It’s animal introduction time. Sooo if you hadn’t gathered, I do live on a farm. A wee farm. It’s pretty much made of pallets and bailer twine, sigh.We have pictures of gates that swing the same way people have pictures of idols up on their wall (not really but you get the idea).
We have a couple of sheep, 4 horses, 3 cats (at last count) and a dog. And Richie (aka Dad, the mashed potato fairy etc). Oh that reminds me – there used to be this video we had- a tape like- you know, rectangular black looking thing you put in a VCR- remember those days?! Anyway yes, tape- called ‘Farmyard tales’- it was basically bad pictures of farmyard scenes and a voice over telling a story. But every story began the same way: ‘This is appletree farm. This is Mrs. Boot, the farmer. She has two children, called Poppy, and Sam, and a dog called Rusty.’ And then generic english accented man would launch into whatever enthralling adventure happened next. Now I don’t want to excite you too much, but to give you an idea- one was aptly titled ‘Pig gets stuck’. How I loved that video…
Em.. I had a point. Or maybe I actually didn’t, but so goes Sarah’s stream of consciousness. Hang on I wonder if that video is on youtube?! Noo- I shan’t get distracted. I shall dutifully finish my post. Ok. Animal introduction time.
We start with my first little pony: Snowy (she was named before I got her) or her jumping name ‘Cruachan’ (Crew-ah-cawn). I bought her when I was about 11 with my saved up communion/birthday money. She cost me 650 irish pounds including a saddle and bridle (A berny saddle at that boyo). She’s a little 12.3 albino pony with a serious attitude. When she decides its rest time, boy oh boy had you better get off. You can dismount gracefully with some dignity whilst Snowy snorts at you with a look that clearly says ‘Good choice, off with the saddle now and I haven’t got all day’ oooor you can be stubborn and get thrown off. And she may be a small pony but she likes to build up the momentum before she throws you off just to make sure you get the message with a nice bruise to match. But I love her dearly. And she pretends not to want attention but if you go and see the others first she gets fairly annoyed with you and will avoid you for the rest of the time you’re in the stable.
Next to my giant Irish Draft- Nick. Or as my cousin named him during a show ‘Settle-down Richie’ (My dad gets a bit nervous sometimes, for the love of God don’t let him near accident prone people or he’ll end up on a heart machine). He is my pet. He’s like a puppy, totally loveable, always comes over to say hi. He’s just adorable. Hes also huge. It’s a long way down when you’re sitting up there. Hand breakingly far, and I speak from experience. Just to spell it out, I fell off and broke my hand. There. How embarrassing… But I refuse to blame my lovely Nick. It was my fault. I put the wrong martingale on him and he panicked and took a jump waaaaaay too early and that was grand but I bumped him a bit when he landed and he may have bucked a little and off I came. But he’s a dear and he wouldn’t hurt a fly. For example we were washing him for a show one day and we don’t even hold him. He just stands there patiently waiting for you to do your thing. He also likes when you tickle above his eye, he dozes off when you do.
Next we have Hope- Owenmore Hope, named by George, our neighbour and previous owner of Hope. We used to mind his horses for him and I’d help out when he did horse and carriages for weddings and so he turned round when we were minding Hope’s mommy, Princess, and told us that the next foal was ours. Or mine! Yay! Hope is the equivalent of a teenage girl. Moody, attention seeking, pretty, loves getting her hair done, but vicious when she wants to be. And when she does not get her way? My oh my keep back. She’s like Hannah Banana really. But shes so gorgeous. She’s a Hackney, and she lifts her feet right up in the air when she trots round 🙂
Last but not least we have Murphy, a redhead who is our newest addition. He’s Dads really. We’ve had our ups and downs. He likes to chew on whatever item of clothing of mine that he can get. This is often my hat. When I pull away my hat ends up as Murphy’s chew toy. I like my hat. I do not think the chew toy lifestyle suits it. So we have had our arguments, Murphy and I. But I think he just wants more attention.
