....continuing on from the previous post....
- well that didn't go too well. Max and girls done first. No probs. Chickens and chicks done. No probs. Geese done. No probs. Now for that lot out in the Side Field. Had already cleaned out Elise's space in the Tall Barn. Nice fresh hay put in there for her. Poo, and lots of it, cleaned up. Fresh straw put down where needed. Grain in her bucket. Grain in the goats bucket. Grain in the scoop for the sheep. Sorted.
All were waiting for me. Grain for the sheep in the trough in the Sheep Paddock. Now to open the paddock gate, cross the little lane, open the gate to the Side Field upon which all, and I mean AAAAALLLLLLL cross over the lane, through the gate, down to the trough, upon which the gate is shut behind them. Then down to the other gate, pick up Elise's bucket of grain waiting outside that gate, plus her neck rope. Proceed into the paddock. Sheep head down in the trough eating their grain. Goats waiting patiently for theirs. Elise comes to the bucket. Rope round neck. Take her out of the paddock shutting gate behind me, and walk her to the Tall Barn, then on into her nice, warm, cosy, enclosure, which has been especially built for her. Then back to the paddock, pick up the other bucket, proceed into the paddock, feed the goats which can be a bit of a battle because the sheep by now have finished their grain and now want the goat's grain. There can be a bit of a barge. Actually, it is one hell of a barge. Not to worry. The goats manage to get the grain, and the sheep normally get shoved away either by the goats bashing them with their horns, or they get kicked away by a boot, not roughly, just firmly.
Well, so this is an ideal end of day.
For today: As I say, everything was proceeding quietly and elegantly. Over to the paddock, open gate by the lane, cross the lane, open the gate to the Side Field. Everyone charges across, sheep first as always, eager to get to the grain, goats behind, Elise, but where was she......oh, going off down the drive, which is beside the paddock. Oh what a good girl. She is going into the Tall Barn, I thought.
This was not so. For following on behind her is a naughty sheep, a black sheep, this year's lamb, to be kept for the future, but probably not now, because she always skips away from the gate and goes to find herself some tasty morsel of greenery to eat before she is shooed back into the paddock. She doesn't go far, but it is a habit which is getting tiresome. She is plain naughty. Tonight I distinctly saw 'freezer' in my head as I watched her gallop away down the drive with Elise.
So I close the gate, and proceed down the drive, thinking that Elise would be eager for her bucket of grain. Silly me. That black sheep had her head in that bucket. Elise saw me, kicked and bucked away a few steps. I could see in her face that she was in naughty mode as well. The sheep decided to be in 'I am scared of you I have to run away as fast as I can because you are an evil one' mode. Her head came out of the bucket, knocking it over, the grain scattering hither and thither, and off she galloped back down the drive towards the lane.
I moved towards Elise. She, too, decided to do a jolly gallop back down to the lane. I thought, hoped, prayed, that they would go back into the Side Field. They didn't. They turned left, and with heads up, did a smart trot away down the lane.
Oh crikey, crikey, crikey.
....but fortunately they stopped when they got to the end of the paddock. Elise was now in the middle of the lane, the black sheep by the fence. The black sheep came back along the fence, Elise did not. She turned right, jumped the ditch and headed off over the newly planted and now sprouting field of oil seed rape.
O, crikey, etc..........
I charge after her. I am in the same state of being as you saw in the photo of me which I posted up in the last post. I have my painting gear on. I have my pinny on. In have thermal long johns which peep beneath the skirt I have on. I am a mess. I am waving Elise's rope in the air, trying to head her off, turn her round. No. She does not want to turn round. She wants to have a jolly gallop across the field. I go after her, still waving the rope in the air, yelling at the top of my voice something like 'Heeyah'. Not sure why I am doing this, but it seems appropriate.
And a neighbour drives past. And holds his hand up to say hi.
I feel very very silly.
Elise is still frisking, but has turned. Back she goes, down the drive she goes, and joins the black sheep who now has her head in the goat's bucket of grain, disregarding the grain which is scattered over the grass.
I observe the two of them. And I get 'the helling'. Up my voice goes. 'Heeyah' comes out with more menace. They look at me. Oh crikey, we've made her mad, don't go near her, she is freaky, that is what is written over their faces.
