No longer a shooting widow, I am now a fishing widow

IN THE fold yard calvings seemed to have stopped for a day or so, and then yesterday morning two little heifer calves snuggled up in the straw.

John was off out early but had time to give them a quick squirt of iodine on their umbilical cords, and then last night I helped him dip the their navels and put some ear tags in for identification.

Tricky with an increasingly crowded fold yard.

This morning trouble. One of the calves, a fortnight old and healthy up to now looked decidedly poorly and off colour. “If it was a lamb I would say it had watery moth” John said. He was not sure so rang the vet.

The calf had drunk from it’s Mum this morning but it’s breathing was laboured. The vet gave it an antibiotic as it appeared to have a bacterial infection.

Within an hour the calf looked even worse. Had gone down completely. We rang the vet again who thought it might have had a severe reaction to the jab. An anaphylactic response.

The calf was very distressed. The only treatment the returning vet could give was a steroid jab.

Unhappily it did not work and we lost the calf within a short time. So this is a real tragedy for John to add to another crisis in his life. The end of the shooting season. Not all is lost.. John can still wage war on wood pigeons with his shot gun. This is the time of year when pigeons are voracious feeders on oil seed rape.

But he cannot be in the field all the time so to this end has invested in a Terror Kite to do the job when he is not there.

This kite is remarkably effective in imitating the dip and recover action of a bid of prey and seems to be doing the job of keeping pigeons away.

The “hawk” hovers and swoops at the end of a string, attached to heavy duty swivels which themselves are attached to a flexible 15ft launch pole. I think that is how it works.

Resembles a graduated fishing rod stuck straight into the ground. The main scary feature of the “Hawk” are a pair of sinister reflective eyes.

Rather like a demented Angry Bird. Given even a slight breeze, the “hawk” is constantly on the move. Very realistic. Well the pigeons seem to think so. There has definitely been less of them on the oil seed rape. But is sporting life all over until the next shooing season starts.

I do not think so. On February 1st, when the fishing season kicks off in Scotland, my poor, hard working (his words) husband is off on the high road, with his mate John, for a couple of days on The Tweed.

It’s a tough life. Well it is for me. I have now ceased to be a shooting widow and have emerged as a fishing widow.

Good job someone stays at home to mind the place.