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It’s been a while since I’ve updated you all on the latest news from the farm, so here are a few snippets to bring you up to date. Tonka the tortoise is officially out of hibernation.  He survived!  This was a huge relief.  Had he not made it the consequence undoubtedly would have been the first divorce case this country has ever seen where a deceased tortoise was cited as grounds by both parties.

As it turned out – on a warm day a couple of weeks back we heard Tonka rustling around in his box so we consulted our huge tome of info to recap on how to bring a tortoise out of hibernation safely.  Bringing them out of hibernation is almost as detailed as putting them into hibernation.  Please note – it is not a case of giving the box a shake and putting on some loud music!

Instead it involved putting Tonka’s box in a warm place for a couple of hours in order to allow him to readjust gradually.  Then we had to make sure he drank some water within the first couple of hours of being awake so that his kidneys would start working again and flush out any toxins that had built up in his system.  Then he needed some food and finally a bath.  Christopher and I managed all of this and only had one argument which is pretty good going for us.  (The argument was about the temperature of Tonka’s bath water in case you were wondering.)  

Three months of sleep and Tonka is now firing on all cylinders, much more active than he was pre-Christmas and with a huge appetite.  The only down side is that he appears to have forgotten who Christopher is.  This is disheartening for the man who spent all of last year fussing over Tonka’s care.  By November Tonka had just about decided to tolerate Christopher but this side of hibernation he can’t seem to hide his dislike and tries to bite him on a regular basis.  Tonka loves me though.  Christopher says this is wishful thinking but he’s just jealous.  Tonka comes towards me when I talk to him and lets me feed him (he finds it difficult to see his food bowl as he only has one eye) and he never tries to bite me.  What more evidence do you need of tortoise love?

So I’m all for hibernation now.  I think I might try it myself later this year.  Sleep for three months and wake up refreshed, rejuvenated and with selective memory about the people I hang out with – possibly including Christopher.

Elsewhere on the farm we have three more sheep: another Romney, another South Down and our first Suffolk.  They belonged to our friend Rebecca who runs a fabulous livery yard in the village – she had hand reared them from sock lambs but now fully grown they were becoming too mischievous to have around the stables.  So we’ve adopted Arnold, Darcy and Myrtle and after a fortnight’s quarantine they are now getting on famously with the rest of our flock.  

Stacey and Tracey the ducks have started laying, which is great, but all the chickens are back in-lay too and there’s a limit to how many eggs one can eat in a week, so I’m hoping that once the camping season starts I’ll be able to sell them to hungry visitors.  With that in mind I asked Christopher (very nicely) if he could build me my own little shed to use as the campsite shop.   It’s almost finished and looking very splendid.  Campers will be able to buy my fruit and veg and home-made jams, preserves, bread and cakes.  Or at least that’s the plan….watch this space…..

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