Alpha Male Is Back!

THE DAY AFTER ALPHA MALE’S RETURN – Sunday morning – thought Alpha Male would be keen for a sleep in and cuddle up in bed, but no….he’s up at 6am (which is actually late for him).

“Where are you going?” I grumble. “Thought you might be interested in some Sunday morning rumpy pumpy”. Attempt to flash sexy smile while flattening out smooshed up hair and discreetly flicking sleep out of eyes. Oh what the heck, we’ve been married for too long to bother with that.

“Off to do the lambing beat” he replied, not even remotely interested.

“Don’t be ridiculous. They’ll still be snoring their heads off, not used to me making an appearance til about 8.30”. (This was a bit of a lie, I usually didn’t get down there til closer to 9, and anyway it was Sunday morning, surely they would be reclining in bed, reading the paper and eating a cooked breakfast). Turned out I was right, they were still tucked up in the barn and really resented his intrusion.

Nice of Alpha Male to make me breakie when I finally dragged myself out of bed. Bit odd that he put a paint brush instead of a spoon in my bowl of cereal though…….

AND LATER THAT NIGHT – Have just had to conquer my fear of darkness and tigers (yes, have sighted a tiger on the farm and yesterday it urinated on the front door, probably marking its territory and next meal), to rescue poor lost lamb.

Alpha Male refused to accompany me down to the front paddock where I could hear a lamb bleating in an agitated manner, we’d just had a fight while feeding the pet lambs, he accused me of being a control freak. Snort. As if!

Anyhow I bravely marched down and found one of Ethel’s twins in another paddock, obviously slipped through a fence or under a gate. Returned twin to her mother. Ethel acted all relieved like “Oh I’ve been looking for her everywhere. My poor little girl. Been so worried”. Yeah right, NOT! I saw you there Ethel, reclining on the sofa, calmly sipping sauvignon blanc (straight from the bottle) and painting your toenails . Shame on you!! Shame! This ewe is out of control.

ALPHA MALE TAKES ME TO TOWN – “So Honey, how ’bouts I take you somewhere special and then we do a bit of shopping,” Alpha Male drawls. Obvioulsy he’s feeling guilty about leaving me for so long and has decided to take me to some place swanky for lunch, followed by a massive spending spree at Farmers and The Warehouse. Oooh, can’t wait!

Quickly change into my sexy red dress and knee high boots, then climbed into the farm ute (he was really thoughtful and gave me 5mins to get changed from mucky farm clothes to something appropriate).

As we drive into town he says “Don’t you think you’re a little overdressed?” Hhhmmm, well no, I didn’t think I was but now I’m beginning to wonder…..especially as he’s just pulled into the Saleyards.

Well we did shop, thoughtful of him to get me a drench gun, an innoculator and even a butchers knife that came with a bonus pocket knife.

As we dropped the chainsaws off to get fixed he looked at the time. “Bugger, it’s after 12 o’clock, better rush home so you can make me lunch!” exclaimed Alpha Male.

The Ten Day Trial – DAY ELEVEN – Alpha Male FINALLY Returns.

DAY ELEVEN: (note day ELEVEN, whatever happened to “I’ll be back in ten days“?).

Very strange occurrence over in the steer paddock. They have managed to OPEN the gate into the next paddock (the same gate that I failed to open in a feverish frenzy the other day, and I swear I ended up hurdling over it instead). So now am a little miffed because if the steers are so clever at opening gates, why didn’t they just move the electric fence and feed themselves each day, would have saved me a lot of walking and panic attacks.

The ewes arrived, perhaps not as wild as the father-in-law implied which leads me to believe he was teasing me. They trotted quite placidly up the hill to their new home, me barking furiously and giving them the ‘strong eye‘. Must talk to Alpha Male about getting a working dog, don’t think I can keep this up for much longer now that we have a bigger flock.

Spent a good hour with coffee mug in hand, wandering amongst them, making idle chitchat, searching for a new ‘bestie’, but to no avail.They were a bit stand-offish really. Considering putting an ad in the local papers instead.

Last minute cleanup around the house, don’t want Alpha Male to think I’ve been sitting around eating chocolate all week.

He finally rocked up in the late afternoon. “Hey dahlin, I’ve bought you a pressie”. Hmmm, nothing like 50 litres of colostrum to impress a girl.

