The right tool for the job


I know a lot of people sigh about ‘boys and their toys’ but frankly jobs are so much easier with the right equipment. This was driven home to me today. We had a lamb that was walking stiffly, didn’t look ‘right.’ I noticed this when I was feeding the batch of relatively newly lambed ewes and their lambs out in the field.

So I tried to catch it. How difficult can it be; there was me and Sal? I would provide the brains, and Sal could do the Border Collie bit. Except that Sal knows fine well that when lambs are this young, mothers are awfully protective. So whilst she did run around a lot, she made damned sure she never got close enough to offend anybody.

And the lamb, whilst stiff and slow, seemed to loosen up the more it moved. The same might be true of me, but we’re working from different base-lines and it was always going to be faster than me.

So I went back with no dog, the quad and a leg crook. (There’s a picture of one of them at the top of the page.) I followed the lamb and when it stopped to work out which way to run next, I hooked the crook around its leg and before it could work out what had happened I had slipped off the quad, grabbed it and put it in the trailer.

Anyway examined at home we could see the ‘wrists’ were thicker than you’d expect, probably picked up an infection from somewhere, so we treated it and I took it back to mum so she didn’t forget it.

Then in the early afternoon I had to help at an interment of ashes. (I’m the one that digs the hole. I know my place.) People talk about ‘scattering ashes.’ Really you shouldn’t, they can contain far too high a proportion of phosphates and heavy metals. So you inter them, or bury them. Over the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve learned the hard way what I need. A spade, (obviously) but ideally it’s a decent square ended spade that is about eight inches wide. Not too flimsy, you might have to go through the smaller tree roots you get at this sort of depth.

You need a long bar, like a crowbar because some churchyard soils are stony and compacted, so the bar makes things so much easier. Then you want a plastic bag to put the sod on and two decent sized plastic buckets to put the soil into. If you have the right tackle to hand the job is easier and, especially important when you’re working in a graveyard, it’s easy to keep it tidy as well.

Finally I took advantage of the fine weather and walked to the village craft fair. I was talking to the lass who was organising it and it must be said I was entirely impressed with the apron she’d made herself. Take a pair of men’s jeans, (Because they’ve got pockets at the back.) Then you cut away the legs so you’ve got just the bit from crotch to belt left. Now I suppose you could have it as a skirt, but what she did was cut away the crotch at the front and then wore it ‘back to front’ as an apron but with all these useful pockets handy where she could see them.

I suppose one thing that you’d have to be careful about was getting the discarded jeans from an active male, not the sort that just wears out the seat of his pants first.



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2 thoughts on “The right tool for the job

  1. Martin Williams April 11, 2017 at 7:43 pm Reply

    Strange you should comment about interments of ashes (and it’s amazing how many people believe you intern ashes) – but your name came up when I was discussing buckrake tines with the daughters of William Webster R.I.P. earlier this evening…

    • jwebster2 April 11, 2017 at 9:27 pm Reply

      It has to be said that a buckrake tine is almost infinitely superior to a crowbar to be honest 🙂

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