Archive for belted galloways

Up close and fairly personal.

Posted in digressions, farm, Herberts with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2012 by pimpmybricks

You know,  I want to thank everyone who takes the time to leave a comment on this blog.  A big arm flinging sort of a thank you.  Sometimes it can get to feeling  like I’m wittering away to myself in a corner.  But then  someone’ll pop up and suddenly it’s more like a conversation and all is well.  So thank you, those what does.  Especially those what does regularly.

So anyway and anyway, while the rest of the world is sliding into all that mist and mellow fruitfulness ( please can I come and stay? in about a month?  for about three months?), we in the antipodes are enjoying a brief and lovely seasonal interregnum before we hit the glass wall of  Summer.  When the sun will press the days into flat, metallic discs and the heat will stretch and shimmer as far as the mind can see.  Further, even.

I have been getting up close and personal with the beasts of the land recently – and I must tell you, it’s better than a shot of vitamin B, or a night at the disco.  It fair plumps up the old membranes with cross-species joy. Indeedy.

At the farm the other week, the weather had started to warm up and  so we had the annual procession of the reptiles into the sun. All very stately and solemn it was.  Our resident Carpet Python, a very suave McLaddy, staked a place in the purple herbaceous baxon to sun himself.  Until, that is, the Herberts and all the birds took great umbrage and wapped him with a crescendo of barking and claxoning until he slithered off in search of a quieter life. (His parents, you know, used to over-winter wrapped around the hot water tank in the roof, until the plumber came across them one day, two pairs of yellow eyes regarding him in the dark.  The neighbour was called (we being away), who summarily stuffed them into a hessian sack and dumped them in the Strawberry Field.  Whereupon they went off in a state of high dudgeon, never to be seen again.  They did, though, leave us their offspring; he of the buttery yellow belly and lazy ways. This is not his picture – he is too camera shy and I am too camera slow, but it is a relative of his.

There were also sightings of the Lace Monitor who has taken up residence under the house and is the cause of great canine clamour every evening, the dogs seeming to believe that obsessive licking of the floorboards will deliver him to them. He emerged one afternoon for a stroll and  was promptly chased up a tree by, once again, the Herberts, fearless defenders of the ancestral acres they, whence he stayed for the best part of the afternoon, motionless, pretending to be a branch.  At dusk, when I had distracted them, he gingerly inched his way down, only to be mobbed by a parent magpie as he  trundled with utter dignity and as fast as his stumpy little legs would carry him until he was only a speck at the far edge of the field.  I did photograph him, but the sun was in the lens and he looks nothing more than a very large twig in a very large tree, so here is his cousin who lives somewhere on the internet.  You can see how beautiful he is:

 There were delights of a somewhat more ambivalent nature when I emerged from the house one afternoon to find two tiny red and green finches sitting on the verandah.  I spoke to them politely, as one does, and they seemed to regard me with little surprise or alarm and so I got down at their level and conversed a little more.  Their beaks opened and shut, red little beaks, but no sound came and it finally dawned on me that they had flown into the window and stunned themselves. They allowed me to place them in my hand (oh!) and from there I transferred them to a bush for safety (the tireless Herbs being just around the corner, lounging, but not for long).   Later they were gone. Flown off to safety.  You know that somewhat mawkish sticker ‘Magic Happens’?  Well, apparently it doth. In the garden.  When you least expect it.  And are wearing your scruffiest wellies.

But wait, there is more!

When we arrived we found the dams perilously close to dry and the cows up to their knees in mud, drinking from the puddles still left at the centre.  There followed much unhilarity with ancient and new pumps and finally  a hose spurting fresh, clean river water was taken up to them.  I’ll wager a bet that when you think of water fun, your mind doesn’t turn automatically to frolicking with Belted Galloways in the mud, but I am here to testify that you’re  missing out.   Afterwards I felt as good as if I’d been to the seaside for a day with old friends. You know, buckets and spades, sandy sammies and feeling sick in the car afterwards.  Joy!  They’re excellent sports, cows.  Gawd love ’em.

Other than that, there was the usual Spring parade of floriferous glories and olfactory delights:

And at the end of it all, there was honey still for tea.  Because the farm’s that sort of place.

Of progress and wheels – a few before and durings.

Posted in Derelict house, farm, Georgian houses, Great Danes, Renovation, sandstone walls, Sydney with tags , , , , , on September 24, 2012 by pimpmybricks

 

Yo Homeslices – greetings from the sickbed.  Wherein brain-deadness covereth all like a sodden blanket.

I say this sotto voce, just in case Fate is lurking somewhere in the bushes – but it is conceivable that we have passed through the valley of death and begun our ascent. Or to cut the hyperbole, that we have finished the dismantling of the Regency Wreck and have begun the re-mantling. I know!  Craycray innit? But, let me tell you, that valley was wide and boulder-strewn.  Our wagon of hope and fortitude just about perished along the way.

A friend remarked recently that we’ll be on a roll now and my response is yes, we are indeed rolling, but at much at the same pace as the first stone-age wheels rolled.  You know, just blazin’ merrily along. Actually we are in attitudes of agitated despair and glumnitude here because the official moving-in date in November was nudged a while ago to January, which was just about cope-able with, and has now been shunted to the end of March, which is emphatically not.

But  leaving all that aside for one moment – to give you a glimpsette of progress so far, by which I mean that which is visible and therefore of interest to me, rather than structural and buried deep within the bowely fabric of the house.

