It is 8 o’clock in the evening and I am writing this blog. In the background I can hear a quad bike, the neighbouring farmer shouting, his working dogs barking and cows occasionally mooing as they are moved from one paddock to another. Life in the country – it’s beaut.
This blog is another farm story: a story with a happy ending for everything, except, maybe, a few possums. Last post I mentioned that the man and I had a ram on our property to service the ewes. I was very excited about this because this would mean there would be lambs frolicking – OK, initially staggering in a drunken fashion – across our land by late August, and let’s face it, newborn lambs are up there on the cuteness scale.
Except our ram had a sore leg and had no interest in fathering anything. Now Karl, our tame farm manager, had pinned his hopes on the ram recovering with drugs – this is, of course, the North, but let me reassure you, we are talking legal prescription drugs here.
Unfortunately, the drugs did not do their job and by Tuesday evening, we noticed that the ram could not even weight bear on that leg. We gave Karl a bell, and the news wasn’t good. He’d checked the animal that day, and not only was the ram going to be relieved of impregnation responsibilities, he was destined to be dog tucker. Sad, right?
Today Jim, farmer and ram owner, turned up with the replacement, and to pick up the injured animal. He stayed for a while and yarned about what we were doing with the land. All of us studiously avoided the subject of what he intended to do with the lame ram. Finally, Jim swung into action and did what we thought was a very tricky ram swap out using our cattle race, the stock trailer and his dog.
I couldn’t look the injured ram in the eye. Dog tucker!
This segues nicely into the topic of possums. We have heard one. Once. Now we know that because kiwis are released near us, predator numbers are kept low. However, one possum is still one possum too many. And let’s face facts, it may well have moved its extended family in. And a friend or two. The man and I talked to Jim about dealing to them. He suggested a trap. I suggested shooting. That’s OK too, apparently. If we do get a possum, we can sell it to a local possum buyer. They process possums for dog tucker. Get the irony?
After Jim left, I raised the sad fate of the ram with the man. The man told me there had been a change of plan. The problem is footrot. Jim is sure he can sort it. The ram will live.
Possums though? Yeah, nah. They will become dog tucker.