Sunday, 30 September 2012

And finally!

 A lots happened in three years, but that's how long this tree trunk has been sitting in the yard waiting for the chop. Several times its been attempted, one memorable occasion ended after I threw the axe at my beautiful and oh so patient wife hitting her in the chest (complete accident and only funny because neither of us was injured, she thanks to heavy padded jacket, me thanks to survival instinct and ability to run) and so the lumber lump had lurked menacingly around the yard, scarred from the conflict, confident it would never reach the top of the jobs list. Until today.
 Naturally I had an audience, who slept through the moment of triumph.
 Once blocked the next task was to chop it into fire sized pieces. Curiously the axe with air borne tendencies was no where to be seen (neither was the patient one) so I had to resort to my small chopper (please) which in my expert hands (leave it!) finished the job with a few hard strokes.
Job done.

Say Hello, wave goodbye

 A cooling his hooves in the stable overnight Trevor our shitland pony was put in pony bondage gear and together we set out across the ridge to his new maximum security paddock on the edge of civilisation. For the most part he behaved on the trek over, if hanging back, dawdling, acting like a dead weight on the end of the rope, counts as behaving. Then as if by magic he discovered the use of his legs when we reached the summit and there before him was the herd of ponies he had been running with. He tried his best to call them over, he failed but did summon two joggers who thought horse murders were being committed.
 Eventually we met up with his new carers, who also located us thanks to Trevor's sonic attack, and we walked sedately down to his pastures new. My beautiful and oh so patient wife arrived with little t, Trevor was welcomed and by the time you read this I am pretty sure he will have plaited mane, red hooves and bows to compliment his Tina Turner highlights on every appendage a la My Little Pony (revenge is mine!)
Little t met a dog that was smaller than him for a change! So Trevor is safe in his new lair and will stay until he has worn out his welcome and they beg for us to take him back and leave something more cuddley, like a Kimono Dragon.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Horses for courses

 First light saw a classic pincer movement on the ridge, I took a left flanking manoeuvre and my beautiful and oh so patient wife took a right flanking move with Chester is support.
 Somewhere out here was a very naughty shitland pony, only 500 hectares to search.
 I spotted our quarry after over an hour's negotiating unfamiliar geography, the right flankers had retired after Chester started playing up seeing the militias horses running free.
 Eventually I got them cornered, all 40 or so. I say cornered, I mean in the same vicinity as myself and so began the merry go round, I lost count of the number of times I circled the herd and they circled the trees. At the point of giving up I remembered what a horse botherer had told me, so rather than imagining cutting up naughty pony into pan frying bite sized chunks I imagined walking through the herd, taking hold of him and slipping on his head collar. I also imagined winning the lottery, world peace and the second coming. None of it happened but we all got so dizzy that we stood still (the rest of the world carried on spinning) and the Karma Police arrived. A long time ago, hidden in the archive pages, I helped a white mare on the hill. As we were all stood contemplating our futures said white mare came out of herd and said hello. This then made others come forward or at least not bolt when I stepped forward and eventually imagination paid off and Trevor was wearing a head collar and trotting home.
 In the same vein of good turns another one was repaid today and a nice man with a very big toy turned up and moved the massive pile of gravel making a very passable ramp up to the runway which, we discovered, can take the ten ton weight of farm machinery and so several tons of pooh was moved semi mechanically. Semi as it was diesel driven away, we had to load the bucket scoop by the shovel full, hence the feeling like my arms are dropping off.
 The big green monster was well camouflaged.
 And end of play saw a huge hole where the pooh had been.
 Some of the muck was taken several miles down the road to fill these raised beds, the good turn repaid. This paddock is where the pocket rocket is being transferred to tomorrow. That should curtail his annoying antics.
 Getting the muck to the garden was a tight fit
and nearly went to plan had a bag not have split right at the last. More tomorrow!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Two cars become one. Again

For a few hours today we were making some progress, suddenly a two car family again, off in separate directions. I parked Vic outside the Red Kite office just in time for a very elderly gent to hit him with his van. When this minor transgression was pointed out to the OAP (who had driven off, but as we are a one horse town, see above, I knew he would be back again soon) he was so shocked that I had genuine concerns for his well being and all thoughts of reparation for the damage to Vic's bumper evaporated as I spoke to him whilst having my thumb poised over digit 9 on my mobile. Thankfully the old chap started breathing again when I told him to forget it (he probably had anyway) and went about the rest of my day.
My beautiful and oh so patient wife was out and about in Hazel the almost 4x4 and as she was misbehaving (Hazel not the patient one) she took it to a garage where the engine fell out. Nice man at garage said he could put it back in again for twice what we had paid for the broken 4x4 in the first place but he did manage to pour the cogs back in which allowed forward and homeward direction. Hazel has now taken what was Vic's place in the lane and is waiting to be put down.  

