So, more lessons learnt on the farm….
Scraping mud from paths, digging out killer roots and mucking out the donkey’s stable. All the joys of today. It’s hard work but better than the jobs that were on offer inside. Ironing…. I still hate ironing. It’s funny how I can iron for other people quiet happily but detest ironing my family’s clothes. Since moving to our rural farm, the AWL (Acceptable Wrinkle Level) has changed somewhat. I used to iron knickers and socks…. I know, crazy, I see the error in my old ways. Now, I simply run my hands over an item of clothing and fold it before it springs back to wrinkle city. If this ‘speed test’ beats me, I accept it probably needs ironing.
Anyway, I asked Charlie to start mucking out the donkey’s stable whilst I scraped mud and dug out roots from the drive. We are determined not to resemble the farm on Nanny McFee 2. We were literally living in a mud bath. Charlie had a late night out with his mates last night and was feeling tired. As he borked and complained about the smell in the stable, I made comments like “we live on a farm now Charlie, you need to man up”. I got sick of his moaning so suggested that I muck out if he done the wheel barrow runs. He gratefully accepted my offer.
We cleaned the stable out of its ancient ‘dry’ horse manure before we got the donkeys in December. Hard work but not too nasty. The stables have these nifty grids that sit across a sunken area on the floor. So, donkey wee can drain away whilst the poop and straw can be mucked out on top of the grid….. in theory. So, since December we have been mucking out the top of the grid, making sure the donkeys were nice and clean and cosy on a night when we brought them in. However, the stable floor began to clog up and stink. So, needed the grids lifting and cleaning.
OH MY GOD!!!!!! I think it literally smelt like hell. We lifted the grids up for the first time since December. Moved them to the side as we got covered in what I can only describe as a donkey poo and wee smoothie. We then realised that the drainage pipes that were supposed to drain away the wee were completely an utterly blocked. I realised this as I stood in about 3” of donkey smoothie. I got the shovel and lifted what I could but this released the vilest smell my nostrils have ever been exposed to. It literally burnt the hairs in my nose. It was at this point I apologised to Charlie. He wasn’t being dramatic, he had been crying inside too…
We needed to unblock these pipes. We shoved metal prongs up the hole and used the hose to attempt a flush out. Charlie learnt a valuable lesson at this point. Bless him. He was really getting in there when he unfortunately experienced a ‘splash back’. He suddenly jumped up, holding both hands over one eye as he yelled “Ive got piss in my eye”. It was some moment. Once he realised that he wasn’t blinded, I said, “it’s not often someone can say that”. Thankfully, he laughed and acknowledged that this was one of those ‘character building’ moments. He took it in his stride (or eye) and carried on.
It was still blocked!!! I suggested that we try the prong at the other side. Charlie handed the metal prong to me. With no words, he successfully communicated “I’m not going in that pit of hell”.
As I scraped it through the brown toilet smoothie, I realised that finding the hole on the other side was going to be difficult as not visible. There was only one thing for it. I put my glove covered hand in the 3” smoothie to feel for a hole. I run my hand along the side then down the middle of the stable. I could not feel the other side of the drain. Charlie was borking outside the stable as he watched me. Then, my hand started to feel sticky. Sticky fingers. I pulled my hand from the brown, stinking smoothie and realised that I hadn’t changed my lovely fabric gardening gloves to a more suitable rubber/water tight/toxic glove. I was covered in the contents of a donkey’s toilet up to my elbows, in my nails and with some smears across my face as I had wiped away hair from my face. I was minging. I announced another lesson learnt; Wear appropriate clothing.
It was then. We remembered that Stuart was in the house, fixing the shower. So, no shower. It could be argued that this was the most disgusting and bacteria ridden we have EVER felt. I eat my words…… “We live on a farm now Charlie, you need to man up!!!!!!!”