Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Monday, 7 June 2010

3rd November 2007

I have been busy planting the 150 bulbs that our friends brought over from Holland when they were visiting, digging up the weeds and pulling out the dried strands of poppies and cornflowers as I carefully placed bulbs deep into the soil. It was a cloudy damp day, but nonetheless good to be outside after days of constant rain.

The happy farmer was busy too, laying the first row of neat bricks on the cement foundations that are to form the walls of our new extension. Lines of string, neatly pegged out, the cement churning in the mixer, as he carefully positioned the bricks. I can see now where the fun of building comes from; yes I did get a bit of a bemused look of that happy farmer when I likened the job to playing sandcastles on the beach. It so reminded me of the happy hours I used to spend as a child, carefully modelling walls and dams out of sand, pebbles and nearby rocks. Here was the happy farmer neatly laying lines of bricks, on cement, playing with sand once again then.

The happy farmer got the last laugh though. It came when I decided I needed a barrow full of horse manure for the flower beds, to nourish and protect them from the winter storms ahead of us. It would involve a trip to the ponies’ field with the barrow. Now I am ever so slightly wary of horses, so I very gingerly made my way to the field, and checking the three of them were nowhere to be seen, I carefully opened the gate and pushed the barrow in. Spying the three of them over towards the hill, I made my way across towards another gate in the opposite direction.

The horses are really friendly. Meg, the Clydesdale is a gentle giant, but she towers over me, and her hooves look so large. Hansel is sleek and tall, a thorough gentleman, who stands beautifully, with his ears erect and a smile on that muzzle, when eldest daughter grooms him. I can comfortably approach him in these circumstances. Muffin is a very cheeky pony, but he will not come too close as he doesn’t like being caught; only eldest daughter can catch him, and that takes a lot of cajoling on her part to gently coax him ever closer. So really I had absolutely nothing to fear, except I was alone in the field, armed with a wheel barrow and spade, and well aware that the horses can be ever so inquisitive.

I found some clumps of manure and carefully scooped them onto the spade and into the barrow, keeping an ever watchful eye on those ponies. Just at that moment I was spotted, by Meg, ‘the giant’. Ears forward she spied me and began to gallop across the field, I ran as fast as I could, down the hill, and over that gate, out of sight, where I stood breathless waiting for her to appear. Now those horses are fairly used to seeing me run through the field, Meg had obviously began to make her way over, but on seeing me scarper, must have gone back to nibbling the grass, for she didn’t appear. I waited and waited, I climbed up the rungs on the gate to see if I could spy her over the top of the hill, eventually I climbed back into the field, and once again made my way gingerly across the field, up to the wheelbarrow, the horses by now completely out of sight. I finished gathering dollops of dung, before making a quick getaway, back to the happy farmer and the flower beds. I relayed my tales of bravery to the happy farmer, who, smirking away and shaking his head remarked,
‘I saw where those horses went’
‘You did?’
‘Yes, they were over the other side of the hill, I wondered why they were rolling on their backs, legs in the air….what a sight they were....’
‘Rolling, legs in the air, all of them?’
‘Yes, they were laughing so much you see at the sight of one crazy woman…’
At least the roses will be grateful!
Until next time......

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