Monday, February 04, 2013

Always ups and downs....

I'm a very blessed mama, I'm sure my 'real life' friends and the regular readers of this blog will agree.  I've got 5 beautiful children, a wonderfully supportive husband who works hard to provide this lifestyle that I love, and although like everyone, we have our ups and downs in life, on the whole we have far far more ups than downs.

A real down moment has been that we lost one of our quails.  Some of you will know that we bought 6 quails on January 1st to start us off on our happy homestead journey of 2013.   We kept them in a triangle house and run outside and when the severe weather with snow was forecast we moved the house and run into the stable for shelter.  All was ok for a couple of days and the little birdies seemed fine. But one afternoon we discovered a gruesome sight.  One of the quail had been pulled out of the run and was dead at the side of it - headless.  There was another quail, still inside the run who had lost all her feathers on the top of her head and we thought she had lost an eye - fortunately she hadn't, it was just very bloody.  Clearly she had battled to survive whatever creature had invaded - we are thinking a mink or stoat.  Immediately we bought all of the birds inside, separating the injured one who was in need of more love and care. We really did think that we would lose her, the shock alone would have been enough I'm sure.  We thought if she could make it through the night she might stand a chance.   We popped her into an enclosed box with cosy bedding, food and water and checked on her regularly.  She was holding her neck out at a strange angle at that point, although she did have the ability to hold it upright too.  I think part of the issue was her lack of vision in her one eye and she was trying to hold her head in such a way to enhance her sight.  Poor girl.

We kept all of the quails inside until the cold spell and threat of deep snow passed, then we popped the healthy four back outside, near the kitchen window again so I can watch them as I wash the pots.

They seem very happy and content once more, and look what we found this evening...

Our very first egg!!!  We are thrilled.

As for our poor traumatised girlie?  I'm happy to report she is much much better now.   Her feathers on her head and neck are just beginning to return and she is holding her head in the normal way again.  She is eating fine and enjoying being pampered with boiled eggs and treats.    Her eye is well on its way to healing fully too.  We have definitely learnt a lesson and are now far more away of any gaps under the housing.  Being locked in the stable within their runs I thought they would be safe from predators - there is no way a fox would be able to get inside.  I hadn't reckoned on the local mink or stoat population - stupid me.

Anyway, what else has been happening?  Callum has been eager to continue on his reading journey and has been picking up every book he can get his hands on to try to read it.  Currently he is looking through a chicken keepers book and picking out the words he knows.  Chelsea is putting together a project about Edgar Allen Poe, and after a visit to the library a few days ago, she has been reading about the Georgians, and Marie Curie.  Tiegan is sat here reading a book called Raising Dairy Goats.  We took delivery of a new cake mixer this morning and the girls and I have been doing a few test-runs :)  We were supposed to be having the oven repair man coming over to work his magic on our struggling oven and although he did arrive and have a mess with it, he failed to fix the problem and really doesn't have a clue what is causing the cut-out issue.  We are going to have to bite the bullet and buy a second hand replacement.

Joseph has been busy helping me work outside.  We are hoping to start building up our animal collection - starting with chickens and goats - very soon and have been busy clearing what needs clearing and tidying what needs tidying.  Still a long way to go though so please join us in the prayer for dry weather!  We need to find a dry space for keeping of hay and feed stuffs so are trying to have a rearrange and sort out.  We will get there as long as we get a few dry days.

The seeds that Callum and Tiegan planted not long ago are starting to sprout!  I was quite surprised if I'm honest because although indoors, our kitchen is rather chilly and I thought it would have been too cold.  It appears not though and little shoots have started to pop up through the soil.  Happy children.

I'm awaiting the arrival of new membership cards for the Classroom Free site.  The front will look like this (details excluded);

Whilst the rear will look like this...

At least that what they look like on screen. I'm hoping they are a pretty true representation of what they look like in real.

I've been spending my evenings creating files for the members section...

I'm very much enjoying making them and my children are learning so much as I do so and talk about the research behind each one.  Just in February thus far we have talked about Robinson Crusoe and the inspiration behind the story, Groundhog Day, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Rosa Parks.  These led to discussions about traditions and 'old wives tales', Florence Nightingale, Martin Luther King Jr, and the Ku Klux Klan.  It's certainly been varied and interesting. 

As I now have a singing and piano planning Taisia and Callum belting out a racket, erm, I mean a tune, I think that's my cue for leaving the room and go to clean up the kitchen!


  1. hi julia, glad to hear the quails are o.k. Our negihbour lost most of her chickens to a mink last year, the year before it was a fox. :(
    Is chelsea at college now?

  2. I know how distressing it is to have your birds attacked. I nursed one through an attack, but to prevent infection (ferrets/stoats/minks mouths are full of infection) you should get a squeezy bottle of disinfectant and water it down well, then spray affected area often - hmm, maybe not an eye though. Ultimately the one who was attacked ended up being attacked again, with no happy ending, and our next set of chickens got eaten. Once a predator knows they're there, unless you have an extremely safe run, its incredibly difficult. Foxes you can keep out, but slim, fast animals are the real killers, and books never stress this enough. Good luck in the future, right now we're having a break from them, and during the snow I did say, several times, that I was so glad we didn't have them - something I thought I'd never say, but they are sometimes, a lot of work & worry.