The speed of light is not very fast. Not when you are IN IT!
Yesterday I was at the speed of light. Warp speed. Bendy tree speed. Hair blown straight speed.
Dealing with Well Guys (Broken Well out at the West Barn) who then did not come on the appointed day and I had to find another Well Guy at the last minute so talking to plumber guys (looking for a Well Guy), four days of carrying water in buckets for the calves at the west barn, Four days for the poor wee family out at the house by the west barn to be out of water. Trying desperately to get all the heated water containers in as the freeze drops over our heads, extra bedding for the mammals, insulation for the bees, more straw, more feed.
Then Tima starts to cough. I had been all day running, running, running and then was stopped in my tracks as Tima came out of her Calf house and coughed and coughed.
Well – I called the Plumber guy – never mind. I called the Well guy – can you do without me? I called the Vet HELP! Tima is coughing. And Tane is gulping. And the temperatures continued to drop fast. And the wind rose in tandum. And we started to freeze.
So I got Tane, who is only about 30 pounds (14 kg) into his crate and into the car – in the passenger seat- a reasonable lift but not too bad. I said, come on Tima and she said NO WAY and ran off to the dessicated tomato garden.
Tima’s crate would take up all of the boot area in my little cooking oil car so I prepared everything, gave aTane a scratch through the bars and carried the crate out to the Tomato garden and enticed Tima into the crate with pears. Shut the crate door then tried to carry the crate to the car. NOTHING happening. No WAY could I lift it. Tima is officially a lard arse. She stood in the crate and coughed and hoicked and my heart was thudding with terror. My naughty pig was sick. So I went and got the car, patted Tane in the passenger seat and we backed through the garden to Tima’s crate. Then I dragged her in the crate to the car. It took too long.
Later (at the vets) it was estimated that she is between 80 and 100 pounds (36 – 40kg) . Thankfully I did not know that at the time because I don’t weigh much more than that myself. All I knew was that my baby pig was sick and that now I needed to lift her In A Crate into the back of the car. You see, after I dragged the crate and its cargo to the car, I opened the hatchback door, tried to lift her in and could not – I could not lift her AT ALL. Surely determinatin alone would help me lift her, but no. So I stood and said to TonTon. I need to get this very heavy pig, in an unweildy crate into the boot of my car – Now. Good. Excellent. I put my hands my thinking pockets and bent slightly forward as though somehow the answer would come from the ground. This is a good problem. I thought. How can I solve it.
So I carried concrete blocks to the back of the car and I built a platform, and levered the cratecorner by corner up onto the platform, then pulling bricks up behind me I made another platform on top of that one and levered the crate up onto that step. Then I stood on the bottom level and lifted her from the second level up over the lip and down into the car. It was a mean lift. And it was not a smooth landing but Tima forgave me. And all stowed, I whistled the dogs and we sped off back through the garden, down the lane and across country roads to the vet. Tane talked all the way. Tima was silent. I was silently afraid.
The vet very kindly squeezed us in and it was concluded that she had the beginnings of an upper respitory infection. Probably from the fast decline in the temperature. The vet said that the times BETWEEN not so cold and very cold are the worst – when an animal is hit with a sudden drop or rise in temperatures. Well, yesterday morning we were at almost fifty degrees(10C) on its way down to 20 (-7) overnight. Her own temperature was low if anything which was good .. kind of. But the cold whipped against the vet windows.
We gave her a broad spectrum antibiotic and for Tane the same. I am not taking any chances anymore. Pigs die fast. If all goes well for the next few weeks they will have a pro biotic yoghurt with their breakfast and acclimitise to the winter. The good news is that they showed no signs of the dreaded roundworm. So that was good. But she has to get used to the cold so no bringing her inside, he said. Looking sternly at me.
Then the vet very kindly helped me load the pigs back into the cooking oil car.
“We have started calling this car the dog kennel,” I said. (It is a VW golf) as we jammed Tane in his smaller crate into the tiny passenger space.
“My brother had a car filled with smelly sports gear,” he said. “We called it The Locker.” He paused to take a breath as we walked to the back of the car to lift 100 pound Tima, in her crate, into the back.
“Don’t use your back like a crane.” I said. He chuckled because I say that all the time. Then he grunted as we lifted. “I need a truck.” I said, as we heaved her into the tight hatch back. The mess these animals make.
He laughed again. “You do ..” he said, “the animals and birds I have seen you cram into this car. Even that peacock, what was his name?”
“.. the Duke of Kupa.” I said, whistling the dogs in, then pushing the doors closed gently so as not to scare my passengers.
“That was too bad.” he said. Pulling his lips in from his face. Shaking his head. “And Daisy too. Hmm.”
“I know.” I said. We stood for a moment as you do. Giving the sadness its due. Letting the moment be. We forget that the vets feel sad when they lose an animal too.
“I will lobby for a truck for you,” he said. We shook hands. Good Bye.
The day kept on like that. But all the warming water buckets were installed and plugged in. The Well Man could not find the problem and is coming back with a bigger truck on Thursday. The littlist of the Loft chicks were brought into the cellar to sit under the ambient heating platform. The bigger ones have the light in the Chook house. The layers laid twelve eggs. Sheila beat me to it and had her bed all made up before I had finished emptying and hanging the hoses and running buckets of water across to the West barn calves. Aunty Del slept between two wooly sheep. The calves at the West barn snuggled into their stalls. And I stuffed even more straw and old hay into Tima and Tane’s straw house and closed the door right down to a tiny little piggie opening with absolutely no draft at all. (I hate drafts, I think a cold draft on an animal is the killer of little animals and birds). They fought over a good dinner and then went straight in to see their bed after their big day out. In and out of their little door until I left them to it so they would get warm and sleep. Then John came home and the humans sat down to a roast farm raised chicken. A roast is the best meal to make when you have a lot to do. Just jam it in the oven. Press COOK.
But once again. Camera House was left to sit inside as I jogged through the day at the speed of a slow light! So much to achieve.
Today is going to stay just below freezing in the day and WAY below freezing in the nights, until Friday actually. No snow though. Some of The Fellowship have a lot of snow forecast.
I hope you all have a lovely day anyway.
Lots of love, your friend on the farmy.
Only 12 more T shirts need to sell to reach our goal of 50. WONDERFUL. Thank you. Sheila thanks you too.
And I ordered 80 Sheila calendars last night. Thank you so much for ordering your copy. I will work out the cost and be in touch via email asap. They are not cheap but they are printed with very good ink onto strong well made paper.. good enough to tear out and frame I think. You know how I hate tacky stuff. If you are going to do something you may as well do it to the best that you can. This calendar is the best yet. Some beautiful images for you.
Thank you also for that kind donation. You know who you are. The animals and I are so terribly grateful. Winter can be so hard. The Fellowship is full of the most wonderful farmers souls. Thank you.