Sunday, 31 October 2010
An interesting few minutes were passed chatting to a member of the militia on his quad bike, the whys and wherefores of scrub land burning were discussed. Pros and cons were evaluated and it seems that the best way of clearing the stifling gorse bushes from the hill is several gallons of diesel and a lot of hope. Considering that the effects of the last big conflagration some four years ago are still visible on the hill I think perhaps caution is the best option and some gentle pruning is called for rather than resorting to flamethrowers. The Militia man was searching for his sheep. The handsome chap above has some idea of where some of them are the wild parties they have been having.
When I delivered Mad Keith's dinner he was keen to tell me that Crispen, above, had been rounding up ladies, and graphically painted a picture of how our short legged ram, faced (if that's possible) with the rear of a taller lady sheep, positioned himself on the uphill side to gain access, and in the words of the hermit, "He might have trouble reaching but he keeps the pace well". I left him chuckling to himself and pondering the look on the militia face when little Crispens pop out all over the hill in the spring.
Saturday, 30 October 2010
Caught on camera, yours truly plotting the demise of Laverne and Shirley.
Nothing got done today, except for the usual feed, clean, exercise routine as I have succumbed to man flu, the main symptom being standing round looking at jobs that need doing and not being able to do them for reasons other than the usual outbreak of incompetence. No amount of cold remedy has allowed me to do anything other than feel miserable. So confined to barracks I was forced to sit in front of the wood burner and drink hot toddy. Much better than paracetamol!
Friday, 29 October 2010
Vet came and even though Hetty is very friendly she had to be sedated for what was to follow. Being an adult her horns would have to be sawn off under local anesthetic and the nice lady vet assembled a variety of medieval torture implements and a 5kg gas bottle for the task about to be in hand. Hetty being a docile sorts objected to having a hypodermic the thickness of my little finger stuck in her rump steak section (she might be pet status but often a butcher chart superimposes itself on her from my subconscious) and really objected to the cold sedative as it entered her system.
The next hour or so, for her, passed as a blur, for the vet and I it was an exercise in avoiding being crushed, impaled or decorated with her previous dinners as various orifices relaxed. Hetty was tenacious in her intent to stay awake, even with an extra dose of sleeping juice she refused to go down quietly. Eventually she succumbed to the combined effects of the injections and yours truly wrestling her, by her horns, to a position where the vet could perform the first task, the pedicure. Cows feet need trimming. Cows are not partial to this and so are usually contained in a steel crate which unceremoniously rolls cow over, offending lengths of hoof are then removed with sharp implements, cow is reunited with Terra Firma and away she goes. As our budget only stretches to borrowing a sharp knife, the now sleeping cow is taken advantage of and her feet are trimmed. As it was Hetty's feet were in good nick so minimal effort was required.
But it took time. And Hetty used this time to gather her senses and with super bovine effort shrugged off the medication, and me, and with regained mobility prevented further removal of appendages. So she still has her horns. The vet will return with reinforcements and the battle of Little Big Horn will be re-enacted later next month.
Thursday, 28 October 2010
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Monday, 25 October 2010
Hetty and Shirley making a meal of the apple harvest.
Today was freezing, really cold, apparently last night was the coldest 24/25th October on record. All day the frost stayed white in patches on the hill and by evening the ice was still on the puddles. Well all the puddles that the Berners and I had missed. We have decided to be prepared this winter and stock up on feed, and as there are not enough jobs to do a new one has been added to the list that will finally put to good use the step to nowhere, its going to be the base of the new feed bins.
Sunday, 24 October 2010
Saturday, 23 October 2010
Friday, 22 October 2010
Thursday, 21 October 2010
So this morning at first light I set off down the lane, still no Crispen, I pondered a journey around to sheep skull lane but crossed that idea off as he had only been gone a short while, this was only day three. So jobs were done, animals were tended to, sheep were called, told to look for their Patriarch and life generally carried on as normal until the geese were shut away. Up on the cliff a familiar shape was spotted. Hanging in the wire of a broken fence under a tree on the rocks at the base of the cliff was our Ram. Now this was a real emergency so no time to get the camera, not even enough time to get proper rescue gear, the poor lad had fallen landed, bounced, rolled into the fence, fell over the edge and was literally hanging around waiting for salvation. With a broken pair of cheap pliers, a lot of effort an a huge amount of luck he was cut free and allowed to fall the last four feet, thankfully with no injury other than hurt pride and pins and needles in his legs. He stood patiently while I went and fetched the camera, posing for a few pics, the long shot showing the tree on the cliff where he had tried to hang himself, the mid shot of base of the cliff and the close up of the wire hammock where he left a mass of his wool. Typical of a Ryeland he was non plussed by the drama, as he rolled down the bank he began eating. He is currently tucked up in the back stable with a selection of treats, a bucket of water and a book on climbing self rescue techniques.
