Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Long Rains

Hope you are all well, can't remember where I left you all but here goes.......

Well we had two or three days of decent rain when everyone got very excited and busy preparing to plant...... since then no rain..... how frustrating is that.... I am hoping that there is more to follow and I didn't blink and miss it all. My tomato seeds from Nathalie when I was home have now produced 4" plants, along with marigolds, geraniums and poppies. I hope everything else we plant does as well, mind you Henry is very good and feeds plants and treats bugs quickly.

Catherine and I have been joined by Edwina who is 22 year old girl from Devon who is working and volunteering her 6 months break from studies. She is staying at mine and now volunteering at SCANN providing tuition in bead making (sorts we don't already know) exercise and dance and poi (something for you to look up on the internet... www.homeofpoi.com as I can't explain it) we are busy at the mo making them for the boys to practise with. They are really enjoying it and have been using weighted socks! Ones from the market not theirs as they don't have many and they would be a bit smelly!!!

On the chicken front, the two half size chicks that we had some time ago were doing very well and ready to introduce to the large chicken house but before we did that we needed to put some small chicken wire over the large square wire that we had used to prevent the dogs getting to the pen. Unfortunately before we got a chance to do this one of the chicks decided to go on safari and flew over the top of the small enclosure we made them within the chicken house. It then made its way 'downstairs' and managed to get through the large wire enclosure............ needless to say Kim and Fatso were very quick off the mark and decided to have a tug of war, ripping its breast feathers and a lot of skin with it. Henry leapt to the rescue and we managed to treat with antiseptic and put it back in the chicks pen. It was still alive in the morning but died later that day.

Henry made himself busy securing the pen with the smaller wire and let the remaining chick join the brood. We are due to have hatch-lings any day now, as broody hen is sitting on 8 eggs, hopefully they won't all hatch!! We are having a few eggs from the previous layer and they are very very tasty..... I don't want to have any more chicks as they are a handful all the feeding and attending to...... unfortunately they can't be totally free range or the dogs will eat them!!!

Edwina's father is a bit like Ray Mears - he does 'bush training' for city folks and kids as fun and also as preparation for safaris. He has a 'camp' in Devon where he takes people for courses etc, sounds like fun if you want to look check out www.escoteducation.blogspot.com . As you know I have not replaced my cooker so Edwina suggested we construct a 'bush oven' seemed like a plan. We walked with Henry for ages round the 'matumba' second hand and junk stalls and found some selling food oil drums a very suitable item when you can't get a metal dustbin with fitting lid (we found these items were not available in Nakuru!) We sent Henry to negotiate and were still struggling to get a decent price........ one item that was ideal was a half drum with a lid and a securing rim too. We talked they guy down for ages but he wouldn't budge.

We decided to go and see the 'tin men' near SCANN but they were even more expensive. On the way home Edwina and I passed the same stall selling the half drum and we managed to buy the drum for 1,000ks instead of the 2,500ks (obviously over priced) that the other guy was selling it for. We left there pretty quick in case he returned and then had to negotiate with the matatu driver to get it on the matatu, he wanted to charge 250Ks (I explained it would only take up the space of one person on a seat ie 25ks!!) After a lot of making a fuss he let us on for 50ks and no more was said.

Henry was amazed that we had managed to get the drum and the next day he set to work ensuring a good seal of the 'lid and securing rim'. I scrubbed the drum which had only had cooking grade oil in it but it would be smelly and bad when we first used it so gave it a good clean. Now the plan without drawing a pic is the drum is mounted about 2ft off the ground on blocks so that a fire can be lit underneath, the drum is lying on its side (imagine a washing machine). All we need to do now is to get Mama Sweetie to come over with her pickup and a load of her red /clay soil so that we can cover the drum with a good layer so that it insulates the drum as it is cooking. A chimney is inserted at the back of the drum to remove any of the smoke emerging from the fire underneath. A wire rack is put inside the drum to hold whatever you wish to cook, cake tins, baking trays for meat etc etc..... can't wait. So if you come and visit I may just be able to bake you a cake or crumble!!! Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

That is our current project not quite completed as Mama Sweetie called today to say she was up to her ears in trying to plant her fields and alone it is not a small job believe me. May have to visit her for a couple of days to lend a hand.............

The dogs are fine and the cat is its usual lazy self, although it did bring in a couple of birds and a small mouse the other day........ feeling a bit left out no doubt. Anyway I am going to leave you know in the knowledge that we are plodding along as we do, water situation at the house is good, hot showers as and when ..... within reason. The boys are on Easter Holiday now which means a lot of work for me, I am still wading through their clothes inventory which I hope will soon be finished and then I will be on to head shaving........lucky me. I am hoping to talk one of my friends here to invest in another singer sewing machine so I can continue with running repairs as the pile is now getting beyond a joke!

Love to you all and HAPPY EASTER..... enjoy all that chocolate ummmmmmmm


A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MACKENZIE FOR TOMORROW. Love you lots, grandma. Hope your card has arrived.....

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