migrations of multifarious malfunctions

Sometimes things go wrong
in flocks like birds.
The sky darkens with misadventures
chattering busily
on their way to breed.
I have virtually lost my internet connection my water pump doesn’t work my desktop has gone dark two building deliveries got lost the hot water timer has died
Mind you there are many more things
I depend on
that could go wrong.
Is this a good
or a bad thing?
or just a sign of spring.


Water trauma

Tomorrow I will walk
with the Nog.
Today I worked at the water.
My failing pump
on which I and the guests depend.
I bowsered water in this morning just in time-
this evening I ran out.
Because i thought to have it working.
As I lowered the pump – I came upon a cable end
where there should be none.
My new connection had snagged and parted.
Calum provided me
unexpectedly with a new heatshrink waterproof sleeve
and talked about powering his house by steam.
The way I feel just now
steam would be
a major advance.

Farm Life, farm visitors, Uncategorized, Uvie Farm

Night supply

The water in the taps failed at 11.30pm-
after the movie and a couple of drams.
It is Friday after all.
So the guests have no water either.
Outside the sky is clear – but dark.
The quad is out of power – I have no way to bring new water down to the tanks unless I can start it manually.
I don’t remember if it is a kick or pullstart- or where it is.
I prise loose a couple of panels in the torchbeam – it is a pull.
The bowser was left by the tanks; I ride round making as little noise as possible in case I wake sleepers.
The tanks are full- must be electrical. My temporary seal on the pump connections has failed, I guess.
I knock the trip to the pump down and look for the breaker that has tripped. Must be in the garage – but the door won’t open with the power down.
I sneak in via the bunkhouse door – flip the breaker. The pump is whirring in the basement when I return, filling the pressure vessel that supplies the buildings.
Enough to keep the water on for the time being.
I will have to pull the pump from the borehole to make the connections waterproof.
But for now –
sufficient unto the day is the effort thereof.
In short-
though I must fill the tanks tomorrow by bowser-
I can sleep the while.


Quiet Days in Uvie

Moira turns towards the opening in the pen.
She and the halfcalf have been competing for the feed bucket I used to bring them in. It flares out at the top: the little lad insists on inserting his head at the same time as hers. This urge represents nothing less than his new will for life; but the result is ridiculous as two bodies, one large, one small share a dirty red bucket for a head.
She takes a half step towards me, turns and walks steadily down the race to the handling crate where I close the gate behind her.
She stands easily and the litre jar is filled quicky
and then a second.
Yesterday, my friends did this: shared the chore and the pleasure: the obligation to maintain the small perverse life of the calf,

now larger by a name: George.

The sun that shone on them has disappeared and the day has closed in with damp and close cloud. The swallow and martens, returned yeterday, are nowhere to be seen and the mallard duck has abandoned her nest to content herself with one solitary duckling.
Even the Nog is muted-
we’ll walk some hills at the weekend,
and work the week.Image


The first swallow ..(and we’re not talking calf-rearing)

Mike reported the visitor;
passing the window.
I saw the shadow darken the room momentarily,
but was uncertain.
There are starlings nesting under the tin roof of the bunkhouse,
at evening they stand guard on the apex of the roof
like finials.
But Mike says: This wasn’t a starling.
As lunch finishes, I see it.
A single bird, exploring the air above and around the buildings:
the forked tail makes it plain-
the first swallow.
I run out on the deck, yelling:
‘Welcome back buddy!’
At evening, we return from the hill to find Cathy watching housemartins reclaiming the nests that have lined the eaves since last summer.
She revels in the pair surfing the wind, charging at the house before climbing the air to the nests bracketed under the eaves.
These birds, their neighbours and offspring will be riding air currents swirling around the roundhouse for the next six months.
Welcome neighbours.



Cathy takes the halfcalf – straddles him, prises open his teeth with one hand and inserts the teat. She shuggles the bottle and strokes his throat feeling for the movement that signifies a swallow.
‘ There’s one. There’s a big one – goo-oo-od boy’ she croons.
He should be sucking the bottle dry in seconds, as he should clear his mother’s swollen bag – but neither is attractive or necessary to him. Squeeze the milk in, force him to swallow. Squueeze and swallow – Cathy is finding the same rhythm that I adopted with this strange small animal

with the the suicidal yearning for adulthood.

Across the yard, Caroline and Mike are working on Moira- one each side, drawing down the milk: to relieve her and ensure a fund of nutrition for the wee man in case we are unable or unwilling to milk her tomorrow.
I have friends who engage seamlessly with the life of the farm, treating my processes as a challenge, an adventure.

In truth this is not so different from the way I treat them.

My routines are one short step away from experiments. My chores simply improvised stratagems repeated.
All can change, improve –

I am no authority.

Keep it simple.
The water trough needs cleaning: when the girls come in tonight,
they will have clear water to drink.