Days like these...

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up early as I had unwisely perhaps booked to work early, from 8 - 11 to get hours in, and still have day left for farm and family.
Dragging unwell family from their beds and installing them in the plague ship sitting room, I was at my desk by 8. By 9.30 I had a problem. By ten I was with tech support and by then without internet at all on my work PC. 
Meanwhile gasping and coughing and croaking and suffering in the sitting room, my husband and daughters were just gearing themselves up to milk goats and feed horses.
I decided to do something useful and went out into the veg garden, where I dragged a three tine cultivator round the unoccupied beds, which have panned with the excessive rainfall, in the hope of opening them up and getting them to accept the next bout of excessive rainfall without just eroding away to nothing.
By this time I'm coughing and groaning as well.
The computer guy appears to be on holiday.
We had planned to go to the farm store to buy new wellies for H (late Christmas present) and think about her sixteenth birthday present, two days hence.
Everyone was too ill.
As we stoke up the wood burner and make hot tea, there is a phone call. Our sheep have escaped and are wandering around in Charlie's rape crop.

Our sheep, I might add, are currently on Wansdyke. Wait while I find you a picture.

This is the one. It's up high, and today is not a nice sunny day like that.  It's cold and wet and windy. And some jolly walkers have decided to kick a hole in the fence to let their dog through. Into my pregnant ewes, but that's neither here nor there. And they've got out and are wandering around about in failing light and four of us bundled up like Russian dolls and toting buckets of sugar beet nuts and hampered by hacking coughs and the inability to breathe and the fast encroaching darkness are trying to get them back in.
We get them back in, which is not far short of a miracle.

Then noticing that the grass has gone a lot quicker than we'd hoped, we tote back down to the village to fetch bales of hay.

By this time Boo has faded and I have to get her home and wrapped around a mug of hot tea. H, whose voice has now all but disappeared and is wheezing like an old cart horse goes back out with her dad, who has a fever and is not looking special - to cart the hay back up the Harepath out to the sheep. It is dark and icy rain is falling.

Finally I get everyone fed and warm and I am now the last one up, sitting in peace and quiet, by the woodburner, very slightly unable to breathe, but content.

Many, many times we consider what it would be like to just pack it in, just stop. Sell the livestock, give up the dream, forget the lot and opt for central heating, paid holiday and sick leave - but funnily enough, it's never on days like these. When the battle's won, and everyone's dosed up and tucked up in bed, and I'm by the fire with my eyes closing, wondering if I can just card a little wool before bed, or knit a row or two, or if I will just curl up for half an hour with my re-read - The Deliberate Agrarian by Herrick Kimball - or if in fact falling over is now, at 9.45, the only option - these are the days I know I wouldn't change a thing.


PlainJane said...

Oh dear Jackie. Your day sounds dreadful. I'm glad all ended well. And do hope you all get better real soon.

Yes, there are days when I wish I didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn to do barn chores and I wish our ever-faithful dog would let me sleep in for once, but it's rewarding in the long run for sure.

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