Evening Dress

In which Chrissy B provides, for your entertainment, photographs and description of her Friday evening pony wrangling outfit.

Aussie hat and jewellery

… topped off with a singlet, an oilskin hat and a bit of bling.
Oh, and that’s a random stalk of hay stuck to the hat band.

This is what happens when you come in from work and change into something comfortable; then, forgetting you are still wearing jewellery (having made an effort in your work ensemble), you head out to coax your little fat pony into her overnight ‘low grass’ area.

Fortunately when you live on a fun size snippet of land in a rural area, only your nearest and dearest are subjected to your unusual outfits. I’ve been known to stay in sleepwear all day, even walking the dogs and mowing the lawn in my PJs. I love the sartorial freedom of living on a farmlet.

What’s the weirdest outfit you’ve worn recently?

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Podium

What sheep do when they think no-one’s watching…

Our neighbour’s sheep concentrate hard as they skilfully arrange themselves into a tableau. This particular scene quite clearly depicting a moment from the 1984 Olympic medal ceremony for synchronised swimming.

Sheep on logs

Evidence of sheep antics captured by Stephen of House Kragbol.

Meanwhile our sheep are playing poker in the bottom paddock.

What are you getting up to in your spare time?

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Three of a Kind?

The Forbearing Husband and I have just returned from a few days in the capital. While on the bus travelling to the airport for our return flight, we exchanged these messages with those holding the fort at the farmlet.

Messenger screenshot

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Messenger screenshot

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So there you have it. The adventures of three delinquent Whiltshire ewes, an explanation for the non-appearance of our anticipated final lamb, and a heads-up about a pending post on a thermometer and a piglet’s bottom. The excitement just never ends.

Stay tuned…

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Leg of Lamb

For reasons which will be explained in tomorrow’s post, maternity ward productivity on the farmlet remains at a stand-still. While I leave you to wonder what’s up with that, here is a blog post about this year’s first-born lamb. He had a little adventure all of his own.

Read on for a story about the leg of a lamb. It’s okay — nothing culinary.

Lamb with splint on broken leg

Fluro accessorising for the Discerning Lamb About Town. Or in this case, in the Bottom Paddock.

See, that’s the leg we are talking about. The one with the bandage.

A few days after this little chap was born we noticed him limping. Puzzled as to what might be ailing someone so very new to the world, we asked Linda-Down-the-Lane if she would mind coming over to have a look. Linda-Down-the-Lane sold us our sheep, and she still kindly helps us out when sheep-wrangling tasks exceed our limited expertise. We are gradually learning the ropes, but this was a situation we thought best handed over to a Real Farmer.

On examination our consulting shepherd diagnosed a broken leg. We’re all at a bit of a loss as to how this happened, but Linda thought Broken Lambie’s mother may have accidentally sat on him. Careless!

Lamb with splint on broken leg

Could this doting mother have been the cause of a broken lambie?

Well, there we were, with Linda holding 15kg+ of lamb, while Daredevil Deborah and I sprinted around looking for leg-mending materials at short notice. The options were fairly limited, but we managed to gather together a couple of sticks and a cohesive bandage with which to improvise a splint.

Linda cuddled our patient, who seemed quite relaxed. He even had a little nap while I played at being vet. One thing about living with a menagerie is that you do get a bit of practice at impromptu animal repair. The last time I stabilised a broken a leg it was with similar materials. That crippled white chicken made a good recovery, so we felt cautiously confident that our makeshift splint would do the trick.

Whiltshire lamb

Splint removed, Mended Lambie sneaks up behind one of the twins to say ‘BOO’.

And it did. We removed the splint last weekend, and little lamb seems quite well-mended. I spotted him this morning bouncing around with the young twins looking for all the world as if we’d replaced his leg with a spring. The wonderful thing about baby lambs is… they heal up fast.

Anyone else been fixing things? Next on my list is a tea towel with a hole.

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Two-fer Two

Nothing much more to say. I’m just here with the promised extra pics of the twins born yesterday.

Whiltshire Twin Lambs

Mother and babies seem to be thriving.

Whiltshire twin lambs

Already they seem bigger.

Whiltshire lambs

It’s still not clear whether one is a girl, but the one closest to us has been positively identified as a boy.

The last hold-out mama remains obstinately pregnant. The Forbearing Husband and I are off tomorrow for a few days in Wellington so perhaps she’ll hold on until we get back. Gestation, like love, cannot be hurried.

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Two-fer

Our super-sized mumma finally gave birth this morning and now we see the reason for that excessively large girth.

Twin Whiltshire lambs

Yup, we have twins!

I grabbed these photos in fading light after I got home from work so they are not fabulous quality. I’ll see if I can get some better shots of our new additions tomorrow morning. I wanted to let you know straight away though, since you have been Humming Hopefully for a while now.

Twin Whiltshire lambs

Looks like we might have a boy and a girl…

Twin Whiltshire lambs

…but it’s pretty hard to be sure just yet.

Until tomorrow then. I’m off now to count sheep!

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A Tiny Day

The Forbearing Husband and I made Tiny into our base camp today while a nice man called Hamish prepped our kitchen floor ready for the new [redacted] to be laid. Not telling yet, I want to keep you in suspense a little while longer!

Tiny house with dogs

Dog tired after moving all that kitchen paraphernalia around.

It’s felt a little like being on holiday. More so after Forbearing Husband ventured into the kitchen to extract the kettle, and our tea making supplies. Because really, what kind of a holiday is it without a nice cup of tea?

