It was not without a certain amount of trepidation that I approached the farm down the driveway after a few weeks away. What back-breaking task would my dearest brother be concocting for me I wondered? The clouds were rolling in ominously and I found myself cursing my luck that, after two weeks spent working in a stuffy office while staring out of the window at a blazing sun, the gods had seen fit to darken my first day back with weather more suited to the Outer Hebrides at this time of year. Anyway, such is life!
It was somewhat fitting then, that I was greeted as I got out of the car by a masked figure clad in a boiler-suit with a suspiciously green tinge to it. My sense of foreboding was increased even further when I realised that this storm-trooper from hell was wielding some sort of long motorised device that looked like it could shred me in a matter of minutes. Oh yes, you guessed it… It's strimming season!
Indeed, James has begun the week attacking the undergrowth like some sort of machete-wielding maniac, and what a difference it has made! I was shocked at how well kept the farm was looking. The area around the pig-pens has been levelled so that one can see right across the farm from the house. This of course is all in preparation for when the cattle are herded into their straw-lined barns for the winter. Before this however, the yards and barns must be mucked out and cleaned. Lucky for us the recent addition of a brand new tractor with a front-loading bucket to our arsenal of somewhat antiquated machinery has made this job infinitely easier… Or so we thought…
Yes the tractor… What a travesty! At the slightest sign of hard work the machine packs up quicker than a footballer in a chess game. The clutch is the latest problem and has left my unfortunate brother with the unenviable task of shovelling several tonnes of manure onto a trailer without mechanical aid!
If that wasn’t enough, we have also had round two of the ‘farm invasion’ by the uncouth youths from the village. Having earlier taken it upon themselves to pinch the lead lining from the roof of one of the barns, they have now stolen a cluster of jerry cans and emptied one of the tanks of diesel on the farm. Let us hope then that they attempt to run their own cars on this stuff, after all it has been rotting at the bottom of that particular tank for nigh on eighty years and I can imagine it having much the same effect on an engine as a pound of sugar in the petrol tank! Every cloud, eh?!
Despite all this doom and gloom, we have struggled through and the farm is in spectacular condition. The piglets are as feisty as ever and we have just about managed to contain them in the pens (this is a greater feat than you may expect; most days we half expect them to have stolen a car and be half way to the airport, such is their artistry in escape!). The cows are grazing happily and the sheep are all healthy and no doubt enjoying the lush grass that the recent rain has brought.