It has been a couple of weeks since I last blogged but we have been very busy with the drying out and also took the chance to go to the West Coast to see how Jouster had fared after all the rain we had . On the Friday when we arrived the weather was lovely and we took a leisurely sail down the Loch to a spot just short of Crinan where we had a picnic at anchor while gazing at the Paps of Jura in the bright sunshine. On our way back to the marina we were passed by a lovely old Clyde Puffer belching black smoke everywhere. Jouster was fine but the weather was not kind after that and we spent only two days at Ardfern, the heavens opened once again on Saturday, combined with Force Eight winds and we ran away bravely back to Fife on Sunday morning in time to see the Grand Prix on TV.
The byre sitting room is drying out gradually but it is still like living with the worlds largest and noisiest air conditioner in your sitting room. The only plus side I can see from being flooded is that our lovely neighbours have brought chocolates, flowers and wine to dull the impact of the chaos!
Herb has made a start to the wood shed in the cattle court, it is going to be a truly magnificent structure complete with a reclaimed pantiled roof.
The doves have started being much more adventurous and a great deal more amorous too. They are spending longer and longer on the doocote which is nice and also a fair bit of time on the ground, bathing in the shallow pan of water I placed for them. Young Potter the baby hare joins them most days foraging under the cote. The doves are flying in ever widening circles and the other day performed some great aerobatics for Diane and Paula up the track.
The chickens now have another new house, named the Little Hilton. It has an integral covered run so will be brilliant for the worst of the winter weather and will keep the girls dry if I shut them in. Sadly today it is being used as the Hospice Hut for Daisy. When we got back on Sunday we noticed Daisy was looking very poorly indeed, she was very hunched, her legs were splayed well apart and she just sat with her head hanging low. Her behind looked all dirty too so yesterday I bathed her rear end in Tea Tree shampoo and saw that she has a huge saggy and very swollen underbelly. Through the skin it is a very strange colour and looks like she has a lump the size of a melon in there. After looking at the Omelet Forum I think she has Peritonitis. She has not laid an egg for months as far as I am aware and I think that the Peritonitis may have been around for a while. When she had the dreadful louse infestation it was suggested that to get so bad she maybe had an underlying problem as well. Peritonitis occurs where the yolk fluid remains in the abdomen and slowly starts accumulating. Peritonitis can be caused by a number of things, most often by yolks missing the "funnel" and falling directly from her ovary into her abdomen. Other types of infections and sometimes cancer can also cause peritonitis. Whatever is the cause she is an extremely poorly hen . Last night I put her into the nest box in the Little Hilton and this morning she has not moved at all, her wattles have turned a horrible shade of bluey gray and I think the kindest thing we can do is let her go gently. When I stroked her head this morning her eyes closed and she never moved. She was a great chicken, we have had her nearly three years now and she was a lovely character, always in the thick of things and being the boss.
Sad times then for the chicken family.