I planned on playing it cool, attempting to appear nonchalant and unimpressed by his reappearance. Failed. Ended up throwing myself around his legs and begging him not to leave me again. Even more embarrassing than crying in front of the Father-in-law.

The Ten Day Trial (Days 9 & 10)

DAY NINE – All quiet on the farming front. The sun made an appearance, enough to get me keen enough to hang out the washing, but now is just white fog and can’t see anything. At least its not raining.

The black pig was foaming at the mouth this morning – it was either super excited to be fed or has rabies – decided not to go into the pen just in case.

The heifers have returned, bronzed and relaxed after their trip to somewhere sunny. Wandered over to ask if perhaps they had brought me a souvenir, maybe some duty free gin. They said no. I said that bikini strap marks are very unflattering and stomped away in a huff.

Alpha Male returns home in a few days. Am starting to have panic attacks. At some point before he left we agreed that I’d have the spare room painted before his return – I’m pretty sure I was drunk at the time though, so that can’t possibly count. And anyway shouldn’t painting be a team effort – him pushing the paint roller and me yelling “you missed a bit!”

I sit in the spare room, eating chocolate, pondering what to do. Am in a bit of a pickle.

Decide to write a list of realistic excuses as to why the job never got done, he’s very understanding, am sure he will see reason. The list is a bit pathetic and I’m not sure he will buy it. It says things like:-

1. It was raining, felt certain the paint would never dry.

2. The babies are so demanding and take up all my time.

3. Am a lazy cow. (well he may believe that one).

Instead I rummage through my clothes and find sexy lingerie. Positive this will sidetrack him. Practise my best ‘come to bed‘ face in the mirror. Look a bit constipated.

Will instead fake an injury. Spend quite some time wrapping bandages around limbs, limping and pulling a pained expression. Excellent. He’s sure to fall for it.My list writing has lead to writing a lengthy and comprehensive list for Alpha Male –Things To Do When You Return. He’ll love this, he responds to lists in a positive and calm manner and I’m sure he’ll willingly work his way through them and easily meet the week long deadline I’ve given him.

1. Fix ensuite toilet.

2. Build railing on front patio.

3. Build covered porch out back so we can leave messy gumboots there instead of front door.

4. Build calf shelters.

5. Build chook homes.

It goes on and on, won’t bore you with the details. Number 100. on the list is Find a full-time, well paid job that enables you to stay at home and never leave your wife to run the place again.

Bit worried about this last one and may delete it. Could lead to tricky questions as to why I’m not looking for a full-time (or even part-time) job. Will now have to prepare yet another list “1001 Reasons For Me Not To Get A Job“.

DAY NINE cont – Visit from the Father-in-law. Limped to door, swathed in bandages, whimpering for extra effect.

“What happened to you?” he asked.

” Don’t you remember me falling off the ladder nine days ago just as I was about to start painting?” I exclaimed.

“Don’t be ridiculous. This is the first time I’ve seen you this way. Are you sure you’re not faking it so Alpha Male doesn’t find out you never intended to paint”, he said.

Hhmmm, now only have 2 days to convince the Father-in-Law he is suffering from dementia or else my plan will fail.

Decide to do a full-on bake-a-thon. Alpha Male will find the aroma of fresh baking soothing plus if he’s really cranky with me at least I’ll have comfort food on hand. Now regretting my decision to make biscuits first, feeling a tad nauseated from eating all the raw biscuit dough.

DAY TEN – Needless to say Alpha Male either can’t count or lied intentionally because he won’t be back until sometime on the weekend. Grumble grumble.

And its just another one of those crappy arse days that just got worse and worse.

Remember the last set of twins who were born in the rain? Well one of them has been rather dopey, slow at feeding etc. Whenever I tried to feed it it seemed disinterested so I took that to mean it was getting enough from mum. Who’s the dope. Today I found it in the barn unable to stand and in very bad shape. Mum was bellowing for it outside (which was what alerted me in the first place) and now whenever she seems me she bellows and looks at me accusingly. Hello! She’s the flaming mother, surely she’s the responsible one? Anyhow, took the lamb inside and tried to figure out my next move. Was cold, put it by the fire and attempted to get electrolytes down its throat (at this stage had no idea as to what was wrong course of action). Not much success, so took the lamb to father-in-laws place so it could be force fed, this time with milk. The force feeder is a plastic tube that goes down the lambs throat, making sure you don’t get it into its lungs or obviously will die. I’m petrified of the force feeder.