If we are out here long enough another raid may have to be staged to obtain the gin and a bottle of tonic. Limes we have aplenty, on a tree just beside our tiny abode. Handy!

Tiny house writer

Tiny house writer.

Book and cup of tea

Tiny house tea drinker.

So, Forbearing Husband has been working at his scribblings*. I have been reading, and futzing with emails. Any minute now it will be time to brush and feed the ponies, and then we are off out for dinner. A wise choice I thought, since the kitchen is largely empty.

Kitchen floor with compound

Floor prepped kitchen, looking towards dining area.

and the living room looks like this:

Messy room

Sigh, we’ll be sorting that out after dinner.
And just when things were almost back to only our normal state of disorder.

Worst of all, there seems to be a fine film of dust on every surface. Oh wait, I think maybe that was already there.

How was your Thursday? Anyone else experiencing a fine film of dust?!

* And most worthy scribbling they are, to be sure.

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What’s cooking?

Apart from those unborn lambs!

Granola

A new batch of AntiGene Muesli. Here’s the recipe.

Visitors to the farmlet have been missing their fix of AntiGene Muesli over the last few months (sorry Little Quail and Nurse Jenny). One way and another I’ve been too busy (or lazy), to get to Bin Inn and stock up on the raw ingredients.

All sorted now though after a bumper shop last week. And we’re cookin’.

Take note, you sheep-mamma’s with lambs in the oven. Your turn next to deliver the goods.

Anyone else getting started on something they’d been putting off?

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Expecting

I was hoping to be able to share cute photos of the rest of our baby lambs today. I’m afraid there has been a small hitch in that plan though — they haven’t been born yet. That’s right, we still have just one mother and baby pair, and two increasingly broad-in-the-beam mums-to-be.

Pregnant Whiltshire ewe

Mother-in-waiting #1. Surely to goodness this must be twins.

Our sheep gestation calculations suggested that we would have lambs at the beginning of September. Our first boy was born on the 5th, so naturally we felt certain there’d be more babies along at any minute. Now, after eight days with zero additional deliveries, I can only guess that Mr Ram — overwhelmed by exhaustion after the first impregnation — had to send out for oysters. Courier service to rural areas can take some time.

Pregnant Whiltshire ewe

Mother-in-waiting #2. This one is a first time mum.

Don’t worry, I’ll let you know as soon as there is a population increase. While we’re waiting perhaps you could hum a little something in a Hopeful Manner? I’ll leave the choice of tune to you.

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That’ll Do Pig

As previously mentioned, we got our kunekune pigs with high hopes for them being useful as lawn mowers. After some years of mowing largish lawns at our old house, the Forbearing Husband had expressed a deep desire to avoid pushing a mower around at the farmlet. I promised (quite recklessly, in hindsight) that he wouldn’t need to. I was quite sure we could get some farm animals to keep the lawns tidy. I even had a plan to call our eagerly awaited lawn-mowing sheep Briggs and Stratton.

Kunekune pig

Fig the pig, adorned with blades of grass undoubtedly gained while creating a large rut in a paddock.

Sadly my optimism was misplaced. Animals that eat grass seem incapable of stopping there. Mouthfuls of fruit trees, roses and even the occasional whole grapefruit have all slid down the gullets of our grazers. As for the kunekune pigs, they do more digging than mowing. Areas of grass that have been occupied by a pig end up looking like a rugby pitch after a particularly vigorous game. Some people put a stop to these shenanigans by adding rings to little piggy noses, but it makes us sad to think of those squidgy little snouts being punished for doing the thing they love best (#not-real-farmers).

So what are pigs good for if not lawn-mowing? I heard you say bacon, and I’m going to pretend you didn’t.

Moving right along.

The clearing

A mass of Jerusalem Cherry — pervasive weed extrordinaire, and mortal enemy of all on the farmlet.

When we bought the farmlet The Clearing looked like this, and it more or less remained in that state until a few weeks ago. It was full to chocka with Jerusalem Cherry (aka JC), a weed already much discussed on this blog.

There had been various weeding blitzes staged in The Clearing over the years, but we had failed to make much headway. The JC plants in there are prodigious; shoulder height, and growing so densely one can hardly fight one’s way into the mass of vegetation to swing a spade.

I’m guessing by now you can see where this story is heading?

A fanfare please for The Arrival of the Pigs (they’d like you to consider this their theme song).

Kunekune pig

Nell makes her entrance, squidgy little snout at the ready.

Yes, those grunting little rototillers were just what were needed. They marched on in, and took to their task like — well, like pigs to mud. They snuffled and shunted, grubbed and burrowed, wallowed and dug. They made tracks through the jungle of weeds, loosened up the soil and unseated that diabolical JC. What’s more they thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Afterwards us humans did some digging of our own, along with a bit of unavoidable wallowing in the gumboot-sucking mud. We pulled up great clumps of JC which we hauled to the bonfire pile, gleefully anticipating incineration day (it was, in fact, those very plants we were burning on the afternoon of Daredevil Deborah’s swim).

By the time we’d all finished, the landscape in The Clearing looked set for a re-staging of the Battle of the Somme. We are hoping it will start to grow some pretty grass over summer, once we’ve done a bit of flame throwing to thwart the emerging JC seedlings. Although the Forbearing Husband has renounced lawn-mowing, he does not object to flame-throwing — a change being as good as a rest and all that.

Daredevil Deborah and Nina frolic in The Clearing partway through JC removal.
The muddy area has been weeded, the area to the left is the next to be dug.

So there you are, the story of two little pigs, who — while frightfully incompetent at lawn-mowing — went on to prove their worth.

I think we could say it now.

 

 

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