Just in case we don’t notice that it’s raining, my African Grey Summertime lets us know. She chats away most of the day, although will go deathly quiet if there are strangers close by. Like a lot of Greys she is a ‘closet talker’. I am sure that people just nod and smile when I occasionally boast about my talking parrot, thinking to themselves that I have far too vivid an imagination…
Summer calls my name if she wants my attention – just like you would. She asks for the food she fancies at the time, if desperate will occasionally put “please” into the request! Occasionally I also get a “thank you”.
She tells the dogs off and knows who is who. If Beach barks too long she will tell him in a very stern voice that she will put his vibrating collar on! She sends Spring the Jack Russell out of the room, when she knows it’s her turn to sit on my lap.
It fascinates me that she also knows who’s who on the farm. If the donkey brays she say’s “ok Jamie” she also knows Mento and will call him by his nickname ‘Mennie’ just as often.
This morning both Mento and Shuffle were being worked, in two different areas within her view of the world. She referred to both by name, several times during this time. She has said nothing about them since they have been released to wander up the hill again.
Blue the Macaw, has a greatly scaled down vocabulary of about 4 words, but that doesn’t seem to matter, as he gets his feelings across fairly successfully. When you hear two birds speaking to each other in plain English – well there are no human words to describe that!
Guests continue to come and and go from the ‘Funny Farm’, especially lately. We had to sadly say goodbye to the 5 ‘Hillbillies’ who returned to Oil Nut Bay last month. I miss them still, badly, and so do lots of others, both children and adults that spent time with them.
Tortoises every now and again wander over a gap in the wall and head off for a sabbatical. They invariably come back, so I have learnt not to panic and of course as long as they avoid large trucks and similar sized dogs, they stay pretty safe. The latest MIA member of the gang made his way to Horse Path over the past couple of months. Not a bad effort for someone who’s cruising speed is soooo slow!
We have been honoured to look after two Necker Island residents over the past few weeks – Marley the Umbrella Cockatoo has been hanging out (!) while he is treated by Canines Cats and Critters and this weekend we are also playing host to a gorgeous Toco Toucan. She is a little under the weather, but a wonderful guest never the less. Both birds will be returning to their own island in the next few days.
I wonder who we will welcome to the Funny Farm next…
Our herd dynamics are difficult enough to keep up with nowadays, with 14 horses and ponies mixing together, the soppy, gullible, geldings falling in and out of love with various mares depending on the hormones of the day.
I so am glad horses don’t do ‘Valentines’, as I suspect there would be one almighty punch up!!
Some pics below of this weeks activities. Its been a long week. Lots of annoying little extra breakdowns, ‘meds’ to issue, blood tests to do, low appetites to pander to and just high maintenance team members. Must be the change in the season…
But some fun too as always…
Winston and Owen practicing their skills.
Sometimes mechanical transport is best for the girlies.
Spencer has been spending rather extended periods
meditating at the top of the hill.
Not sure why, but then I have never been sure of
anything with that cat!
The pic below is of junior riders out on their own on the trail – that’s a big thing you know! Real Texan’s from Texas rode out on the Hillbillies this weekend – thoroughly enjoying themselves. I wish we didn’t have to forgo our stetsons for riding helmets, they are sooo not cool!!
Monday February 1st 2016, brings the opportunity to get involved after school and on Saturdays as we recharge our groups and offer more sessions to children from 4 years old.
If you would like your child to take part in our horse riding lessons either for the first time, or to continue on, I encourage you to get in touch to ensure that you have your space booked for the coming month.
Mondays 3.30 / 4.30 / 5.15pm
Tuesdays 3.30 / 4.30 / 5.15pm
Wednesdays 4.30 / 5.15pm
Saturdays 9.30/ 10.30 / 11.30 / 12.30 / 3.00
Either email or call us as Facebook messages don’t guarantee a reservation.
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 542 2070
See you soon Alison
Its been a funny week. Life has dried up though, which is soooo wonderful. The mud, no matter how much humans and horses alike tried to smile through it, was hard going and pretty testing on all of our tempers.
So we can ride again! And we have old and young riders back in the saddle, on ponies and horses that got a just a little too used to the lazy days of winter… Not mentioning any names – Chippy and Lady!
We are active again after school and gearing up for February when we will be offering sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons for junior riders.
Adults, its perfect weather during the day up here on the hill – so come up and get some trail riding in. In fact, I thought it was going to snow this afternoon it was so cold!
If you visit us nowadays, you will be treated more and more often to a view of up to 14 horses, ponies and mini horses, all on the hill – hanging out together. Its a huge deal to be able to happily put that many personalities together without issues and I am very proud of the more ‘stuck in their ways’ horses who have been here long enough to have a right to stamp their feet, in not doing so and letting the ‘Hillbillies’ graze amongst them! Its pretty cool to be able to look up and see almost every colour and size of horse you could imagine, right there in front of you… We mustn’t forget Jamie the Donkey who was seen charging around his paddock this afternoon giving a convincing impression of a overgrown rabbit!
