Sunday, June 03, 2007

We had our first actual guest over today... Nic's friend Justin, and enjoyed the heck out of the lovely weekend.

So... what's been going on lately.

Well first is that we're really enjoying our lovely ducks and chookies. The chooks are pets, though the ducks are not as we need them to work on herding and very tame ducks aren't any good for it. The one duck, the Aylesbury, is however going to be a pet. None are what you'd call tame yet though! (Needless to say I have visions of The Bailey's Chicken Camp here! LOL) Laurent loves them all! He finds everything the ducks do hilarious... if they poke their heads up and waddle or waggle their tales or quack softly to themselves he just cracks up! He quickly picked up the word "duck" but hasn't quite mastered the "quack" sound. The chooks however he calls "beep beep" (his word for the finches) and is calling them, "thook thook thook" after hearing me call them "chook chook chook" when I bring their 'treat' food. They've got pelleted stuff available 24-7 but we've got a grain mix as a 'treat' to help tame them as right now handling them results in scrambling chickens yelling in alarm.

I've also got my first bits of work to do as we're now semi-unpacked (read: there is a higher walking space to box ratio than previous) a lot of the trees in the garden need a bit of pruning and a lot of the twigs that have fallen as a result of the winds need to be put through a chipper. Of course, I've got to buy a chipper and snips first because we don't have the former and can't find the later. I also need to get in contact with a fencing contractor and get the front yard fully fenced off so it's safe for L and Cade. I need to finish up the chooks run which is mostly done so they can go in it from their little enclosure. I need to build a bigger chook house for the run so I can get a few more chooks eventually. I also need to repair a section of one of the paddock fences as yesterday I looked out back to check on my ducks and while admiring the ducks also saw the calf in the paddock nearest our house. No... you didn't miss anything faithful readers - I do NOT own a calf. However I did have one in my paddock. I double checked to be sure it wasn't just in the little laneway next to the paddocks and nope, there was definitely a calf and it was definitely in our paddock. I go outside and hear the calf sounding rather distressed about the whole situation. In fact he's pacing the fence line next to his equally unhappy mother, trying to work out how he got in this predicament. It seems part of the fencing was missing some wires in a hole just large enough for a few week old calf to hop through and seeing as how the grass is always greener on the other side, this little fellow decided to do just that.

So, the question is how to get the calf back where it ought to be. My neighbor doesn't seem to be home so I can't just ask them to kindly fetch their calf. We do have a gate but it occurs to me that it's probably not a great idea to try to haul the currently cauterwailing calf up to the top of the pasture and open the gate to shove him through before his mumma comes through as she is currently NOT happy and seems to reckon I'm the problem rather than the solution judging by the bellowing. That and there are several other cow-calf pairs and a Very Large Bull in the same paddock I'd be shoving him back into have come up as well and they could also push past me with his mumma and things would probalby Not End Well if several angry cow-calfs and a Very Big Bull cornered me. I don't know much about cows but I know that!

I couldn't simply LEAVE the calf there till my neighbor got back though... well, first of all it's not how I want to introduce myself to my neighbors ("Hi, my name is Amanda and I'm not a cow-napper but um... I've got one of your calfs. Can you come get it?") Plus it's going to get distressed being away from it's mum and it could try going back through itself and get all tangled up and break a leg or something that would result in it having to go to the knacker early and even though it's destined to go there anyway, going there as a baby seems sadder. Most importantly... I didn't reckon mum mightn't just push through fence in an attempt to get her baby in which case I'd have a bigger hole and a lot more cows wandering into my property and I'd have to run faster than I'm good at for the gate out which was all the way across the paddock.

The best option seemed to be attempting to guide the calf back through the hole. Problem 1: this isn't a nice tame little petting farm calf or a sweet little 4H prospect that leads and ties nicely. Problem 2: I have no way of catching it, let alone shoving it through a hole. It might be little for a cow but I'm fairly sure it still outweighs me. So I sort of walked toward it so it went toward the hole to move away from me. The calf took one look at me approaching and ran repeatedly into the fence, panicking and bawling, till it hit the spot where the hole was pushed it's way through, white eyes rolling and tongue out and slobbering (which sort of ruined the cute-little-calf image) to get away from me. For a moment looking like it was going to get it's hind leg tangled and I had visions of getting kicked by pointy black hooves but with a final little kick, the calf went back through the fence, ran to mumma, who promptly sniffed it all over it's little black body to make sure I hadn't done anything horrible to her little baby and they quickly melted back into the circle of other cows and calf and the Very Big Bull who'd been standing uncomfortably near by during this whole thing.

So. As I said, we need to fix the fence. The cute little calf was bad enough, I don't want him whispering to his buddies to come through and visit!

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