Snake, Porcupine and Hare Holes

When I was a lot younger, I lived on a farm in the mountains for a while. Before we lived there, we had spent every holiday there.

Hidden waterfalls, barking baboons, clear pools; mountain air; thorn trees; doey eyed cows; steaming piles of cow poo and magnificent horses.

There were four of us. Children growing into teenagers. My father had spent his childhood on this farm and knew full well, the call was too great to ignore.

To wander; to roam; to explore; to be free; to be alive; to just be.

So he sat us down and gave us rules — The Farm Survival Guides -he called them. My Darling Dad is gone but I still use his guides as my survival guide for life .

Apart from the obvious few; there was this one …

When riding on your horse; it is always wisest and safest to stick to the paths. If you do go into the veld (open bush) keep a careful watch for holes in the ground. This is your responsibility. Your horse will not see them.

These are rabbit holes (actually scrub hare but hare holes just sounds wrong to me!) Porcupine holes and snake holes.

One step into a hole can result in your horse breaking a leg or you going arse over head and neither of these has a happy ending.

If you are walking on foot, NEVER EVER stick your hand down one of these holes. You may think it’s a hare hole — only to find something else has moved in. It’s a long, dark tunnel to a whole heap of unpredictable trouble.(So is sticking your hand in cow crap but that is another guide altogether!)

Do not EVER follow a scrub hare down a hole, even if you are trying to help it; there’s likely to be a snake just waiting for a bit of desert after its meal of scrub hare.

Sometimes you just have to let nature be nature; scrub hares have way better survival skills than you; you do not know their destiny or their intent; they do not need you to step in and save them. You are almost guaranteed to hurt yourself instead of saving the hare.

If you fall down into one of these holes; you’ll be happy your Mom and I bought you these boots — wear them!!

You will also be happy you are with others who will reach out their hands to pull you out of that deep hole of trouble.

Words to live by…

The only farm survival guide I ever contributed?

When your horse can smell home and there is a farm gate between it and food and comfort; get yourself prepared to sail over that gate because there ain’t no way, your horse is going to wait patiently, while you get off and open the gate, for it to walk through. This lesson was learnt the bruised way!

This one is for Randomly Me ; who seems to have fallen down a scrub hare hole. Glad you were wearing your boots; here is my hand, friend, let me lift you back into the sunlight and fresh air………

Today my daughter in law came home on a day pass. For the first time in three months, my son had his family together in their home. We all sat in their garden, in the sunshine and laughed together at the antics of a delighted little child and celebrated a wonderous and happy milestone in the very long and very bumpy road we find ourselves on.

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