It is almost a given, a sort of farming version of Murphy’s Law, that as soon as I put something in the oven, the chief farmer will appear at the kitchen window asking if I can give him a hand with something.
Any protests about the need to remain in the kitchen are swatted away with the infamous words that “it will only take five minutes”.
Just to be clear to the uninitiated, no job, in the history of farming, has ever taken only five minutes.
And as I stand holding a disgruntled alpaca as she gets her teeth filed only to discover that 10 more of them need doing, or holding a ladder to fix a gutter only to find out that there is a slate that needs replacing, or a simple change of paddock turns into race around the farm as two of the crias make a bid for freedom.
None of these jobs take five minutes and as my banana bread turns into banana toast I swear silently, or not, as is often the case, and resolve to hide in the pantry in future if I see himself approaching the kitchen window.
But clearly I have a short memory and am slow to learn my lesson. Perhaps the recent beautiful weather went to my head because on one of those rare afternoons where I found myself with a few minutes on my hands I decided to potter down the fields to see what the chief farmer was up to.
I returned,over an hour later, muscle-sore and back-weary having helped fence off a paddock. During the course of the fencing I was demoted from the dizzying heights of hammer wielder to the less glamorous and more laborious job of wire tensioner due to my poor aim!
The job got done, we stood back and admired our handiwork and then I realised my afternoon was gone and dinner was long overdue.
And so a new resolve was born, to never go near a busy farmer, unless you want to get a job, one that most certainly will not just take five minutes.
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