Pigs are renowned for their intelligence. As ever the ones at Rock HQ are the exception to the rule!
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
A good start to the day. clearing out the deep litter from the stable. Experience has taught us not to use anything other than straw for the deep litter, which is why it only took an hour to clean out the whole stable. Theres been a few flys in life's ointment today, Vic needed four new tyres, the furniture company that sold us our new Rock HQ office epic failed in delivering the items in 24 hours and four weeks on still haven't managed to send a fixing kit in the post to assemble parts of of the order and then took umbrage when I told them they were getting the furniture back. Apparently its being picky expecting the right stuff delivered and that it should be undamaged and with all parts necessary. The the techno gremlins broke the camera, the one that's been repaired 3x already and if it breaks again this time we will give you a full refund. This will no doubt entail a trip to the city and me refusing to leave the store until they do just that. I'm not prepared to be lent a pink camera again while they botch this one. And now the techno gremlins have got into the blog and apparently I have exceeded my store all your photos space, so the blog might be devoid pics for a while. Life was so much simpler this morning when I was shovelling sh*t!
Monday, 27 June 2011
Experience is a hard school, as the saying goes. Our little flock has been hard pressed to find pasture worth eating on the Bonsai Mountain so it has bothered me that one of the holiday homes has lush green grass going to waste, around a quarter acres worth. On seeing Geisha (RIP) undo the gate and let her adoring Ryelands onto the verdant foodstuff I chose to leave them there rather than chastise them. Several days later an irate Murph (holiday home owner) remonstrated with me for allowing my beasts to defecate on his "lawn". I suggested they were doing him a favour keeping the grass down, he thought differently, he would rather mow than scoop fresh poop. So he padlocked the gate and Geisha (RIP) was unable to breach the new security.
So the grass grew.
For twelve long weeks.
I saw Murph on the weekend trying to trim the two foot long blades of green with a budget electric strimmer with six metres of cable. After several hours he had managed to clear a path to the door and a small area of "lawn" in front of his holiday home.
On a walk up to the Technohermits abode I saw all our flock munching contentedly on the forbidden territory. Technohermit filled in the gaps, Murph let them in by removing part of the fence, seems he lost the key to the gate padlock. Murph thought that it was definitely easier to scooop poop rather than strim fresh jungle.
Sunday, 26 June 2011
Pictures prove otherwise but she is making a good attempt at making the lawn like a bowling green. One that has additional steaming hazards and hoof prints, but its a good attempt. For a cow.
I cracked on with the DIY list, uppermost was the need to repair the stable doors that have been ravaged by horses, Bernese dogs and pigs. It looks like giant mutant mice have been running amok. Crispen our Ryeland Ram decided that as it was 30 degrees anywhere other than in the shade it was worth putting up with heavy metal, power tools and my "carpentry" skills.
He stayed there for the duration, only moving when I accidentally trod on him. Door fixed and rehung I felt competent enough to fix the rear stable door which also has a mouse hole big enough for piglets to run through. This upsets pig indoors who finds that she is not able to get through small hole and so sets about making it big enough. Thankfully she was as patient as Crispen watching my duffers guide to door repairs and once it was hung in place showed me how much she appreciated my efforts by immediately sticking her snout under it and launching it skywards. I managed to avoid injury by a combination of Ninja moves and luck as the armour plated door sailed past my right ear. Take two saw door retrieved from field where it landed and put back in its rightful place, this time secured by some real heavy metal in the form of bolts.
Saturday, 25 June 2011
Flaming Junes torrential downpour ended some time during the morning, over an inch and a half of water fell out of the skies overnight. Having got used to near drought conditions, and so everywhere was nice and dry, its been a bit of a shock going back to foot deep mud in certain sections of the smallholding. The weathers been weird over the Bonsai Mountain, the hills surrounding us have been under low cloud all day. Rumours of a spectacularly hot day tomorrow are rife but it looks unlikely at the moment.
The days been a balance of smallholding tasks, Tristan and dog training. Small scale farming seems to be a tag event nowadays, one of us going out the door to do a job while the other comes back in to take over childcare. Tracey took Reuben to a dog training class where much to our surprise he behaved himself, didn't disgrace himself by squashing any small dogs and was, and this was expected, absolutely adored by all attending.
Word is out about our love sick bovine, on a quick trip to the vet instead of the usual good morning a ah you're the one was an indicator that someone had squealed. Top advice from vet was that if the Belgian brute had ravished our little cow then that would be a bad thing, she so tiny, calf so big. So we wait and see if she comes back in season in three weeks, if so, no problem, if your idea of no problem is chasing a randy cow across the county. No season means preggers so she will have to have an injection to end the pregnancy. Poor cow.
While dog training was going on I assembled Tristan's high chair and baby walker. I am getting used to doing jobs one handed, covered in sick and balancing a baby on my hip.
