The last two weeks have been the busiest so far. At the same time as getting ready for our first farmers market we have been preparing the first pigs to go to the works (abattoir), rescuing goats, checking on expectant mothers and dealing with mother nature, all in all a busy week.
As some of you will know, last week we got the tail end of Huricane Ita. She hit with vengeance and managed to scare both Claire and I so much that we went to bed at 7:30pm in the hope that in the morning we would not be waking up on the yellow brick road with a cowardly lion and tin man for company. The next day I went out to survey the damage and found that, whilst it could have been worse, it had definitely given me a few extra chores.
By far the worst effects were on the pig houses. Those made of pallets weigh so much that a direct hit would have made no difference but those made of 2″x4″ and plywood were like paper to the Hurricane. One was destroyed, two were moved and the last flipped end over end onto its roof. None of the pigs were hurt, thankfully, but they did seem a little shocked the next day. Delia, who would have been in the house that flipped, had ran through the electric fence in panic only to find herself in another paddock next door, where she spent the night without shelter.
The Chickens had faired well as they had headed for the bushes at the first sign of trouble and probably spent the night huddled together as they watched their houses being rolled along the paddock, again no one was hurt.
The Hurricane was an annoyance but only lasted for one evening, the rain was worse. As I went about the job of fixing up the farm and making sure all the electric fences were working the rain continued to fall. The paddocks got muddier and the river started to rise. As I mentioned on my last blog I have a plan for the river and it was tested, as was the Ute and the tractor. Crossing the river became a test of nerve and walking around the paddocks a game of trying to keep my wellies (gum boots) on my feet and not sucked off. The pigs missed just one meal and seemed all the better for a little diet.
Amidst all of this calamity my favourite trouble maker, Emily the Goat, decided to try her luck with a branch too far and fell about 1.5m down a muddy bank. The first I knew about it was when she didn’t turn up one morning to annoy me, her usual occupation as I feed the pigs. Charlie and Michael seemed unphased by her absence but thinking the worst I went looking for her. It didn’t take long to hear her bleating from the bushes and standing on a ledge looking up at me was a tired looking Emily. It was going to be a rescue that required specialist tools, strong anchor points, harnesses and weight lifting equipment. However, as I don’t have any of that, I tied myself to a couple of pallets (used to be part of the goats house before the Hurricane destroyed it), and lowered my self over the edge. Having secured a rope around Emily I pulled and after ten long minutes she clawed her way back to safety. Worn out and laying on the wet grass I looked up to see Emily urinate, eat some grass and headbutt Michael (I suspect he had probably dared her to get as close to the edge as possible.)