Fencing Failure

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Alpha Male is on ‘holiday’. This means he’s not leaving for work each day but staying home and ‘catching up on a few chores’. Today’s ‘chore’ was refencing the driveway. He’s a man on a mission, unstoppable, oh and he expects me to share his enthusiasm.

After much fiddle fluffing and general dawdling around the house, I eventually ran out of excuses and go out to ‘help’ him. I was given a very simple chore, hammer the insulators onto the posts with staples. Very very simple. I’ve done it all before. However I did find the 15 minute lecture he gave me prior to starting extremely off-putting. The pressure was on for the fence to look just perfect, because well….the cows expect perfection right!

He left me to it and Favourite Son was on stand by as chief staple/insulator handerer.  I was a bit nervous while hammering in those staples, straight lines and I aren’t exactly the best of friends, and I swear EVERY staples I hammered went in on some sort of awkward angle. Plus we were working on top of a ridge and the wind was both chilling and howling (for the record, those howling winds drive me insane).

Tap, tap, tap. Twist, bend, warp. Frustration brewing. Made a right mess of one staple and it had to come out. But wouldn’t.

“Can you please go ask your father for a pair of pliers”, I said to Favourite Son, “And if he asks say you want to trim your toenails”.

Darn, the pliers pulled the staple out of the timber but not out of the insulator, there is a tiny little barb holding it in place.

“Can you please go ask your father for bolt cutters”, I ask Favourite Son, “If he asks, then mention your toenails again”.

Favourite Son scampers back with bolt cutters. “I’m sorry mum, I really am, but he followed me back”. (Hmmm, he doesn’t sound sorry, in fact he’s laughing his head off).

Problem fixed, but really I’m not enjoying this and making a bad job of it. Favourite Son leaves me and my foul mood, his parting shot is “I’m going to work with a professional”. Cheeky bugger.

Aaargh the pain! Chest pain that is. Could I be having a heart attack? Nope, my heart is on the other side. Indigestion? Or could it just be some sort of muscle strain from wielding the hammer (and possibly because I whacked the post a few times in a childish angry moment). Decide to lie down in the grass, it’s actually warmer on the ground away from the wind. Wonder how long it will take for Alpha Male to come and see what’s wrong with me………waiting, waiting, waiting…..well he never bothers to come (although later he tells me that he and Favourite Son had a good old laugh at my expense).

Stomp stomp stomp. I’m gone. Off in a hissy-fit of a huff.

Maybe tomorrow when we do another fence I’ll be in a better mood.

 

Prison

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The girls have started laying in mysterious places, so mysterious that I’ve been unable to locate their eggs over the past week. Normally they happily free range by the sheep yards and if they aren’t laying in their nesting boxes then I can usually find the odd improvised nest in the barn.

Out of 7 hens I’ve been getting one egg (from the white silkie who is obviously a good girl). Another hen is currently sitting on a batch of fertile eggs which should hopefully hatch around Christmas. One of the red hens  lays an egg with a very brittle shell (so far shellgrit hasn’t fixed the problem) so her eggs are usually a broken mess. Still I should be getting at least 4 -5 eggs per day, 3 on a bad day, out of the 5 remaining hens.

The egg shortage is causing chaos in our household. Any we do have I’m saving for baking Christmas goodies. On Sunday night we had bacon and salad burgers as a quickie dinner. Alpha Male wanted eggs on his (2 burgers, that’s TWO eggs, I don’t think so bucko!!). He was very annoyed when I said no, we just don’t have enough. Got right snarly in fact and I had to listen to a lengthy tirade on the lack of eggs and how he should be able to have eggs whenever he wants because he doesn’t just work for the fun of it (this lecture is usually reserved for when we don’t have any ice-cream in the house, such dramas, the poor boy, yawn!). He wanted to know why, if I knew we didn’t have any eggs, didn’t I  purchase some when I went grocery shopping. “Well we have chickens”, I shot back at him “Why on earth would I buy eggs!!”. By golly he is frustrating! Hee hee!