The cats we have- completely wild altogether. We go through cats like there’s no tomorrow. They’re more hayshed cats than house cats but they always end up disappearing off up the mountain. Maybe the previous cats have a club and recruit them. Fight club style…- Cat Club. That would make a great movie. But I digress. These ones were named by Laura- Penny, Pickles, Paul McCartney. I think. All P’s anywho.
Then Corgan. Corgan doggy features and will feature frequently. He’s the prettiest dog known to man, beast or bird. People flock from miles around just to lay their eyes on this wonderful canine. (I may be exaggerating. Just a tad) I miss him terribly when I’m away, and I hear that he’s quite mopey while I’m gone so its mutual. Corgan is quite awkward in that he’s allergic to… well… everything in normal dog food. So every night he gets about 1.5lb of lamb (NOT BEEF) mince cooked up for him, with about 2-3 potatoes. Corgan loves us for this. And we love him so we keep on cooking it for him. But it’s a tough job. Another supercute note on corgan- He eats everything and anything that you leave lying around. But he has a particular fondness for fruit and vegetables. He likes cooking apples,blackberries and carrots. He echoes my disgust for celery though. Horrid stuff.
No pet sheep at the moment. A few that are still ok with me and eat out of my hand etc. We normally have at least one proper pet that comes running to you every time you go in the field. We’ve had ‘Gently’, ‘Frisky’ (after the lamb formula) ‘Lil’ ‘Molly’ ‘Blackface’. Did I mention our amazing naming skills? We once had a cat- a giant ginger cat, called Kitten. I’m pretty sure he’s the one that started Cat Club. It’s like that dog in Terry Pratchett’s book, one of the Vimes-y ones. Big Fido. The poodle. Kitten had to up his street cred. He’s up there plotting revenge as I type. No kidding 😐
Molly was the last sheep we had. She was so cute. At first. We thought she had died and then dad put her in hot water to try and warm her up and we spent most of Hannah’s communion day minding her in the utility. We stomach tubed her and no response. So dad said he’d give her a dose of penicillin just to see so we did that. And I sat down in the utility with her wrapped up in a blanket sitting on my knee, and just rubbing her ears. And we really thought she was gone. But then it was like miracle lamb- maybe it was the whole communion thing or something (Being a future doc I like to think it was the penicillin and good quality of care) but she kinda started moving. So I just made up a quick feed and popped it in a bottle and she kinda drank some. Spluttered a bit so I left it. Tried some more 20 minutes later and she drank some without spluttering. Seriously. She got a bit stronger and started bleating. Dad was amazed! She tried getting up and fell around a bit. 2 hours later she was running around after me. If you don’t believe me I have the whole thing on video! I shall upload it when my computer gets good enough to render my edited video to a new track. But that’s the story of Molly!
Oh and yeah she was really cute. But she did turn headwrecking. Every morning without fail AT 5AM, she would plod down to the back door – through 2 fences and a gate may I add, still don’t know how she did it- and bleat LOUDLY until, bleary eyed and cursing the miracle of lambs coming back from near dead, you managed to bang together a feed, stick it out the door whilst resting your sleepy head on the door jamb, wait til you hear the bottle empty and shut the door on her. And she, quite satisfied, would waddle back up to her cosy hayshed, delighted in the knowledge that we humanfolk were clearly there to serve her every need. Bah. Plus, when visitors came she tended to freak out the ones that came into the field by running at them bleating. She had a stopping problem but if you waited til she was nearly in front of you and stepped aside swiftly she’d stop before she hit a wall or something, bless her little fluffy head. She just got a wee bit excited at the prospect of treats. She also knew where my jacket pocket was and the 90% chance of getting some kind of sheep feed from in there. Did I mention how much my mother loved that particular habit of mine- filling up my farm coat pockets with sheep feed. Especially on laundry day. She loved it.
Heres a reeeeeally old photo of us feeding previous pet lambikins. We do NOT all dress like this in Ireland. It’s just my aunt. And the 80’s. The 80’s happened to my aunt in this picture. We’ve put it behind us now…
Phew. I think that’s quite enough of that for now. You have now been introduced to my animals. I hope you love them like I do 🙂