On my rounds at The Farm today I noticed that there had been some skulduggery in the new orchard.  The protective fence around the trees had been leaned upon, stretched, bent and torn.  I looked around for clues.  The ground has been scraped and clawed at in this area over the past few weeks, nocturnal worm hunting by badgers I would imagine.  But surely brock couldn’t reach up that high, and as there is no fruit on the trees I can’t think what would interest them.  The rabbits have been a problem in the past, but since we laid the paving slabs around the bases they seem to have lost the will to burrow beneath the new trees.  A bunny big enough to cause this damage would be the stuff of nightmares.  So who could it possibly be?

All of a sudden I had the strange feeling that I was not alone, that I was being watched.  Slowly I turned and behind me, on the brow of the hill, silently watching my every move, were none other than the infamous Pony Posse.   We have history, me and this gang of reprobates.  Not only was there the Great Pasty Theft of 2015 but also previous orchard incidents, as I wrote about in Deception Explained. I had heard that they were out on bail, and might have guessed they were involved.  It had their hoof prints all over it.  All I can say is “don’t forget who is wearing the white stetson in this movie”.

Deception Explained

Shetland Pony

Wild Tiny Hickok

When I arrived at The Farm on Thursday Mr G told me that his first job of the day had been to corral two of the ponies back into their field.  It was no surprise to discover that the Shetlands in question were the ring leaders of The Pony Posse; none other than Wild Tiny Hickok and his protege in demonry, Pippy “The Kid”. These reprobates are famous far and wide for their high jinx performed under the cloak of extreme cuteness.

Myself and Slasher found the gap in the hedge where they had escaped into the vegetable garden. SS blocked the gap and the Houdini’s were thwarted.  For a while anyway.

The “must be achieved” task of the day was to set out the new orchard or, as Admin Annie has decided it is to be called, Norchard.   Along with Junior we discussed layout, distance between trees, protection and timings.  We then measured out optimum planting distances and positioned posts as centres for when the bare rooted trees arrive in the next few weeks.  It had been decided that one of the crab apples that had been planted by some idiot (me) in a totally inappropriate place was to be moved to join those new Devon trees.  Crab apples are great pollinators in orchards, so we chose a central spot and whilst slasher made a big hole, I dug up the mis-placed tree. Junior found temporary posts and chicken wire to protect the new resident from snacking animals.   It was planted, watered in, mulched, job done.  The first tree of Norchard was in place. A time for jubilation.

Except, I felt a little uneasy, something was not quite right.  Big adorable eyes with oh so long eyelashes were watching us, our every move was being noted.  We needed to be vigilant.  This was no ordinary adversary.   It called for extra-ordinary action.

Myself and Slasher got into our Dexter cow disguise, Junior into his kangaroo outfit, and we began our stake out in the adjacent field.  The cow outfit work very well, in fact we had to spurn the advances of Bisley the Bull on several occasions.  Sorry mate, already spoken for.  Not quite so sure about Kanga though.

Pippy the Kid

Pippy the Kid

It didn’t take long for Pip to sidle into position.  His role was obvious, chief look out and get away galloper.  He didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, except perhaps a little bemused by the hopping cow.

When Pip had neighed the all clear, the suspect arrived on the scene.

Shetland Pony

At first Slasher’s defence held out.  Then the perp got luckily, the wind blew some of the longer crab apple stems over the wire and he grabbed hold of one and pulled.  Then another, then another.  Sorry for the fuzzy photo, I think Bisley was trying to make friends at this point.


When he finished the wayward shoots on that side, he took a wander to see what else he could steal.  Circumnavigating the enclosure he then noticed some leaves poking through the wire and nibbled these too.


At this point I could take no more of the marauding hoodlum.  We emerged from our hiding, rather shocking Bisley, and showed Tiny the photographic evidence we had of his crime.  This would be shown to Mr G, who would be very angry.  Everyone knows just how angry Mr G can get! At this threat he just tossed his golden mane in derision.  He then blew a big raspberry at us and cantered up the slope with Pip by his side, whinnying with laughter all the way.

What hope have we against such a criminal mastermind?