

The Daily View

Yesterdays highs and lows.

There now. Someone forgot to inform Daisy about the outdated principles of Daylight saving.  Falling Back an hour. In fact my little Paddington Bear brain has trouble getting it together as well. I hope you all have a lovely day.


A Fine day on the Farmy

It was a grey chilly day.  Almost no direct sunlight.  It is funny how even the tiniest shaft of sun can lift our heads.

Yes, this is the same peacock. The Duke of Kupa’s train is growing so fast! This has surprised me, I thought he would wait until late winter. But already he is working on his show plumage.

Charlotte was definitely up and about yesterday, limping and  cranky but fighting back.  A huge difference from  the other morning when she was still in her bed, while I sat beside her scratching her ears, her head laid down and not moving.  Just her eyes.   I was even feeding her by holding that bowl under her head.  But there is no way she was laying about yesterday.   The moment I appeared in the door she was up and hobbling across to see what I had. She had aspirin again yesterday but I will discontinue it today and see how we go. Aspirin is hard on tummys. I am going to collect some willow branches for them instead.

I have begun to gather all the post Halloween pumpkins off people’s porches for Daisy and the chickens.  I have heard that pumpkins are a very good natural wormer for chickens.  And as you know Daisy will run across a field if she sees a pumpkin being offered. 

Always with the roosters. 

Big Dog still wears his coat every night and yesterday wore it all day too.  This was a very good decision. I would put one on Charlotte too, if I did not know she would eat it! 

Quiet, fine recovery day. 

The Daily View.

Our temperatures are fairly stable and cool.

NaNoWriMo. 16528 words so far. I feel like my mind is being taken for a run every day. As though I am in training. This is excellent exercise for the imagination. A thorough workout.  I am finding it a bit harder to write with the house full of people and all their noise, which is interesting. I definitely write better when I am alone and it is quiet. Senior son suggested that I just put head phones on but with no music. This also deters interruption. I will give this a trial today.

Have a lovely day



Charlotte begins her Slow Recovery. Because I said so.

Yesterday, I called the vet to talk about The Shush Sister Charlotte, who is still walking very wonkily.  And not often. She lists to the side like a sinking container ship. 

But the vet was out for the day and would not be back until Monday.  No-one could help me there. Hmm. 

I called the breeder, no joy there either. By then I was feeling a bit annoyed with them all. So I decided to take things into my own hands and looked on the internet and discovered that pigs can take aspirin. Who knew!  One and a half per hundred pounds. So I  gave her three with some honey. Charlotte woofed it down then went back to her corner. Whether it was the aspirin or just that she is into her third day of recovery ( I refuse to discuss anything other than recovery) but she did move about a bit within the hour and she stood up to eat later in the afternoon.  Putting her foot down when she was eating.  

This is what I wrote to The Father:  Poor wee Miss Pig. I gave her three aspirin this morning and weirdly I think she is picking up, I will give another three this evening.
The vet never called back.  He was busy today.  His nurse said give it a few days.  I called the breeder he said  said oh geez I don’t know.. give it a few days.. No-one ever says what to do if nothing changes after the few days and how few those days should be!!
But she was up wacking sheila out of way when it was lunch time. And ate her food like a starving child. When she is well again both these buggers are going on a diet.

So I think she is ever so slightly on the mend. The mornings are the worst for her though.  Stiff I suppose. Ella Dee has suggested arnica and glucosamine. So we will find those too. I swear, between us, using all the knowledge the Weblog family has, and the support and good thoughts from you all, I think we can pull her through ourselves.  (That was a muddled sentence but it is too early in the morning for me to untangle it and I am sure you know what I am saying!

The Daily View, a month ago –

And yesterday.

The night temperatures are dropping. Twenty Two F. That is something like minus 4C. Chilly. 

Now I am going to go and grind up some aspirin for our girl (the hardest part is making sure it is Charlotte who gets the pain relief not that Sheila, but so far so good).

Daisy has new milking cups as part of the ever lasting mission to get the most comfortable and efficient milking system for the winter and these cups have a wee area at the top of clear plastic, so we can see what quarter is  giving how much milk, it is pretty neat actually.  They arrived yesterday.  Daisy does not care. Daisy being Daisy just eats, whips me with her tail and tries to kick the cups off when she decides she is finished.  Which is usually about the time she is finished but I prefer to take them off myself thank you very much Daisy.

Have a lovely day.


PS. Yesterday I wrote 3, 656 words, good words too I think, which brought my big total up to 12, 487 words. And I found that yesterday I was writing better too. The actual content is improving. I am not allowed to edit but I can already see where I will be deleting, adding and reworking  when January comes along.  But the story is fun. We just found the husband in a freezer in the back of a removal van!  Fantastic.  Ah well, we did not like him much anyway!

PSS. If you have a teenager saying what shall I do with my life tell her or him to be a vet. They will never ever be out of work.

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.