Friday, 27 April 2012

Attention Wars

When you're in the lambing shed you attention is required in all directions. We have only five more ewes to lamb so they are all out in the field. It's like a breath of fresh air - for them and us. But with the ewes enjoying their time back outside, our attention was only required to feed the pet lambs. And this year we've been luck enough to be left with two.

This is Bart:

He is so-called because until a week or so ago he was blind and Dad came to call him Blind Bartimaeus. So I shortened it to Bart and the name stuck. As you can see now his eyes are nice and clear and he can see perfectly.

He only needed milk because his mother had another lamb to feed and she wasn't quite managing. He wasn't a full pet lamb, more of a part-timer. He did enjoy his milk, though.

He was a good doer. He's out in the field now with his mum and brother and doing very well indeed.

The pair are both every economical with their milk.


But when Bart had taken his milk then there was another lamb who wanted it too-

No, Pip, not you. She has this new habit of jumping into things to gain our attention. It works when we're not busy with lambs, madam.

Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes, the other craving our attention...

...Is this little fellow:

And his name - you'll love this -  is Allhesgettin. Just think All He's Getting, but say it faster. Allhesgettin has an interesting family tree. His mother is none other than Georgia, and his grandmother none other than Suckie. He's Suckie's grandson.

In true Suckie family fashion, Georgia didn't want to look after her lamb. So she's in a field while up until this week we were feeding young Allhesgettin here.

He's off to a new home and mummy now. Good luck, Allhesgettin! (It's all he's getting.)

And now, Pip can finally have my attention. Stop looking at me like that.

That's better.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Would Have Been Wood

There used to be a wooden fence which extended the reach of the concrete wall which separates my Granny's garden and the lane. It had been there for as long as I could remember, but the wooden stakes holding it up were rotting in the ground. It made the thing wobble in even the slightest of breezes.

So it was decided that it should be pulled down. I suggested we pull it down by hand but Dad went for the option of the tractor. It wasn't long until the fence was down (and I did help by pulling one end of it down by hand), cut up and burnt in the fire to keep us warm.

The fence, however, was always a useful thing. It stopped dogs escaping from the garden when I didn't want them to. Now they jump on and off the wall and in and out of the garden without batting an eyelid. Pip makes daily voyages into the garden to check the plants.

But there is one advantage - no fence means that I have somewhere else to take photographs of the dogs. There would have been a fence behind Ben and Pip here:

...As demonstrated by Sheila and Kim a few years ago:

It also means that I can shoot in the other direction.

But Teddy, for some reason best known to his good self, doesn't like posing on the wall. He's try to jump up, watch the other dogs up there with green eyes, but he dislikes actually being on the wall. The wonders of Teddy never cease.

And it's not because young Ted's scared of heights, oh no - he loves getting onto the concrete platform that is in front of one of the houses in the yard.

They all love it up there, actually. Sheila does:

Ben does:

And Pip does:

But Teddy still a handsome man - even at ground level.


And at least at ground level, he doesn't have to look up.

***


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Short Story ::: But I've Already Had a Bath This Year


But I’ve Already Had a Bath This Year

The shop room was a grey-tiled expanse of funny smells, at least ones that Ben had rarely experienced before. He had though, but where, he was at a loss to remember. Ruth had brought him here, to a strange shop in the middle of town and they had arrived just a few minutes ago. He was now sitting in front of her as she sat on a conveniently-placed chair.

Ben was worried, as there were two dogs – one looking much like a Yorkshire terrier and the other looking like Sheila with brown splodges – in cages which lined one wall. They looked like something from the vet’s, and that wasn’t good news. Ben sat anxiously, confused and desperately trying to make sense of what was going on around him. As he sat on the immaculately clean and shiny floor he turned his head and saw a ginger, thin, middle aged woman with shoulder length hair who was pouring shampoo into a bath unit, whistling.

A bell dinged and Ben’s attention turned to the shop door. A man with another dog, a brown Labrador, entered. The dog didn’t look at all nervous, not like Ben was at that moment, and wagged its tail happily. The pair sat down beside Ben and Ruth.

The brown Labrador gave Ben a nudge with his nose. “Hello, mate. The name’s Max – what’s yours?”

Ben jumped at the unexpectedly gruff voice. “Ben,” he replied.

That seemed to make the dog even happier. “Ah, lovely. Lookin’ forward to your bath?”

