I went out to give the chickens their breakfast and had quite a surprise. One of the cows was bent lovingly over a calf on the field. Assuming it had been born in the night, I hurried in and asked the Sage to phone the farmer.
It turned out that the calf had been born before the weekend and they were rather amused that I hadn’t noticed – but sometimes the cows are on the other field and sometimes they’re lying down – they were this afternoon, and I couldn’t see the baby. Anyway, all is fine.
A couple of chickens had stayed out overnight when the others followed me back, but one of them was waiting to go in this morning and the other wanted to go home this afternoon. She wouldn’t go past me, though, and we walked up and down for a while until I tired of the game and just picked her up. She was furious and squawked, but it did the job.
It was just as well, because little Rico let Ben out this evening. He went straight round to see the chickens, so if one of them had been waiting there, it could have been disastrous. He had a good run round the field for ten minutes and then returned – if I could trust him to do that, I’d often let him run free, but he might go on the road and has no sense.
I learned something new about Ben the night before last, though. He’s an exceptionally friendly dog and I’ve never heard him growl. He will bark, but not very often and usually very cheerfully. However, at around 4 o’clock in the morning, I was woken by him barking loudly. The motion-sensitive light outside was on, so I got up and peered through the window. Nothing was moving, but Ben still barked, so I went downstairs to hush him. He was quite sure someone was outside, so I opened to door to the porch and then was going to let him out when it occurred to me that I wasn’t wearing anything. Just in case there was an intruder, and I wouldn’t want to traumatise the poor chap, I put on a mac before I opened the door. Ben went and stood there, barking in a deep, steady voice. Really, darlings, he sounded like a determined, though not bad-tempered, guard dog. There was no one there, so I put my hand on his collar to bring him in – and he jumped! He was actually frightened, but was standing his ground in front of me, to be ready to defend me. I was charmed.