Autumn has arrived in our village. It's getting a lot colder and the temperature is already on minus, in the nights. I guess this is normal weather for us, but we have been spoilt for some years with English weather, where the cold comes a bit later in the year. So frozen fields in the mornings are a bit of a chock for the system.
Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My seem to be quite relaxed about it, as they are still sporting their nice woolly coats. They will be sheared in two weeks time, so if the cold continues it will mean some days inside to adjust. Funnily that will not be a problem, as our four M’s love their home. It must be the light fading or the crisp air, but our sheep seem to be even more cozy and happy indoors, at the moment. They snuggle up for a hug and four of them trying to put their heads on my shoulders at once mean we end up looking like a rugby scrum. They also count their hens, checking that everyone is indoors, in the afternoon. Little chick E is still easy to spot. We hear where that little friend is holding fort, thanks to the constant beeping.
It's a cozy sort of time of the year. Animals are settling down for the winter, the feeding of the birds in the forest begins and life gets a bit less hectic. The hens are still outdoors all day as they refuse to be indoors. A bit of frozen grass never hurt anybody, apparently. But they find their way back home earlier now in the afternoons and by six o'clock all is still in the stable.
Last winter was a warm and icy version. Not ideal for animals with four spindly legs and a passion for bolting for no apparent reason. So with Christmas just around the corner, Molly hurt her leg. Farm animals have a tendency to get ill or get hurt around holiday times. As soon as there are less vets at work, shops are closed and families gather to celebrate something, they need help. So Molly got Christmas as her time to sprain a muscle on the slippery ice. It was not a broken leg but it was very sore. It took a few days for the vet to come out, as rest some times does the trick, but not with our dear Ms. Fixer. Molly does not do rest very well as she has to check what's happening and what everyone is eating.
The kind vet that arrived had never met us before. We are, as a group, a bit of a surprise for anyone and the lady took it well. All the hens started telling her their life story as soon as she entered the stable and though I asked her not to, she could not resist letting them out of the pen. So then we had helper hens all around the stable. Most of them investigated the vet’s bag. Catching Molly was no problem, not stepping on feathery assistants was more so. Molly got painkillers and I had to show the bewildered vet that I could handle feeding her with a syringe. That went well.
Then the hens were checked out and the accommodation approved of and even the little rabbit that stayed the winter had a visit from the vet. All through this there was a constant call of "Danger!" from Waldemar. The whole thing was a bit more Monty Python than James Herriot, I must admit. But we passed the inspection, Molly got help and I got a headache.
Three days of medicating Molly went well. After that I had to ask Dear Husband to help with holding her. Molly felt better and her leg healed completely. However, we had one mystery on our hand - A little Christmas conundrum.
All the small, used syringes that I had used to medicate Molly went missing. I left them on a shelf, on a plate to be disposed of later. There were no needles, just small, shiny plastic syringes. But they were gone. I looked for them and worried that someone was eating plastic. I should have known that the explanation was much simpler, knowing our lot. The clever hens carried them home to the hen house as decorations for the holiday season. Shiny, sticky and quite fetching, they were, with a coat of loose feathers on them.
I don't know why I thought of this, must be the icy grass and the cold weather. Or the fact that Molly keeps running around my legs telling me, that autumn is a lovely season to really let go and stretch the old legs before going in to snuggle down for the night. I keep hoping for more snow this year, as it keeps sheep on their feet even in sharp corners.
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.