Elise survived the night, as was obvious when I tiptoed out front, not wanting to be too energetic in case the sheep thought that I was going to let them out into one of the fields. It was OK though. They were still dopey with sleep, some of them even having an icing of frost along their backs, making it clear that the goats had taken charge of the Sheep Barn again, banning the sheep from sharing it with them. As for Elise, I could just make out her four legs planted on the ground, and not pointing heavenwards. No need to keep on rehearsing what I would say to Lester when he got home from Paris then, which went like this:
" Lester (said in a bit of wailing tone), I am soooooo (elongating 'so' to emphasize my concern) sorry, but Elise would not come to the bucket, and she ended up in the field for the night and it very cold minus 2 and she got frozen to death and she is out on the field even now flat on her back with her legs pointing skywards".
I went indoors for a while. No use in trying to get the sheep on the move, as they were still half asleep. Left Elise in the field. Was going to leave her there for the day. Didn't want to face any more of her shenanigans.
An hour later, and the sheep were calling out to me, saying that they wanted to be on the move, so I moved them. Was not going to shift Elise. Stayed firm with my intent about this.
Stayed firm for about half an hour. Then went to get her purple bucket, filled it with grain, walked it over to the field she had spent the night in, my intent now being to dump the bucket near the water container and let her get on with it.
So I did that. Only almost as soon I was inside the gate, she started walking towards me. And all I can say is that I just knew I had won the battle. Head down, obviously fed up, she docilely plodded over to me, put her head in the bucket, I put the rope round her neck, picked the bucket up, got that, her, and me, across the ditch without all of us slithering into a heap in the middle of it, walked her up the drive towards the Side Field, opened the gate of the Side Field, walked her inside that field, kept walking her round and round and round and round, then gave the bucket, untied her, and let her go.
She followed me back to the gate. It was as if she so wanted to be seen to be sorry. I felt my heart give a jolt. I could have picked her up and given her a hug.
And so on with the day. But what to do at the end of the day. How was I going to get her back into the Tall Barn. Well I wasn't. I was going to leave her and the others in the field until Lester got home, whatever time that was going to be.
Ah, but later on a thought came clearly into my head. Get her out of the field first, go back for the others when she was settled down.
I did that. Got her squeezed through the gate, managed to get it shut just as the others were going to barge through after her, walked her down the drive, and......... into the Tall Barn. In fact she pulled me through the door of the Tall Barn with such eagerness that I nearly slithered along on the ground. Sorted. Everyone else to bed. Sorted. Lester back home later on. Glad to have him back. I am not 'Home Alone' any more. Thank goodness!
What I have learnt: That if circumstances rendered me without my partner, that I would carry on with the farm one way or another. It is not likely that I would sell up unless my health faltered. That I would keep the sheep, the goats, and Elise, but possibly not the pigs. That I love my life here even if I feel ten steps behind myself for most of the time.
It was raining hard. A beep on a car hooter. Oh bother, someone coming calling. Out we went, to be presented with these.......
Meanwhile, the wheel barrow came in useful......
...and this is going to mightily useful to clear up after us, but only after we have found someone to plumb it in for us because we can't understand the techno jargon in the leaflet accompanying the dishwasher because it is in French, but even if it was in English we still would have trouble deciphering the jargon, of that I am sure.
Mum hen and chicks are doing well. Still have eleven. Elise is in the Tall Barn every night. Lester is home, all is well. But all was well when he wasn't here, it's just things did not run quite so smoothly.
And I have a huge freezer so I can fill it with our meat and produce. And I have a new dishwasher which will hopefully keep the kitchen tidier, save me time so I can do things elsewhere, and stop me from being irritable about trying to keep up with the conveyor belt of washing up waiting to be done. And we have a huge pile of huge pumpkins which need doing things with. (Any ideas?) And our little chicks took shelter beneath the wheelbarrow just as it started raining really hard. We needed the barrow to shift the heavy pumpkins. But the chicks needed the barrow. They won. We just got wet. Had to carry one pumpkin at a time from out front into the Tall Barn. Would have been quicker if we had piled them into the barrow. Ah well. C'est la vie.