Seeing things a new with SF MkII

I knew things on the feed front would be tight this winter when Mr Reliable, the gentleman who sells me the bulk of my hay each year, told me he had none to spare.

The rotten summer weather had stopped his haymaking in its tracks - er, paddocks.

So I started the 2011 hay hunt a bit behind the game, and I haven't really caught up yet.

A few weeks back I used my new trailer to collect 10 bales of hay from out on the Taieri, and I've found some minibales of balage online. I'll get those this weekend, but the feed situation will still be touch and go.

So it's just as well the weather hasn't been too rough. The sheep are starting to gather down in the yards each morning like a mob of woolly Oliver Twists asking for more, but I am heartlessly rationing their supplies. There are sheep nuts in the defunct but still rat-proof freezer where I store stock food.

The sheep love them but my wallet doesn't. It would sure be helpful if spring would spring early, like it did last year.

Years ago I used to write about the Small Farmer, who came to stay with us most weekends. Well, as children do, he grew up, and these days we have his 2-year-old son to stay.

SF MkII is the spitting image of MkI, only shorter of course, and likes many of the same things: feeding the sheep and hens, finding the eggs and exploring the paddocks. And what a pleasure it is for us to see our place through his eyes - everything fresh and exciting. Last weekend he had a ball wandering around after the roosters, yelling "Cock-a-doo!" at the top of his voice and doing his best rooster actions.

He loves to get his gumboots on and stamp around "in the muddy", help Grandad with the firewood, or go exploring up the hill with his dad.

His Saturday morning routine is a walk down the drive to the gate for the paper, then climbing the steps to the paddock and turning left for the henhouse, walking carefully across a plank "bridge" on the way (there's no need to walk the plank, he just likes it). Then it's search for the eggs, feed the hens and back to the house for breakfast.

Woe betide any foolish grandparent who tries to do things in the wrong order. He likes everything just the way it is, which is fortunate, because we do too.



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