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Keys, a puncture and the new pup...

Emma Heseltine - 14 October 2012

We have got a new quad bike. Ours was stolen a couple of weeks ago and ended up upside-down in the river. Not a good place for a quad, it was a write off. So the temporary new one has arrived and is ready to go in the container we have had fitted especially for it. I’m quite key paranoid, but today I’m distracted by something as I get the key out of my pocket and off it bounces, straight into the slurry store under the grate at the entrance to the shed. Splash. I’m staring through the slats in dismay as is floats precariously on the slime, don’t sink! A hook is fashioned and an attempt is made to retrieve it. It sinks to the bottom; the slurry store is about 8 foot deep. I wonder hopelessly if there is a spare key, not a chance. I call the quad bike guys and ask them what we can do; it’s a new ignition job they say. Not to be beaten I get some supplies and recruit an expert on finding/fixing/improvising, John. We get a big magnet from Mike in the village, a hooky bit of metal and fishing net. It turns into something like the crystal maze, the net wont reach the bottom and the magnet is too fat to fit between the slats. A length of washing line and the hook helps get the magnet from the inspection hatch to the dropped area and a broom makes the net longer. After all this ingenious and industrious fishing we retrieve… a nail, some odd shaped bits of metal and, wait for it, a set of keys! Thing is they aren’t the ones I dropped. I think Susan lost them a year or so ago. The multi-tool attached is in pretty good shape and I get points for finding that, but no quad key. New ignition it is then. Sigh.

We are moving some of the cattle from Orton Moss to Drumburgh. They are actually fairly keen to move as there is not a lot left to eat at Orton so loading is fairly easy. We get along to Drumburgh which is a huge reserve and the field we are grazing is a fair way in. There is a lot of reversing and then we unload and drive the cattle along a very and twisted path. When we get back there is a puncture on the trailer. This is going to turn into one of those days. We have to wait for the tyre man and the morning ends up wasted.

There is a new pup at Stone Raise. Jill is only young but is ready to start her training and today we are going to introduce her to sheep. She has already shown promise rounding up the chickens and has almost got ‘sit’, 'lie down’ and ‘come here Jill’ under control. We get her on a bit of string so she doesn’t go wild and have a go at getting the sheep in. I get the job of running along with her. We do pretty well and the sheep know the drill so it’s an easy start for her. I get a little puffed running about the field though, I’m not much of a runner. When we have them in the pen I tie her to a post just outside and she shows no fear when the big ewes start stamping their feet at her. This pup shows promise!

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

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