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Thought Number 5 Which Kind of Cow

The heifers are enjoying the shelter and protection of the outgrown hedge down the centre of the field this morning. Once upon a time it was two fields but slowly the boundary has blurred, with intermittent gaps between overgrown branches of Hawthorn which form a shady bower where they take refuge from biting flies and the heat of the sun. They no longer mind me so much and only get up from their lying positions when I get very close. They are slowly becoming curious. I chose this old breed (Traditional English Hereford) for their rarity, but mainly for their docility.

Cattle are pretty good grazers. They are selective, tugging with their tongues, seeking out the rough and the smooth and they leave some flowers and grasses to set seed rather than doing a complete hoover job like sheep and goats. And the result? More diversity in the plant communities of a pasture. The National Trust are quite keen on these kind of traditional breeds for the management of the land too, because they aren’t too fussy about being out in all weathers and eat a variety of vegetation.

It’s misty and sunny all at the same time, violet and milky blue, and a perfect rainbow begins to materialise, one foot hovering in the river below, the other somewhere I can’t see. Squinting in the sun with raindrops falling on my hood I set about cutting nettles and hogweed at the foot of the hedgerow before they set seed. The cows approach, hoping that I have a treat for them, and I admire their wide white faces and long lashes. 275’s horns have definitely grown. 274 sniffs my back and tries to eat the polypropylene sack I’m using for collecting the seed heads.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Julia Wylie #

    Numbers are all very well, but maybe its time to name the moo-moos! Especially considering they are starting to feel real tummy love for you.

    August 20, 2012
    • hello welcome to the blog thanks for reading! yes, but I can’t seem to decide which is which.

      August 20, 2012
      • Nail varnish different colours on their horns and hoofs when they’re fast asleep? Umm, different giant bead necklances… just like Marge from the simpsons? Ok. Terrible ideas. Good luck with that 😉 x

        August 21, 2012
  2. The last time I saw you, about twenty years ago, you were trying desperately to write a potboiler. Don’t know if you ever did it but you do write well and I am green with envy over your choice of life. It looks wonderful. I don’t follow any blogs but I will follow yours. Sign me up.

    August 21, 2012
    • Thanks Craig. God, that project finally got completed this year!! Though potboiler turned to chicklit romance and I wrote it with my sister…just received rejection number 3. Oh well, don’t feel too disheartened it was a (long) 🙂 learning curve. What about you? Our paths seem to be similar, writing and gardening, do you still write poetry? Really appreciate you following my blog I feel honoured. It would be lovely to see you and David one day. xx

      August 21, 2012
  3. Harriet #

    Love the little blog window into what goes on at the farm – like a story.

    August 21, 2012
    • Hello welcome to the window! You’ll be glad to know that Lucy has been finally christened….she has the biggest horns…but otherwise is remarkably similar to Belita. We gave Mary Rose the prettiest name because quite frankly – well, let’s put it this way, I don’t think she’ll be in the show ring.

      August 22, 2012

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