Monday, 30 September 2013

Victoriam Equis

 I covered a lot of miles today. Some were fun, running through the ancient woodlands in bright morning sunshine with some of the Dolyhir Clan.
The majority were the total opposite, over the ridge in foul weather stalking two very naughty ponies who had done what is now known as a Trevor, in other words legged it. I had made the rash pledge not to return to HQ until I had captured them. Had I turned left on the ridgeline I might have shortened my search by 4 miles, instead having previously stalked the shitland to a regular meeting place for the wild ponies I turned right and spent a pointless hour wandering the wilderness in places devoid of horse. Retracing my steps I eventually found Will.I.Am and Apollo dawdling behind the wild bunch and my luck held as Will.I.Am stood and let me get a head collar and rope on him and head home. Apollo watched his amigo head home and thought better of a life alone and so cantered after us getting back in time for a bucket of apples and a few sharp words in their shell likes about future behaviour.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Brothers in arms

 The apprentice helped with the daily routine today, feeding MkII rug rat, but it wasn't all babies today. But as we had to stay close to HQ we couldn't go to Berner meet
 so lil t and I went looking for ponies as Will.I.Am and Apollo hoofed it across the ridge a few days ago.
 Sensing an opportunity for a picnic we volunteered to go looking.
 We had help, of sorts
but despite having the right gear, bags of enthusiasm and chocolate buttons we came back with no ponies.

Feeling tired

Among other things that happened today, little t had his first blackberry which he declared was perfect. 

We wandered as far as the end of Worzel Wood to view the strange geology of the area, this massive pimple shaped rock stands alone in the local geography.
The river was missing, little t managed a spectacular fall from the bridge, luckily he had a soft landing, his head.
This about sums up the day, a lot of fun but feeling tired. Boom boom. Thank you! I'm here all week!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Its all about me

While the majority of the day has been spent either holding, feeding, rocking, changing him, changing me (thanks Alexander!) laughing at the midwife (good shot!) the new rug rat there have been several diversions since early doors when MkII rug rat decided the whole household should wake up. 
Miranda was taken to be serviced ready for winter driving (not long now) and so I took my bike so I could get back to HQ and as it was sunny I took a long way home pondering on the fact that this was the first bike ride since 14 September due to pressures of puppies, work, smallholding, Apprentice smallholder and planned arrival of new one. Can't really complain as I have managed runs and walks but it felt like a long time since I was last in the saddle. Back at HQ I finally nailed a job that has been lurking at the midway point on the jobs list forever, clear out the pantry. There I found all manner of treasure including some homebrew that has been threatening to kill anyone fool enough to tamper with the bottles since 2008. Your truly being the brave sort took the top off one bottle and the resulting detonation left me holding the top, bottle neck and little else while the walls, worktops, ceiling and all animate objects (sorry supergrandma) in the kitchen were suddenly wetter than a split second previous. 
Another bike ride fetched Miranda back to HQ and plans for a quiet evening in were thwarted by beserker Berners who again refused to sit quietly in the conservatory. Finally I go the message, much to everyone's relief and the Berners knew exactly what Lassie had to go through to when trying to tell her owner that little Johnny had fallen in the well. What my dogs were trying to tell me was that there was more trouble on the goat front. A cry not unlike a ruptured hippo hung in the night air and I knew that it meant only one thing. Eva was in trouble somewhere in the dark, probably amongst the nettles and certainly nowhere easy to get to. I eventually located her on her back, wedged between a dirt bank and fence and just to make it entertaining to get her out, covered in nettles. Thankfully it was an easy rescue, easy as in stung to death type rescue but at least she didnt explode or die and it got me out of changing MkII's nappy which has now reached what is expertly described as the chicken Korma stage. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Bravery award

Things are quieter than usual at Rock HQ, quiet as in volume, not amount of to-ings and fro-ing, this is due to the arrival of new rug rat who's every needs are being met 24/7 just in case he explodes. So when a number of Bernese Mountain Dogs began barking early evening, just when new rug rat had been diffused, their usually very tolerant of all things canine (except ancient bin raiders) owners took exception to the cacophony and words were had, albeit through a closed door, they being in the conservatory and we being alpha types so in charge of the lounge. As noise failed to subside my beautiful and oh so patient wife opened the front door to further remonstrate with recalcitrant Bernese. I, playing the part of chef at the time knew that my culinary experiments would have to cease when I heard the following. "They are barking at the goats. Can you come and get the goats out of the conservatory" There piled up at one end of the conservatory in desperate attempts to get as much space between them and goat were some very brave Berners while stood in the front doorway of the cottage looking entirely non-plussed were two very scary goats. Brave dogs these Berners.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Keep calm and carry on

