Sunday, 1 March 2009

A weekend of animal husbandry

I hope some of you know how to have a relaxing weekend. Saturday and Sunday are when I forget what it's like to sit down for a minute.
After the general round of feeding and watering the first task was lifting two enormous second hand pig arks off a flatbed trailer, onto another one that could be pulled by a tractor, ferrying them to their various pig paddocks and gently, gently using lengths of scaffold pole as rollers to slide them to the ground. Much scratching of heads to perfect this process; number two ark came off in seconds.
Then it was time for inveigling the weaners into the tractor link box, carting them into said paddocks and watching them run with glee and abandon, round and round and round. They found the ark and its thick bed of straw, sorted the drinker and were off again to enjoy their freedom.
Into town to satisfy my Saturday Guardian fix, buy some R clips from the tractor shop and post some hatching eggs.
What next? Mucking out the four duck and goose huts and candling the eggs in the incubator. Then I walked to the far side of the farm to bring home the eight tegs being kept to add to next year's breeding stock. They are incredibly skippity and bounce rather than trot. I had to scamper in ungainly fashion, across mud and rush and sheep poo to keep up with them. They came to a particularly muddy, squishy gateway. They yearned to go through but didn't like to get their dainty toes wet. I clanged the two buckets I had in my hands and yelled and terrified them across the sludge. Then it was full pelt, them and me, towards the gate into the field they were headed for. They haven't done this journey for many months, and then only once and in the opposite direction, but they knew where they were going. They stood back for me to open the gate and then whizzed through, heads down to nibble whatever poor grass they could find.
By now it was time to feed all the neighbours' animals as they were having a short jaunt out. I can't believe the size of their boar - he is huuuggge! Then back to put all the animals here into their pens, night time feeds and last check at everything before collapsing onto a plate of mutton stew cooked overnight in the Aga.
Sunday was the diaried day for worming and vaccinating all the sheep. Now kept in three separate flocks, everything had to be brought one flock at a time into the barn, dealt with and returned before the next bunch could be jabbed and drenched. Taking advantage of the dry weather, I clipped off any dingleberries, and squawked when I handled a soft sample. Back to the house to nailbrush vigorously under my finger nails. Yeuch.
Off to one of the top fields to burn up the brush from the hedgelaying from last month. The dogs and I play about, having a love-in moment whilst the digger pushed the massive heap of twigs onto the flames; it's so hot I have to move back and take off my jacket. After making dinner and feeding and bedding once again, I trek up to the fire and fork in the bits around the tonsure.
I head for the shower and realise to my shame, that having done the usual early morning stint in nightie, tracksuit bottoms and wellies, that I still have my nightie on. It's dark, all I'm going to do now is hoover, have supper and fall into an armchair, so after the shower I just stick a clean nightie on and hope my lapse at failing to get dressed all day is a forgivable sin. It's not as if I lay in bed all day, is it?


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Lucky devil! Not all of us have the opportunity to idle away our weekends like that!

Mopsa said...

Wanna try it YP?

Arcadian Advocate said...

Good to know others have weekends like ours.. we thought we were the only mad people, welcome to the club!

farmingfriends said...

Sounds like a weekend on our farm!
Really enjoyed reading about all your activities and love the photo. It's amazing what activities we do in our nightwear. Cats, cattle, pigs and badgers have all seen my pjs and dressing gown, a great look with wellies!!!
Kind regards
Sara from farmingfriends

Mopsa said...

AA and FF - all around the country - probably around the world - there are people like us doing what we do. Isn't it a comfort?