Thursday, 22 October 2009

Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em

I was in the workshop, cutting wood for the fire, when I heard a commotion from the barn.

When I say 'commotion', I mean a bloody great snorting, banging and general kerfuffle - a bit more than the average duck or chicken would create. A bit more than the average herd of wildebeest would create.

I patiently laid down the axe, wandered through and there was Molly the sow. Having fought her way past the straw, she was doing her best to overturn my concrete mixer en route to the bulging feed bins. That'll teach me to leave the barn door open.

Molly, who has 'previous' in the escapology department, had grown tired of her paddock and walked through the electric fence and over/under/around another fence before working out exactly where the next two weeks' dinners were.

As she engaged in hand-to-hand (trotter-to-trotter?) combat with the mixer, I got hold of a bucket, put a scoop of feed in it, got her attention and led her back to her paddock.

I shut the door and tidied up, then set about improving security with the help of an old gate, two sheep hurdles, an extending ladder and a damp fence post which I managed to split while banging it in. (Tip: use another piece of wood, lay it across the top and hit that with the hammer).

Did I mention it was blowing a gale?

And it was raining.

Ten minutes later Molly had broken through the electric fence again and, denied access to the barn by my makeshift barrier, was eyeing up my leeks.

The bucket-feed-back-in-the-paddock routine followed. I had a look at the fence and thought: "I really must get one of those tester thingys that check if there's any charge in the wire."

There was nothing for it but to resort to a quick tap with the back of my hand.

Nothing. No wonder she was getting out.

I reached up to the energiser to check the connection.

SNAP! "Ow! Bollocks!"

Forgot to disconnect the battery first. Still at least I knew where the problem was and a couple of minutes later a new piece of copper wire was transferring lots of lovely current into the fence and I was walking back towards a fresh jug of nice hot coffee.

SNAP! "Squeal! Bollocks!*" The fence was working.

An hour later, it was time to get the horses in. Dotty - pregnant with "a future Badminton** winner" (so I keep being told) - came over and allowed me to clip on the lead rope. She took two steps and stopped dead, deciding there was no way she'd go past Little Kim's paddock.

I pulled and Dotty pulled back, pulled harder, wrenched the rope out of my hand span round and kicked out at me, contact being avoided by a dive that would have won a round of applause from any Premiership football squad.

I gave her ten minutes to calm down, then managed to grab the rope and, with a lot of very gentle persuasion, got her as far as the gate where she decided progress wasn't fast enough, wrenched herself free again and charged off, skidding to a halt just outside the stable door. By the time I caught up with her she was inside and tucking into Teddy's tea.

Women, eh?

* She didn't say "bollocks". Pigs can't talk.

** I wasn't previously aware that horses played badminton, but I'd pay good money to see it.


Dave said...

I'd stick with the carrots in future. They tend not to fight back.

Lindsay said...

It really is a pig's life!

Jimmy Bastard said...

And the moral of this story is; Always keep your women safely tethered in the barn when not porking or riding them!

Boom Boom.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Have got a copy of Drovers book for you - address?-

Anonymous said...

"SNAP!Ow! Bollocks!"...not that kind of "tester thingy."

Sian said...

Actually I've been surprised all along that your horses tolerated living near pigs - most of my acquaintance I couldn't get within half a mile of a pig - and believe me in wind and rain when it was the only way home I *tried*. Anyway - you're out in the wind, rain, gales, mud, wind, wrestling with gates/fences/barn doors, not to mention pigs and horses in the wind, rain and gales - remind me why you chose this lifestyle again?

elizabethm said...

I was feeling quite hearty having taken a couple of hours to dismantle a vast edifice covered in this year's bean crop, but now I realise I am a mere novice. Don't think my chickens count.