Farmer Abbott’s farm yard: the rise of Malcolm the telecommunications pigeon

Farmer Abbott decided to put Malcolm the pigeon in charge of telecommunications. It was a sensible thing to do. After all, he was a pigeon and had spent time as a racing pigeon and as a carrier pigeon.

You also have a great idea for a new telecommunication system: a combination of semaphore stations and carrier pigeons. The simple stations would waive their arms in the normal fashion and carrier pigeons would move between those who are out of line of sight.

It was hailed as a brilliant idea and cheap to boot. There were some dark mutterings about neighbouring farms installing the new electric telephone but they were generally shouted down. “Imagine how many pigeons will have work.” was the cry.

Many people could not understand why Farmer Abbott had appointed Malcolm. He was a notorious bum sniffer. Bum sniffing had a long tradition in the farmyard and was a national pastime.  It was the way that Farmer Abbott kept track of who supported him. But it was also a means to snuff out support for challenges to farm ownership. Over the years, animals had become adept at the game and being able to disguise their bum smell to hide their allegiances.

And so it was that when Malcolm was appointed a fresh round of covert bum sniffing began. Malcolm did not normally take part in the bum sniffing but left it to his friend and ally Mince  the poodle.  After months of denial and keeping his nose clean, Malcolm called a party bum sniffing meeting. Many of the farmyard animals had been keeping their backs to the wall but now was the night of reckoning.

In a decisive show of bottoms, Malcolm replaced Farm Abbott as head of the barnyard.

Ex-Farmer Abbott retired to a small cottage on the back blocks of the farm. He would move emerged occasionally, shouting at anyone who would listen. But the crowd is diminished and he resorted to is old hobby of smuggling budgies through a hole in the farm fence.


Farmer Abbott’s barnyard animals (8): The demise of Priscilla the paid maternity leave show pony

Priscilla had always been fairly unpopular in Farmer Abbott’s barnyard. In fact, it was only Farmer Abbott who seemed to have an unnatural attachment to and steadfastly refused to acknowledge her shortcomings, even as a show pony. As her terminal ineptitude and the expense of the upkeep became increasingly clear, the other animals in the barnyard were often seen to be sidling up to Farmer Abbott and making derogatory comments about her. Even Mince the Poodle had taken to giving her the odd nip as the passed by. Never whilst Farmer Abbott was watching however

So when Mojo the accountant suggested that it was time to cut expenditure, Farmer Abbott said, “Fine, Cut away, Joe. But nobody touches the pony.”

Mojo went away muttering, “Touch the pony, spank the monkey, choke the chicken, call it what you like, it’s gotta go.”

And then one dark night, a small group, led by Mojo, took Priscilla away to the knackery.

Next day, Farmer Abbott was concerned that he couldn’t find Priscilla.

“The Green family have taken her to a pony show” he was told.

When she didn’t return that night he was told “She’s gone on a long tour of pony shows, she may not be back for a while.”

Farmer Abbott contented himself with occasionally saying, “She was a fair dinkum pony that Priscilla.” But never concerned himself with her whereabouts. He wasn’t even suspicious when a large consignment of dog food arrived for Mince the Poodle.

More of Farmer Abbott’s Barnyard

Farmer Abbott’s barnyard animals (7): Mojo – the rabid budget mongrel

For many years, Mojo had been a pretty amiable dog, wandering round, bumping into things and farting a lot. But as Farmer Abbott began training him to be a budget dog, he began to undergo some quite disturbing changes. To begin with this only amounted to growling a lot and chasing passing cars, mainly nuisance stuff.

But as his first budget roundup drew nearer, Mojo underwent some disturbing changes. The growling increased, he began barking at everything that moved and he began snapping at everyone who wasn’t quick enough to get out of his way.

Mojo has had his sights set on Clarence the carbon tax goose for some time and has taken to chasing Clarence around the barnyard. He had Clarence bailed up in a corner one day when Farmer Palmer from across the road scooped Clarence up and said “Don’t worry, Clarence I’ll look after you.” Clarence didn’t look too convinced but at least he was safe from Mojo for the while.

Clarence was not the only band had animal to become the object of Mojo’s rabid behaviour. He took a sizeable lump out of Priscilla, the paid parental leave show pony’s bum. Priscilla was quite an easy target for Mojo, being fat and slow-moving. There wasn’t a lot of sympathy for Priscilla and indeed the mutterings of “pet food” were becoming more audible around the barnyard.

Mojo has a couple of friends in the barnyard. The first one is Coal-fired the flatulent draught horse. It appears that flatulence is a condition that draws animals together in a common bond. A relationship that is much harder to explain is his friendship with Floppy the negatively geared (and non-flatulent) rabbit. Given his temperament, many people expected Mojo to have made a meal of Floppy very early on, but Mojo appears strangely protective and monsters anyone who even looks sideways at Floppy.

