Friday, 28 January 2011

Happy Days

The saying, 'time flies when you're having fun,' nicely sums up the weeks since my last post. We haven't been doing anything special but what we have been doing has been very enjoyable; we've been planning our new bathroom which has involved plenty of discussion over lovely pub lunches; we've been doing lots of sheepy and pony things and been for some good winter walks:)

Our first pony activity of the New Year was to get a worm egg count done. The picture below is of my husband who, although he looks like he is impersonating a gnome, is actually sitting in the pony field, early on a very cold morning, waiting for Tavey to do some droppings (I was watching Rufus). We had a deadline as the faecal sample needed to be at the vets by 10am but as it was a half an hours drive away, it didn't leave us much time from first light. We had nearly given up and had just started pouring out coffee from our flask, when first one went, then the other. The coffee went flying as we gathered the precious nuggets and rushed off to the vets. We burst into the vet's office at 1oam on the dot...phew.

A week later Peter, the grazing officer for the Old Surrey Downs Project, called round with some worming medicine and a bag of pony nuts. We had to mix the wormer with a few nuts and feed it to them over five days. Now, as usually we mustn't feed the ponies, not even a carrot, this was a real treat for us and them, although we weren't sure if they would like the medicine. We needn't have worried as it was apple and cinnamon flavoured and they loved it, licking every last bit of it from their buckets. The trouble is that although the worming is now finished, they are still expecting us to arrive with food and can't believe that we haven't got anything for them, so they follow us around as we are checking the perimeter fences, watching our every move even though there are plenty of juicy plants for them to eat in their field.

The new sheep that we check seem a happy, healthy bunch and are no trouble except for a Jacob that I've nicknamed 'Domino' (because of its markings). We had arrived to find Domino missing from the flock and we eventually found him looking rather dead in a patch of brambles. On investigation we found that he was still alive but had got a thick stem of bramble caught round his neck and as he had twisted round and round trying to escape he had tightened the stem until it was more or less throttling him and he could hardly breathe. It was so tight that it was difficult to release him and when we did his legs were so weak and shaky that he kept falling over but luckily he soon recovered once he got back with the flock and started grazing within a few minutes although I imagine he must have had a sore throat.

We have also recently helped gather the pregnant ewes so they could be transported back to the farm where they were scanned to see what they were expecting. Out of the 32 ewes all are expecting, 19 with twins (and a couple possibly expecting triplets) and all the rest with singles. This will be the first year we are involved with the lambing so I am quite excited.

With so much stock checking I haven't had time to do anything in the garden other than to have a walk round to see what is coming up. It all seems quite behind this year..the snow drop flowers are almost non existent (I'm beginning to wonder if the pheasants are pecking at them) and the daffodils have only just shown themselves above the ground, unlike the Rhubarb which started sprouting underneath the snow in December..pity I don't like Rhubarb.

The other little star of the garden, that has been flowering from before the first snow and is still going strong, is this little primula (or is it a polyanthus..never quite sure of the difference). I think I will have to propagate it as I have never had one that is so strong and perpetually flowering.

2010 was a brilliant year for me but I think 2011 may be even better. Winston Churchill once said, "I am an optimist. It doesn't seem too much use being anything else." This about sums up how I feel, so (although a bit late)...Happy New Year everyone:))))


Orchids and Nature said...

It really made me chuckle when you and your husband were on poo watch waiting for the ponies to do their necessaries.

Helen said...

Hi was absolutly freezing and we were so pleased when we had successfully delivered the items to the vets in time that we had to find somewhere for a proper cup of hot coffee and a cake to celebrate :D

Lesley said...

Poor Domino! Just as well for him that you arrived when you did. I hope he's alright now.

I had to smile also at the thought of you both waiting for the ponies to oblige.... and then your mad dash to the vet! :O) It's interesting that the animal's medication is being made in tasty flavours.... but then why not, as ours is.

Sounds like you've got a really busy time ahead of you Helen, with the lambing!

Helen said...

Hi Lesley..Domino is fine but it shows how important stock checkers are. I think the lambing will be a busy time although we are not the only volunteers involved. I think there will be a rota. We will be given some training but I am still a bit apprehensive although it is not too hands on (or hands 'in'), more assisting and watching out for sheep that are having difficulties. I am really looking forward to it though:)