Michael’s grandfather Charlie used to always say “every day is a school day” and I find that old adage ringing through my ears daily. I do my best with homeschooling and Nelly is a bright little student. However, there are many fantastic distractions – Katy’s potty training, sheep feeding, egg collecting as well as, of course, ponies to ride! PE is not a problem.

As being a primary school teacher is not my forte, I seize upon any opportunity to impart knowledge without becoming overbearing. One such opportunity came along one day whilst collecting the eggs.

Jelly egg

Nelly had collected most of the eggs and being a good big sister, left some for Katy to pick up. “Ugh, it’s a bean bag,” Katy proclaimed, snatching her hand out of the nest box, disgust all over her face. “A bean bag?” I was a bit confused. Reaching my hand in, I found a jelly egg. An egg with no shell, it had a transparent skin with the yolk and egg white fully formed inside. An egg that’s not an egg!

Hannah Bolgers daughters Katy and Nelly were delighted to get new hens just as the schools closed due to COVID-19.

To my surprise Nelly was revolted by this freak egg, normally she loves slimey, textured stuff.

On the other hand, Katy was thrilled by her sister’s reaction over this disgusting discovery and got immense amusement out of it. I eagerly explained that this happens when the hens were low in calcium. To rectify the problem, we needed to give them oyster shell or crushed up eggshells in their regular feed to increase their calcium content and make hard shells again. We opted for the latter as we have no oyster shell and voila the hens are now laying a full quota of normal eggs each day.

Contrary ewes

I got landed with the job of looking after the few contrary ewes in adoption crates in the sheep shed, adopting their own or other ewes’ lambs. My sheep skill levels rank around the level of “totally hopeless”, however this is a fairly straight forward job; several times a day.

As part of my homeschooling/parenting/work combo, the kids tag along. Most of the sheep shed is empty so they and the dog play their imaginary games and obstacle courses while I dash around individual pens with buckets of splashing water and feed, silage and straw sticking in awkward places and simultaneously keeping an eye on the rascals.


There was a new ewe in a crate with a bigger foster lamb and her own lamb, its twin having died. I noticed that one of her “spins” (her udder) was much larger than the other side. As Nelly’s sheep knowledge far outweighs my own, there was no homeschooling opportunity here. Pushing back through the foggy recesses of my mind, I reckoned I should milk out this enlarged boob to a more attainable size and latch the smaller, hungrier lamb onto it.

He was giving the smaller udder a go, so I quickly enacted my genius plan. The little tail wiggled joyfully as he drank and drank. I repeated the process a couple of times and watched his little belly get plump. I was just congratulating myself on surely moving up a level to “somewhat useful” sheep helper when I got a call from the end of the shed.

“Mummy! Quickly!” It sounded hysterical, not panicked or scared.

“What’s up?”

“Mummy, Katy is doing an emergency potty.”

Hmmm, we have moved from homeschooling to the school of life. Success all round!