The Speed of Light

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.

64 Comments on “The Speed of Light

  1. That was one helluva day! I have everything crossed here for the wellbeing of those wee piggies – enough sickness and loss for this year I think. I do hope that you had a glass or two of wine with your roast, you’d certainly earned it!

  2. Cold weather always brings work and worry. But you have your priorities straight, as always! Health and happiness to all on the farmy, especially Tima and Tane. It’s a blessing that she has Tane now, in time to snuggle away the cold. Don’t forget to look after your own health, too!

  3. You are superwoman… reminds of stories I read when people lift cars to save their children. Oh boy…. I’m also crossing my fingers for the well being of all your animals. I hope you have a better day today.

  4. What a day! I think you need a truck too, but trucks are higher up than a VW and that means more lifting. Maybe you need a concrete dock with ramp, so you can drag a crate to the top and push it in to a car or truck – mind your back 🙂

    • Got that right – says me trying to lift a 85 pound dog into the back of my truck yesterday!

          • They make wheeled platforms for moving washing machines etc. They are a cheap piece of wood with wheels screwed to the bottom. They have a low center of gravity (pig friendly). Perhaps John could make you one with a farm friendly wheels and a brake to keep it still when necessary (getting the pig in the crate). I think you can get wheels which already have brakes incorporated…

          • You’ll also need a ramp up to your new truck! Then you can push your crate mover on wheels up the ramp, no lifting. Truly hope the piggies are ok, I’ve heard Percy cough here and there but unfortunately some of our hay is kind of dusty. I try to shake it out but being a pig he insists on burying his head in it to get at the tasty leaves. He does have a nice windbreak and a mountain of hay and straw twice his height and he very often shares it with the little bitty Fanny the nanny goat so hopefully he’ll stay toasty in the frigid blast.

  5. Oh boy what a day! Seems it was a day for the vets for both of us. Sam fell down the stairs yesterday morning, slid from top to bottom. Seemed ok though. But then a couple of hours later he has a seizure! So like you I was faced with getting an 85 pound dog in the back of my truck and off to the vets! No wonder we have back problems every now and then (lift with your knees and arms not your back is what my Dad used to say). Sam is home an recovering, but they found through the blood tests that his Kidneys are now having problems – sigh!
    Freeze supposed to hit here tomorrow, so today I have to get the hoses in and make sure all the heated water bowls are full and plugged in.
    Good luck with your well and I hope the little piggies adjust quickly to the cold and no more problems.

  6. What a day you had! Just a thought: cold is hard on animals, but worse is damp and lack of ventilation to relieve the damp. Could the hay hut surrounding Tima be absorbing her respiration and holding moisture (and molding), setting her up for respiratory infection? Two pigs sleeping give off a lot of moisture. I hope she is feeling better soon. Love the Farmy, Faith.

  7. that sounds like one heck of a day, if its not one thing its another . Admittedly little piggies must come first,,,,I know this sounds daft but couldn’t you put little jackets on them at night, sort of like nightshirts to keep them warm….see you can tell that I am no farmer but I do love animals

    • Kunekune’s are like seals they have a great layer of blubber.. they just need time to adjust to the cold and it will get a LOT colder than this.. c

      • Percival the plentiful certainly has a good layer of insulation! Do Time and Tane also have a heavy coat of hair? I’m surprised at how thick Percy’s is, a good rub sheds out tons of hay and straw whisps!

  8. Oh my—what a day you had. I am so sorry that you had to do all of that on your own and that your sweet piggies are not at their best. I am holding you and your farmy in my prayers and good thoughts that as the transition to the dreaded winter begins . You have such a heart for your animals and we all feel that they are part of our families as well. Hugs and here is hope for a better day today!

      • That is a VERY good thing!!! Yay!!! Fingers crossed that you got what they needed early and that they will toughen up a bit. Ugh. I need to toughen up, too!

  9. Oh to be a pig on your farm! What lucky animals, to have you looking after them.

  10. I am off right now to find out the method my friend (and fellow blogger) used to get her Potbellied Piggy (150lbs!) into her truck when she was ill. I will share her method with you, as she has to do it alone as well.
    I bought a t-shirt and shared on Facebook with my friends. May I post it to my blog as well?

    • Yes you may certainly post the T shirt on your blog.. Thank you so much! Good to have these ideas for moving Tima.. hopefully she will be good for a while!

  11. Me again. My neighbor also has a Potbellied Piggy. He ALWAYS gets a sinus infection when the weather turns. You’d think with that ample head and sinus cavity that it would never happen, but it does. She now keeps antibiotics on hand for when it happens. Saves a trip to the vet. Perhaps your vet would be so kind?

  12. is there a front bucket on your tractor to help load pig crate?

    wondering if you have given any thought to moving bee hives into the old celler for the winter?

  13. “official a lard arse” Oh, Ci, that is so so farmer. No mincing of words, but such a sense of humor. Glad you found a way to load the car – you sound like building pyramids with ramps.
    Between weather is always worse for people around here – and pigs are very close genetically.
    Hope the well/plumbing situation get fixed – that’s the worse in cold weather having to haul water to the barns!
    Bundle up and take care (maybe Santa will locate a truck…one with a lift gate!)

  14. Wow – all I could think while reading about your challenging lift was “where there’s a will, there’s a way!” Never truer – I knew you would figure it out! Just ordered a t-shirt – thx for posting the link – only 9 more to reach the goal!