 I thought we were being burgled but this is what greeted me as I investigated the noise at 5am. Our decrepit 23 year old Beagle had stormed the barricade and got in the kitchen. In other words I forgot to shut the utility room door, or a vermin cat opened it, either way the result of 23 years naughtinessis apparent. Theres no point telling him off, he wouldnt remember, understand and anyway at 23 he should know better. So after calmly, ahem, clearing up and doing the morning routine I set off for the city to find my beautiful and no longer pregnant wife and newborn.  
 My turn to feed him while MBAOSPW has a snooze. Fat chance given the noise of the ward, but its the thought that counts.
 Alexander managed admirably.
 Lil t (perhaps he's big T now?) made sure his lil bro had lunch.
And after I promised the midwife that I would not make MBAOSPW feed the pigs (this evening anyway) we were allowed to bring her home. Alexander was made to wear an embarrassing hat for his first trip outside hospital and braced himself for his first car journey. Whatever his facial expression my driving is not that bad!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

D Day

 D Day. 10.23 am a new life was born.
D Day plus 12 mins
 D plus 27 mins first cuddles with my beautiful and oh so patient no longer pregnant wife
 D plus 4 hours 37 mins
D plus 5 hours. Hello world from Alexander. A very happy chap.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Almost ready

Tomorrow life changes at Rock HQ.
Watch this space.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Missing one

 Yesterdays post got missed thanks to yours truly being on call emergency type and as it was a really busy day, see dog blog, and having also to pack nearly 150 pounds of sausage (thanks Bridget) into already overflowing freezers, a feat only managed by skillful consumption of just enough to get the lid closed, and possessing two tickets to the hottest night out in the shire, a charity dinner and dance for Help for Heroes, it was sods law that the phone rang and I had to go and assist local boys (and girls) in blue restore order to the world.
 Naturally during the pork fest I had a shadow who woke up everytime the word leftovers was uttered. As the final sausage was carefully placed in Mr Whirlpool I went off to save the world. This took 3 hours 37 minutes and left me precisely 39 minutes to get changed, drive across the shire and present my tickets to the feeble looking bouncers who managed to fleece me of cash for charity mate (no such thing as a free dinner hey ho) before shoving me and my beautiful and oh so pregnant wife through the portal to another more civilized world.
 But as the majority of the room were accountants, auctioneers or insurance salesbores the charity auction didn't really get going as the tight arses all knew the value of commodities and sat on their wallets hence a parker knoll recliner value £1100 notes went for £500. Last charity auction I was at was at a very special army camp where anyone who didn't pay at least 3 grand for a mar bar were thought bad sports. Company was excellent on our table due to the complete lack of financiers and even though the main course was pork I still managed two helpings of everything.
 Today was a quieter more relaxed day up until the point that a friend called by and casually mentioned he wanted to buy Vic, what a pity he was stuck on the runway behind a ring feeder and 5 tons of horse doings. Vic did his part by starting first time, first time after at least 4 months silence, I did mine by clearing the runway in twenty minutes (before he changed his mind or his wife came and stopped him) and he did his part by sorting out the cd collection left in Vic and making comments regarding my efforts like I suppose its a bit like clearing snow. This led to a comparison of snow and horse pooh and the conclusion that building a horse pooh man would just get you talked about and a horse poohball fight was just nasty. So Vic has left Rock HQ and I got enough tokens for him to buy something useful, like a bigger shovel.
Late pm was time for some off road activity. This is one of the footpaths yours truly rested his trail running shoes on today. Life's good.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Almost better

Daffodil joined us on a walk. She looks fairly normal now, her fleece still bears the scars of yours truly attempt to shear her. Perhaps one day she will forgive me.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Little monsters

Early doors at Rock HQ with little monsters everywhere!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Promise not to tell

Living as we do in an area of outstanding natural beauty we often get walkers pass through our domain. They fall into several categories, ignorant oafs, friendlies and oddballs. Examples being those that walk past me as I go about my daily routine without even acknowledging my existence, even though we are both in what is technically my garden, those that do this usually get told in no uncertain terms my expectation of good manners.  Friendlies are the ones who pass the time of day, chat, swap stories and move on. The oddballs can be found among these pages, the orthodox Jews who were lost (all 30 of them) the geologists looking for the mother stone and the unemployed man on a walking holiday who stupidly chose our part of the world for some peace and quiet camping on the night we had the mother of all parties to send out son off to war. Today we met a friendly oddball. He wandered through looking bewildered, then after negotiating the knee deep mud of the lane waved a GPS around and consulted a map. Intrigued I set off to help.
Me. Are you lost.
OBF (Oddball friendly) Not exactly but I am sure you can help.
Me. Well I know where I am, show me on the map where you think you are.
OBF. Well if I carry on in this direction I will end up in village X.
Me. No. Village X is there (me pointing in the opposite direction.
OBF (looks accusingly at map) No how did I manage that then?
Me (pointing to map) You carried on along this track and missed that turn.
OBF (looking sheepish) ooops, schoolboy error
Me. Never mind, easily solved, back the way you came, black gate, that leads to the world.
OBF. (walking back towards the world) Thanks
Me. You on a walking holiday then?
OBF. Not exactly (looking really really sheepish) I write for a living
Me. Oh yeah, what?
OBF (growing a woolen coat and bleating) I write guides for walkers
Me (trying not to laugh) Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha
OBF (grazing, trying to salvage credibility) I'm (name deleted to spare embarrasment) and write for several walking magazines like...... (gives names) (stops and looks at me sheep to man) You wont tell anyone about this will you (pitiful bleat)
Me. Mate, you have no idea.

