OPINION: Thanks mother nature, it's a pleasure working with you - when the weather is fine.
We've had a couple of sunny days and what a difference it has made. The happiest of all are the cows who are enjoying having a bit of sun on their backs for a change.
I can't imagine how bad it feels to be constantly wet day after day even if you do have your own permanent leather jacket on. The cows soldier stoically on, whatever the weather, just like the farmers.
The grass is finally starting to grow too, which is about time, but of course grass likes a bit of sunshine too - we all do. However, I will not say too much as there is likely to be a column pending, in which I am crying out for rain and many townies shaking their heads and saying, typical bloody farmer - always moaning about the weather.
Yup - typical! All I will add is ‘The Winterless North!' - a misnomer.
Blessedly my workload is starting to ease. Milking has settled down into a sort of routine only interrupted by the need to check all the cows' tailpaint twice a day, every day, to see if any need mating.
Unfortunately few do which is fast becoming an issue and the constantly wet weather has played a part in that as well.
It's about this time every year when I am tired and starting to relax a bit that I seem to attract some sort of disaster. In past years this has taken the form of sending a vat load of penicillin milk to the factory (that was a bad one), driving the four-wheeler straight through a five-wire fence at speed (luckily the fence was a bit weak and broke before I became sliced bread) and crashing a fully loaded feedout wagon down a slippery slope (again miraculously no damage to bike, wagon or me.)
The bike ran out of petrol so I grabbed a tin of petrol and refilled it - that's a routine task. The bike was fine as I drove back to the cowshed but as soon as I switched it over from the reserve tank to the main tank it coughed and spluttered, belched and farted clouds of black smoke and died a noisy death. I knew immediately what I'd done wrong. I'd just filled the petrol-powered ATV up with diesel. What a moron. I hate things like this because basically it just ruins your day.
As usual my thoughts ran to where was the closest man who could sort this out. It was the weekend so not only was that going to be an extremely annoying call out to the guys in the Honda shop but it was also going to cost me a fortune . . . and I've got no money . . . Bugger, bugger, bugger.
I'd have to borrow a replacement bike and God knows what expensive damage I'd just caused to mine.
I couldn't stomach the thought of making the embarrassing phone call to strangers, explaining what I'd just foolishly done, so pride called for another solution.
The wrong thing was in so I had to get it out and put the right thing in.
How hard can it be?
Hacksaw, garden hose and a mouthful of diesel. Siphon, refill, try to start the bike a hundred times and finally, with the choke on, it roared into life, suffering no permanent damage from its close encounter with the wrong fuel.
To most blokes that would probably be no big deal, but I must admit, I was pretty chuffed to sort that one out on my own. Farming has forced me to think differently and I appreciate that.