Today marks the end of my week looking after my friends farm. it’s been a wonderful week and has most definitely cemented my dream of having my own lifestyle block. I got a good taste of daily chores, plus time to sit and reflect on life on the land. Obviously I didn’t have to make any decisions, and I didn’t have to tend the vegetable patch, other than to water it, so my day wasn’t a full reflection on what life on a farm is truly like.
it got me among animals, and I have to say I loved the horses – I’d never had much to do with them since my teenage years, when my last memory of being on a horse was at my friends place and the horse I was riding decided to bolt for home and headed straight for a shed that only he/she/it would fit into – without me on the top!. it pulled up short and I was off it like a shot!. I’ve never been on or around horses much since. (I will add my other major horse memory here so its recorded for all time – that same friend, and her family moved to another farm and her father had many horses. the paddock he had them in had a huge dip in it. one day we went to the gate of the paddock with him, he called the horses and to this day I can still here the thundering of horse hooves long before the first horse came into view as it rose out of the dip, it was the most incredible experience, and I was in awe!)
I got friendly with a couple of the horses, one in the particular ( at this point I don’t know their names, but will find out later when my friend comes home) always comes to meet me and walks up and down the fence line with me. on the first day she ( think its a she!) wouldn’t let me touch her, she just sniffed me. each day since she has become more tolerant and I can stroke her neck and she has a good old sniff round my upper body and arms!.
it only rained one afternoon while I was here ( certainly had me thinking about water collection for future farms!), and the horses loved it, I watched them prancing round the paddock, kicking up their back legs and having a fine old time!.
their paddock, and that of the ram, I didn’t go into. I felt no fear round the horses while there was a fence between us. there is an issue with the electric fence in their paddock today ( dividing a large paddock into two, not a boundary fence), and I did briefly toy with going into the paddock to try and sort it out, but the gate chain was too hard and I was afraid of being in there with the 3 who as less interested and friendly with me. I decided my friend is back today, so she or her hubby can resolve it, and I’ll only intervene if its absolutely necessary. as I type this, both groups of horses are well away from each other and all seems fine.
I really enjoyed my walk round the water troughs each day, checking the water was flowing in all the paddocks so the animals had water in this heat, and was quite happy walking round in the paddock with the sheep – they are funny creatures!. so nosey, and yes, if one came near me, all 10 did!.
coming along on these walks with me was Max, a working farm dog and he is such a good boy. he’d still patiently while I took photos, not getting too near the animals. he came into the chook pen one day and was standing patiently waiting for me. I watched a chook approach him, he not being aware I dont think, and she came right up to his snout and pecked him!. he run and hid behind me!. Max isnt allowed in the house, he has his own dog house, plus a bed in the shade at the back door. I felt really awful when he stared into the house, especially when Buddy the cat was on my knee.
Buddy is a character – very snuggly, wanting to be on your shoulder and around your neck!. however he also has a habit of bringing home ‘gifts’. I found parts of a rabbit one morning – nice!. then another evening I saw him approaching with a bird or mouse in his chops, so I quickly shut the window and left him out that night. I actually slept better with him out so did that each of the other remaining nights.
I loved collecting the eggs each day, the chickens are a hoot. I had to water their patch each day to try and encourage new grass growth, as well as top up their water. I tipped out the old water and they all run to the puddles on the ground and start pecking in the water. there are 10 girls, and certainly for me that would be way too many – I have eggs coming out my ears currently!. my friend sells some so she’ll be able to get it back to a manageable level once she’s back. I reckon 4 would be plenty for me – enough to keep me and my parents with enough eggs.
I had to feed two calves ( steers I found out) each day and they have become right characters as well!. numbers 84 and 85. 85 is the goodie two shoes, mooing whenever as if to tell tales on 84!. 84 had a trip into the horse paddock on my second day in charge!. I went outside in the evening and noticed a calf in with the horses. oh ‘rude words’ I thought. I got into the calf paddock and walked along the fence line and found a middle rung had been knocked or kicked out and 84 had wandered through!. he kept mooing at me once he saw me, but every time I went to the gate the 2 horses came up to me. I rung the neighbour for help!. while I waited for him, I actually managed to get 84 out of the horse paddock and back into his own without releasing the horse! – I was rather chuffed with myself!. the neighbour came and fixed the fence, which on reflection, I probably could of managed as well, if I thought about it!. to be fair though, there was an electric fence line running along the wooden fence so it was probably safer to have the neighbour fix it!.
ok!, enough talk, how about some photos –
the 2 horses from the top half of the paddock and by far the more friendly. the darker horse is my best bud!.
the darker horse and the grey always trotted along the fence lines with me – here they know I’m coming and are waiting for me!.
I managed to get all 5 horses in the one shot!. you can just make out the electric fence bundles in the middle of the photo that separates the 2 of the left from the 3 on the right. ‘white knee highs’ on the right was the least friendly, always staying well back. the other 4 all let me stroke them.
my best buddy coming up to greet me.
ready for your close up Ms horsey?!
the farm has wonderful views of the Southern Alps. just imagine them covered with snow in the winter.
a lovely view in the morning light.
2 of the 10 sheep in one paddock.
a nosey sheep!
every time I approach the chicken pen they all coming running to the gate!. they must have good hearing because one time I just quietly peered over the gate situated behind me in that photo, and they still all came running to the gate!.
it was exciting to see how many eggs I’d find when I went collecting!. I’ve been keeping a tally for my own interest!.
this is how I found these 6 one day when I had my camera with me. this is the favoured roost to lay in and I’ve seen 2 chooks in it trying to sort themselves out!.
all 10 chooks at breakfast time!.
84 AND 85 – butter wouldnt melt, eh?!!.
they moo to tell me when they want feeding!.
Buddy, doing what Buddy does best in the day time – sleep in funny positions!.
and last but not least, Max.
phew!, thats a long post, and captures my week pretty well. I’ll be asking when my friends are going on holiday again!. then I’ll be figuring out what I have to do to get my own farm!.