Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Disaster log

First, the sheep got out. Haggis the half-wit sheepdog and I were moving them to a hot-wire corral on the front lawn, where a nice feed of oats awaited them. Oats in front, man and dog behind, are usually enough to get sheep where you need them to go. Not this time. Haggis screwed up as usual; jumping the gun, he split the herd, leaving three in the night-time security pen, and before I could get them out of there, I'd missed seeing which way the others went.

Thinking somewhat automatically, I put what sheep I still had together in the barn quickly, then went in search of the others. Haggis and I went up hill and down dale and all around the houses. No sheep, nowhere.

So I went to move the few sheep I did have out of the barn and back to the security pen, where they had no food and so would loudly bleat and bring the missing ones home. It was only after I got them all in there and counted, I realized I had them all after all. No-one had actually run off. They were all in a group when I put them in the barn. There just seemed to be less sheep than before. Probably because we just sold two lambs.

Then, sheep finally grazing more or less safely on the front lawn, I went back to the firewood chore. The tractor I use for hauling wouldn't start, a dead battery. Breathing my first big sigh of the day (but not the last), I put it on a charge and went in on foot to cut trees.

The first tree I cut leaned backwards and trapped the chainsaw. I was able to topple it by cutting in from the notch with the other saw, but not without mangling the first.

So I worked on the first saw and fixed it. Then I dropped a nasty old widow-maker dead cherry with loose dead limbs aloft. I wore my hard hat for that one. Once at Pea Ridge farm in Maryland, I was once almost killed by a hickory limb falling out of an old dead tree as I felled it. Only the fact that I was wearing a hard hat saved me. Even so I still could only crawl to the house to call an ambulance. The saw fixed, the widow maker down safely, things were looking up!

I cut about 2/3 of a cord before lunch-and-a-nap. I was tired from splitting cherry logs. Getting done with the nap, I came out to a flat tire on the lawn tractor. Sigh. This front tire has been partly filled with spray foam because it won't hold air and I'm too cheap to buy a replacement, but the spray foam was quitting on me. And then, as I was kneeling to hammer out the pin that holds the wheel to the axle, I felt my arthritic knee give way. Again. This trick knee, the worst of two I own, is a legacy of my days on RAF Mountain Rescue. If I was an American veteran, I'd get a Purple Heart. As it is, all I have is a couple of wobbly legs and thanks for the memories.

Again. Bloody hell. Sigh.

Not one to give up on an interesting hypothesis too easily, and needing to run to town to get chainsaw gas, I picked up a whole can of spray foam, which I duly emptied into the tire. Looking good, nice and plump. Spray foam tires need to sit for 24 hours so there was no more logging for that day. I sharpened chainsaw blades instead.

Before I did that, I took the sheep off the front lawn and put them in the main paddock to eat the leaves of the ash and cherry limbs from earlier. Then I sharpened blades, and then went in to make supper. Only I didn't quite secure the garden gate. Of this fact, more later. Sigh, in anticipation.

While I was making supper, Aimee came in to tell me a mouse with newborn babies was trapped in the oat pail from this morning. My fault, of course, What did I think I was doing, dufus that I was? Trapping a poor pregnant mouse. There was off course no mouse in the pail when I set it down, and heaven knows how it actually got in there, but I just heaved another big dutiful sigh and went to find a safe place to release a poor trapped mother mouse and family.

While I was mouse-freeing, Aimee says "Mick! The sheep are in the garden!"

Now sheep in the vegetable garden is one our worst nightmares, and there they were, the woolly buggers, muching all our brassicas, newly planted.

Bloody. F*&^%$k. Hell. I kicked them out, of course, but the damage was done. I was furious.

I did my best to reset the onion sets, and put out more lettuce seedlings to replace the ones that we gone, but the cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts were history.

Huge monster sigh.

Aimee was catatonic and didn't speak to me until bedtime. Except of course, when I went to lock up the barn for the night and found the cat chasing the poor mother mouse. Thinking this merely interesting, I reported this to Aimee on my return. Who told me immediately I must go rescue said mouse.

Of course, I was too late. By then, the cat had caught the mouse and was heading for points west with the still-struggling mouse in her teeth. Luckily, that was that. I wasn't required to go chase after the cat and save the mouse.

Small mercies. Sigh. But that mouse's death was clearly on me. Another sigh.

Mouse murderer.

And then what? This morning I put the sheep out again, only this time I left a gate open. I was munching granola with Aimee in the living room, she now willing to converse, me thankful for restoration to the status of person, when I saw them out of the corner of my eye heading west at a high clip.


Today, I'm sore and still upset. And my dicky knee doesn't want to work. F$#k it. I think I'll do some nice safe office work instead of farm work today.

1 comment:

  1. ouch... sorry to hear that.
    Days like that, man ... :)


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