boots and balls

The vet is here today, castrating bull calves to turn them into steers for fattening. None of this year’s crop of male calves are good enough to leave entire to grow on for a pedigree bull. This annual task was supposed to happen 2 weeks ago but the original visit ended in disaster on a previously icy morning with the vet thankfully ok, but the practice car in pieces, after a close encounter with black ice.

The sheepdogs have just been given their annual booster vaccination as our farm collies are not regularly taken to the vet’s surgery. In order to get an experienced large animal vet the surgery we use is a good way from here, and the farm dogs are so unused to civilisation that sitting in the waiting room is something we avoid unelss it is an emergency. Firstly, they are always very muddy which is not good for the car on the way there or the waiting room floor and leaves an emabarrasing trail of mud and sometimes muck.  Secondly, they either try to round everything up in the waiting room or in the case of our old girl pick a fight with the nearest dog to her. We worked out years ago that it is much better to get their jabs done in conjunction with a farm visit. Our oldest faithful collie who will be 14 years old later this year has today been diagnosed with a grade II heart murmur.  She is already retired from sheep work and yet is still active enough to chase car wheels. Until today we always thought she’d eventually kill herself under a vehicle, as we have never been able to cure her off the habit and as she ages the habit unfortunately worsens.  Today it seems as if nature may eventually intervene. The advice is to pass the stethoscope under her ribs every time we have a one of the vet’s out for something else and that way we can monitor if she is worsening, even if there are no obvious symptoms.  Certainly she shows no signs of ailing even after a good walk. The vet also microchipped the newer and younger collie in case she ever goes missing.

We long for spring. We awoke to yet more snow today, and there is no sign of the grass growing yet. We are still feeding all the outside stock and the heavy workload remains relentless.

Swift has gone away this week on a short working holiday in order I hope to come back ready for farmwork once I am sound enough on my ankle. He had not left his field in over 9 weeks except to have his feet trimmed, and as I am not yet 100% fit [currently around 80% is my guess] we decided this was the best way to get normal service going again.  I could tell he was becoming bored, and yet I believe the rest has done him good too. He has settled well in his new temporary home, the first email said that on his first ride out he coped with builders, electric drills and barking dogs, mnnn that’s sounds just like my little horse, which is why I chose him in the first place. I  keep being asked how I found him, he is collecting quite a fan club. Or perhaps he chose me? Amazingly, I was the first to see him on the internet, first to ring up, first to view and ride and made an offer on the spot. Collected him 2 days later.

I am off to buy some boots later today from a local stockist, where I can actually try them on, which are good for riding in with a recovering ankle. I hope to start riding a friend’s pony from next week to see how it is and work my way back to normal fitness, but without the hassle of starting a youngster [however good he may seem] off again.

Roll on spring, we need some sunshine to blow away the last of our lingering winter blues.

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3 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Country Life, food and farming, rural musings, Food, Life

3 responses to “boots and balls

  1. I remember helping with the annual castration – strangely none of the other farm workwers were terribly fast in coming forwards for the task – possibly because they were all men! Roll on spring!

  2. Pondside

    Your post really puts the whole change-of-season thing into perspective. Mud, castration and new boots – you’re living the country life that never makes it into Country Living or any other country magazine! I hope your sheepdog lives a long and active life as a reward for service, despite the murmur.

  3. It’s jolly hard work isn’t it, and this weather isn’t helping at all. I’ve written about it on my blog today, we’re so fed up with it all now and the sheep are suffering just as much as we are.

    CJ xx

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