Cheap Frights

At any given time of any given day I can tell you with reasonable accuracy where any of my animals are and what they are doing. (Except Poppy who is sometimes where she should not be).

patina on trailer1

I can be cleaning out a pen  in a group of cows and there is little chance that an animal can sneak up on me. Cows are usually the best sneakers, they walk slowly and carefully, quietly, but because I  know the  habits  of my animals and their behaviours it is seldom that they can surprise me. Each animal has different levels of tameness, they have a pecking order, some will startle, some will simply stare, some are nosy, some just wait. So we flock and herd and always know where the others are to avoid collisions or competition with a bigger animal. I am smaller than the cows and the big pigs so my senses sharpen when in with the cows and  pigs.  For your own safety you think like a cow or a pig and be aware of your place in the herd.

patina on trailer

I know each animal’s favourite corner to eat, the order they like to be fed in, where they are likely to sleep and when – where they are when my back is turned. What side they see best from. Who will test every fence for weaknesses and who will just follow along. It is seldom that an animal can give me a fright when it appears in a gateway or turns the corner by the barn. I know which birds to wait on and which birds do not mind me walking past.

patina on trailer 4

Yet when a person – a human person – walks unexpectedly into the barn as I work in tune with my animals and birds, I can get quite the fright. My suck in my breath. Often I will even jump and squeal like a girl which is deeply embarrassing considering.  Worse, the little pigs will jump and squeal in the exact same tone and at the exact same time then bolt for the corner behind me as we all whirl to face the human who has entered.

trailer window

Am I going feral? Wild? More pig than girl?  In touch with my inner animal just a bit too much?

Good morning. Sheila still refuses to have the little pigs near her (unless she is bearing down on them in full sail to steal their food) so I have concluded that she is just not a Pig Person.


Yesterday was dull with very little light and cold and I hope you have a lovely day.

Love celi




65 Comments on “Cheap Frights

    • They are very afraid of her too, the moment she rounds the corner they run off, and sidle past her to get to the other side.. It is interesting that they are still doing it. But in April they go to live close to Manu close so it is not such a problem really. c

  1. I just love the picture of the is so beautiful…just like the old barns you see on the old western films. I think you have a wonderful life on your farmy..A hard life, a dedicated life, a completely full life but one of complete contentment… keep warm and give Sheila and Poppy a cuddle for me And here is one for you (((((()))))

  2. Every picture here looks like a study by an impressionist painter.

    Of course you jump at intruders – you are protecting the flerd. Your training is what makes the animals copy you – they are more human New Zealander than animal…..

    ViV x

  3. Your senses are open to the animals, fully aware of them and their movements, filled with knowledge of what they will do at any given moment. Humans are too random. I think your reaction is completely understandable. I am hugely diverted by the notion that Sheila, that Grand Duchess of Pigness, is not a Pig Person. Surely she is the Ultimate Pig Personage… The twins have not yet learned the respect she demands. I seem to recall Poppy was tolerated for her central heating capabilities…

    • I really do think that Sheila sees herself (in her terms) as equal to me – my partner in the herd. And since I sleep separately so will she. Poppy was much braver than the twins.. they keep startling each other into avoiding her. c

      • I agree with you. Sheila is yours and you are Sheila’s–therefore, all the others are ‘just in the way.’


  4. Yeah, that Sheila is too much, that’s for sure!!! She is used to your undivided attention and not having to deal with the ‘small stuff,’ like the two creatures that are now cohabiting with her. She may come around……., but then again, she may not! 🙂

  5. When I was about 10, I walked around the corner of the barn late on a Saturday evening. Two pigs were asleep in the summer daze. My presence startled them. They jumped up and ran along the fence until they reached the corner. They ran full speed headlong into the woven wire fence and bounced back. One got up and ran off. The other broke its neck and died in front of me.

    Not many can say they have scared a pig to death.

    • That is not how I expected that story to end!! And yes – I know no-one else who can say they scared a pig to death. I am sure that after that incident you learnt to whistle as you approached the barn. Bad luck killing itself on a wire wove fence though, that must be hard to do. c

  6. Today in my neck of the woods the view is dull with very little light but plenty of cold window blurring rain. Yesterday I was out for coffee with a friend and came home with an unwelcome gift – a tummy bug – my friend was not the cause but she contacted me in the evening to say that while visiting another friend in a care home after we parted, she was asked to leave because the home was being closed to visitors due to an outbreak of Norovirus Thankfully my stomach bug is working downwards, and I am drinking plenty of fluids… a day or two should see me right again.

    So I arrive early today for warm comfortable smiles! Celi, when I picture you in the barn working with and for you animals talking to them as you go, I am reminded of the 1967 Movie Dr Dolittle. I always found Rex Harrison’s voice comforting and your voice has the same effect on me as it seems to do with all the farmy residents. Having spoken to you once and followed your every word from Portland, I hear your voice in every word you write. Hope you stay warm and have a good day.