So the deed was done, and I was handed a force feeder with instructions to feed again in 2 hours using the tube if necessary.

Went home dejected and traumatised. Dumped lamb in front of fire and decided to end it all. Walked over to the steers, lunged through the gate and flung myself down in the mud before them.

“End it now. Eat me! I can’t take it anymore”, I wailed.

The steers snickered. “You’re kidding right? You do realise we’re herbivores, we don’t eat meat, especially wouldn’t touch a lunatic like you”.

Well that just takes the cake! Am pissed off no-one thought to tell me this. Am extra annoyed because now I have extra muddy clothes to wash.

Trudged back home to feed sick lamb. Wouldn’t take it from the bottle so had to try the force feeder. Tried 3 times to get it in with no success. Secretly fearing drowning lamb to death. Very stressed. Took lamb to mother-in-law to do, she made it look very easy. She mentioned maybe it had phnemonia. I did further research and its either that or watery mouth. Went to the vet and got penicillin and this is the terrible part, had to inject drugs into its neck. Felt like throwing up. Alpha Male owes me a trip away big time, although I will settle for dinner at the local Thai Restaurant and a box of chocolates.

And now I know that the father-in-law really hates me. Received a phone call to say he just bought me 95 in-lamb OLD WILD ewes. “Lets see how quick you can kill these ones” he cackled. They arrive tomorrow…..

The Ten Day Trial (Days 7 & 8)

DAY SEVEN – I want Alpha Male to come home!! WAAAAAH! Today has just been totally awful and I’m so out of my depth here. Thank god we only have 6 ewes, not 600, I might consider leaving. And I’ll say sorry in advance because I doubt there is anyway I can say to make today humorous because it just hasn’t been. It’s rained non-stop all day and a horrible wind to boot. Noticed an unwell looking ewe in the barn this morning, she collapsed into a puddle of water while I was there, not a good sign, but I thought maybe she was in labour. Made her move to a dryer part of the barn and checked on her a few times but she didn’t move.

Read the vet manual which made me freak out so decided to visit the father-in-law for advice. She either has sleepy sickness or milk fever and he said he would come to check on her after lunch, in the meantime we decided that perhaps I should try and get her on to some pasture to feed. So of course she collapsed on the ground once outside the barn and it was tipping down with rain and she wouldn’t get up and I couldn’t pick her up so yes, I started crying, lots and lots. Sobbed on phone to the father-in-law. In the meantime had noticed a ewe had twins (out in the rain) (silly bitch) and checked on them, they looked cold, wasn’t sure how much I should interfere (as in snatch the children and run) but decided to wait for the father-in-law.

Just picture this, me trudging between the sick ewe and the twins, bawling my eyes out, backwards, forwards, not a pretty sight. Thankfully sister-in-law Number Two (Alpha Male must have his entire family on a roster system) turned up. Also sobbed in front of her. Um, embarrassing. We lifted the ewe into the barn. Grabbed the lambs and chased the other mother in as well. Number Two said they probably wouldn’t have survived much longer (next time will just go with my gut instinct).

Have mother and lambs caged up together, after Number Two gave them a feed off their mum, then wrapped them in a sheet. They perked up, although they did have to get a top up feed from us tonight, the ewe may have a teat problem so will have to keep an eye on her. She also has attitude, stamped her foot at me, so I stamped mine right back at her, well she raised my stamp with another of her own! Am officially scared of her and not sure if I want to get in the pen with her tomorrow.

As for the sick ewe, the father-in-law gave her several kinds of medication but not sure if she will live, dreading finding her dead tomorrow. I think I’m more sad that her babies may not get the chance to be born, although Number Two said they could well be dead already. She said that I’ve got to accept that with farming comes losses, I said I’ve only got 6 ewes and they all have to bloody well live (I may have cried again….).

But Peter and Emily are doing well. Put them out into the stables today as the laundry was starting to smell like sheep wee and you can only live in a box for so long, but by early afternoon had bought them back to the house again because the rain was blowing in. They have the cutest little coats on to keep them warm but glad I bought them back as I wouldn’t want to be walking over there to feed them later tonight. We still haven’t managed a feeding routine. I keep caving and end up demand feeding! Tomorrow will be tough love time. Peter is particularly demanding, he has a very loud bleat for such a small boy, so really anything to shut him up. Suspect Emily may be a juvenile delinquent in the making. She’s like a little jack-in-the-box come dinner time, trying to bounce out the removal carton, feed me, feed me.

