Sunday, 30 November 2008

“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”

The above quotation has absolutely no relevance but I like it.
We have not had an animal tale for a while so here goes with the latest. One advantage with the early nightfall is that I can now send the offspring out to put the animals to bed. This can be a relatively quick task if all are behaving or a lengthy and dirty task if, well, they are not. There is a crucial window in the twilight zone of too much light, the geese etc refuse to go in the hut and too little one falls over roots, pigs, buckets and anything else unlucky enough to get in the way. Tonight the weather was cold and this is good as the mud is frozen and does not grip the welly in a vice like grip with every squelching halting step. So, Freya and Toby drew the short straws and trudged off first to Mrs Pig and the Piglets. This is the easy bit as the food is lobbed over the fence in the general direction of the trough with is usually covered in heaving, hairy piggy bodies which then get covered in food. No matter, it all gets eaten and then off to the other field where Mr Pig inevitably lurks by the gate. He is still a very gentle pig but HUGE now. He sets off with an enthusiastic trot to his trough as soon as you get in the field and I usually do the decent thing and get the food in the trough ASAP. Next the goats get their food; Poppy likes to pick at the best bits from Mr P and then goes to join Tabitha. The geese/ducks are then chivvied along, so far so good. Hens and the cockerel are usually in (we have a two day old chick in with her/his Mum who hover round the hut all day and so are fine). Then, as instructed the children check that the three older chicks that we hatched out in the incubator are in the hut but there is no sign but an ominous cheeping is coming from under the hut. There is then a few minutes of stretching and torch shining then two chicks are captured and returned to the hut. Eventually I wander out to see what is taking so long and to check on how many children I have left. The last chick is left up to me to capture. By this time Mr P has finished his tea and after investigating the yellow feed bucket noisily has come up to see just what I am doing lying on the frozen mud with both hands under the hut. I think that I did very well to not swear in the precise and terse instructions given to Freya. One well place boot to the neck (his not mine) and he was gently encouraged not to come any closer for the time being. As a footnote to this Mrs P is in season and he is well, a wee bit frustrated and there I will end. Suffice to say all chicks are safe and I escaped unharmed to fight another day. The same could not be said for poor Freya who dropped a large stone on her very cold fingers whilst putting the feed boxes away.

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