Last weekend we had a bunch of pals down from the Big Smoke. It was organised both as a belated Easter shindig (read: excuse for chocolate scoffing) and a last chance before everything turns wet and cold for a few months.
With seven of us in total, it’s the most we’ve had for a couple of nights in our tiny wee cottage. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel all that cramped. I suppose that’s to be expected from a group that prefers to sit calmly and enjoy a good board game over being rowdy hooligans. Though at one point there was some spontaneous raving…
Being Easter and all, I organised another treasure hunt around the farm, with the treasure being a basket of fatness. The weather wasn’t so great, so we donned our raincoats. Ah, Dingus, your florescent rain-wear from Japan always brightens up my photos and my day.
As you can see, Mica is pretty much our resident farm dog now. Follows us everywhere, especially if there’s an interesting group of people. Can’t be left out!
I won’t go into detail about the treasure hunt this time, but it was at least as big as the one I did for Dingus’ birthday and maybe even a little more difficult. As Lauren has said before, it’s a great way to show newcomers around the farm.
Here’s one of the clues hanging precariously over the river:
And at our little waterfall:
There were about twenty clues all up, increasing in difficulty as the group progressed. This one, for instance, was written in Spanish, German, and French. “Dans l’ouest, une souche morte.”
To the west, a dead stump.
I grew to feel a bit sorry for them. They were a couple of hours in and only about half way done. The images of Easter eggs and chicken buns for lunch were mere mirages at this point. The gang was doing well though; the puzzles were becoming pretty hard, such as: “B.adrenr- bnoiu nd.” Can you figure it out? (And yes, it’s in English.)
One of the last puzzles presented them with equations they had to solve and convert into letters, except instead of numbers the equations read something like: “Minus a Peasgood Nonsuch from a Monty’s Surprise.” These, of course, are fruit trees, which were numbered in the orchard.
There are some serious brains in this group, so it was no trouble.
The final challenge to end the hunt included an authentic farm experience: Shooting pears with a .22 rifle! I sprayed the pears with some orange sheep marker so they’d stand out.
I’d put out standards at fifty and seventy-five metres on the range. Seventy-five was a bit of a challenge. But with a camera tripod and a few rounds, we got ’em pears. It was satisfying watching them explode.
Upon completion of the rifle challenge, I presented the group with a key to the workshop which they previously couldn’t open. Inside awaited their reward – a basket of diabetes!
The next day we all enjoyed hand-feeding our growing barnyard family. It’s a great pleasure for us to give these experiences to our guests.
Pacman and Alpacino are becoming friendlier by the day, especially now that they’re addicted to sheep nuts. Char has begun clicker training with them as well.
Why you comin’ at me, Pacman? This is a camera, not food. The bucket’s behind you.
The friendly sheep demanded their fair share, of course.
Everyone loves those nuts. They go a bit crazy…
Whilst Pacman is still a little shy, handsome Alpacino is fine eating from your hand:
Groups of humans aren’t so spooky when they offer delicious treats.
I had a bit of a moment here as I was taking photos. A bit of perspective. I remembered times in my past, caged in suburbia, feeling down about the manufactured reality around me and unsure of where I wanted to be in life. I wanted nothing more than to be “free”, whatever that meant. Standing there, watching the love of my life laughing and cooing with our close friends amidst a huddle of fleece, I realised not only how fortunate I was to be a part of this moment, but that I was beginning to taste that “freedom” for which I had longed.
The sun had come out, there were smiles and giggles abound, and our surrounds were nothing short of picturesque. To live vicariously through the experience of others is one of the most valuable experiences of life itself.