So a few days ago I decided to lock the hens up in their coop until they learnt to behave. The next morning 2 eggs. Today 3 eggs. If only I could find their secret stash, then we would really be rolling in eggs!

Bit of a drama this morning. Alpha Male discovered that the steers had NO WATER. This explains why yesterday whenever I walked past their paddock (which I did on about 10 separate occasions while refilling the knapsack and spot spraying) they would all follow me along the fence line and moo. I had checked their water in the morning because the ballcock on that particular trough occasionally sticks and the water overflows, but all was good so I didn’t bother to check again. I’d also emptied and refilled 3 other troughs and not bothered to check that they had filled okay.

Can you see a bit of a pattern occurring? General slackness and apathy perhaps? Obviously a routine I need to train myself to get into, especially with summer approaching and animals get hot and thirsty. My first thought whenever the cattle bellow and chase me (apart from fearing for my life) is that they are hungry – always my mind turns to food! So that is what I thought yesterday, that they had chewed the paddock out enough and wanted moved on, even told them that I would mention it to Alpha Male that night. Would explain their foot stomping and head shaking, they were saying “No, no, you stupid girl! We want water, W A T E R.”

Alpha Male was mega-stressed, while he did temporarily rectify the situation he is still stumped as to what is the root cause, plus he got cranky because he yet again tried to explain to me how our water scheme works, and I yet again failed to understand exactly what he was talking about. Just like he fails to understand why we don’t need ice-cream 24/7.

He Left Me AGAIN!!!

The man doesn’t learn! He’s gone away again, he and Favourite Son are away on School Camp, having fun no doubt. This time he’ll only be away for 4 days, but anything could happen in that short space of time.

Waded across the hills through knee length grass, time to shift the mob of cattle. Was relatively easy to get them from one paddock to the next. All I had to do was open a gate, hide in the shelter belt behind the safety of the fence and yell “Come on up!” at the top of my lungs. They all came, even the wild river heifers who stampeded through the gate in a tightly formed pack, giving me the wild eye as they passed. Oh, except for one…. there is always one…who took its time, sat around for a bit, finally got to its feet, ambled along, then decided to moo pathetically because the others had left it behind. As if they care about you buddy, they’re off munching through the luscious green stuff. Finally, finally he decides to get a move on, and actually bucks his heels up into the air as he galloped by. Like I was scared, its safe up in the pine branches…

So I had this moment of happiness as I dangled there, admiring their fat shiny hides, watching them contentedly converting greenery into, well, another kind of greenery.

But there’s mowing to be done. Can’t lurk in the shelter belt all day. Hard going mowing on hills. Have decided that Alpha Male is right, we do need to get the digger man in to flatten the backyard because there is no way I want to mow that lawn again. It actually didn’t worry me when he was mowing it, in fact I may have told him to “stop whingeing and keep mowing, no we can’t afford the digger man just at the moment”. Looking up the digger man in the Yellow Pages right now.

Lawn mowed and time to spray. Yep you read that correctly. I am fully ashamed to admit defeat and finally resorting to chemicals as a last-ditch effort because the weeds are driving me insane. Reckon if I spray then heavily mulch I may achieve some sort of equilibrium and not need to spray again, hopefully.

In the meantime however, Twill the lamb is dying. For 3 days now I’ve been treating her for bloat, but whatever she has its killing her and she is suffering terribly. Of course Alpha Male isn’t here to deal with the situation and I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t be able to go through with doing the deed. So I move her to a comfortable position (actually that’s partly a lie, I moved her away from the other lambs so that I couldn’t see her while I’m feeding them because it was too upsetting), then continue on with setting up the backpack sprayer.

Can’t get the lid off the sprayer. I try and try and try but it just won’t budge. Up till this point I’ve managed a few quiet sobs over Twill’s plight but now I’m sitting on the floor of Alpha Male’s Man Cave wailing loudly, nose running, tears falling, thinking that I just want to leave because really its all far too hard. Oh wait, the extra lubricant from my tears has made opening the backpack sprayer lid easier……

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.