For now though, its bucketing down outside, we have no decent chocolate in the house (I’ve been reduced to eating the cooking chocolate) and I just want the weekend to come round fast.

DAY EIGHT – Only just escaped with my life today! My ultra-quick reflexes managed to save me. Was shifting the steers when I almost fell into a practically human size hole in the ground. There are 2 very plausible theories for this hole’s presence:- a) the steers are in the process of digging a pit trap, so they can capture me and probably eat me or b) the steers are trying to tunnel their way out of the paddock, make their way to the house, corner me and probably eat me. Or maybe c) a rabbit burrow collapsed with all the rain we’ve been having, but this is so far fetched a sensible person wouldn’t even consider it.

After reading the lamb milk instructions about 10 times I’ve only just realised that I’ve been feeding them about 250mls more than they actually need. Would explain all the poops in their box this morning, what goes in must come out, right? So their smelly little bums are now back in the stables and I think I’ve finally got the feed routine sorted.

Also supplementing yesterdays newborn twins. They always seem hungry so is possible mum isn’t producing enough milk. Noticed Ethel’s girls stealing a feed off of her this afternoon though, so that can’t be helping matters. Typical Ethel, fobbing her children off to someone else while she goes shopping or whatever it is that sheep do.

Actually am lamenting the fact that Ethel and I are no longer BESTIES. I really thought her and I had ‘friends forever‘ potential, cos we had sooooo much in common. But the last few days it would have been really good to have a shoulder to cry on (apart from the father-in-law’s and the sister-in-laws and sobbing long distance calls to Alpha Male…..).

Bet you’re wondering what happened to the ill ewe from yesterday? Well its not good news, her condition deteriorated overnight and the father-in-law believed she would only get worse. So she went to sheep heaven and didn’t have to suffer anymore. Even sadder though was that she was pregnant with triplets but they were all too small and didn’t survive.

Had to do a run into town after that for ‘Essential Supplies‘. Vacuum cleaner bags, most unfortunate that the vacuum cleaner has been out of action…..Milk, the lack of it created issues this morning…..Toilet paper, again not fun when you find you don’t have any…..Most importantly needed more CHOCOLATE. After carefully reading the labels discovered that SNACK chocolate is an awesome choice, not only does it give a warm fuzzy comforting feeling, but it contains strawberries, oranges, pineapples and coconut so am getting my daily fruit dose. And golly, I really need some fruit in my diet because lately I’ve just been piling on the weight!

The Ten Day Trial (Days 5 & 6)

DAY FIVE – Have stared my chores earlier than normal this morning. 7.30, that’s just insanity. But the weather forecast for today is not promising so would pay to be organised. Plus I have a ewe-tipping date with the father-in-law at 9.30 this morning and it’d be embarrassing to have him find me still snoring in bed!

Armed with chook scraps and a shovel (I’ve found slipping on afterbirth loses the thrill factor after a bit) I head to the barn to let out Ethel (apparently!) and her babies. They seem fine, everyone has been fed. When the father-in-law arrived (early!!! he was trying to catch me out!) he gives the thumbs up and says to check on her this afternoon.

The clouds are starting to hang lower and its drizzling as I set off to move the steers. They’re hungry. They snort and stamp and toss their pointy horns around in a wild frenzy when they seem me approach. “I can do this” I mumble to myself. “I CAN DO THIS!” I roar. Those self help books really seem to be working.

I employ the usual hay distraction techniques before sneaking into the paddock. One of them glances my way and hisses something that sounds like “Your mine” but doesn’t move from the hay. Whew. So far so good. I’m jittery by the time I’ve reached the reel but feeling confident. I just have to get it finished fast, it can be done.

Darn. I knot the tape again, this time a BIRDNEST. I’m sure it’s not possible to make a mess like this twice. I decide that the Alpha Male has deliberately sabotaged me with faulty equipment and mentally compose a snarky text message to send him later. But no time for that now, I’m running with my bird nest to the bottom of the hill. It takes a good half an hour to untangle it and put up the new break. By the time I’m done I’m frantic. (But also take the time to admire the extremely wonky fence line I’ve created, its always satisfying to piss of Alpha Male, even if he isn’t aware of it!).