Of course the later part of our All Creatures Great and Small menagerie, continue to feature in our day. My latest foster member is a beautiful kitten I have named ‘Chocolate” (for those that know me that’s not a big surprise!) She is a PAW graduate -so spayed and vaccinated and all the colours, of all the chocolates and caramels, you could dream of. She is ‘Tortola Siamese’ and sports just one and a half eyes, this only adds to her overall charm! Still timid, but no longer feral, I am hoping now she is over her tummy issues, she will become tame and go to a loving home. This afternoon she purred at me for the first time! So if you are looking for a special, young cat watch this space…
A selection of images to sum up the ever changing weather at Diamond Estate Farm this week…
We are currently taking bookings for JUNIOR FARM DAYS during the coming Christmas holiday.
This is an opportunity for children to spend all day (or a morning if very young) learning, playing and developing skills amongst our Team of horses and ponies.
December 21st / 22nd / 23rd and 29th / 30th
9.00am – 3.00pm each day. $55.00 per person per day.
“Pick me, Pick me.”
“No seriously, Pick me I am really fast..!”
“Come on guys, this is not funny, I wanna PLAY NOW!”
Oh wow, I was just checking my facts (that I was already sure of) on Wikipedia and I learnt something new – the word ‘sniper’ comes from the bird! That is so apt.
So maybe I should go back several steps…
As you can see from the title of this piece we are now designated as, and I quote: “wet marshy settings including bogs and swamps, wet meadows, along rivers and ponds”. Because no longer is our Snipe; a small wading bird that I used to see frequently on marshes and broads where I was brought up (and left!) on the east coast of England, a very rare, once a year, if we are very lucky, visitor at Diamond Estate Farm – it’s moved in!
So we’ve not got a Hippopotamus yet, but we have wetland wading birds! Seriously, the Snipe is so shy I see him at least twice a day but no way can I get a pic, he is however, loving the muck heap (which is getting higher fast by the way gardeners).
Our Snipe has it made, ‘wetlands’ due to sooooo much mud EVERYWHERE and a muck heap brimming over with bugs, worms, beetles and other tasty creepy crawlies.
Here’s some other pics from this week’s muddy activities…
Nothing quite like it for making life really hard on a farm based on the side of a steep hill. But anyway, funnies and ironies from the past couple of weeks…
‘Penguin’ seen here learning about farms, was dumped on our doorstep last weekend just before a major thunderstorm. We are hoping she will go to her new home at the weekend, as keeping a very small puppy from under many large hooves is not easy!
Shuffle and Joey trying to break into the bin full of hay at the top of the hill.
An excellent ‘Follow my Leader’
On Friday I realized that I began my ‘Funny Farm’ feeding routine with the stars still bright in the sky and then replicated the performance that evening with a glittering solar system scattered above me.
This is due to three things:
Firstly to fit my day into the 24 hours provided by my clock, I had to begin at 5.00am.
Secondly it was a busy, daylight filled Friday and so by the time evening hunger was making the Funny Farm family even more pleased to see me, it was dark once again.
Thirdly I looked up! The much wished for rain has been dumping thousands of gallons at a time on us over the past week, which has meant cloudy skies hiding those stars; Friday was a welcome break in the overcast heavens.
Since then Halloween has come and gone, but thunderstorms are still persisting. Fortunately horses (or at least our horses), are not fazed by the thunder, or the stark, horror movie scene that lightning creates on the hill for a fraction of a second at a time. I looked for ghosts in the barn, on the hill, I felt there should be some – both human and indeed equine, but was treated to nothing more than ‘Spook’ our neighborhood owl, as I made him jump (well take off) when the dogs and I went out for our last pee. That sounds like I had a pee in the bush too… I didn’t. So anyway, at least I saw an owl on Halloween.
Mud is an unusual issue in the Caribbean you would think. I guess for some visitors who get the rare opportunity to dust off their Wellie boots, it makes it feel like a ‘real’ farm. For me, the horses and ponies it makes it messy, treacherous and disappointing. We have lots of water for a change, so it’s tempting to spend hours bathing the team. We do this, but it’s a very unsatisfying task. Have you seen a 1500lb, light grey horse, roll completely upside down in brown, gooey mud? Did you know the rolling reflex is brought on by being bathed? We also have a totally white horse. What can I say…
Treacherous, because the property develops a skating rink type feel. Horses are not known for their skiing ability, but ours do seem to feel that they should work on it. Watching a thoroughbred mare prance down the side of what is in fact a mountain, in the rain is I am sure, close to being witness to a total novice downhill skier hitting the black run on day 2. I really do close my eyes and cross my fingers a fair bit on days like this.
Disappointing as we are unable to teach in such slippery conditions. Comparing the sport to sailing is a common habit of mine, but this is tougher when it comes to weather. When the storm passes – sailors go back on the water. If we want to horse ride, we have to hope for full-on sunlight for 24 hours to allow us a solid, safe surface.
But we keep the routine going, come rain, stars but mostly real Caribbean sunshine – it matters not whether the team has worked or rested, they need to be cared for -all day -everyday.
At least the ducks are happy, Quack, Quack…
Some images of activities and our Countryside Adventures family last week.
Problems with wheelbarrows, through to how to ride a horse when its too wet and slippery to go outside!
Although some believe sleeping is a much better option!
Check out updated pics and bios for the newest members of the team and some old ones too.