Tuesday, 29 November 2022

The Old Vic update - Lazlo

Seems like we have finally found a solution for the Cockerel, Lazlo . After he almost pecked our prize hen to death we had to isolate him and was then deciding whether to turn him into a Sunday roast or keep him as he is such a good looking bird and we might want to breed from him later. Housing the hens has been expensive to make sure we have a predator proof large compound but hopefully in time they will pay for themselves with eggs and compost (and provide insurance against money becoming worthless or supply line disruptions - and in our first year indeed there are now currently egg shortages). So we needed to come up with a cheap solution for the Cockerel (a potential financial liability) so he has been in the old dog kennel for a few weeks imprinting on his new home before we were going to try and free range him (saves money on feed etc). However what with bird flu restrictions (mad that in order to control bird flu, poultry farmers have to contain birds inside in more crowded and inhumane conditions which is why bird flu evolved in the first place) we couldn't let him range round the whole garden and potential village so with a bit of cheap fencing we've got a cheap fix (£14! instead of over £200 for electric fencing or £300 for complete predator proof enclosure) . He escaped within the first morning (we think because one of our drunk family members fell onto the fence) but Isabelle (the pub chef who lives in the coach house) caught him effortlessly (she was raised on a Portuguese farm) and we put him back into his new run. He had made his way over to the hens so if he does escape again it should be easy to find him.  

Bryan has been out shooting pheasants in the local shoot (Mark Avery won't be happy) so we've been getting free game meat lately so I've been trying some new recipes. Still getting through the pumpkins too (got about 10 of them still) so what with eggs, pumpkins and pheasants there is still plenty of home produce to live off even in the winter. We do supplement our self sufficiency with Burger King and Starbucks and local farm shops and markets just to prove our anti-Capitalism is only a protest against the share and indices and reward systems of the global market. The stocks and shares I bought recently were in Sustainable Forestry, Renewable Energy, Water Companies and also Whizzair (that fly me to Bulgaria) so again the system change we would like to advocate is evolution and transition and smart engagement (but genuine transition and not global establishment bullshit and leftist propaganda) and the avoidance of extremism and simple narratives (there is nothing simple about the complex system we all have to survive in)- I suspect real system change can only come from grassroots projects that create that new system themselves and then grow and connect together. 

Still a few moths, good numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares around the garden and the Sheep Field. Making good progress on the digitisation of old notebooks etc, Holly is making good progress with the indoor refurbishments, Jacob is Joseph in his school's nativity play and Isaac has got two new teeth- so all going well. 

Lazlo- the murderous cockerel 
£14 solution
I noticed in Vegan/vegetarian propaganda that there is often the case made that animals are fed food that could be fed to humans which makes the whole meat and diary industry inefficient. However that's not our experience with these chickens. We mainly feed them off garden weeds or mini-farm surplus. They love to eat the chick weed, goosefoots and other weeds that we have to remove from the raised beds, they eat willow leaves from the tree pruning that we have to do or storm damage branches, we throw them worms when digging the beds and they also eat kitchen waste (non-salted or cooked). Indeed we do supplement that with laying pellets but not much (and presumably the laying pellets are also made with industry waste that is not fit for human consumption?).  Indeed some meat and diary practises especially heavily industrialised practises are unsustainable but that's not always the case.  
Still getting the odd migrant- a smart Silver-Y
Scarce Umber (above) and Mottled Umber (below) 

Thanks very much to Peter Hall, this moth has been confirmed (following dissection) as Grey Birch Button, Acleris logiana. My first dissection result, which is exciting. I don't generally like lethal identification methods and really for a certain area once a species pair or group probability has been ascertained then I'm quite happy going with the most probable species for ongoing monitoring purposes (and review the process periodically to check for status changes). However logiana/kochiella were equally likely - so once I've recorded both of them (as a result of dissection) it seems to make sense to use extrapolative means to record them afterwards.   
Incredible photo of female genitalia (Peter Hall)
Did a bit more tidying up in the mini-farm but still keeping the vegetation between the beds for the chickens
Pumpkin curried soup (above) and Pheasant and Pumpkin stew (below)- so delicious. If we ever get our own farm/ reserve some of these recipes will go into the cafe. The dream is to have a field to fork cafe that only serves recipes from the wild/ farm. Slowly getting our menu together. 

Digitising notebooks has been interesting- here is an extract from my birding notes from 1987- amazing how good Beddington used to be for waders. This extract was from July 1987 during a period of Northeast winds. Getting all this data onto Ebird is a good idea as presumably in the future these big data systems will govern global systems and will be used to for example to build global recovery networks for waders. 
Went to Cotswold Wildlife Park at the weekend. After dipping the Six banded Armadillo in the past on numerous occasions, it was good to get a photo of Jacob with it

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