I mentioned here that I would be helping with hay making last Friday. It didn’t turn out to be quite as interesting as I had pictured, mainly due to the fact that I didn’t get to be involved in the actual baling of the hay – instead my mother-in-law asked me to help prepare the barn for receiving all the new hay.
There was lots and lots of shifting the older bales to make space for the new bales. This involved lots of getting covered in dust and bits of hay – yuk!! And discovering some huuuuge spiders too – I don’t hate spiders or anything, but I do prefer not to get too close to them, so I found it pretty unpleasant! There were also lots of pellets around on the ground of the barn from the resident Barn Owl, which was a bit yukky but also very interesting. These all had to be cleaned out of course, while trying not to disturb the preferred perching site of the Barn Owl. We left in situ the bales that the Barn Owl uses, up on the top floor mezzanine/shelfy bit, and as this is a working barn that is visited pretty much every day anyway then hopefully not too much disruption will have been caused.
While moving all of the bales around we found several families of mice – no wonder the barn is popular with the owl! One family had tiny hairless pink wiggly babies, so we quickly put the adjacent bale back next to this and left it alone to preserve the mouse nest. Another bale downstairs had been moved a couple of days earlier when we were fetching hay, and had contained a nest of older mice. These had grown hair, but still had eyes closed. I had carefully protected the nest while we moved the bale a short distance out of the way, and had put it safely protecting the nest. We had assumed that these babies wouldn’t make it having been disturbed and moved, but now a couple of days later after moving this bale again, I found that the babies had dropped out of the bale but were still there – they were a little larger than before so obviously they were still being cared for. I therefore made a new safe place for them near their previous home, but in an area of barn that was not due to be disturbed any time soon. I gathered up the babies and moved them here, so hopefully they will be ok (until the Barn Owl catches them at least… The circle of life…) I had my camera with me this time after regretting not having it before, so here is a shot of the mouse babies – I had thought they would be scared, but it turned out that they weren’t at all bothered, and two of them just nestled into my gloves and went to sleep!
|Their eyes were just starting to open, which was pretty cool to see for the first time! So although they all look asleep, the one on its own was actually exploring a bit, while the other two are snuggled up asleep :)|
Then it was just back to the other field to load up the trailer with hay bales, then back to the barn to load the bales into it, racing against time to beat the imminent rain… let’s hope the sheep and donkeys appreciate the effort!
|Look how gloomy it was - the rain was not far off... (that bit in the top left corner is my mother-in-laws finger - oops!)|
|Farmer Debbie - haha ;)|
Now on to a crochet update… I was feeling a bit negative about my mum’s Walled Garden Blanket (experimenting with a name, not sure what I think of it yet as it only just came to me as I was typing!!) last time I wrote about it, but I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough with it, which is rather nice :)
As I expected, I wasn’t able to finish the 5th panel that evening. I felt like it was going to take forever to make real progress on this blanket, which required 4x6 panels, so 24 altogether. It seemed like the end would never come in time! But of course eventually the panel was finished, so only 19 left to go:
With 5 complete panels, I decided to lay them out on a single bed and see how they looked. So imagine my absolute delight when I discovered that 3 panels covered the width of the bed, and 5 panels covered the length!! This meant that the finished blanket only needed 15 panels, plus a good wide border, and it would be the right size!!!!! Amazing, I was now a third of the way through, and had gone from an unachievable 19 panels outstanding, to a totally manageable 10 still to go. I got such a buzz out of discovering this that I was much more positive in my work. I hooked up the centre flowers for the next few panels (I like to do these in batches as they are fiddly, so it gets them out of the way…):
And last night I finished the 6th panel:
|You can see my father-in-law has also been busy - the lawn has been mown since the picture of just 5 ;)|
So I’m currently working away on panel number 7, and if I can keep up the good work then I reckon all 15 panels can be finished and joined by the time I next visit my mum. Then she can take a good look at it and figure out what sort of border and edging she fancies. And I am really confident that it will be totally finished before I leave the country, as long as this pesky emigration preparation doesn’t get in the way too much ;) Yay!!