And so the heavens have opened with thunderous rumbles and sharp flashes of lightning. At long last we have rain. Buckets and buckets full of it.
'Twas upon seeing the blackest of storm clouds above my head and feeling the first splash of rain upon my skin that it came into my mind to rescue my now dry washing from the washing line. With a skill born out of years of practice I got the washing into the wicker washing basket.
The chickens don't like rain, but they do like food. Their usual practice is to hang about the front door hoping to espy either me or Hubs who might perhaps give them a morsel or two.
As per usual, Bools and Gussy were hanging on my heels. I don't know what they were hoping for, probably their dinner as I was running late after having spent the day out in the field cutting down with hand shears the vegetation between the fencing poles so we could get the fence up. It was a long, hot, and tedious task, and I had to resort to counting. Counting? What I do is: clip fifty times with bent over back, then stop for the count of ten to have a breather. Concentrating on the counting helps me to inch forward. The grass was thick and shoulder high. The nettles were stingingly present. The ground elder, also shoulder high, was pretty but in the way. And then there were the sharp unfriendly spikes of blackberry bush lacing in between. Overlaying all was a vine of some sort, which sort of knitted the whole lot together very enthusiastically into a riotous tangle. Sometimes, though, I would count to one hundred! Then I would stop and rest for thirty counts, probably either leaning up against one of the poles or bent over out of puff!
Nearly finished. Only about twenty more poles to go, which are about a metre and a half apart.
Hubs meanwhile had been messing about with the tractor with a friend. I clipped on. Ten more poles to go. 'Keep on counting Vera. Think of the bod and the tightening of those under arms', so onward I kept going. Nine more poles. One clip, two clip, three clip, etc....
And then: A roar. The tractor. Swinging across the field, racing towards me. Hanging off its rear was the grass cutter, obviously now mended as could be seen by the wide swathe of cut grass lying in the wake of the tractor. Along the fence line it went, making wider the path I had already cut. And it went along those last nine poles in a flash of an instance. I felt cheated and could not smile at a joyous Hubs who, with a flourish, yelled "DeDa! The tractor's mended!"
"I'm going indoors to lie down" was all I managed to say. Good that the tractor was mended of course, but I had been robbed of the pleasure of feeling smug because I had, with a stoicism which surprised even me, managed to cut the entire field line all except the last nine poles.
Meanwhile Hubs raced back to the house. Inside he went. Door shut so the chickens could not invade. Kettle on for tea. Thunder clouds thick in the sky. Plodding across the field feeling vaguely upset about the robbing of my smugness, first drops of water. To the washing line then. Quickly. Job done. Washing basket held to chest. Washing basket now cushioning my chest as chickens, dogs and my feet all got into a tangle and I did a tumble which not only barged open the front doors but broke one of the old hinges off one of the door as well.
"What are you doing down there" said a surprised Hubs, looking at the washing scattered all over the floor, Bools licking my face because I was at his level for once, Gus having disappeared probably thinking that it was best he kept out of the way in case he got told off, the chickens all hurrying away, it being obvious that they were not going to get food with me lying on the ground with sprawled legs and still clutching my wicker washing basket.
And then it rained. But at least I had saved my washing, didn't do unto death a chicken although Gus had a run-in with one of the chickens a couple of days previously which had resulted in a broken leg and so into the freezer she had to go which was why Gus has been keeping a low profile when it comes to anything which looks like it could be made to be his fault after all he had only been guarding his bone and the chickens do love to annoy him so really it was the chicken's fault that she got bitten because if she had just gone on about her chickeny business then she would still be alive today, and Bools had managed to have a love-in with me which is something he doesn't get the chance to do any more because in the UK he used to sit beside me on the settee when I was watching TV which is something I don't do anymore so he doesn't get to have the cuddles either.
Bee Project: Held up again. The queen which was being sent from the UK has not been sent because there were 'problems at the depot which meant she would be longer in the post than would be good for her health'. Also, apparently, it is better that she be put in the hive when it is sunny weather, so it is best she stays in the UK for another day or two until the weather clears up a bit down here in France. A search on the Internet said that the bees should be alright in the hive for a while. Apparently they slow down their metabolism if they don't have a queen to look after, which enables them to live longer than the six to eight weeks they normally would. Hope they manage to do so.
Sheep Project: Soggy. Run-off water ran into their barn, soaking the floor. Looked like a bath tub in places. Not good. Scooped up the wet straw to replace with new. Bought some new straw. Needed two bales. Bales were big. Could only get one in the boot of the car, and even then it was half hanging out. The other bale inside the car on the back seat. Hubs was not particularly enthused about the state of the car. Not to worry, sheep now have dry bedding. Vet coming this morning. Some sheep have coughs. Internet search: Bot fly probs. Need medication. Could do it ourselves. Not the energy. Vet can do it. Bon courage to the vet though. It is muddy, very muddy, around the sheep pen.
Smallholding Project in total: Phew! We remain upright, although some of the team do sometimes take a tumble when the chickens and dogs get underfoot!