Once I was allowed out I set about the Bracken with the strimmer clearing a huge patch. Our hired gun has been back for two more days clearing and together we have decimated about four acres. So I set about the Bracken in the cauldron. About 500 metres from my last mishap with the wasps. Just to prove a point that lightening can strike twice I am currently sporting several large swellings on the back of my neck as, somewhat predictably, I did it again and hit a wasps nest. First I thought it was a lone raider intent on wreaking revenge for the death of its brother but as I dealt with it I saw fresh squadrons heading in for combat so I did what any sensible fat bloke would do and ran back to HQ screaming.
Friday, 24 June 2011
Tristan is an ever growing source of wonder and joy at Rock HQ. His favourite toys are bug (the yellow faced thing) and his new blue elephant bought by a friend who came to stay last weekend. Its hard to keep track of his progress, hes started to pull things towards him, hes ticklish, laughs, gurgles away like a happy loon and has a vice like grip. WooZah found this to her cost the other day as she sat looking the other way, Tristan, sat on my lap reached out and took hold of her ear. It took two of us to get him to let go. Good job Berners are such gentle giants.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Lover boy can be seen lurking with intent to de flower our Hetty as we finally got her cornered (this took an hour, several trips in nettles/cowpats/bigger cowpats and water filled ruts) and after another frantic half hour or so managed to reduce the herd of around 50 excited vegetarian killing machines to four, one of which was our Hetty. After an honours degree in swearing she was finally lassoed and the halter put on her.
Which then led to a monster tug of war situation which only ended when she decided to drag the fat bloke trying to pull her all the way to her stall. Finally she dutifully walked in through the door and was rewarded with a bucket of oats while I went back to HQ to tend my rope burns, stings and strong desire for a rare steak.
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
They did this on purpose as they know that shearing a thorny sheep is almost as bad as shearing a wet thorny sheep. Thankfully we got the flock under cover for 24 hours and missed several deluges so when Stephani and Steve (honest) the mobile shearers (although after shearing 100+ sheep that day neither seemed particularly mobile!)pitched camp in Rock HQ's yard we were on for a couple of hours free (almost) entertainment and farm gossip while the flock got their kit off.
A sign of how relaxed we are around the militia nowadays is that we felt able to comment on Steve's shearing skills and helpfully gave him Ferny Fern Fern from Ferntown as his first victim. Ferny Fern Fern from Ferntown, a shear virgin, went bonkers, which was funny, and Steph had to assist Steve grapple the beast, which was funnier. Ferny is above asking for her fleece back.
Soon the Ryelands were deficit fleece and we took the opportunity to carry out some essential maintenance on our captives. We wormed, marked and blow fly treated them, which is why they look like a farmyard modern artwork or an explosion in a paint shop. The blue is our mark, the red is accidental leaking of essential body fluids and the pink is the blowfly wormer fluid which has to be applied externally in a cross shape. At least that's what we were told by the itinerant medicine seller before he ran off laughing.
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Armed with flaming torches and pitchforks we entered her lair, I say we, the Royal we, as in myself all alone as Tracey my beautiful and oh so patient wife knew better than to enter the pig wrestling championship. Bridget was in her bed, which was now several feet high and was only missing a big pink neon sign saying "Pig about to give birth!" as a final clue to events about to unfold. Trying to persuade said pig about to give birth to leave what in her mind is a carefully constructed birth pad and venture out into the dark, rainswept unknown was a challenge and I have to admit to it being the type of challenge that raised my pulse a few 100 beats per min as she made her displeasure known with several attempts to sever my legs blow the knee. Events were not helped when Morgana seeing a bucket of feed being swung around gatecrashed the party and disarmed me of said bucket. I let her off this playful pig banter and focused on Bridget who reluctantly wandered into the lane where I eventually got her within piglet range of the back stable. Several times.
After a few dozen sprints for freedom and a pretty good attempt to pole vault back into the pig pen Bridget was cornered in the back stable where much to her surprise she found a lovely clean bed, running water and electric lights. She lay down and got on with it while I steadied my nerves with a large single malt. Never having seen a pig birth before I was keen not to miss the action, and now having seen a pig birth I can honestly say its unlike any other birth I have seen. Its like something out of a Ridley Scott film, a bloody noisy traumatic alien mess. Once the video gremlins have been evicted fom this site I will put a clip on which shows the piglet popping like a champagne cork from its mums bits with the sow shooting in the other direction just as fast and making a noise like a disabled Stuka.
But it was worth the trauma to see these little piglets arrive in the world, there were only two, not named yet, but its the names are bound to be linked to the Solstice. Or the film Alien.
So the sun rose and I went to bed. Just for an hour or so. Didn't want to spoil myself.
Sunday, 19 June 2011
Thank you hardly seems enough but its heartfelt.
Saturday, 18 June 2011
Thursday, 16 June 2011
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
2.45 am excitement as I found Pam doing something different, she had got her snout through the handle of her feed bowl and was really rather cross. Then she began pawing the ground and making funny noises. This must be it. 3.30 am I was about to give in and she lay down and began grunting, legs going like she was riding an invisible porcine bike. Nil pork delivered despite maximim revolutions. 4am I gave in and went to bed bed. 5.45 am back on duty, curses, still no new additions. So I dawdled through my normal routine hoping to see some action before setting off across the mountains to work in the valley that time forgot. I left at 6.30. Sat at my desk by 8am.