Wednesday, 12 February 2014

On laying on a hay bale in the rain

So it was time to get the animals fed. All are still inside, the rain having been falling, and the fields therefore still saturated. This means that we have to wrestle the hay from off of the big hay bales. It is not easy. We have to wear gloves because the stalks of dried thistle and bramble, which are also in the hay, make punctures and scratches to our skin. Not to worry, the hay smells like hay, and reminds of summer even in the rain.

I normally do the sheep, giving them six bags of hay in the morning, and then six again in the evening. Lester does the rest.

But a small problem has arisen. I can't walk properly. Too much sitting at the PC. Too much of not scything grass for the pigs. Too much of no outside activity. All this has stiffened me up, and my back has gone very 'ouchy'. Now that is alright for a day, but not alright for longer.

And yesterday afternoon, the rain was falling, the wind was blowing, and it was a not very nice outside. Nevertheless, I was determined to help my man get the animals done. So I started trying to pull hay from off the bale. It was slow going. When the bale is being used from the outside, all goes quite fast.  And then the inner hay is met, and that is so compressed that we can only grab a small handful at a time to put into the bags, and it is sooooo slow. When the sun is shining it does not matter. One wants to linger. Not so when the wind and rain are upon us.

So Lester said that perhaps it would be a good idea if I were to put my weight on the bale to lift it apart so that he could grab better handfuls of hay. So I did. And my back went 'oops'. And there I was, stuck half upright. Oooohhh deeaarr!

And all I could do was laugh, and tell Lester to get a move on, and would he then help me get back on my feet properly, and would he mind ever so much if could waddle me through the rain, wind and mud, back to the house, and that I could carry on from there, and he could carry on with getting the animals done.

It took me ages to get from the front door to the kitchen.

And then John and Kathy came round with his new thingummyjig which comprised a piece of wood a metre long to which was tied a long piece of strimming cord, and a large green garden waste bin, plus an amplifier and a microphone. It is John's mission at this time to get Lester attached to an amplifier via his fiddle. The stick, the cord, the bin, these were all fitted together (bin upside down, stick fixed to ridge of bin, cord inserted into bottom of bin via a wee hole) and a DIY bass strummy thing was made. And as John and Lester were doing their man things with the instruments, Kathy and I shopped at Hobgoblin (on the Internet) for a bodhran (small drum) for her because she thinks she might like to have a go at beating the drum after borrowing mine.

My back, it was dying a death. Not to worry, it was fun messing about with music, and today amplifiers for our computers have arrived from Amazon so we have Irish and Scottish music skipping about in the air over our heads.

I collapsed into bed like a pole axed tree last night. But my back was alright this morning, for all of half an hour or so, then it said that it really did want to do anything much, but I did try to help Lester with the hay again, but he sent me inside. I did keep up on my feet for a while, and then I dragged Lester to bed, and we had a gloriously sinful late morning nap, because we are self employed, and can take time out when necessary.

I rubbed my back with Vick, and a painkiller was taken. I have not taken a painkiller in years. But I could not let Lester carry on the farm work without some assistance, even if it was only to cook the lamb for lunch tomorrow, and bake a cake. And I made myself a walking stick from a long piece of tree branch, to which I attached some bits and pieces of fabric and wool which made it look quite arty, and this got me round the house, although did not assist me over much when I tried to walk the dogs round the back field for toilet business.

I keep bending over to stretch my back out, and I keep visualizing the blue light of healing flowing in and around my lower back. The pain will soon go, of that I am sure.

Message to self: Remember to purchase some back rub stuff as Vick is for blocked up sinuses and not really for aiding stiffness of the bod.
- the thought of rolling about on a cold tiled floor to do some yoga stretches might not be an attractive proposition during the winter, but if you do not do that then your back will get like a plank of wood. Be a good girl, go down on that rug, go do some stretches, but make sure all the dogs are elsewhere because they will join in too, the outcome being a jolly good romp, which is not going to help your back, although might make for a jolly good laugh. 

Hope all your bits and pieces are working OK.....



Leon Sims said...

Our fires here in Victoria are starting to burn out and I hope that the waters around your way are receding and life becomes more comfortable with your back. Strangely enough, I'm off to see my Physio for my reoccurring back twinge. Keep well and hopefully the spring warmth will make the wet winter a past memory.

John Gray said...

We are all getting older
So are our bodies!

Horst in Edmonton said...