Thursday, 27 September 2012

On the road again

I am sure the garage has a calculator set to £550 as this is the third time Vic has been through their workshop and cost us that amount. Still he is now as good as new (yeah right) and the rear suspension they fitted should do a whole lot better than the coil srping they removed which was in three seperate peices. Hes now on the yard and all livestock has been banned from getting any where near him. This includes pretty boy ponys who have a talent for sitting on silver motors.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Off to a good start!

This morning could have gone so much better. Vic was booked in for a new alternator to be fitted but as yours truly had parked him side on to the mountain the last vestiges of fuel sloshed to the right of the tank but the pipe to engine bit is on the left so he refused to start. He also refused to move when I tried to push him so I took a risk and turned the key with him in reverse so the battery turned the engine over and slowly Vic reversed and got to a level where fuel reached the engine and he started.
Suited for a busy day in the office I pointed him in the direction of travel and headed off down the lane. At the gateway to the world he refused to stay put as the hand brake failed so I had to switch him off while I got out. He then refused to start.
Flat battery.
I coaxed him back to life but 25 yards down the road he died again and only just made it to a gateway so he didn't block future exits.
Walk back home in pouring rain.
Beautiful and oh so patient wife phones garage, are the keys in it they ask, I tap my pocket, no but they will be in half an hour she says can you fetch Vic and fix him, yes they say, once they stop laughing.
I make to leave in Hazel, last thing patient one utters is have you got keys for Vic, absolutely says I and head off in Hazel.
Alongside Vic I get out to put keys in him for grease monkey but alas, I am key less. Race back home and retrieve keys from playful toddler who has somehow acquired amazing pick pocket skills.
Having mild SOHF get back in Hazel and turn around, beep horn at rampaging Ryelands blocking lane, surge forward just as clueless sheep get between wall and gleaming R200 racing bike which falls just in time to be run over by front wheel of turning 4x4 turning front of bike into scrap metal.
The day did get better.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Rising tide

Apparently its the worst September weather since 1981 and we have had more heavy rain but it must be getting better as we can almost see the summit of the Bonsai Mountain. We got a call to tell us that our old house was on the news underwater victim of a flash flood. As we now live half way up this piece of rock we should survive this deluge, meanwhile the Oracle woke to find the stream had diverted into his workshop. The pigs are still on their life raft and refusing to get off as they like the ships biscuits found in the survival pack.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Think like your horse

 Theres a book on our shelves called "Think like your horse" a fairly weighty tome for would be horse botherers wishing to tread the path of equine enlightenment. Personally I think its a con but I did try to think like a little escapee shitland and in  a fairly calm break in the weather (another months rain fell overnight, most fell into the excuse for a barn where the inhabitant pigs built a raft out of pallets) to trek across the ridge looking for Trevor. As the wind was blowing north west the sheltered side was south east so thinking like my horse the settled leeward side would be most acceptable for grazing, but, as I am a fugitive and knowing that yours truly would be out looking for me I would forgo the sheltered side as that is the obvious place to look and so I would head north into the teeth of the weather front and graze knowing that fat bloke would not want to give up creature comforts for too long and head back to HQ once the sheltered side has been searched. At least that's what I thought thinking like him. Which was why at fiveways I headed north and spent an hour or so searching, then calling my bluff I headed south and searched there.
This took me to the dark side of the Bonsai Mountain where I was lucky enough to see a Tawny Owl fly a few feet above my head from the tree on the left of this pic. Both of us were surprised by the sudden appearance of each other. After 2 hours 15 mins I gave up and Trevor is the winner of the 2012 hide and seek challenge. I will have a return match later in the week after genning up from the book.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Celebrate good times come on!

