Gambolling is an Addiction

18 October, 2006.

Hi everyone,

Things I have learned since moving in to Mystery Creek Rd:
1a. It is possible to remove a door from its hinges using only a 4 inch galvanised nail and a pair of borrowed pliers;
1b. 2 children and their mother can move a 2 door upright fridge/freezer by themselves;
1c. Never assume the people delivering your refrigerator are experienced or smart enough to measure the doorways it needs to fit through, before they get it to the top of the stairs where it blocks all access to the lounge and kitchen;
1d. Never let delivery people leave if they are saying "you should have no trouble getting it through once you've removed the door from its hinges" even though your house is completely devoid of any other furniture or tools...
2. Do not cut holes in your metal roof with an angle grinder, just because you are too impatient to wait while your wife gets the mains-powered jig saw. The roof will catch fire.
3a. You cannot make sheep go where you want them to go by chasing them. They will panic and jump through electric fences;
3b. You cannot lasso a sheep. Only an engineer would think you could. See 3a.
3c. In a large field divided by electric fences 2 panicked sheep who are immune to shocks will easily evade 2 humans who are not;
3d. One woman moving calmly and slowly by herself the next day can make sheep go where she wants them to;
3e. Sheep can be fooled by a fake electric fence as long as you don't panic them. See 3a.
4. If you shut chicks in a chicken coop until they are old enough to fend for themselves, you will have the devil's own time convincing them it is time to fend for themselves.
5. If you crouch down to feed an orphan lamb it will head butt you in the crotch looking for milk. The most comfortable way to accommodate this feeding habit is to sit on an upturned bucket and hold the bottle under your thigh behind your knee.
5a. An orphan lamb will follow you everywhere once it knows you're the milk source.
5b. Watching a happy lamb with a full tummy practising gambolling is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

As you will have gathered, we have added a newborn lamb to the menagerie. He is not strictly an orphan, but his first-time mother rejected him and our friend Bruce, who owns her, offered us the chance to raise him. He's a little battler, having survived his mother firstly rejecting him, then lying on him until unconscious, then knocking him down and giving him a blood nose in her haste to get away when we went to collect him. Today he is 4 days old. He is a Merino/Sussex cross, which has given him a splotchy black face and black-spattered legs, so Merinda named him Splatter. This goes well with our other black and white boy lamb, for whom Jonathan suggested the name Dodge (Dodge Ram - get it? The Americans will), as this turns out to be the names of a naughty pair of diesels in Thomas the Tank Engine stories, so everyone's satisfied. Dodge's half sister, who is black with a white mohawk, is called Diamond. Dodge and Diamond are about 3 months old, and already half the size of their mothers, who we dubbed U1 and U2. Dodge will remain a boy, but Splatter will not. Apparently hand raised rams are not a good idea as they will boss humans when full grown. As it is highly unlikely the children will let us eat him, he has a long life ahead of him as a non-contributing member of the mobile lawnmowing flock.

It will be a fun experience for the kids to raise a lamb, and good practice for Agricultural Day next year. Have I told you about Ag. Day? The school kids are encouraged to raise a lamb, kid or calf, and on Ag. Day are judged for things like walking the animal on a lead, knowledge about the animal, cleanliness, having the animal come to you when called, etc. Kaipaki School's Ag. Day was last week and about 20 children participated. There was also a flower show as part of the activities, so that children who couldn't raise an animal wouldn't feel left out. All the kids had to make a sand saucer, a miniature garden, a vase arrangement and a button-hole with flowers brought from home (there were a lot of naked gardens in Kaipaki last week)! I went an helped even though it was my 40th birthday, and it was a lot of fun.

I miss you all and I hope you're all well.
Bye for now. Lotsa love,

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