A pig tale – part 2

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The pig was through the gates and back on the farm. Fantastic!

But then… which pen was hers?

The pens stretched as far as the eye could see and we couldn’t just put her anywhere.

I jogged or rather slithered up to the farm building at the top of the hill, while Liz played British Bulldog with the pig – it must not reach the road!

At the top of the hill there wasn’t a soul about. However, on the horizon was a dot. The dot grew bigger and bigger and as it grew so did my euphoria as I realized that it was the pig man on his tractor.

The pig man got closer and closer, mud splattering and water spraying.

I waved at him. He waved back. And carried on waving and driving.

With my waving becoming crazy and my wellies sinking in the mud, the pig man stopped.

“You’ve got a loose pig,” I shouted above the noise of the engine.

“A what?”

“A loose pig!”

“You better climb in!”  he said.

Not standing on ceremony I pulled myself up into the cab of the tractor, a new experience.

My mother always said ‘don’t get into strangers’ cars’. There had been no mention of tractors.

We bounced down to Liz and the pig: the condensation running down the window.

We reached Liz and the pig and jumped down.

Meanwhile, Kerstin from next door had driven round the other way in her Range Rover to head off the pig.

She stopped to talk to the pig man.

She talked and talked and the pig ran off down the track.

Liz and l looked at each other in disbelief and yelled, “the pig!”

The pig man splashed after the pig, Kerstin drove off and Liz and I waited in the driving rain.

Finally having caught up with the pig, the pig man brought her back to us. He looked at her tag, ran his finger over his chart and he nodded, the rain dripping off his nose.

I think he could have managed but as he was rurally handsome, we helped him get her back to her pen and her piglets.

He said, “She’s slipped under the wire, the ground being so muddy.”

All I can say is, next time you’ve got a loose pig, I’m your girl!

 

 

 

 

A pig tale

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Liz appeared in the door way of the stable; water dripping from the brim of her hat. She was brandishing a shavings fork.

“Can you help me? she gasped.

Taken by surprise I said, “of course,” zipped up my jacket and stepped out of the warm stable I was mucking out into sheets of driving rain.

I followed her at a jog.

We had run half way to the road when Liz started gesturing.

Cars were slowing and stopping. A traffic jam had already formed and a barboured man was directing the traffic. In fact, there was quite a commotion.

Liz still couldn’t speak.

The barboured, traffic man asked, “Have you lost a pig?”

“A pig?” I looked at Liz, who echoed, “a pig.”

The barboured, traffic man looked at me expectantly, as if anticipating me to claim responsibility for the pig.

“It’s most likely from the farm across the road,” was the best I could offer, nodding towards the fields full of sties opposite.

The farm was not very far away, but I had never touched a pig in my life and I wasn’t sure Liz had either.

How had it got out? But more to the point how were we going to get it back?

“Here piggy, pig. pig, ” cried Liz.

The pig took no notice and rooted in the undergrowth by the side of the road.

“Here piggy, pig, pig,” cried Liz, waving her shaving fork. She moved forward. The pig ran off and then rooted in the undergrowth by the side of the road.

We checked the hedge to see if the pig had come through it. There wasn’t an obvious hole in it. That was good – she must have come through the gate. Though, I’m not sure that was actually good.

“Here piggy, pig, pig!”

Meanwhile the pig rooted in the undergrowth around the tree trunks.

The barboured, traffic man with frantic arms intermittently slowed or stopped irate drivers who thought 60 mph on flooded country roads was acceptable.

Or they did until they encountered the barboured, traffic man.

Meanwhile, Liz and I attempted to guide the pig along the road back to the gate.

Liz waved her shavings’ fork and I wiggled a fallen branch and we both ran to position ourselves to keep the pig moving forwards in the direction of the farm.

In the driving rain, Liz and I slowly edged the pig out of the undergrowth and guided her along the road and back through the gates to the pig farm.

No sooner had we guided the pig to the road, than she dashed back to the hedge and continued rooting.

Liz had clearly never touched a pig either.

 

Hello, Good Bye, Wow Wow

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Today was a strange day at the stables, marked by the reappearance of Wow Wow, a stripey grey cat with white paws, whose trademark was his loud ‘wow, wow’ miaow.