A good strong Liniment, should help. I have some around all the time, just in case of a back problem. I did have to use some in the last few days. Can't wait till spring gets here. Will be able to go for some good walks. Hope your weather get better soon.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

oh no! farm related injuries are the worst. hope you are back to tip top soon!

Rhodesia said...

Oh Vera, I feel so sorry for you. My back just drops me from time to time and I end up on hands and knees, it is not fun especially when you have so much to do. Take care. I have always had good care with a chiropractor but they are not allowed to practice as such in France. I exercise my back every day as I cannot afford to have a problem here. Hope to hear that you are soon on the mend. Diane

Vera said...

Leon, hope your visit to the physio sorted your back out. Muscle rub seemed to sort mine out. Glad those fires are under control.

John, we are indeed getting older, and must expect things to get creaky. But not too fast though!

Horst, hope the liniment worked. Muscle rub seemed to the trick for me.

OhioFarmGirl, it's the slowing down that is not so good when there is a long list of farm work to do. Takes forever just to do half of them!

Diane, I have started to do back exercises as well. But once I can start scything again, and working in the veg plot, that should loosen me up again. Hope your back keeps well.

Tim said...

"Too much of no outside activity. All this has stiffened me up, and my back has gone very 'ouchy'..."

You too, huh!
You have my sympathy/empathy/thoughts!
I have been cutting back vegetation today with the tondeuse...
yes, I am not as brave as you...
no scythe...
handhook, yes!
But like you we have been unable to get anything done in the meadow... far too soggy!
I've willows to attend to, baby cherries to transplant...
and everything is starting to bud...
and in some cases flower.
There hasn't been enough cold to tell the plants to go to sleep...
but it will arrive, no doubt...
just when the blossom is out!!

Don't forget "a ten minute warm up of all muscles works wonders!"
OK, so why am I so damn stiff after four hours cutting and raking then?
Tim [from Aigronne Valley Wildlife]

Vera said...

Tim, thanks for reminding me about taking time for a warm up. And I would agree with you....Spring is romping in and we haven't had winter yet, which could still possibly arrive when all those fragile blooms on the fruit trees are blossoming!

Tim said...

a toptip!
For the fruit trees, get the heaviest weight fleece, a metre or two metres wide.
You will need one pair of two metre long at a metre wide...
or a square of the two metre type.
You will also need two one metre squares.
Sew the metre wide together down the length [roll the seam for strength and/or reinforce with ribbon.
Sew the two squares, on the diamond,
at each end of your two metre squares.
Use lengths of old bedsheet/dustcloth to reinforce the whole of the outer edge.
This can be thrown/pulled over the top of most reasonable size fruit trees. You can then pin or tack another eight metre length to it to surround the tree.
Use clothes pegs to gather this skirt up during the day...
lower it on nights when you expect a frost
Most insects/pollinators will find their way in and out...
although some people recommend holes in the top....
the only snag to this is that...
you can count on it hooking to a branch as you try to remove it.

Can't be used on large fruit trees... but a 2 metre deep skirt hung round the tree at eight to nine foot up saves an awful lot of blossom.

Small fruit bushes... redcurrants, blackcurrants, etc [but not goosegogs!!] can have effective frost caps made from three or four 1 metre squares sewn together...
with a good sized stone sewn in each corner.
These need to be removed after each time they are put in place against frost to allow pollinators access.
But they fit nicely inside a shopping bag / pillow case.

They are also much better at keeping pigeons, etc. off the fruit once it begins to ripen...
and keeps some of the heat [ha-ha... as if we'll get any...]
off the plants... result, bigger berries for less watering!
But the pheasants happily stick their heads under...
probably because they are all hand reared around Touraine du Sud!!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

hey Vera! our pal Farmer Liz gave me a great idea. I'll check it out and put it on the blog but this is what i found:

its a thing you plug into an outlet...and then you plug the fridge INTO in. i'm not sure what kind of sorcery it is.. but it is supposed to allow accurate temp control of a regular fridge. you might check amazonUK or FR or a brewers shop. apparently its used in wine and beer making also. more info when i find it.
ps i couldnt believe that cheese was still good - and that it was so good!

Vera said...

OhioFarmGirl, thanks for the info. Did a research and have found a digital temperature controller which is much cheaper, although it does have to be wired, but there are good YouTube vids which show you how. Thanks again for taking the time to send the info to me. Vx