I SWEAR our ducks need to be locked up, they are driving me round the bend. The minute it starts to rain and I get started with a job, they head for the puddle in the middle of the lane.

I am so tempted to get a barrow load of tarmac and just fill the dip in the road up. If nothing else, it would cut down my weekly miles considerably.

Wendy and I were talking the other day about the biggest challenges we have faced since moving in.

Wendy confessed that her biggest challenge has been sending our animals to the abattoir and in the next few weeks that will be happening again, when some of our pigs are due to leave.

The first decision we will need to make is which two will get their tattoo and their passport out of here, but we can take great solace in the fact that they get a great life whilst they are with us – lots of space, plenty to eat, a cosy home and lots of attention – and in time I’m sure it will get easier.

Wendy also feels that she has a love-hate relationship with the farm and life out here.

It’s like a swing, she says, as it’s such hard work, with an endless list of jobs to be completed. On the other hand, the surroundings are so peaceful and working with the animals and nature, makes it so rewarding.

For me, I’ve dealt with many challenges, some I have mentioned previously, but my biggest challenge has been coping with my OCD-isms, on the farm.

I know I drive the women folk round here batty, because if I’m not counting animals, I’m checking locks and if I’m not making sure the animals are put to bed in a particular order then I’m getting way too fussy about the animal feed buckets being lined up just so. I am improving though, honestly.

On Thursday, as I was walking up ‘The Green Mile’ as we call it, between the paddocks, I noticed that Iris, one of our Amber hens was looking decidedly soggy.

She had in fact decided to take a plunge into the bath used by the Highland cattle for their water. I jumped over the fence and promptly fished her out.

This is the second time this has happened although I’m not sure that it was Iris last time although it was an amber hen on that occasion too.

By the state she was in, she had clearly been in there for some time but thankfully the water level was just enough to enable to keep her head above water.

I quickly ran back into the house, grabbed a clean tea towel out of the drawer (don’t tell Wendy) and commenced with trying to get the bulk of the water out of her feathers.

She was shaking like a leaf as though hypothermia or shock was beginning to set in.

I moved onto stage two of the revival operation and sneaked into Naomi’s bedroom, pinched her hairdryer and promptly began to give Iris a good blow dry.

As it was a sunny day, I sat in my deckchair up the field with Iris on my knee so that she could catch some rays to aid with the drying process.

After half an hour she seemed to be coming round a bit and so I set her back down on the grass and lo and behold, she immediately squatted down, laid her egg and tootled off to see her friends.

It seems as though my TLC technique had worked just the trick.