This bathroom is handy for all kinds of situations, from chickens sheltering from a cyclone to kids cleaning up after a mudslide. And it's at the far end of the house so no bleating disturbed my sleep.

Late spring is a messy time of year on a farm. We were lucky, from mid-July to mid-August, when a dry spell made life run smoother than the average calving.

What didn't make life any easier was having five puppies plus at least three other dogs hanging around and making the back lawn into a poo minefield. One of the pups decided under the washing line was the ideal place to deposit her little chocolate swirls.

Read more: Rural Ramblings: There's no escaping dogs


I had to be very careful where I stepped or put the basket down, and the odd piece of clothing blew out of the basket and came to grief.

Fortunately, the three pups who needed to find homes have all gone to wonderful, loving homes. I'm thrilled they've all gone to great people, and equally delighted to have three less poop machines messing up the lawn.

Bruce, unhappily, discovered puppies excel at producing messes from both ends. He took five dogs to the vet, including three puppies for vaccinations. Running short of time, he decided that rather than driving home to drop them off, he'd carry on to Kaiwaka with all five dogs aboard to do a few jobs.

Pip and Jack were happy enough secured on the ute deck with plenty of fresh air. The pups had the run of the back seat, but just out of Kaiwaka Bruce was hit with a nauseating smell as the pups' stomachs rebelled at the windy road.

Once he arrived at the farm, he discovered they'd also pooped, and after marching around the back seat, were all liberally coated in vile substances. He cleaned up pups and seat and put cloths down for the ride home, setting off with the front windows down.

But the windy road up the Brynderwyns once again proved too great a challenge for the pups' tummies and he suffered, gagging, through the last 15 minutes of the trip.

Angus and I headed out to greet him when he arrived, looking slightly frazzled (this look, by the way, more than slightly enhanced by the length of his hair which he's growing for a fundraising head shave in November).

The pups bounded across the concrete as he yelled: "Don't touch them! Don't let them jump on you!" and quickly explained the situation. Angus and I beat a hasty retreat to the house and let Bruce deal with the filth-encrusted creatures.

As if the puppies weren't producing enough poop, on another trip Bruce brought home five orphaned and rejected lambs from our flock at Kaiwaka. There's nothing sweeter than a baby lamb, and they're peculiarly satisfying to feed because they latch on to a bottle so enthusiastically. They were quite happy in their little pen out on the lawn, with a cover for night time and plenty of hay to nestle in.

But our lovely run of weather came to an end one night, with thundery squalls and gale force blasts of wind which ripped the lambs cover off and left them exposed. "I can't sleep with them out there in this weather," I told Bruce. "Let's put them in the bathroom."

This bathroom is handy for all kinds of situations, from chickens sheltering from a cyclone to kids cleaning up after a mudslide. And it's at the far end of the house so no bleating disturbed my sleep. The next morning it only took me the best part of an hour to clean up five lambs' worth of mess.

We set up a mudslide on the slope in front of the house, and it's been great fun for visitors. We've hosted a birthday party, a hockey team and 20 Japanese students and their host families so far, and everyone had a blast even though we ran out of hot water and the last sliders endured a cold-water hose down.

The mess after the big group of around 80 people who also stayed on for a potluck dinner was considerable.

We did one lot of dishes and left the rest until the morning when I discovered the cats had increased the carnage by snarfling down leftovers then vomiting copiously across the floor. It looked as though we'd hosted a Roman orgy rather than a relatively sedate school event.

Bruce, naturally, produced the biggest mess of the month. Cleaning up before visitors arrived to stay, I gave him one job — to put a new seal on the bottom of the glass shower door.

He chose, for reasons known only to himself, to use a hammer. Which was fine until, with a smart final tap, the door exploded in a shower of glass and the heavy stainless-steel handle thumped him on the head.

Once I'd worked out he was okay, I could only stand and survey the damage and wonder where to start cleaning up what looked like an ocean of shattered glass. At least it wasn't poo.¦