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Despite the best efforts of the goats, who went on to rehab, the fruit trees have made a miraculous recovery. Some were so devoid of bark that I considered cutting them down to ground level but what with a combination of laziness and other more interesting things to do, like watch the fish, I decided that the best course of action should be to adopt a wait and see strategy. So we waited, and were very surprised to see buds in the springtime, then leaves and blossom, and now branches laden with ripe fruit. Admittedly the lower branches are somewhat bare, mainly due to the attention f Ferny Fern Fern from Ferntown and her motley crew, but the upper branches of all the trees are hardly coping with the weight of apples. Even this small tree, the goat vandalism plain to see on the thin trunk has given a few weeks worth of juicy fruits.
Monday, 18 October 2010
Sunday, 17 October 2010
This confused them for while and they tried to imagine it not being there, as life without the gate was so much easier, but that didn't work so they had to resort to bleating pitifully for help until yours truly gave up laughing at them whilst photographing their plight and moved the gate allowing Ferny Fern Fern from Ferntown to muster up the last of her dignity and lead the way to the trough. William looked on hoping his gate would suddenly disappear allowing unfettered access to the goodies in the trough but he was to be disappointed. Some gates are meant to be.
Saturday, 16 October 2010
We love living here, you might have guessed, but in case you were wondering, we do, we feel blessed, no matter what happens life here at Rock HQ is a joy. I will never tire of the views, the people and the mad antics of our animals. Today marks our 4th year here, 16/10/06 we moved here with two grown up kids, a bucket of fish, a handful of dogs, masses of enthusiasm and little idea. We swapped our mod cons all the foreign holidays you can eat lifestyle for one of mud, mayhem and animal magic. We have survived fire, flood, rockfall, weather, a near fatal accident, disability, deaths in the family and a few dramas in the workplace. But each day we have appreciated life here, grown slightly more competent at managing the place and thrown ourselves into ever more complex projects.
So it was a fantastic surprise today to receive this in an email, a picture of Rock HQ in 1985, sent by Lin who used to live here, thats her in the upstairs window. She also sent us a few snippets of info of life here with no electricity, an outside toilet and an even more unreliable water supply than the one we have now. She also kept animals, including goats (why?) and a donkey! So we hope to hear more about life here from the previous occupants and share their tales.
Tales from the Rock, really is a never ending story!
For a while now our project behind the green door in our local town has been moving forward. Various setbacks were overcome, nothing major, just inconvenient. Like the basement flooding in all the rain because of a cracked drain in the road.
Finally things were gathering pace, the decorating complete, inside days ago, outside only today, the carpets have been laid, the phones installed, furniture assembled and stationary delivered.All that remained was to get the sign over the door and have a very famous person attend and make some witty remarks to journalists on the grand opening day.
And then this happened last night. The pictures don't tell much as we got there after the main event, but at one stage there were two fire engines, two police cars, the roads closed and even Batman was stood amongst the crowd watching as we arrived to assess the damage. Quite an event for a town where a sheep running wild in the high street is a major news item, or a tourist losing a camera keeps the boys in blue occupied for months. The drama continued until 11pm when a forensic team arrived to establish the cause of the fire. Thankfully no one was hurt, and whatever the cause the damage to our property is minimal so it is just a minor setback. We shall overcome!
Friday, 15 October 2010
How to dehorn a Dexter, first separate your cow from her friends, ear defenders recommended!Then persuade her that her chosen path is not correct and the path to enlightenment lies elsewhere!
Next you have to coax her down from the slopes of goatanamo without swearing!
Smile as she wrecks the place during the decent, remember its not her fault she's a Dexter and don't panic at the thought of 250 gallons of water cascading down the yard. . Spend best part of day repeating various elements of this routine. Then remember an old tale you read about how Tigers were lured into traps with a live goat. Copy this method exactly and feel smug at the result as foolish Dexter falls for such a simple ploy.
Try not to cry when the vet phones up and apologises that he will not be able to come out and play today as a neighbours Llama feels anxious as it has a tangle in its wool so needs urgent medical attention. Release goat and Dexter and prepare for round 2.