All is going swimmingly down on the Sheaves farm
I thought I'd just use today's column to keep you updated on the news items chez Sheaves that I've mentioned over the past few months. Just in case you were wondering.
The 5:2 fasting diet, as mentioned by me in glowing, even cultish, terms back in June. Yes, I bought the book and did about three weeks of the programme. But I soon discovered that, when choosing two days a week in which to consume just 500 calories, those days tend always to be "tomorrow" and "the day after tomorrow" and are increasingly unlikely to be "today".
I'm now trying a "no wheat" regime, just for the heck of it. I give it a fortnight.
Our farm's rat infestation, as described despairingly in several former columns is still something of an issue, I'm sorry to say.
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Many thanks to my friend Rachel's dog Reg, who managed to bag a beauty in the barn yesterday.
Thanks, too, to Rachel for leaving said large, stiff, dead rat in the wheelbarrow for me to discover first thing this morning.
I'm sure the screaming probably helped to scare off yet more of the invading rodents.
My search for a new horse, though, has been abandoned. I had thought that my dear old horse Charlie, who died in the spring, would be easily replaceable. In fact I was sure I'd find a horse just as lovely as him, but fatter and less liable to panic if left on his own in the stable. No such creature has been forthcoming – at least not for any price I can afford.
But I have found not one but two places where I can ride very nice horses on a weekly basis. This will have to do for now. And when I feel a bit wistful witnessing large gatherings of smartly dressed law-abiding equestrians having fun together while exercising a lot of brown and white dogs, well, I'm just going to have to get over it. For now.
Bobby the pony. Finally, someone came to try him out and loved him. I was tempted to insist that they bought him on the spot but felt ethically obliged, for his sake and theirs, to let him go on a two-week trial to their home in Cornwall.
Hopefully our little cutie will gel with his new family – what's not to love?
I am really going to miss him and was even slightly toying with the idea of joining the wacky people doing horse agility (like dog agility but with ponies) but it would be madness. If only I weighed seven stone, I could ride him myself. That would have solved so many of my problems, all in one.
And what of my plans to make our Girls Weekend Away an annual event, as discussed last week? Not going especially well, as yet.
Apparently I need to organise at least one Husband and Wife Child-Free Mini Break before any more will even be considered. Sounds fair enough to me. I'm on the case.
Then there is the issue of campsites and weather conditions. After a perishing Easter, in which our campers awoke to frost on the grass and took to wearing balaclavas to bed, we have had the best summer weather here at the farm since 2006.
Which, considering we opened the campsite in 2007, is really saying something. Many thanks to the weather gods and please can we have the same thing again next year?
The general mess and clutter of our home has, unfortunately, been moaned about by me on a near-weekly basis.
Suffice to say it has been a case of one step forward, two steps back.
We continue to allow William to build a huge and dominating carpet farm across half the living room floor but I have persuaded him to pack it away once a week for hoovering.
The really good news is that the boys seem to have gone off Lego. Though when the evenings get dark I fear the Box of Doom will be opened again. Scientific fact: there is nothing so painful to step on in bare feet as a stray Lego building block.
And finally: predatory visits by Mr Foxy to our beleaguered chicken coop (aka "Chicken Colditz").
Nothing bad has happened since the hungry-cub season of springtime, when he nabbed seven chooks in as many minutes, I am happy to report.
Plus we have managed to hatch out six little chicks over the summer.
So we are flush with hens once again and all the older ones are laying well.