The last few weeks on our little Welsh smallholding have been eventful to say the least, and not in a good way! I have come to realise that smallholding is a dangerous hobby and it shouldn’t be undertaken lightly! Just recently I’ve become rather accident prone – and so, I present you with a story of my recent perils….
The first incident happened at the end of summer when Mr Bumbleandme had decided to take a week off to get some essential jobs completed whichwed not managed to get done over the summer. It was the first morning of our week off and I was up early and eager to start work. As I was sorting out the ducks and chickens I noticed the pipe that fills the pond up was blocked. In order to get to the other end of the pipes one has to come out of the enclosure and walk around it towards the hedge where a ditch runs down to the stream at the bottom of the field. The hedge that runs alongside the ditch is very overgrown and in order to get to the pipe you have to brush aside some of the tree branches. We had planned to cut this right back to allow some light in by the stream. This was job number one on my list of jobs for the week! This particular morning it had been raining and I got soaked moving the branches aside to get to the stream.
Once I’d sorted out the chooks and they were happily doing what chooks do, I got my secateurs, hand saw and bow saw and set about clearing the path we take to get to the pipe. I thought I’ll have some breakfast and a nice cup of coffee afterwards as it won’t take long. Indeed, about 45 minutes later, the area was looking much clearer and I’d created some lovely neat piles of branches (to use as canes in the veggie patch) and the ends of the branches (to be used as pea sticks in the veggie patch)! Feeling very pleased with myself, I noticed one hazel trunk had a branch attached to it that was sticking up in the air. As I was feeling particularly pleased with how neat and tidy it all looked, I thought I would just cut that branch off so it would lie flat with the rest of them. As I performed the very last stroke over the branch to cut it clean, the hand saw slipped and ran straight over my thumb which was nearby holding the branch steady!
Immediately I realised the gloves I had been wearing were woefully insufficient for such an event, and the blood starting turning my glove a rather fetching maroon colour! About a minute later the stinging sensation hit in and I hurriedly ran to the polytunnel to investigate my injuries, leaving a trail of claret behind me. As I took my glove off it became clear it wasn’t just a scratch, so I held it tight with my other hand and ran back to the house.
Meanwhile Mr Bumbleandme was enjoying a relaxing, well deserved lie in with bumble!
Back in the house Mr Bumbleandme instructed me to run my thumb under the tap. Considering the depth of a thumb, the saw had penetrated an alarmingly long way down, right on the knuckle – I like to do things properly! We bandaged it up and I was made a cup of tea for my nerves! At this point I should should note that I don’t stop bleeding very easily – I’m a bleeder! After three dressing changes an about three hours my thumb still hadn’t stopped bleeding. I reluctantly decided to ring a local minor injuries unit for advice and they recommended I visit the local A & E department.
So, the first day of our project filled week began with eight hours in A & E. About seven hours after the incident my thumb finally stopped bleeding. I was very apologetic to the nursing staff in A & E for being so careless and for wasting their time. They were very lovely and after deciding it was better just to dress and leave the wound for fear of it starting to bleed again, I was allowed home with an armful of dressings and bandages.
It’s surprising how much you use your thumb. The simplest of tasks become impossible. Needless to say our week off wasn’t very productive!
Now fast forward to last weekend. Mr Bumbleandme had been desperate to get the summerhouse painted in the summer, as it needed a bit of tlc before the winter. The weather was fine and dry, perfect for painting, so he set about tackling he summerhouse. By Sunday he’d managed to prep the whole summerhouse, clean and waterproof the roof and paint one side. If he was going to get it finished this weekend, he needed my help! I donned my gloves (a different pair to the now claret coloured ones!) and offered my services. I was tasked with painting the windows. Apparently I’m quite good at those jobs that require detail! I happily obliged and set about painting. It was actually very relaxing, a nice change from the usual jobs we do which involve hard manual labour. My last window was high up and I neede a ladder to get to the top.
After consulting Mr Bumbleandme on the best safe practices regarding ladder positioning on uneven ground, I carefully positioned my ladder and checked it for sturdiness. It seemed solid as I climbed the ladder and indeed I made two or three trips up and down it to get more paint on my brush. We’d nearly finished, Mr bumbleandme was clearing up and offered me a cup of tea……………something stopped him from going down to house to make the tea and he decided instead to watch me for a while. Just as I was applying my last few daubs of paint the ladder started to move………..
It slid down the side of the freshly painted summerhouse, pausing very briefly about three times before crashing down to the ground with me still clinging on to it for dear life! Covered in paint and tangled in the ladder, I lay there frozen and dazed. Mr Bumbleandme came rushing to my rescue. I gingerly stood up, checked the damage to the summerhouse and the checked myself. I was fine, I just had sore knees as they bore the brunt of the landing. Luckily nothing was damaged on the summerhouse, I’d just wiped the fresh paint off. A week on and I’m now sporting some rather fetching bruises on both knees. They are fine and only hurt when I kneel down – which in bulb planting seasoning is proving to be a little awkward.
That brings us nicely on to this weekend, yesterday in fact. I purchased some gin last week as I’d noticed there was a bumper crop of sloes in the field this year. There are two rams in the field at the moment which are very friendly and have been enjoying a nice fuss as we pass them on our way to the ducks. The farmer who owns them warned us that one was very fond of head butting when you’ve got your back to him. That’s fine I thought, I’ll just make sure I don’t turn my back on him while I’m collecting the sloes. Anyway he seemed harmless enough from the other side of the fence.
Meanwhile Mr Bumbleandme wasn’t feeling well and had gone to his sick bed……………..
I entered the field with Russel and Austin in hot persuit as my protectors, and I walked toward the hedge where the sloes were glistening in autumnal sunshine. The sheep were hiding in the hedge and seemed rather uninterested at my intrusion. I rather enjoyed myself picking the sloes, selecting only the plumpiest looking ones, listening to birds singing and enjoying the sunshine. After about 15 minutes, the sheep decided to come and say hi and enjoy a little fuss before I carried on with the task in hand. As I carried on picking the sloes, one of the sheep decided to have a go at head butting me, but I managed to distract him. Ha, I thought I’ve got him Sussed.
He wasn’t best pleased with being distracted and started charging me again with his head positioned for an almighty head butt! I swerved out of the way, but he was fast and agile and moved with me. The little blighter got me, right where it hurts! Half the sloes I’d picked enjoyed an impromptue flying lesson as I hurled them out of the collider upon impact with the ram. The farmer wasn’t lying when he said be careful. After several more ramming attempts, I decided enough was enough, I needed to get out of here. It took me about five minutes to walk 100 yards back to the gate to safety. He was right up for a good tussel, charging and butting me all the way. He’d only stop if I gave him a fuss. I must have looked a right numpty walking backwards through the field holding a collider in one hand and fending off a lively ram with the other.
Once I was back in house I checked my injuries – yet more brusing!
Needless to say, I dragged Mr Bumbleandme out of his sick bed and made him stand guard while I collected the last of sloes I needed. Typically the sheep kept themselves to themselves and Mr Bumbleandme wondered what the fuss was about! I’m happy to report, the sloe gin is now brewing and will be ready for Christmas.
I think I need to stay indoors for a few weeks, it might be safer!
Although I’m rather battered and bruised, I have to say I’m rather enjoying myself at the moment. It’s a wonderful place to live and we are very fortunate – I’m loving it more and more every day.