“Bath?!” the Sprollie repeated quickly, suddenly very alert. “That’s a bath. I’m having a bath. I like my smell—”

At that moment, the woman that Ben had seen whistling came over, taking one end of his lead from Ruth. They were speaking, but Ben was too busy digging his claws into the floor to notice. Of course, as much as he tried, he was no match for the powerful human who had him reluctantly moved to the bath unit in seconds. A huge storm of deep thoughts entered Ben’s head – chicken, chicken, KONG, aborting this mission and chicken again.


Despite these clearly deep and exciting mental conclusions, Ben was hoisted into the air and without any clue, suddenly placed into the bath.  In shock, he stood in the lukewarm water hoping it would be over very, VERY soon. Then suddenly a brainwave of questionable sanity, clarity and intelligence hit his head – this was all clearly an evil, evil plot that would threaten all dog-kind (is that even a word?) and the future and very existence of chickens everywhere. Ben thought, Wow I’m just as good at this as Pip is, it’s all worked out now – without a Pip.

Before Ben could be smug for any longer, the dog groomer poured a jugful of water over his head. He shook off the excess, a lot of it landing on the woman’s clothes. She let go of his collar and Ben took his chance.

With little-to-no grace, he jumped out of the bath, sending more splashes in the woman’s direction. He landed on his feet, and for a fleeting, golden moment, he stayed upright. The fact that the floor was smoothly tiled and that Ben was dripping water all over the place meant that as soon as he took a step, he started slip-sliding all over the place. He slid over to the cages with the dogs in them, who were barking their encouragement. Unceremoniously, he swerved a broom and hit the terrier’s cage, flinging the latch open. The terrier pushed the door open, sending Ben flying in the direction of the other dog’s cage and flinging that latch open as well. The two dogs both stepped onto the floor and started sliding around too, banging into each other.

“It’s okay!” Ben shouted over the sound of claws struggling for grip on tiles. “I’ve saved us from cat food many times!”

This was supposed to be encouraging, but the black and brown, large dog just raised her eyebrows. “Mr Pip,” she said, “is that who I think it is?”

Mr Pip was currently entangled in a pile of dog leads and looking very sorry for himself. “Who’s who, Sage?”

Before Sage could answer, she careered into the dog groomer’s legs, sending her sprawling onto the lap of Max’s human who dropped Max’s lead. The large Labrador joined the frenzy and that’s when things really started to get out of hand. His considerable bulk slammed into the bath unit, knocking it over and flooding the shop floor. The other humans in the room looked in horror and shock, desperate to stop the massive chaos in any way possible.

The dog groomer had peeled herself off the man’s lap and looked to be on the verge of tears.

Ruth stood up, put her hands on her hips, and shouted, “Sit!”

Five bums simultaneously hit the floor (five because the dog groomer had just fallen again).

All humans in the room looked in shock at the chaos, damage and considerably large mess that been caused. The bath unit just lay sideways on the shinier, yet messier floor. All mouths were open in shock, although this had no purpose.

It took a long time and a lot of mopping, but soon the floor was dry again. Sage and Mr Pip were returned to the cages to await their owners, Max promised that he would go on a diet and Ben, well, he did indeed get a bath and then groomed, styled and dried.

Just don’t expect him to admit it.

THE END

WRITTEN BY JAMES AND RUTH ::: EDITED BY JAMES AND RUTH ::: ILLUSTRATED BY RUTH

Notes: You may have noticed the cameos from both Sage and Mr Pip, fellow bloggers. Thanks for reading!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Practice

Since I'm 17 now, I've been having driving lessons. I really enjoy them but after driving tractors on my own for so long I have a tendency to be stubborn and not listen to instructions, but I can't help it. When I'm at home and have a spare hour or so, I'll hop in the car and drive around the yard and sheds for practice. The reversing is what I'm working on mostly, so I'll reverse around a shed or two. Clutch control isn't too bad because of the amount of driving I've done beforehand, but I'm working on junctions. I have an instructor for when I'm at home.

Sheila either sits in the front or back, but she really enjoys being a passenger. And as long as she's calm, that must mean my driving's bearable too, right?

I don't think Sheila would make a very good driver, though. She can't reach the pedals.

Talking of practice, Teddy's been helping out with the sheep a little.

He and Pip we think will make a good team once Teddy's gained a little more confidence and experience.


It's exciting to think that maybe we've got a good team forming here.

OK, maybe Teddy doesn't think it's that exciting...