Monday, 16 September 2013


Little t faced with a dilemma
which is the best puddle to splash in
definitely this one.
Enough R and R, back to mine clearing.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A right pigs ear

So all I had to do was get the pig club porkers from the big pen and leave Pam there by herself. Then get Bridget away from Thor the mega stud boar, negotiate her exit past Trevor the shitland, Will.I.Am and Apollo. Unite the pig club porkers with Bridget in the trailer waiting to take them to piggy paradise and tag them.
Simple as that.
And it was.
For once, and much to the amazement of the haulier waiting to take the three little pigs, it was easier done than said.
The pig club recruits used to being hand fed apples raced after me to the trailer. Thor forsook Bridget for the joy of ponies thus leaving yours truly free to entice Bridget to the luxury transport wagon. All three safely aboard in around three minutes.
It was a shame there was no camera around to record this incredible feat.
And then just as quickly it all began to unravel.
The pigs needed to be tagged with an identity number and herd number so as it can be traced etc and doesn't end up in anyone's lasagna disguised as horse meat. My piggies are used to having their ears fondled while eating ready for the precise moment in the trailer when I reach across and give then a quick ear piercing and pretty orange tag.
 So simple.
 So much went pear shaped.
First off the tagger refused to tag, it just jettisoned the tag on the floor, not before pinching Tweedle Dum or Dees ear, worse, Bridget's tag broke, then stuck tagger and all to her left lobe.
Drawing board was hastily referred to, tagger was obviously the fly in the ointment, time for the big guns. MkII tagger, heavy duty version, but pigs are now wary of ear fondling and creating a fuss at the end of the trailer out of harms/arms way.
Even apples could not entice them.
Haulier, one eye on clock and penny to minute ratio, gallantly volunteered to get in amongst anxious pork and in colloquial terms, get a grip.
 This had several effects which thankfully resulted in no serious injuries, but presence of driver in confined space with three nervous porkers changed the game somewhat and Bridget took matters into her own trotters and altered the rules of smallholding, in particular the one that says that any animal can get out of anywhere through a gap exactly half the size of its body. Bridget, being a full grown sow, probably weighing some 200 pound launched herself through the rear of the trailer over my shoulders through a gap barely 14 inches wide  and 3 foot off the ground. While she busied herself in the apple sack irate

driver got a grip of the business end of the small boar and I tagged the right ear, as in pigs ear not human. Soon it was all over bar the shouting (let me out of the trailer type shouts) and Bridget behaved by climbing back into the transporter, well say climbed, was assisted in by yours truly pushing from behind and now I was thankful no camera was around as it looked well dodgy.
Silence descended on Rock HQ and after a well timed sausage sarnie other jobs were got on with. By weeks end, all being well several tons of pork and sausage will return and fill the space in Mr Whirlpool left by the treasure hunt barbque!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Best in Show

 Its that time of year again when our local town hosts its international show so here's some awards. Best fast food van also won best fast food, an Indian flat bread stuffed with pork.
 Best farming of the future display (betcha! there's only so much fossil fuel ya know!)
 Best form of transport (look at road surface we just negotiated, we made it where horse power failed)
 Best British Rump Steak (the ones wearing the red bands not the 5xl white coat)
 Best moo cow. Best balloon. Best behaved child (almost)
Best comedy driving act, all that was needed was the usual clown car bumpers falling off routine, Stable Sprite and Big Gremlin entertained the crowd and best comedy one liner goes to Tractor Driver with "Follow me!"
Roll on next year.

Friday, 13 September 2013

All to no a flail

 I had a conversation the other day along the lines of do you ever get any punctures in your lane. Not recently was the honest reply, and having just fitted Gatorskin tyres (kevlar reinforced not real Gator skin) and slime filled self healing tubes I am pretty safe from a big let down while in the saddle. Good was the reaction to my reply as the flail trimmers coming back in the next few days to chop the hedges back but don't worry its got on of them new things that blows the road clean, you'll be alright.
Which explains why this morning instead of my bike carrying me I was seen carrying it as the scourge of modern cycling, the flail trimmer, with its new fangled blower had been doing its job. Good job the blower was fitted otherwise the road would have been in a right state!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Paws off!

Weigh in results will be posted tomorrow:) Time ran out today!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Flower power

 It was my beautiful and oh so patient wife's last day at work today so she was given a big bunch of flowers as a leaving present
which Ms Turquoise decided to help arrange.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The long and lonely walk

 The woodland trails and mountain paths around Rock HQ are kept clear of hazards
 thanks to the dedicated work of highly trained sappers
 skilled in the art of extreme weeding.
Its a tough, dangerous and dirty job but someones got to do it!