The stone in the basement vestibule is now golden and gleaming, courtesy of the builder’s wife Lin, who actually should be called Builder II on account of how hard she works.  I began the process and she has taken it over – we have gone from this:

to this:

And the dining room is on the march, from this thing of potential

to this thing of golden glory:

All of which is Mr Pimp’s own fair work.  He has further still to go with his trusty scutch hammer, but even now it is looking almost baronial, don’t you think?  Positively Arthurian!  And opposite, this gorgeous stud and noggin wall has been uncovered, and will remain thus:

The plaster on the wall to the left of Noggin the Nog is a little drummy, so there are perchance more stone revelations queuing there.  That dining room, I tell you, will be a veritable feast of texture. A glut! And, furthermore, I shall be spared the necessity of agonising over paint colours.  Which is always welcome.

And speaking of progress, we escaped to the country a couple of weeks ago, to see how Tortoise the calf was faring.

In-flight catering:

 

And when we arrived we found Tortoise so busy with his homies that he could barely manage a wave:

We also discovered that Miss Brown, one of the two original matriarchs of the herd, with this little blokey in tow:

Which made me extremely, ecstatically happy, because the last two times we saw her she’d separated herself from the herd and I feared she had lost a calf.

So there we have it.  All is well in the Green Kingdom, and stultifyingly slow in the urban one.  And I am off to my sickbed.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend salvation

Posted in ceramics, digressions, farm, Inspiration with tags on August 9, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Hello hello! Lawdy, it’s been longer than I thought. Thank you very much for the ahemings and nudgings – it’s lovely and reassuring to know that I’m not blithering away entirely to myself.  Truly.  And actually I’ve thought about posting umpteen times recently, but the landscape around here has been too stress-sodden, too desolate to be worth relaying.  Any post I might have written would have been a litany of despondencies,  unspooling in long ribbons from here to the moon and half way back again.  Though actually, to talk in terms of ribbons is too smooth and silky-sounding when the texture of time has more resembled a mountain of rusty nuts and bolts –  a mountain that must be ascended, one bolt and one knee-breaking nut at a time.

But fear not! I do not come Ancient Marinerishly – I shall uphold (sort of) the fifth law of blogodynamics and not pin you to the wall with my litany of woes.  In any case, for anyone outside the tiny circle of involvement it’s all rather so whatish.  It’s the usual stuff – you know – builder being difficult, plumber being difficult, the contract that we get pressured to re-negotiate, the other contract that seems to have a large sum missing from it.  It’s being expected to pay for scaffolding when we no longer need it.  It’s the giant hoohaa-ery about exterior colours.  You know – that manner of thing. The kind of thing which wakes you in the middle of the night, which causes you to vow ‘never again’, which looms suddenly at you while you’re eating your breakfast and has you in a lather.  Stress!  And the trouble with stress, in my experience anyway,  is that it shrinks one’s world to a tiny claustrophobic chamber in which tap fittings and floor tiles loom vastly, and you become some distracted Alice in her not-so-wondrous-wonderland, tussling to get them back to size, the buggers.

And stress makes you behave badly.  Or at least rudely.  And sleep like a lunatic. And become tired.  And therefore behave even more badly.  Or at least rudely.  And maybe turn to drink or other noxious solutions. (Having just picked out all the good nuts from the nut packet, I suggested to Mr Pimp that we had peanuts and G&Ts for supper.  He thought I was joking. But you mark my words – tomorrow he’ll suggest his own variant).

So anyway, to upkeep my undertaking to the fifth law of etceteras, I give you some things which are keeping the boat semi-sane and bobbing at the moment.

I give you the fifty hyacinth bulbs Mr Pimperwonderful bought and planted in staggered lots so they could bloom over us all through our Period of Need.  I should confess that I  completely  and utterly adore hyacinths.  The colour of them.  The smell.  I could live in a hyacinth-induced swoon all my days.

I give you the dining room floor, now (almost) dressed once more with its sandstone flooring.

I give you these glass mosaics, with which I am having a delirious, shiny interlude.

I give you Hans Coper with whom (or with pictures of whose pots) I spent a surprisingly ecstatic morning.  Simplification of form – I am convinced it’s where it’s at.

But mostly, dear Ladles and Jellyspoons, I give you Salvation by Calf. And this is how it happened.  We were stressed.   We were unhappy.  We did what we always do at such times.  We went to the farm for a spot of rustication, a top up of chlorophyll. A little rose pruning is what we envisaged, a little bad-potting. A lot of nothing very much at all.  And what did we do instead?  Life saving is what!   Think, if you would, tiny calf with paralysis ticks. Think sleepless nights with a sick baby. Think nail baiting will-he-or-won’t-he suspense. Think injections, dried colostrum and conflicting advice. Think midnight trysts by lamplight on straw bales with bottles of milk. Think anxious mother hovering, shiver-me-timbers cold, plumes of huff.  Think flooding relief when finally, FINALLY! the teat is chewed and then sucked, noisily, by the hairy little beast, streams of milk flooding down his coat.  Think Mr Pimp holding  a bib of straw beneath his determined little chin so that the spilled milk doesn’t freeze on him over night. Think the first thought you have in the morning being the calf, the last before you drop off.  Think jealous Remingtons and anxious Miss Elsies bellowing at you over the fields. And then you’d have the gist of our weekend.

We found him like this, almost dead, on his way to total paralysis:

 Mr P scooped him up to take him where we could look after him, bringing on the wrath of his mother Molly and the Grand Matriarch of the herd, Miss Black (a scary thing):

The vet shaved his neck to check for more ticks.  He looked somewhat like a ponderous tortoise thereafter:

Finally, finally on his tottering feet again:

On the last morning, a day later than we were planning to leave, we were able to open the gate and let them both out, Molly to show off her baby (for the second time) and he, to his second shot at life as a tenured lawn mower.  I hope they don’t tease him about his neck.