Mince the Poodle has taken to following Mojo around but generally Mojo just ignores him feeling that a friendship with a poodle does very little for his macho bulldog image.

Things really took a turn for the worse when he rounded up a group of old age pensioners from the old folks home who were visiting the farm and bailed them up in the toilets. They only escaped when they formed a phalanx and advanced on Mojo threatening him with the pointy end of their umbrellas. The management of the old folks home rang Farmer Abbott and said the pensioners would not be visiting the Barnyard in future and no, he needn’t send the bus round on election day.

The next day there was a visit from children at the local primary school. Everything was going well until Mojo, aided and abetted by Mince, got onto the school bus and ate the children’s lunches. To make matters worse, Mince then peed all over their school bags.

Farmer Abbott appears oblivious to the mayhem that Mojo is causing but it has been noticed that he is spending a lot more time in the pub with his mates

Farmer Abbots barnyard animals (6): Clarence, the Carbon Tax goose

Clarence, the Carbon Tax goose was not like the goose of mythology, he did not lay golden eggs which was okay because he hadn’t been designed as golden egg laying goose. Rather he was the kind of goose that was meant to keep the pond clean by eating the weeds. However, the eggs he did lay turned out to be a nice little earner for the farm. But Farmer Abbott was unimpressed.

Trouble was that Farmer Abbott had a different view of geese in general. “The only good goose is cooked goose,” he used to say. So Clarence was for the chop once Farmer Abbott had taken over Fair Dinkum farm. The problem for Farmer Abbott was that he didn’t have a big enough axe to chop off Clarence’s head.

He was hoping for a bigger axe for his birthday in the middle of the next year but until then he had put up with Clarence. The problem for Farmer Abbott was that the longer Clarence kept the pond clean and kept laying his eggs, the more everybody thought it might be a good idea to keep him on rather than turning him into a late Christmas dinner.

Farmer Abbott’s barnyard animals (5): Mince the Poodle

Mince the Poodle is one of many dogs in the barnyard. Most are working dogs but Mince is something different. Mince is not really a working dog and spent most of his life hanging out with the show pony.  Mince has been taken out to round up the cows to get him to act like a working dog but he doesn’t have the patience to be a mustering dog and just runs round barking, making it much more difficult for all the other dogs to do the job. Recently Mince got into the chook shed creating a huge fuss. A couple of the bigger roosters took to Mince and gave him thorough scratching but that didn’t help, he just ran ran barking even more. Farm Abbott had to catch  him, tie him to a fence and throw back of water over him to calm them down. Trouble was, that chooks all went off the lay  for a week. Which pissed everybody off. Nowadays, Mince is kept on a very short lead but you can see him wistfully eyeing the chook shed every now and then.

Farmer Abbott’s barnyard animals (4): Buttercup the diesel rebate cow

Buttercup the diesel rebate cow has  a paddock all to herself. This is to give her the  opportunity to become fat and  produce rich milk with lots of cream. Unfortunately, Buttercup provides only limited benefit to the Abbott farm, producing enough milk to put on the kid’s cereals but nothing more.

This is because Farmer Abbott has an agreement with his next-door neighbours that they can jump over the fence and  milk Buttercup whenever they feel it.   Which they do on a regular basis.

No one quite understand is why it is the case but most don’t realise that the next door neighbours pay Farmer Abbott’s golf club fees each year.

Farmer Abbott’s barnyard animals (2): Floppy the negatively geared rabbit

Floppy, the negatively geared rabbit, is another one of those animals that has been around for so long that everyone accepts him as  part of the barnyard furniture. No one quite knows how he came to the barnyard but everyone admits that he doesn’t do much except consume a lot of the typical rabbit diet of eats roots shoots and leaves.

Over the years, Floppy and his greatly extended family  have become increasingly expensive to maintain.  Getting rid of Floppy  and his offspring is going to be extremely difficult, as everyone has grown up with a pet rabbit and is extremely attached to it.

However, taking the knife to Floppy would be a boon to the dog food industry and take pressure off barnyard resources.

Farmer Abbott’s barnyard animals (1): Coal-fired the flatulent draught horse.

 When farmer Abbott took over the farm he had a number of barnyard animals. One was a draught horse called  Coal-fired who had been with the family for years, from the days before modern technology invaded the rural landscape. The trouble with Coal-fired was that he suffered from what the vet turned “equine flatulence”: he farted a lot, and something terrible at that. This was making it increasingly difficult for whoever had to work with him as walking behind a flatulent draught horse is not the best way to spend your working day. There were better and more efficient and less odorous ways of doing the ploughing and harvesting but Farmer Abbott decided to stick with Coalfired despite the flatulence.