7.30 this evening. All was quiet. No sound came from anyone - sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs, all outside and not a peep out of any of them. Oh joyous quietness! Lying on the settees with our feet up and discussing the weekend, that was what we were doing. A quiet couple of days we decided.
Then the phone rang. I answered, but quickly handed the receiver over to Hubs as I heard the Frenchman spiel forth his French words.
"He's coming tomorrow morning at 8", Hubs said.
"The man who is going to shear the sheep"
".....but it is still too cold at night......."
"Don't start that! He offered to come tomorrow. I accepted. So we are having them done. How many sheep are there?"
"Come on then, we've got to make a paddock in the paddock so we can fence them in ready to be sheared, so they can be easily caught."
I could feel my bonhommie mood evaporating, but grabbing my cardigan I hurried out to be Hubs' go-for.
He was already out in the sheep paddock, hammering in the first of the metal poles. "How many sheep do we have?" he said.
"I told you, nineteen..."
"Well I have only counted eighteen"
"Rubbish!" I was by this time getting uppity, made more so by the mild panic with with Hubs marched his way round to the electric-poled grazing area. Thinking that he was doing an unnecessary panic, I followed, only to find him bending over midway down the grazing area and loads of electric wire all of a tangle hither and thither, and poles in just the same mess. Strewth I felt guilty. Always I check on the sheep several times a day, but today I had an 'off day', shopping, the storm last night, and Friday-itus having clouted me good and hard. But my spirits were high, having just fixed the drive band to my spinning wheel I had had a merry hour or so spinning away out in the sunshine and I had also managed to finally sort out my third book for publishing.
However, as I approached Hubs I could see the 'lost' ewe and was glad that he had had the foresight to count the sheep this evening. He normally doesn't do that, just assuming that all are present and accounted for. She was tangled up in the wire, and had given up. Storm clouds started rolling in above our heads as Hubs struggled to release her, but when he had managed to do so she just laid there, forlorn and empty of all spirit. If we had not found her until the morning she would have probably popped herself into sheep-heaven, but the dogs soon snapped her out of her 'giving up' mood, and off she trotted.
So, back to the paddock, where the piglets were freaking out about not being fed.
"Can you get their food?" Hubs said. He always prepares the next feed in advance. But not today.
"You haven't done it."
"You do it."
"I don't know how to....."
"Oh for ****** sake. How are you going to manage the farm if I have to go back to the UK"
"Veeeeerrrrra!" He was getting cross now.
"Look, just show me what mix you do....."
"But you should know by now"
"Yes, but you haven't got a clue about what I do around the farm when you are sitting on your PC working all day."
"Yes I do. I've lived on a farm before"
"Big deal! And you DO NOT have a clue as to what I do".
Meanwhile we were at the food bins, and Hubs was graphically describing what scoops from which bins were needed to make the feed.
"Can you get those piglets something to eat, they are going to break the fence down" Hubs said, the proper feed now having had hot water on it so it could soak. He went back to his emergency fence in the paddock, I went into the kitchen to do a raid, knowing that there was a pot of pasta languishing away on the stove.
But it had vanished. I yelled at Hubs "Where is that pasta?"
"I gave it to the chickens"
"Oh ****. Why?"
"Because they like it. And don't shout at me. I am only a little guy trying to do his best"
Back to the kitchen I went. Found some bits and pieces, not much really, but raided the apple store kept for the big piggies.
"You were a long time" Hubs said, red faced as he furiously tried to hammer in a metal pole into rock hard ground. Only another six or so to go. "Get the piglets some water will you?" Cripes that had been another job which had been overlooked today. Their drinking water trough is a plastic bowl which they like to tip over so they can roll in the spilt water. Good job it wasn't hot today, and another cringe inside of me at my lack of effort. Normally they would have one bucket of water in the food trough to drink, and one bucket of water on the ground so they could have a wallow. Also one bucket of thinnings from the veg plot. As I say, I had an off day, so they really were hungry. Anyway, chopped apples seemed to quieten them down.
"Now all you have to do is grab the wire and hold it taut for me". This was Hubs issuing instructions to me. Half heartedly I complied. I was really 'off' by now! Not miserably, wretchedly 'off'. Just a bit tired with the effort of it all, and I could see that Hubs was feeling just the same.
He grinned at me, friends again, so I pulled the wire as taut as I could to help him. Gotta go that extra mile for your partner sometimes!
So now the sheep were one side of the new fence, the wrong side. Not to worry, a bucket of maize into their feed trough and they all came through the gap he had left in the wire. All but three little ones. Round and round they chased, with Hubs now angry with frustration at them, but he managed to get them through the gap eventually, with me acting as rear-guard lest they decide to go in the opposite direction.
And so, at eight tomorrow morning we are supposed to have the shearing done. The electric poles will have to be sorted out before that happens.
I said "I will have to be up five to do all those jobs"
Hubs looked at me, " I will have to be up early too. Seven thirty probably"
Sometimes, just sometimes, I could give him a clout! Just a playful one, mind you!