Mission: Ducks and Chickens

This weekend was Stage Two of the move to Devon. First stage was the other half moving himself and Woody the dog there, in order to start his new job. That part of the move was basic, no furniture, no curtains, no kitchen appliances. 
Stage Two was getting the ducks and chickens down and perhaps getting some curtains and soft furnishings. The ducks and chickens’ move was slightly hampered by the announcement of bird flu in Europe the week before. This meant that Defra had put restrictions on all poultry and captive birds, including any free ranging activity. This just meant that at no point during their move were they allowed out of their enclosure whilst we were dismantling it, which just made things a little more tricky! 

It took us a lot longer than we anticipated to dismantle and attach the enclosure to the roof of the van, but 4hrs later the enclosure was strapped down and their house, duck baths, food/waterers and the kitchen sink (well almost!) were packed in the van. We then had to get each of the birds into their transportation boxes, which in my wisdom turned out to be empty McDonald’s chip boxes. Slightly inappropriate but needs must! The birds travelled with me in the back of the car and just to make it a little more exciting, we also picked up a new member of the flock on route to Devon; Rocky the cockerel. 

The journey was thankfully uneventful but when we got down there it was dark, so not really appropriate lighting to put the enclosure together. As the birds would naturally be locked away overnight anyway, we decided to leave them in the back of the car, safe from any inquisitive foxes! The next morning we were up early and began putting the enclosure and everything else back together for the birds’ big release! It was totally worth it to see how happy they seemed in their new environment and Rocky seems to fit right in.

Out here though, the likelihood of foxes, badgers and other potential predators killing our birds has increased massively. We’re going to have to take extra precautions with their enclosure and may even invest in an electric fence around it. We’ll do our best to keep them safe but it’s likely that at some point ‘nature’ might take a few, which I’m somewhat prepared for. Saying that though, the cockerel is not doing himself any favours by very proudly announcing his arrival within 10 minutes of his release! Luckily our bedroom window sits above the enclosure and we’re considering constructing some sort of slide so if there is a fox, we can just send down the dogs to sort it out!

Back inside the cottage it’s beginning to take shape. Although we still don’t have any sofas, a couple of garden chairs and a second hand arm chair Chris picked up from a charity shop, are sufficient seating for now. Keeping the cottage warm has been a big task and we’re slowly get there. We have a wood burner in the lounge which I think is slowly heating the internal bricks of the house. This needs to be a constant thing in order to maintain heat, but whilst the other half is at work all day, they start to cool, so it’s an ongoing battle. As backup we have Economy7 storage heaters in every room, but these are ridiculously expensive to run (especially when you’re on an electricity meter) so we only use them when we need to, mainly in the bedroom and bathroom. 

At the moment the hot water only works if we switch the immersion on, but there are two switches by the boiler. One for the main boiler & one for the immersion. I didn’t realise but one of the switches was a bit faulty, and with neither of them being labelled, when I went to switch the immersion off; A) I chose the wrong switch and B) when I pressed it, it emitted blue sparks and proceeded to fill the house with a terrible melted plastic smell….whoops! The other half was straight on the case though and his quick thinking prevented what could’ve been a very unfortunate electrical fire! He switched off the mains current to the boiler and when he unscrewed the switch, sure enough the plug and wires were melted. That’ll need replacing then! Don’t think I’m going to be in charge of the switches anytime soon….

After all that excitement, we decided it was time to treat ourselves to some curtains for the place. One of the reasons it’s hard to keep the place warm is that it doesn’t have double glazing and we don’t have any curtains keeping the heat in. After much deliberation at Trago Mills, two hours and six pairs of curtains later, we were driving back home. Much to our surprise we happened upon a very festive Santa Claus and his Chief Elf on the back of a trike! Brilliant!

After a long day we realised that although the dogs had been running around our ample garden all morning, they hadn’t had a proper walk. So when we got back we headed straight out whilst we still had some light, and I’m so glad we waited till then! The sunset was absolutely stunning to watch and even though I captured a few photos on my phone, they didn’t do it justice. We climbed to the very top of the hill near to the other half’s work and you can see for miles, the green rolling hills of the Devonshire countryside. Reminding us once again how very fortunate we are.

We treated ourselves to a few glasses of mulled wine after the walk and made some more plans for pigs in the New Year. This is very exciting for me as I’ve always wanted pigs and it’s getting us one step closer to being self sufficient. 

Today is another interview for me, so combined with Rocky’s 5am wake up call and lots of stuff whirring round my head, I’m up pretty early and writing this. Spending time here in the cottage just makes me want to move down here even more. It’s hard being apart but it’s certainly making me more determined and hopefully in the next few months, it’ll become a reality for me too. And the dogs bloody love it.