The sun is shining and the herd still has a future - for now

My brother-in-law Geoff came in yesterday to take the cattle into market as John was off on a day’s jolly, invited to participate in a charity clay pigeon shoot. The shoot was on behalf of a services charity and very well attended.

In days of yore John was a champion clay pigeon shot and recognised names in the professional team, guns who he used to regularly compete against. Although doing fairly respectably in the shooting competition, their team scored well in an archery contest. One of the friends revealing hidden talents with bows and arrows.

John came back overwhelmed by the prosperity of many of the other competitors, “you should have seen the car park, full of new Range Rovers”.

“You should have gone in our Land Rover,” I said. “That would have frightened them all to death.” Seventeen years old and battered.

No problem to John if he had had a passing scrape along a Range Rover’s paint and body work, but their owners would have winced.

With the day to myself I was able to make space for the six week old Aylesbury ducklings that I am buying in at the end of the week. In past years I have hatched off duck eggs under hens and bantams and even used the incubator, but currently the incubator is full of teeny tiny eggs. A clutch of partridge eggs.

Out walking with the dogs John came upon a lady walking her dog in our fields. She had parked on the road and let the dog out. Totally irresponsible. The dog was out of control and had disturbed a nest of grey partridge eggs and wounded the mother bird. The woman apologised and left. Rapidly. She’ll not be back but the eggs needed saving.

Fortunately the incubator was empty so I soon had it switched on and the eggs rehoused. We do not know how long they have been sat so it is very exciting to see when they will hatch.

But my main excitement was finding the cows in the silage field. They had actually managed to knock down a fence and get into the silage field, trampling and crushing a a large area of the grass.

Because of the rain we have not been able to make a start on silaging and the cows have become increasingly interested in all that lush grass just out of reach.

For the past few weeks John has been renewing fences but, on the one stretch of old fencing, due for renewal as the next phase, the cows unerringly found the weak spot.

So last night as we moved the cows back into their allocated fields we were going out of cattle. “That’s it. We’re giving up. We’ll increase sheep numbers and plough out the silage fields.”

Well this morning the sun is shining, briefly, so today the herd still has a future. But we still do not know when we have a full silage clamp.

Mrs Downs