Some weeks just start off brilliantly...
A group of youngsters were due to arrive for a visit and a picnic, later in the morning. We got up bright and early, the animals and I, in order to have everything ship-shape and ready for action. By 6am I was on my second mega mug of coffee and almost able to focus on the day ahead, when I saw that our lovely sheep were in the paddock. This happens once in a blue moon so I went over to tell them about the day’s events and check on them. I stood mumbling about visitors and happy dispositions when all four sheep stood to attention, eyes rolling and generally looking a bit odd. I tried to calm them, telling them all about the fun factor of picnics, but to no avail. In the end it finally dawned on me that something was amiss so I turned to look behind me and there stood a huge elk. The elk stood stock still, big ears pointing forward, clearly wanting to hear all about our day, thinking it makes sense to be on top of things in the village. It must have been one of the elks that have been eating hay in the yard all winter because it did not seem to be afraid of me at all. Slowly the elk started munching on a nearby rowan bush and our sheep started blinking in a normal fashion again. That's when Monty and his ladies turned up.
Hens are a constant danger to themselves. They walk around grazing, looking for worms and sometimes just pottering about. What they seldom do is look up to see where they are heading. This little habit took Monty almost all the way up to the elk’s hoofs, before he noticed the stranger in our midst. Looking up to see such a huge animal must have thrown our sweet cockerel because he started making such a racket. Unfortunately he got mixed up and started with the series of yodelling sounds he makes when a hen has laid an egg. This did not only startle the elk but all the hens as well. They responded by yelling at poor Monty, telling him to get his facts straight. Not an egg in sight and there he was waking up the village with his nonsense, was the general opinion. In the middle of all this, four sheep backed away slowly to the safety of the stable and the magnificent elk bid us all farewell and calmly walked away. I just stood clutching my coffee mug, feeling blessed to be part of all this. I am contemplating earplugs, though....
The gang of youngsters arrived and they were lovely and thankfully loved our animals. Our pink dog was admired and food was made and shared with the hens. Yes, Mr. Chip has at the moment a slightly pink furry coat. On Monday his colour was more chocking pink but he took it well. As I had planned, we did the summer bathing shampoo flying everywhere and the result was a very clean, fluffy dog. In my eagerness to groom him, I grabbed the first brush I could find, forgetting I had borrowed it for the sheep. As they are always wearing red paint, scraped off the barn, the brush contained some of the paint. Red, dust like paint on a wet dog and hey presto! a pink terrier. I tried to convince our visitors that I always dye our animals in this bright fashion but they did not believe me. I clearly looked too boring to pull that one off...
Lotta the hen is still planning to become a mother. She is guarding three eggs and a nest egg - in this case an egg shaped stone from Scotland. With our luck she will present us with three baby cockerels and a lot of pebbles. We can only hope for hens, so we don't have to part with them. Time will tell. It's now two weeks since she started nesting. It will be interesting to see how the famous five chicks will react if we do get tiny babies to add to our lot. Time will tell...
Dear husband has picked up a summer cold to add to his pollen allergy. We can hear him coming from miles away, bless his little cotton socks. There is nothing worse (yes there is, actually...) than a cold when it's hot but he struggles on and he never ever complains. At least our very hot and dry spell is over and they are forecasting cooler, nicer weather. Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My will be in heaven as this hot spell has taken all their energy. It's not easy being a sheep in a hot climate. It's not a bundle of laughs for a gardener either. So we all sit, eagerly awaiting cool air and rain.
Mr. Chip is happy either way as we alter walking timetables to fit in with the weather. These last weeks our morning walks have been happening very early in the mornings. There's not a crowd out there, apart from elks, deer, birds and one or two frogs. No cars, no noise, other than Monty's yodelling and it all feels rather special. Morning mist and a happy dog....
Elks are good swimmers and can dive. That's impressive when you think of how big the beautiful animal is.
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.