It’s Groundhog Day at Cockatrice Farm, packed with activity like yesterday and tomorrow.
Yesterday I worked all day, drove home with Allison, and checked in with the wwoofers.
No major farm incidents that day, thank goodness.
So I started doing some of the signwriting on the valance for the new tent: we were about a third through at that point.
The armouring crew were getting busy, and Mitch (a welding apprentice) was using my MIG welder to make some faceplates. Some technical discussion ensued, and the boys got to work. My welder really needs a hired bottle of CO2, which we’ll organise for next week, but Mitch was able to get good results using gasless flux wire. Mitch is a good fellow and calls “EYES!” before the welder lights up, to make sure we look away and avoid flash burn. This gives the workshop an other-worldly ambience.
Suddenly interrupted by Allison, who appears with three ducks that need to be killed and plucked. I gently suggest that she might be better to have all the processing equipment in place first, which earns me a killer glare — she’s having a frantic day too. I quickly offer to supervise the process, and our volunteers Craig and Justin chop the ducks and string them up.
Meanwhile, I set up the plucking area between the houses, and then we get to work on the ducks, with Allison back to help. The hot water is really hot, which helps a lot with the subsequent plucking. What I forgot to do is bring some pliers, which are useful for the smaller pin feathers.
Allison, Craig and Justin then gut the ducks and put them in the freezer for Rowany Festival. I take the opportunity to read through my emails (only 60 today, thank goodness!) and answer the really urgent ones. I’m Chancellor of the Exchequer for the SCA at present, and there are a couple of curly policy questions.
As our visitors have been so helpful, we invite them to stay for dinner. That means stretching the sausages out a bit. Allison makes a rich onion gravy to go with them, and mashed potatoes and peas. I make spicy zucchini and carrot patties (which turn out really delicious). Also some fennel with orange juice and pistachios — actually Allison intended this to be a salad, but I didn’t get that message and sautéed it all in the wwoofer kitchen — very tasty anyway.
Dinner is convivial, with our home-made cider. We get to tell some No-Shit-There-I-Was stories from the SCA, and Allison pulls out her laptop to show off some battles from Pennsic, the big SCA war in America. (Whichever kingdom loses the Pennsic war has to keep the SCA group in Pittsburgh for the year.)
I head back to the workshop, and complete three more words and two horizontal stripes on the valance. That means that it can dry overnight and Tig can move the whole sequence along in the morning. We’re 48% complete now.
More quick emails, then off to bed. We wake up, and it’s Groundhog Day and A&S tonight…