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skiddingtowardsretirement

semi-retiring, work life balance, lifestyle block living

Month

April 2017

New Life – First death

We’ve had our first death on our piece of paradise.  Yes, sadly we’ve lost our ram.

Two days before his demise, Mr Ram had been happily socialising with his harem in the paddock. Twenty four hours later the man moved the flock into another field, and although the ram was not as fast as he normally was, all seemed OK.

On the day of his death, I found the ram lying in the paddock. His girlfriends were keeping their distance. After getting the man’s opinion about whether a sleep-in was normal for a sheep on a statutory holiday, we rang Karl, our tenant farmer. Coincidentally, Karl happened to be driving past our place at that exact moment, so he turned his ATV hard left up our driveway and was tending the sick animal within milli-seconds of our SOS call.

His initial assessment was that the ram might have caught pneumonia, but as our tenant farmer’s expertise lies with dairy cows rather than sheep, he said he was going to get a second opinion from someone who knew more than he did. Fair enough.

He then hopped back onto his John Deere and left.

An hour or so later he was back with a drench pack and possibly a pocketful of drugs ready to do the para-medic thing. Sadly, it was too late, the poor ram had taken his last breathe about 30 minutes before.  To this day, we don’t know why. It could have been something he ate, old age, or even a nasty worm-thing that is picked up when grazing and kills quickly.  Or it could have been something else entirely. The chances are we probably will never know.

As a precaution, however, the other sheep were drenched.* I am pleased to say they are alive and healthy. P1010227.JPG

Country life: it’s not always nice or fair, but it’s always fair dinkum real.

*Our small cattle race is proving a total asset.

 

 

 

 

New Life – 3 months in

It’s three months ago today that the man and I closed the door on life in the Big Smoke and headed North to a quieter existence.

Since we have been here we may be living a quieter life, but we are way busier. A contradiction, I know, but let me explain. It is quieter because not only do we not have constant traffic 24/7 assaulting our senses, we have the luxury of being able to pace ourselves. You see, each day we choose what we do, rather than follow the regime that comes with working an 8 to 5 job.

Today for example we are having a burn off, but not before our new-to-us Massey Ferguson tractor hauls a few branches from a fallen tree to add to the fire pile. Son Number 1 has volunteered to do this job because although it’s work, it’s fun and he knows he’ll have a blast.

tractor 1.jpg

After the logs have been added to the pile,  we will move the sheep from that paddock  before lighting the fire. Transferring the sheep should be straight forward. Except sometimes it isn’t and we are slightly wary of the exercise: the last time we moved the sheep, one bugger made a break for it and managed to get herself through the fence into the neighbouring farm.

This was beyond us. We rung Karl who owns the sheep. Is it a lamb, he asked? No, we replied, it’s a sheep. Well, you won’t catch it as they are bloody fast, he said. I’ll ring the other farmer and let him know our sheep is in his paddock. And he hung up.

Remember this is Whangarei time – nothing happens fast. Ever. For the next week, we watched the rogue sheep shadowing her mates in our paddock, occasionally giving a plaintive bleat to remind us she was lost.

One day we came home to find we were back to full quota in our paddocks. The sheep had returned.  Turns out the neighbouring farmer had rounded her up into a pen (think dogs and quad bikes here). Once this was done, all  Karl had to do was to get her from the pen back into our paddock. Easy as, right? Actually no. The sheep made one more bid for freedom, but this time round she had met her match. Farmer 1, sheep 0.

Anyway today there were no escaping sheep. They did exactly as we wanted. The MF has done its job and I can smell the smoke of the fire pile. In the background the chainsaw can be heard as the man and son No. 1 get stuck into some more fallen branches which will be destined for the wood pile or burn off.

As for me, once I have finished this blog, I’ve a house to clean up and some baking to do as we have guests this weekend.  In fact, most weekends we have family or friends pop by.

Life in the country. It’s beaut.

Not sure how I am going to fit that paying jobette in though?

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