  15. Yes what a day! Glad to hear that they have their appetite, that’s always a good sign in all of us. And as others have said mind your back, once that goes it’s never the same 😳 X

  16. Sounds like you may need a portable ramp (similar to Clatter box for the hay) but at the height of your boot lip. Lifting heavy things up and over that lip can be a killer – I know it well 🙂 We went from 42C/105F on Monday to cold and very wet ever since. Our summer rains have arrived but with winter temps again, happens every time I pack away my winter woollies. Sorry to hear the two Kunes aren’t well, hope they go from strength to strength and get acclimatised soon. Laura

  17. It is so funny what sticks with me as I read your daily posts. Today it was the well/pump guys. It’s irritating as hell that they are generally tied up and a person has to wait when there is no water for gosh knows how long! I hope your well situation is solved soon! I am impressed how practical and “common sensical” you are about devising a method to overcome obstacles. Many times our brains automatically kick into gear when it’s imperative that we come up with a plan. Finding the means to lift Tima was quick and concise. It is the day to day knowledge of what resources you have and what animal you are dealing with that allows creativity on demand. You rock, my friend! Hang tough… this is frightful weather for so early in the season. Already (just day two of it here in the south) people are experiencing fires (from space heaters) and frozen pipes or hydrants.

  18. Not a day I would wish on anyone. As a not farmer, but someone who tries to solve problems, I wonder if a board with inset ball bearings placed at the back of the car would help? That way you could run the crate up the slope. The guy who made the mobile chook ark, might know how to go about it.

  19. We’re watching that air sail down from the Arctic your way. We too had a sudden drop last night. We were up to 25’C yesterday afternoon and are going down to -11’C today. We are busy with just our small herd of donkeys to care for. I sure admire your spirit and determination over there! Hope Tima and Tane get their woolies on soon!

  20. Oh my goodness, what a scare! And what a crazy day as well. I love how you solved the problem of getting the crate in the car, I’m not sure I’d be clever enough to figure it out. Now–every so often you make reference to writing a longer work, and I sure hope it is a memoir about your farm experiences!

    • yes, but first I need to pay back my travel costs.. this year I am going to grow some extra calves .. maybe ater that i can start to save for a truck but it will need a cover for sure.. c

  21. An infinitely difficult day. Just monstrous. Trying to lift a hundred-pound pig!! I had no idea she was that big already. I’m telling you, Miss C., they need you in Washington. A problem-solver par excellence!

  22. Would Tima have walked up a ramp and into her pear-primed crate, do you think? Would a ramp for getting a large dog into a vehicle be strong enough? Maybe you could practice when there’s no urgency – in your spare time – lol. xo

  23. I am worried about Tima and all of you. It kind of made the muscles around my chest go tight to read all this…with cold coming, you just wanna grit your teeth and hunch your shoulders…
    but that won’t get the work and saving of lives done, will it?…Love from over here where it rains and rains and rains.

  24. You are truly a Wonder Woman of the Farmy 🙂 I agree with Susan, utilize Tima’s natural inclination to seek out food! (Tane’s too) and make their own way along a plank into the car. It will still be a jam… I am imagining you zooming along with an economy size car packed to the gills with pigs and dogs! (can you get rear window stickers for that?) but it will save your back.

  25. Celi, have a look at trolley jacks. Used in garages to lift up cars, so perfectly able to deal even with lard-ass piggies. Easy to use, on wheels, and don’t take the space of ramps, etc. Take a look at eBay, there’s loads on there from pretty darn cheap to ridiculously expensive.

  26. Glad you caught that URI early!!! That is key. Chipper our two-year old cat is on antibiotics for that right now (he has a chronic case that flares up). Hobbs just finished his round worm treatment and appears to be all clear. Thank goodness. They are both at my feet as I work right now. Anyway, I’m glad you found a way to load the pigs into the car without throwing your back out. That had to be quite the load!!!

  27. Well, I have just deleted about half a dozen four letter words from my comment on your post lest I offend anyone, but have shouted them out to the room here! Read ‘that’ story twice and put myself in your shoes physically and mentally . . . all of that was the last thing you needed at the very beginning of winter. First priority Milady is YOUR back: you won’t be able to help anyone if that goes. Secondly lets hope one 100 pound piggie reacts quickly to the antibiotic. Thirdly we love to get to the farmy every day but perhaps some rest would do you better than thinking of us as well as all else ! Rant over – hug sent across the Pond!!

    • love love , darling Eha Mama.. all good.. my back is a little tense today. but much better this evening.. no worries.. c

      • 🙂 🙂 🙂 I just knew that ‘Eha Mama’ was going to come back . . .nearly ‘joked’ about it beforehand . . . . well, someone has to tell it like she sees it . . . am so happy things may have quietened down . . .Sleep well . .

  28. I can relate to your difficulties moving a heavy animal. I carried my 65 pound dog up and down stairs when he couldn’t manage them anymore (he could walk okay but the stairs were beyond him), now I’m helping my 75 pound dog up and down the stairs. A ramp sounds the best option, wish I had one. Take care of yourself and the piggies.

  29. Well, I feel exhausted just reading this, so I can only begin to imagine what it was like for you. We smaller people develop big brains working out all sorts of ways to lift impossible weights. I’ve done it myself, and I cheered when you stopped to think and then brought on the concrete blocks. A girl after my own heart. Congratulations on getting through, and I do hope a bit of rest is possible, somewhere, somehow.

  30. Oh good god what a hideous day. Those infections are nasty and scary to see in animals you love. Both my pups had one a couple of months back and I thought neighter of them would make it – but they did and I know your piggies will get all the love and the best treatment they need. Fingers crossed for you.

  31. Glad you caught the coughing early. Carrying all that water, then lifting piggies? Oh my!

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