The black sheep turns, tries to make a run back down the drive. I yell and crack that rope like a whip. I seemed to have turned into a herder-type person. Yahaaa. I change my yell. The black sheep tried to get past me. Crack went the rope, Yahaaa went my voice. I manage to turn her back, but she finally gets past me and heads back out down the drive. Oh go, I think.
Now for Elise. I pick her bucket up. Still a few grains inside it. I offer it to her. She sniffs it but bucks her had away when I try to put the rope round her neck. Off she prances.
Stroooth. *********, and sundry other expletives I now find myself giving voice to.
Get her into the paddock, is now my intention. I am beside the gate, so it is easy to push the gate open. Ahha, the goats and sheep think, time for our grain. Into the bucket now go numerous noses, plus horns. I try to push them back out again, aware that beside me there is an open gate. Elise observes all. Does not move.
****** *** ****** ******** (more swear words. I have moved past 'crikey' and 'strooth')
Sheep and goats crowd me. Have to get back out of the paddock before they, too, decide that they want to have a jolly game down the drive. This I do.
Elise starts to move back down the drive again. But stops at the corner to eat some grass, leaving me time to do a flanking move so I in the lane in front of her.
Up comes her head. Down the drive she goes again. On her heels I now am, and I am yelling and flicking the rope and I feel like a cowgirl, a real time cowgirl, as I shoo that damn cow down the drive again. This time she carries on, running on tiptoes, obviously ticked off with me because I am not being nice to her. I keep on in cowgirl mode, hoping she will head right and go into the main field. No. She does not do that. She turns left. The left again. Straight into the Courtyard, scattering all the hens underfoot including the chicks. The geese go into a hissy fit, and squawking at the tops of their voices and flapping their wings in terror of this huge awful looking monster which has come suddenly into their midst, they charge out of the Courtyard at full pelt.
I maintain my cowgirl attitude towards Elise. I herd her into a corner, but she outflanks me this time and charges back out of the Courtyard, and back out onto the drive. I follow her. I am as mad as hell. Somehow, and I don't know how, I get ahead of her again. I repeat my cowgirl herding attitude, and I turn her back down the drive, but this time she turns right and with a smart flick of my rope on her bum, I shoo her into the field, locking the gate behind her.
Sorted. She can moan all she likes, but she is staying in that field until Lester returns home again. It is going to be cold tonight, down to zero. Tough. There is shelter in the field, but it is not straw lined, neither is there any hay, neither is there any grain. I can't do any more with her.
I go back into the Courtyard. Oh now what! I see the mum hen up the tree, going to bed, leaving her eleven chicks squeaking away at her to come down. So I chase those eleven chicks round and round, trying to catch them. I regret my previous kindness in letting them go free range. I should have left them caged. Damn my soft heart.
I get my broom. I flick my broom up the bum of the mum hen. She hangs on to the branch. I flick again, and keep flicking until she has to come down off that high branch. I don't know what to do with her, but she sorts it out herself, and goes into the Chicken Hut. Some of the eleven follow her, some don't. Round and round and round I chase the rest of them. Eventually all manage to find their way into the Hut, my broom being a useful instrument in helping them.
Now the other hens are hanging around. Normally they would be left to go into the tree, and then they are got down and put into the Hut once they have gone to sleep. Not tonight. They are herded in with the broom. Door shut to the Hut. Sorted.
But where are the geese! Normally they are in the Courtyard waiting to be put into the Wood Shed which has now been given over to them as their night time quarters. Ah, there they are, standing outside the Courtyard, obviously not wanting to come in lest that four footed monster of a thing is still there. So I have to herd them in as well. God bless my broom.
Everyone now in bed, except Elise, who I shall now proceed to worry about. All night she will be on my mind, and in the morning I shall be out to make sure she is alright. But at least I do not have to fret about the mum hen and her chicks like I did last night, when she took them to bed beneath the now abandoned rabbit hutches. All the night long, in the background of my mind, I was listening out for the sounds of a fox.
I am now finished with the day. I am off to find myself something to eat. Egg on toast, with fried tomatoes, all home grown or home made.
I might also have a swig or two of the Baileys which is kept in the fridge.
I think I deserve it.
Oh, and I might also get out of my painting gear too!