  7. I think Sheila is missing Poppy, they did cohabit quite a while, and Sheila probably thinks that Poppy has the nerve to go off on holiday and expect her to look after the twins … without even asking her first 🙂 Laura

  8. Ah, being in tune with your flock is never a bad thing. I think I am more beagle than human at times. And I much prefer beagles to some humans….. How many sleeps until you fly away?

  9. I love it that you are in tune to your flock. What a great metaphor for all of us. The last barn picture makes me weep. It’s soon beautiful. Like an old woman who refuses to go without a very good fight, indeed. Dignified and beautiful to the last. Her hair in a knot.

  10. Wonderful photos!!! I had to keep looking at them closely because my eye thought they were paintings. I love this tale too!! I remember being the one who would spook a barn full of pigs. It seemed like I was interrupting their party.

    • I love how they freeze when they hear me coming. I will walk in and they are all looking intently at the door completely silent then instantly break into talk and demands! c

  11. I think it’s the best feeling to be in touch with your inner animal… more beast of the land than human. Feral… wild woman. I like that.

  12. It was a denim sort of day, hmm? And, yes, that last photo of the barn is quite extraordinarily beautiful in its shroud of winter cold.
    I think, as long as you don’t jump and bolt for the corner behind the piggies, when a stranger startles you in your own barn… then a little squeal of surprise is quite acceptable! Feral? Yes, okay… just call it being in tune with your wild side… hahaha
    Hope you have a lovely day too. And keep warm, as I will try to do. The winter cold has finally reached us here as well, but weatherman predicts it will hover around the freezing point until Sunday when it takes a dip again. So even though it’s certainly not quite tropical out there, it also is not so very bad. ~ Mame 🙂

  13. Snorts – you know who else likes hugs? <> Oinks and snorts. Maybe Sheila is just a loner like moi. I bet we would get along amazingly. You think? XOXO – Bacon

  14. You live with nature and you live with animals, so you are so much more attuned than others. All the senses we have, but don’t often use, are really coming to the fore in you. I think its so wonderful ! I was simply amazed how each animal had it’s own personality when we had our farm. I had never realized that and never would have if we hadn’t had the farm. As you said, some are relaxed and easy-going and other take flight – or move away when in our presence. ( I ended up with a real love for chickens … ‘who would’ve thunk it’….) And, as you mentioned, its a good idea with animals larger than us to really pay attention… and then, with the smaller ones, we often have to pay attention in a different way so we don’t frighten them – or step on them. You are doing such an excellent job! After yesterday’s post about all the frozen doors and lugging the water I thought, ‘Not for me”. You have courage and you are a VERY hard worker!! Plus you take gorgeous photos and write such an entertaining and informative blog. You go girl !! ; o )

  15. Blue… All so blue. Me too. – Beautiful color(s) though. The Beauty in deterioration. Ravages of time…
    You are definitly not going feral – that is normal, Celi.

  16. ah yes- everyone needs a bell and each bell has a different tone…. I’m not asking much….then by your farmy entrance have a selection of bells for the humans to choose and wear so as not to startle you! Hah! Have a fright free day!

    • Many decades ago when I lived in Vermont, a fellow I knew who was schooling high school dropouts asked if the guys could come over and string beads with me. Sure, said I. So these scruffy little gents went to work stringing beads. One guy said, “This necklace if for my mother. And I’m going to put a little bell on it…so I can hear her when she’s coming.” Never forgot it. Laughed then, laugh now. Much love to all you lovely folks and especially to you, Celi. Should we ever be together in your barn, I will whistle Dixie when approaching you, Gayle

  17. I’d like to come and wrap fabric on and around all your rusty barn bits to dye it, there would be such wonderful patterns and colours. Have a good day Wild Woman…..:)

  18. I have bells… attached to every entry gate, and the front screen door which is around a verandah corner out of the way. I dislike being snuck up on. A traditional cooee, anyone home? I think is a very civilised approach.

  19. Well, Jake will just have to learn a loud Down-Under ‘coo-ee’ when trying to find you. . . . most strangers to the farm would shout out in this instance anyways ! But, I agree, I hate to find a totally silent two-legged creature suddenly behind me 🙂 !

  20. I also startle easily when someone appears unexpectedly, complete with loud gasp.

  21. Sounds like you are one with your environment – and intruders appear. Got some giggles over the pigs squealing, too. I love pictures like these as much as those of the animals. The little details of life overlooked when in a rush. Or maybe you cherish those when you aren’t there any more. In any case, lovely portraits.
    (And hope you have a cat-like hat to keep you warm. )

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