After skiving off to do the Family Guy bit yesterday it was a massive day here at Rock HQ where the jobs list got whats called a kicking. As so often and in keeping with The Rules Of Smallholding (TROS) each job attempted meant the time spent actually on the job an equally proportionate amount of time had to be spent finding the tools/bits/thingies necessary to complete the task, a similar amount of time then spent keeping other critters away from task in hand and finally the most important rule (aside from always shut the gate) that of for every job done you create two more.
Case in point, move Pamela the Mangaliza sow about to give birth to stable. First find buckets to fill with tempting feed to get pig to follow. Buckets found are all broken, no handled or pink (sorry, not ever going to be seen using pink bucket) Locate macho blue buckets up on Willow Rise where they were dropped while chasing cow the previous morning. Loaded with feed run the gauntlet of Ryelands who are eager to make the load lighter. Drop one bucket off for sheep to savour, thus removed from equation when moving pig. Pigs are released. Mistake. Instead of following second blue bucket up lane into stable they scamper downhill to the feasting flock. There then follows a mad half hour while we separate the woolly backs from the, er.... other bigger woolly backs. Through luck rather than judgement Pamela was finally contained in the stable. Having got our quarry cornered, and totally ignoring the fact that now we had a pig in the garden (Bridget, Pamela's not so pregnant litter mate) pig in pen created two jobs, one being fix big metal gate over hole left by stable door (to answer the immediately obvious, pig would make door into splinters, this needed heavy metal) and muck out stable. Smart arses might comment that the stable should have been mucked out before the pig was put in it, but they don't have the only wheel barrow trapping the goats (long story) (and goats cant be moved until pig has been re homed) and heavy metal gate cant be put in place before pig because once in place it wont move so entry and egress is done by climbing gate, pigs are loathe to climb gates (except in emergency) so in all a sound plan.Heavy metal gate is held in place by an assortment of heavy metal hinges screwed into the stable wall. To do this we use electric screwdriver once we find it, then find the spare posidrive bit as the brass one we intended using fell off onto the golden barley straw (new take on looking for a needle in a haystack), recharged the battery as none of the four batteries owned by yours truly could be located except the dead one attached to drill. The actual fixing of gate took minutes, but fending off a curious pig which coated itself in the doings of previous occupants of the stable (she did this by lifting the rubber matting, each one weighs over 100 pounds) and rolling in the juices located underneath. As I worked and she watched the ammonia fumes from her were eye watering, but as you can see she was very happy. Gate on, mucked out, no its not over, feed pig, water pig, so fit feeder to gate with climbing carribiner (from previous life) and fetch water drinker thing from pig sty at bottom of holding. Empty trailer, move trailer, get pig out of garden, empty tack room, repair greenhouse, put together whelping box for Reba, move goats, move horses, and then what with feeding everything, ourselves and spending quality time with Tristan its hardly a surprise that paint the annex was ignored in favour of sit down with feet up and watch BBC Countryfile which for the majority of the programme used a long shot of our Bonsai Mountain as a backdrop.>
There was a very interesting bit about Offas Dyke, our backyard, and some chap who in 2003 walked its length in an astonishing 9 days, sometimes doing 20 miles a day, the reporter spoke in awe of this while he (the apprentice tortoise) talked to the trees. I must say I mightily impressed and it made our attempt, The Offas Dyke Ordeal in June 2009, where I walked the 180 miles in 6 days, doing 30 miles a day fuelled mainly by Vimto and a desire to raise a lot of cash for Prostate Cancer Research seem rather ordinary. Still each to his own. Anyone wishing to see the tree man who walked Offas Dyke taking half as long again as what I did should log on to http://www.bbc.co.uk/countryfile and those who want to revisit our epic trek should explore the blog using the labels The Great To Do, or go to the archive, its all there, June 2009, and if it prompts you to donate to Prostate Cancer Research then that's a good thing.