Prepping for Orkney

Exactly a week today, we’re off to Orkney – at least, my morther and I are. My daughter’s staying home to look after the place. Orkney’s a lovely place – I’ve visited a couple of times, have friends up there and I’m looking forward to another trip. It’ll be my mother’s first time in Orkney and it’s a place she’s long wanted to visit to see various crafts and crafters there. To add to the fun, my sister and brother-in-law will be joining us, so they’re looking forward to their first trip there too!

So, we’re now well into the final stages of prepping for the trip. The cottage we’ll be staying in was booked last month, ferry tickets were booked last week, the dogs are due into kennels on Sunday (so, of course, Wicket has decided to come into season…. she must be related to Murphy) and now it’s a case of ensuring that we have sufficient food on hand for Michelle and the various animals, that all cages are clean and ready, and that Michelle knows what she’s doing with the beasts.

Yesterday I overhauled the big rabbit-cage ready for Jezebel’s litter to go into – they’re due to wean tomorrow, so the chicken-wire on the door and one end of the cage needed replacing with weldmesh, because baby rabbits can squeeze through chicken-wire. Having replaced the wire, I then cut a slot into the door’s mesh and fixed a feed-hopper on, located a nice big water bottle and hung that on, and looked out a cardboard box for the babies to snuggle in and play on. They won’t have their mum to cuddle up to anymore so providing a draught-proof snuggle-place for them to stack themselves in is important.

Today was ferret cage building; the ferrets have until now had a multi-storey cage that consisted of a commercially-bought hutch on top of a home-built two-level playpen, but we haven’t been entirely happy with it so I’ve built them a new, low-level complex. They’ll have a run either side of their hutch, tucked in the shelter of a low breezeblock wall in the garden and facing the conservatory doors, so we’ll still get to enjoy watching their mad antics and they’ll get somewhat more space for toys, tunnels, and other ferret delights as well as being better sheltered from the elements. I’ve got most of it done but need another roll of wire tomorrow to finish the front, then I’ll put plywood top surface and hatches on top, waterproof and put the ferrets in it. At the moment they’re having a holiday in an old rat cage (multilevel indoor cage) in one of the sheds….. not the one the rabbits are in!

Thursday will be rabbit-execution day, most likely, with Trudy’s first litter now big enough to put in the freezer, though if other jobs get in the way it’ll be Friday. Saturday we double-check all the feed supplies, then Sunday the dogs go to kennels and we pack the car.

Monday, it’s all points north and by this time Monday night we should be in Orkney, enjoying sea views and (hopefully) not so much of this wretched rain!

As with all plans, it’s subject to revision on the fly as reality gets in the way….

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