 On a day that the heavens opened and its now darker longer than daylight we decided to have as our Sunday lunch a far from traditional meat and two veg, instead opting for a meaty selection of suckling pig, roast goat, lemon chicken, chili corn on the cob, fajitas, honey and chili sausage, lime bean salad, guacamole and other yummy accompanyments (as well as Robs infamous chili jam) The reason for this lavish food fest was several celebrations all rolled into one, he who cant be named engagement, his birthday, his sisters birthday, the pups birthday and anything else we could think of that meant we could stay indoors and scoff rather than get out amongst the autumn storm. Family that attended demolished the best part of the vitals on offer, a naughty lurcher cross Dalmatian also got a fair portion when no one was looking.
 The pic above is a bit of a contrast to yesterday pic from around the same spot.
 Cabin fever, or too much food and drink, forced me to don waterproofs and set out into the wilderness where I found one of our kind neighbours had given up trying to defend their fruit tree and donate it to me, handily placing several pigs breakfasts in a neat carrying device. I shall thank them properly next time I see them, with some sausages. One of the militia contacted us today, it seems the pocket rocket has done it again and is harassing the militia as they ride their horses. To coin a phrase hes an aggressive little bugger. Once again Trevor has put his hoof in it and riled the militia. Concerted efforts will be made to round him up next week, if successful hes going to stay in a corral not far from HQ but far from the militias ponies!
Meanwhile the one animal that always behaves, a Berner, has done ever so well with Team GB. Tune in to the dog blog for more pics and news.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Making the most of it

As the weather forecasters have predicted the end of the world sometime around tomorrow tea time we thought it best to make the most of the sunshine and play outside all day. Its also the Kington festival of walking so we were prepared for a lot of of alpine clad lardys walking through the yard.
I did think that most of the day could be best spent in trivial pursuits such as playing fetch
but Chester had other ideas and as he was late getting breakfast decided to remind me of the temporary "repair" to his stable door. Luckily my "expertise" with the saw has improved over time and pretty soon (time is a concept) I had a serviceable door fitted, that was dog proof, well almost
as demonstrated by Spotty, nice shot of the amateur joinery,
it was however horse proof.
I then engaged in a spot of fishing, little t came to watch his father's prowess
angling for pork. This is a bit like fishing, a bait is placed and you wait patiently. In this case the bait was pig feed and the quarry, well, pig obviously. So there I was inside the pig pen watching the bait, and there they were, escaped pig on the outside also looking at same. Eventually one wandered within lunging distance and sooner that you could say "jeezthispigweighsatonohgodmyback" pig one was caught and landed the right side of the pig fence. The other one, pictured above, grew wise to the plan and soon after this pic was taken buggered off. This allowed me to retreat with dignity and raid the medicine chest for ibuprofen.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Vics almost back

 Thanks to the close attention this pretty boy pony has been paying to Hazel the almost 4x4, he having stoved the panels in again after a nice man unstoved them, and wear and tear and bits generally falling off, or sounding like they are about to fall off we have decided to resurrect Vic who has been sulking at the end of the lane for the last 6 months. One reason why he was taken off the Queen's highway was due to the extortionate amount of money the insurance company wanted to allow me to drive. For some curious reason after 6 months of not driving the same insurance company have offered me the same insurance cover for the same car for half the price quoted in April.
Of course I took care of Vic as he lay resting, I didn't, for example, allow the pigs to dig around him and half bury him. I regularly started him and never ever left him with the lights on causing it to be flatter than Nick Cleggs singing voice (I don't care how sorry the smarmy vote grabber is I don't want to hear him sing about it, even for charity) and I never used him as a receptacle for empty feed sacks. Once I sorted through a million old emails to find the four digit code for the stereo (priorities!) and then put right all the things I hadn't done, then freed the brakes, got the wheels turning, fitted a new battery and cleared a space big enough to sit in I took him for a spin (yes he is now taxed and insured) and as I got out on the open road suddenly feeling all Top Gear presenterish I remembered that I had only put a litre of fuel in from the chainsaw can(another thing I hadn't done was run him out of go juice) and mercifully made it back up the lane to the sanctuary of HQ. I also remembered that he has the ground clearance of a pregnant shrew so drove him oh so carefully up the lane that has pot holes in it like a scale model of the grand canyon thereby saving the suspension and floor from damage. Feeling pretty pleased I considered putting more fuel in and taking him to the car wash to get the green slime off. That's when the fan belt broke. Nothings ever easy is it?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Death wish

