It’s murder out there in the farmyard with eggs and rats

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With John grabbing a few days away fishing before the onslaught of lambing, I thought I would have a lazy day at home catching up on a few non urgent jobs and sorting out my wardrobe for a big charity shop donation.

Suddenly all those clothes you, or at least I, thought the last word in fashionable farming wear, look really dated.

I mean who wears hot pants now. Not me I hasten to add before any of my friends keel over in horror.

But it is surprising how suddenly a jacket for example, that has been a touchstone of my dress code for many years, can be reliably carbon dated as getting on for twenty years old.

But before I got down to a bit of leisurely wardrobe recycling, I went to collect the eggs out of the hen house. It is not the only place my motley poultry gang lay, but it is the main one.

As usual all the dogs come too. Millie on her perpetual rat hunt, Fizz to torment the bullocks, Pip to see if by any chance there is anything edible in the vicinity and George just for the amble.

George, son of our old Labrador Meg, is staying with us while his owner is living it up at the Copacabana Beach Hotel in Rio at the carnival. A far cry from farming.

I have warned our friend to beware of Lola, who is a showgirl, with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there...

but I don’t think he was listening. George is always welcomed with open paws by our dogs as he brings a wide selection of exotic food.

Fresh salmon, duck, beef and chicken. I kid you not. Fortunately for our dogs he much prefers their dog biscuits and always leaves a bowlful of his own food for them to finish off.

He is genuinely mourned by their tummies when he leaves.

I digress. At the hen house Millie was more than usually agitated in her sniffing and digging in and around the hut and nest boxes.

Seized by the notion that the straw in the hen hut looked more matted and soiled than I thought acceptable, I fetched a fork and started to move the nest boxes out of the hut in order to muck out the straw.

Suddenly a fat grey rat exploded out from beneath the nest boxes, and shot past me out of the hut closely followed by a yelping Millie.

The rat only managed a few yards before Millie had hold of it by its tail, comically swinging it round and round in circles.

Quickly she adjusted her hold on the rat’s neck, but the rodent had gained valuable time and scrambled up an apple tree, only to slip, lose it’s grip and tumble into Millie’s waiting jaws.

Honestly I just fancied a quiet afternoon. It’s murder out there in the farmyard.