WITH all staff on hand this weekend, we have eventually brought the cows home. Staff consisted of family members visiting for a close relatives’ 90th birthday party.
This show of force made all the difference to the mad chase round we had with the herd last year.
Then it took most of the day and ended up with having to bring many of the cows home in the trailer as they refused to leave their fields and cross into the farm yard.
This year, John spread the operation out over several days.
He gradually restricted the cows to grazing in one field, then tightened the noose with an electric fence, until in the end they were confined to only a small part of the nearest field in the road, and were glad to leave it for the enticing prospect of ad lib access to the silage clamp.
The other difference, and this I think was the main one, was that John was the only one of us to go into the field to move the cows.
Last year we had friends, Kevan and Joy, visiting for a shoot day.
As they milk cows and are accustomed to their ways, Kevan, tried to help John shoo the cows out of the field. The cows were having none of it.
A stranger in their midst. Spooked them immediately.
This year John went in alone. We all stood well back on the road (Jess behind the Landrover for safety) and the way into the foldyard was fenced off for the cows so that the herd did not veer to left or right but just galloped across the road, through the chicane John had created, and straight through the fold yard gates.
Slam bang the gates were shut behind them. Even the tiny new calves, three of them now, went with their Mums without fuss.
It all looks so easy when there are a lot of you to do a job like that.
You wonder why you have had to draw on so many people. But if we hadn’t, the job could easily have gone wrong. This way the whole thing looked easy and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Miraculous I call it.
The birthday party went well too.
Flo, has had fish and chip shops for most of her life, and my eldest daughter had organised a tower of cupcakes, each one decorated with livid green icing for the mushy peas, a jelly fish (not a jellyfish silly) and biscuity chips.
All topped off with a sprinkling of sparkle. Three of Flo’s granddaughters were there who had last come to the farm as little girls.
I remember them standing in awe in the centre of my overflowing and untidy pantry.
“Is this a shop” one asked. “I’ve never seen so much food before in a house.”
Nothing has changed I told them when they reminded me of the fact, in fact I think it is worse. Definitely need more family gatherings to get eaten up.