For some inexplicable reason the steers haven’t rampaged over the hill. They are toying with me, I just know it. But I have to return to the bottom, there were knot tying issues and I have to double check it will hold. By now the clouds have really closed it and I can’t see further than 20 metres in front of me. I’m surrounded by a sea of white.

Suddenly a head appears over the rise. Followed by another 9. They don’t even bother to run. In fact they amble. They know they have me cornered. I’m done for.

Or am I? I see a gate and pole-vault over it. I don’t stop running until I have 3 hot wires, two paddocks and a wooden gate between me and them.

“Children” I wail when I finally I stumble through the front door, “Mummy needs a glass of something strong to drink”.

DAY SIX – Not sure if Ethel is feeling that well. Perhaps the Baby Blues have kicked in or maybe she’s just lamenting the loss of her freedom now that she has 3 little brats constantly hanging off her. It could well be that this rainy weather is making her feel a little low (I’m even feeling the pits, yesterday afternoon I made a pot of chocolate fudge to cheer me up and told my kids it was gravy for the roast so I didn’t have to share!). Either way I think she should be getting out and about a bit more and tucking into some green grass, gotta keep eating, it’s not healthy to lose all that baby weight by starving yourself. That’s what I told her anyway. Ethel and I have formed a really strong friendship, probably because we shared a few ewe-tipping moments together. I like to think of myself as the lambs’ grandmother and already they are calling me Grammy Farmgirl. So cute!

Haven’t seen the heifers for two days now, I suspect they have packed their bags and gone on holiday, probably to some place where the sun is shining, maybe Australia. Just hoping they return before the weekend or I’ll have some explaining to do to Alpha Male.

Met up with the father-in-law and his mate at the Saleyards this morning. Their job was to stop me from making silly bids on cattle/sheep. They were such bad news though and actually did the opposite by encouraging me. Was a pen of manky ewes selling and they had a TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE DEAL happening. (I love those kind of deals!). Buy one manky ewe and get a lamb free!!! Bargain! And they were those little cute brown ones that I love so much…..So the guys are saying things like “Go on have a bid” “Go another one” “Alpha Male won’t notice a few more manky sheep what with all the other rough ones you’ve already got”. That bought me back to my senses real fast.

So no new additions to our place today but I’m wondering now if maybe I should have gone one more bid, I’d really love some little brown lambs……I could have told Alpha Male they were just muddy.

Was alerted by forlorn bleating sounds in the front paddock. Went down to discover Ethel partying hard, leaving her poor son out in the cold and obviously hungry. Told her I was appalled by her lack of responsibility, that when I said she should go out for a feed I meant at some nice child friendly cafe where they serve organic salads, NOT a bar snack at the local pub followed by the pokies and tequila shots with the girls. Made her feed her son, she looked a little ashamed of herself. Hope she remembers that she left both the girls in the car park before she leaves. Am also a little annoyed I didn’t get an invite……

A CONTINUATION OF DAY SIX – Ethel and I are no longer on speaking terms. For the second time today found her son abandoned by the wayside. Child services were called in and he’s been whisked away (currently living in a removal carton in my laundry, not sure if child services would approve of that either!). According to the father-in-law it was kind of inevitable, you know the story, two’s company, three’s a crowd, and he’s just too little to compete with his ¬†burly sisters. I’ve also resorted to sheep rustling. While talking to the father-in-law noticed a little ball of wool by the front driveway treeline and discovered another baby lamb, alive but very cold and hungry. We’ve 4 ewes left to lamb but didn’t appear to be from them and nearest neighbour to this particular paddock was quite a distance. Father-in-law told me that sometimes they get blown with the wind (and it was rather windy), he was quite straight faced, so have decided to believe him. Will now check tree lines, ditches and grassy knolls on very windy days, just in case I find some more motherless lambs. Favourite Son wanted to put the lambs in the oven to warm them up. I said yes but maybe when they were a bit bigger, along with some spuds and pumpkin….But Emily and Peter (named by Middle Child and The Unruly One) are safe for now. And I’m now a 4 times a day feeding schedule, bottle scrubbing and floor mopping (Emily peed all over the floor). Have even resorted to bartering eggs for fresh colostrum with the dairy farmers over the road.