Sunday, 3 July 2011

Seventeen rounds with Mike Tyson

It has been glorious weather here, finally.

When the sun shines, it illuminates all the shady corners of the farm, the ones which harbour waist high thistles and creatures which scuttle.

We are waiting for the penultimate calf; Mothercow has been pregnant for all of Eternity, it seems but in truth, the bull started the season energetically then flagged a bit picking up again much later so the calving has stretched far longer than usual.

The cowshed is so quiet now, just the two cattle plus a posse of hens who have moved in and scold when you intrude on their patch.

I told the cows that I did know how they feel; that heavily pregnant feeling whereby you just want to lie in a heap and support the weight of your swollen belly with light industrial scaffolding whilst sipping Mint Juleps without the Julep bit.

There was no sign of an imminent calving so I had a look around to see what else to do. Tackle the forest of weeds which were waist high in places. The seed heads of the dockens and thistles would soon burst forth so needed cutting.

Some of the thistle stalks were unbelievably thick and the strimmer just nudged against them before snapping the line and it was quicker using a tree lopper to hack them down.
Quicker, yes, jaggier and midgier, yes.

Great fat plumes of midges rose up from thorny nests and swarmed onto my eyelids. I suppose it is the thinnest part of my body (make that absolutely the thinnest part of my body, the brats) so easiest access to the blood they need.

The tree loppers got heavier and the midges got fatter.

"Do we not have a machine to do this?" I asked the Farmer, irately.

"Yes, but the chain is broken."

Now this seems to happen every year. The machine which gets trundled out on The Day always has something wrong with it and needs complicated mending. Complicated mending to me is when the mendee is lying on a sheet of cardboard under the machine only to emerge covered in diesel and gleefully brandishing an indeterminable lump of metal. It is birthlike in its ritual.

This is then followed with Going For The Part and a lengthy journey round the agricultural parts departments dotted around Perthshire.

We take sandwiches and everything and I am always tempted to hang streamers out the car window as it is an Annual Event like the Sunday School picnic where you went in a big bus to somewhere exotic like Strathpeffer and spilled your bottle of Pola Cola on the grass.

I digress.

The war between weed and woman continued for hours. I was sustained by the mantra 'bingo wings' and hacked savagely at the thistles. They hacked back.

The children were happy playing on a huge sand pile just beside the jungle bit I was in and the Farmer mended the chain from the safety and sunny area of the one Nice Bit of the farm.

I stopped about half past eight at night as I could no longer think but had made a difference. The thistles would not blow their fairylike seedheads all over our barley.

We were all filthy, sandy muddy filthy, diesel filthy and seventeen rounds with Mike Tyson and midges filthy. There was even blood.

I never made it upstairs until 3am as I fell asleep on the sofa. I hate doing that. You wake up feeling bewildered and sore and as if you have had a monumental night out imbibing whisky and cocktails and laughing.....

I am going for round two today. The Sequel; Bits I Missed.

I hope it is not Bites that Missed me.

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