572 days to go!

by Max Akroyd

Two days of rain, torrential at times, and a temporary role as sole parent to two of our children, halted progress outside. The essentials like feeding the animals were achieved between cloudbursts, temper tantrums (mainly mine) and double helpings of domestic chores, but little else. I can safely say effective single parenting is rocket science, just without the plaudits.

The return of school and sunshine (albeit very watery) today meant I was able to get stuck in on the backlog of jobs. Pigs were mucked out, hens were relocated to the polytunnel and the henhouse litter renewed in their absence – a much easier job when you’re not being quite literally hen-pecked! Doors to all the animal houses were thrown wide open to air them after the stagnation of recent days.

The goats hay supply was replenished and, I confess, a time-out spent stroking them and generally consoling them for being stuck inside all the time of late. Everyone says how intelligent dogs and pigs are, and I’m sure this is founded upon scientific fact, but I sometimes wonder if that’s just a way of saying they have similar traits to us. In my limited experience, goats are the intellectuals of the farmyard and when you’re as averse as they are to the slightest precipitation life must be a bit wretched in the Breton autumn… although they do enjoy their hay and the general cosiness of their house.

Rows and rows of pots containing strawberries, painstakingly transplanted by Emma, had been blown over by the wind so I restored them to their former glory in the hope she won’t notice upon her return. Finally, I watered the ranks of germinating seedlings: the sweat peas are romping away and their edible cousins on the field are popping up everywhere too.

All this was completed just in time to pick up our youngest from school (he just does half-days) and to realise that all I’d managed this morning was to catch up. Oh well, it was great to be working outside again… now, where did I put that ironing board..?