2011-11-22

Slam dung!



I must be on some kind of a nostalgia trip writing these crazy stories of mine. So here's another one to have a laugh about. And it was funny. So here we go another one of those mad stories from my insane youth.

When I was 17 years old and rather thick as two planks, like all young teenage girls who loved horses I ended up working with them at a trail riding place north of Auckland. They had a big rambling old house built sometime in the 1880's, with all kinds of old things lying around the 12 acre small holding that surrounded the grounds. I had my horse a crazed thoroughbred nutcase named Jago, and a small 14.1hh pony by the name of Andy.

Long years, have passed since those two have long since died. But the memories I had of them are still good and strong.  Having  that old farmer's instinct in me somehow, I wasn't scared to roll up my sleeves and help around the place with fencing and the chores that had to be done. We'd take people our for rides to Muriwai Beach on the west coast and gallop for miles. Crazy times sometimes brought in crazy happenings.

The owners of the place, one day, decided to get in these half wild steers from a sale. The things were big, ugly, and didn't know what a 7 wire fence was. They were unloaded in the rickety cattle yards before the entire herd was sent out into the 10 acre block at the back of the property - and we watched as they climbed the fence like a flight of stairs, and off into the next block over. And there, they stayed for a couple of months.

One day going down there, the boss discovered one of the crazy steers had gone off to the great herd in the sky. There it was ,with all four legs stuck skywards as stiff as cardboard. So, the vet was called in to do an autopsy, and find out what the steer had died from. Carking it on a Monday maybe was a good thing. It meant the vet was clear of weekend stuff, and now rolled up her arms to cut up a dead cow, and find out just what had caused it to curl its hooves up.

While everyone else ran for the hills, screaming things about not wanting to see a cows guts, the ghoul here (who had no qualms about looking at dead things in the paddock) happily assisted the vet in cutting up said deceased steer to find out what had bumped it off. Cause discovered in the liver, with some great long scientific name, that, for a 17 year old ,went in one ear and out the other. Not good to have in cattle, so the vet said so it was all cattle in the herd to be vaccinated as soon as possible..which is where we get to the fun part of this story.

Monday night it poured with rain. The next morning showed a hint of sunshine and the task ahead of rounding up fence climbing cattle with no sense of morality about the feelings of the idiot humans that were there to round them up. Lucky we had horses that were about as crazy as those steers were. Two teenagers bareback, on sweated up nutty thoroughbreds must have quite a sight. Either way those fence climbing steers soon found themselves being foiled. Before they knew it they were yarded... sort of.

Given the yards were so rickety from decades of neglect, the chances the hulking bovines would soon break out were high. And sure enough one smashed its way straight through and into the concrete cattle yard beyond. We were soon off the horses and thinking about ways wee could hold the beasts in the crush, while the boss gave them the jabs. Ropes, posts and whatever else could be mustered together were soon in use. Bad idea to rope a steer by one leg, in a muddy yard full of cow crap. It kind of leads to more interesting events, such as Heather holding on for dear life, said steer bellowing like a demented banshee and heading for the hills - literally. At full speed, headlong through the yard fence, the steer took Heather for a joy ride session face first into the great pile of fresh cow dung. It makes an interesting look having green sloppy cow crap dripping from your face, and having the hair colouring to match. Not to mention even the clothing ends up matching with a touch here and there of mud to compliment the ensemble. The score card then read Human 0 Steer 10.

Meantime the boss and I were hard at work getting the rest of the steers vaccinated when one took exception to being jabbed in the butt. I got it both barrels in the guts and went for an interesting flight without the need for a ticket. With Heather already looking very fashionable in her new environmentally friendly 'green look' laughing her head off. By now my free flight was over...straight into yet another big juicy fresh pile of cow crap and churned up my. Naturally it was the facial treatment, joined by hair follicle enrichment eau de processed grass, and the matching ensemble outfit to match that of my friend's. The boss well....let's just say the raucous laughter disturbed the birds in the trees.

It took three showers to get out the stench and the colour green.






2011-11-21

When Christmas Pork is a bad idea

 
When I was a kid, where I lived was still all dairy farms and orchards. One summer, my parents headed off overseas for a few week,s leaving us six kids farmed out among our relatives and friends, while they went off to enjoy the sights of Australia for the very first time. It was back in the 1970's and I was just 8 years old. Everything was larger than life, and the man had walked on the moon at least twice.

In the second week my parents were away, I spent a week staying at an uncle's (he was actually a close friend of my Mum and Dad) farm out in Taupaki. Uncle Lex and Aunty Colleen had a commercial chicken farm, with a few sheds full of cackling hens, that put a raucous if anyone stuck their heads in the shed. I loved being on the farm. Plenty to do there, and lots to look at. They had a few dogs, and one of them a fox terrier named Spot was the bane of kids. She loved nipping my heels at every opportunity, so I learned rather quickly to avoid the old dog, and her favourite sleeping spot.

Way down in the bush, at the back of the farm, two old pigs were doing their best to wreck the fences, and whatever else they could root up. They were nasty old sows, both bush pigs, that had appeared a few weeks before, from out of the fern. The old pigs had already rooted up Aunty Colleen's garden, and had set their sites on the turnip crop being grown for the winter cattle feed. With Christmas coming up, Uncle Lex decided it was time for those old sows to end up as Christmas Pork.

With dogs and .303 rifle in hand, a couple of kids perched on the Massey Ferguson Tractor, off we all bounced down to where those two old pigs hangout was known to be. Shane the big huntaway led the charge into the paddock of braken fern, with only his tail visible for us to know where he was. Jet the pig dog followed behind hot in pursuit of his canine mate. And then, the squealing started. The tractor moved on through the ferns, the big wheels flattening the fronds, with us all watching out for signs of pig. Only the dogs tails could be seen, and the frantic fury of fern fronds being bashed to pulp by a couple of hundred kilos of mature porcine bulk. There she was, being bailed by the dogs, one big old spotted sow with one dog on her nose, and the other dog on her rear. Uncle Lex got down off the tractor, called off the dogs and shot the sow in the head. That was the end of her. Not a problem to lift her carcass up with the tractor hoist, and into the trailor behind. The dogs looked rather pleased with themselves, and so did Uncle Lex, until, there was an indignant squealing right from behind.

"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."wrote the man of wit Willian Congreve in 1697 when he had composed The Mourning Bride. In this case it was "Hell came with fury with bristled up hair, a twitching tail and an angry sow's squealing scorn". She came like a freight train at full speed. I guess that day, Uncle Lex broke the world's sprint record for how fast can you run up the nearest tree. The dogs vanished like puffs of smoke, abandoning the boss to his fate sat up in a tree, with two kids perched on a tractor laughing their heads off at his difficulties.

Lucky he had the safety catch on his gun. While Furious below continued to squeal and slam headlong into the old totara tree Uncle Lex had manged to climb into, the two dogs decided to at last come back to render the boss their assistance and hold onto the pig. Finally there was the sound of gunshot and Furious dropped like a stone. She breathed her last and that was the end of the two old sows in the bush.

We had pork that night.