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Monday 1 August 2011

The previous week has been pretty grim with all of us down with varying degrees of the flu. Luke was off from Monday to Thursday & only went back on Friday because I felt so rotten I didn’t think I could cope with him at home! Plus we were both going somewhat stir-crazy being under each other’s feet all the time. Bronte’s been the least poorly of all of us, doggedly carrying on at work. I’ve lain in bed at nights imagining ponderous macrophages and fighter-jet killer-T cells battling against the evil virus in lungs and throat! I’m not sure it has hastened my recovery in any way – likewise the jars of garlic, zinc and vitamin C tablets I’ve swallowed.

Needless to say not a lot was achieved on the farm front. I did make sausages on Monday with Luke’s help. We had quite a lot of fun blowing up the intestine skins to resemble those long balloons people fold into animal shapes! Luke made water-bombs from them too. Actually stuffing the skins with sausage mixture was a trial & one I’m not in a hurry to repeat – at least not without the proper equipment. We ran all the sausagemeat back through the hand mixer together with all the spices & various ingredients we were adding, so we had a fine-grained mix. The sausages themselves were yum – but like no other sausage I’ve ever tasted! Luke loyally announced that “they were heaps better than the ones from the butcher’s Mum”. What an angel. Bronte was less enthusiastic. I think I’d added too much ‘quatre-epices’ (composed of cloves, black pepper, nutmeg & cinnamon) – according to Jane Grigson’s book, an essential component of ‘saucisson’. However, I was pretty satisfied with my first efforts & reckon that like our ham & bacon, the sausage recipes will improve with time.

I’ve started the next round of goat hoof clipping and plan to finish that this week. The wet ground means their hooves don’t get naturally worn, but instead grow into odd shapes which eventually cause discomfort & can get infected. Being in intimate contact with the goats, I’ve realised with a jolt, just how close they are to dropping their kids. Some of the does are very large with swollen udders, causing them to move around slowly & cautiously. According to the diary, the first babies will be due mid-August, but it's never as precise as that. Worryingly, it looks as though Star, who was put with the poison-dwarf Charlie (since sold) appears not to be pregnant. I now feel a fraud, since the people who bought him were expecting him to perform. It’s his final act of vengeance against me, having previously got at some of my best young does before they were properly grown.

The weather has turned very benign, almost spring-like. The days are milder with plenty of sun and the last of the overnight frosts was a week ago.