His arrival was noted mid morning, a crisp or rather more than crisp Sunday morning; his plaintive wowing becoming so loud and persistent, you couldn’t ignore him.

At first he was timid. He stood on a bale of hay and wowed and if you moved towards him, he ran off, but then he waited.

He waited and wowed.

I’ve seen him before, only once. Last weekend I saw him trying to catch a mouse in the long grass. He crouched, waited and pounced. He looked well.

In fact, he still looks well. He is a young, well covered cat.

We watched him for a while Sunday morning. He climbed out of the haybarn, so we could see him, and slowly, slowly he crept forward. He came closer and closer.

I crouched down and Wow Wow smoothed against my jodphurs and purred.

He went to see Lucy and purred.

He was going to make us late.

Having given him lots of love and strokes, we decided we better get on. He followed us and wowed.

Thankfully, when I led leapy about Larry out to his field and Lucy put Punch out, Wow Wow stayed still and waited patiently for our return.

We had half the stables still to muck out and were being followed round by a wowing cat!

Was he hungry? Was he lost? Was he hungry and lost?

One of the dogs had killed a rabbit last week, the remains of which had been found in a stable with cat prints in the shavings. Was it Wow Wow, who had dragged the rabbit into the stable?

Two hours later Wow Wow was still moaning, so we gave him a saucer of milk. I know you’re not supposed to give cats cow’s milk, but we didn’t have anything else to give him.

He lapped it up and then he started wowing again.

Lucy went home at 1 o’clock. Her lift arrived with some cat biscuits for Wow Wow.

Wow Wow ate them, not starvingly and left quite a lot. He obviously wasn’t starving, but he was still very vocal.

Lucy left and Wow Wow stayed and wowed.

Ann and Katherine saw Wow wow and gave him some attention, while they waited for the non arrival of Justine to clip their horse, Ellie. They popped home and picked up a tin of cat food for Wow Wow.

Wow Wow tried it, quite liked it, but clearly wasn’t starving.

I went to feed the horses in the field, and wondered if Wow Wow were microchipped. Should I take him to the vet to see if he was microchipped? Should I wait and see if he lost any weight? How long should I wait? Maybe we need a yard cat?

When I got back, Wow Wow had gone.

Maybe he does live locally after all?

I hope so, he’s too nice to be lost.

 

 

 

 

First weekend back at the yard

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The air was fresh, the morning early. Rosie looked up from her hay, Larry jiggled and tried to nip ‘hello’, while Jim kicked his stable door associating me with breakfast.

And the day flew by… from putting the feeds round; a debate about rugs as the wind picked up and it looked like rain; horses on the walker and those not on the walker out to the field; a sit down with coffee and some spanish biscuits; mucking out; dealing with a laminitic pony, a lost vet and an anxious owner of aforementioned pony; a dash to the fields to rid the horses of their rugs as the storm clouds had gone, the sun was blazing and the horses sweating; a little sweep; bringing the horses in; the application of lotions, potions and creams – the yard had turned into animal hospital with mud fever cream for three horses, bandages for a horse that had had an op, some mystery liquid for a horse with a splint, benzyl benzoate for two horses with itchy tails and soothing wound cream for three brood mares in the field who’d got bites in spite of fly rugs and rubs because of them; fly spray for most; taking one horse to the field for overnight; feeding the horses in the stable and the ones that live out, to a final sweep the yard …

But to make a busy day even busier, the straw beds had warranted an extreme muck out; the live out pony with laminitis needed a stable sorting out, special shoes, cold hosing and the live out pony’s buddy also had to be stabled; all the horses had drunk most of their water as soon as they had come in and needed their buckets refilling; still half the horses on the yard needed hay when it was delivered late afternoon, not to mention the non arrival of a new horse, who finally arrived as I was closing the gates.

By Saturday night my legs were aching and my feet were throbbing, a combination of the ground being so hard, so much walking to and from the fields and having been on holiday.

So, was I lively enough to cook dinner for eight people on Saturday night?

No chance. It was fish and chips for all, served with a few bottles of Sauvignon Blanc!