This little porker is feeling very pleased with himself as he is getting the rewards of being in the pig pen, such as regular breakfasts and dinners, as his two sisters, the one with a taste for poultry and now another one that looks like this one, the good one,  (that does make sense) are the wrong side of the wire and up to all sorts of mischief. How the other one got out was  a revelation, she actually built a ramp of dirt, quite a feat with just your nose, almost to the top of the stock fence and when yours truly tipped up full of the gloom of early onset autumn (I hate the its dark at 8pm lark, and its getting darker earlier every day/night)and several ton of apples. Eager to get her slavering jaws around the fruit she ran up the ramp Evel Kenevel style and launched herself into space. Things took on a surreal Matrix style for a few seconds as myself and my big sack (of apples) and several Berners took evasive action to avoid crash landing of self propelled pork. She landed with a sickening thud and outraged that her efforts yielded no fruit, ran off into the nettles where she still lurks. I know she is still alive as her short life nearly ended just now when Hazel and I made the tedious journey doing the bin run. From out of nowhere she launched herself at Hazel and then having avoided being turned into burgers ran off again into the nettles where she is no doubt plotting the downfall of a lone cyclist tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

100% cute

 Two of the smaller members of Rock HQ that took up most of the day. Little t posing for the camera and Ripley under scrutiny. For more of the pups see dog blog.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Records set

Motivation is a necessary part of getting things done. So today I was highly motivated by the news that Reba was giving birth and having a few problems, so there I was five miles the wrong side of a motor and within 22 minutes of receiving call had got from behind desk and through cottage door courtesy of pedal power. This does include the nearly half mile of compulsory walking as rutted track to house does not allow passage of two wheeled transport. Once the Lycra and Dayglo had been dumped for denim and t shirt I got to play midwife to Reba and delivered the first pup sired by this big lad above, Reuben, pup aptly named Bradley on account of my record setting bike ride. To see what happened next tune into the dog blog, the links in the margin. There is a happy ending so don't panic.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Don't Panic!

 All plans were ditched today as Reba seemed to be about to deliver pups. As I type she is busy digging a hole in her bed under the dining table totally ignoring the well lit whelping box with heated cushions and soft music. The vet has told us not to panic, easier said than done. Little t got some practise in with the camera. Here's a shot of Bear by the stairs.
And a self portrait.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The great outdoors

 We took time to get out on the ridge today, partly to look for the pocket rocket but mostly just for giggles.
 Chester is almost fully fit, his leg is back to normal, now he has to get match fit again after four months of inaction.
 Our elderly Beagle saw fit to join us
but we were no match for Chester who, despite his lack of stamina was able to cover ground a lot faster than yours truly loaded like a pack horse with little t, waterproofs and picnic. After over an hour traversing the ridge we didn't see hide nor hair of the missing shitland.
Rocky reloaded with drool fuel and we set off home to carry on with the jobs list.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

For love nor money

 We are playing the waiting game at Rock HQ, Reba is about to give birth so every time she so much as sighs I'm ready with the wicket keepers gloves to catch a freshly delivered pup. No joy so far and while she is a bit slower she is as mad as a box of frogs still so no real change there then. We took delivery of another batch of feed today, a months supply of nice fresh hayledge for the Anglo Nubians who thought all their Christmas' had come at once when one of the militia dropped a ton in front of their stall rather than take it up onto the runway for the boys.
 Its yet to be moved into storage, that's on tomorrows list but seeing it reminded me of a conversation with a very enthusiastic army officer a while back who was fascinated by the idea of smallholding, I mean it must be so rewarding to put your own food on the table right, and not to mention profitable. Well partly right, it is immensely rewarding in many ways, especially in the taste sensation department, but financially rewarding is not an area we have discovered yet. I hope I didn't put him off the idea by explaining how he could be spoon fed caviar for the rest of his life and still have money left over rather than chuck his pennies into the never ending abyss of feed and vets bills. The rising costs of feed stuffs is putting a lot of people off. Especially pigs.
Case in point. Conversation yesterday with particularly gnarly militia member who opened the discussion with the comment "I been thinking of going over to the market to get me a couple of piglets."
He looked at me over the gate. "You keep pigs then" it wasn't a question.
"Well my mate says they are going for a fiver at market"
"I heard that too"
"Might get some whey from over"points with thumb to local geography "They eat whey?" That was a question "Erm... think so" I look over to the general area of whey donator "How would you get it here?"
"Dunno. Theres always a way. How long would it keep though?" More cheese related questions outside of my expertese.
"No idea."
"Nor me" silence. "Has to be worth it, other wise theres no point" agreed.
"I could give you a couple of piglets if you want some. Free"
Receive look from militia like I had just insulted his grandmother. He took a step back. "You can have them for nothing" I continued. "Free, save you buying them, see how you get on." He nodded and scratched his chin noisily "What sort are they?"
"Free ones"
"I''ll think on it" and off he went.