Farm Life, Highland cattle, Living with Nature, Uncategorized

A weave of many interests

Four pheasants saunter round the yard, awaiting my arrival. They are not seriously disturbed by the Nog (maybe word has circulated in pheasant circles about just how useless he is as a gundog). The ghost robin speeds by, half-seen as always, on his way to some discreet vantage in the barn. Billy and the pregnant girls plus black Abby and her new calf wait motionless to be triggered into movement only on my approach to the feed trough. I must pilot my way through like a tugboat through a harbour bound fleet.

*

Morag and I have a compact. She is an ungainly white cow, unfailingly hostile who produces excellent calves that she mothers well. Morag is effectively on three legs, standing with her left rear raised several inches in the air, and putting it to ground only when she has to. She has never walked well and is clearly struggling now with rheumatics; as a gesture towards her long and grumbling companionship, I dose her with cod-liver oil by means of a distinct bucket of feed nuts. Trouble is – if she and I don’t play canny- more agile members of the maternity wing will edge her off the bucket.

I approach the fence therefore with two buckets, but drop the medicated one inconspicuously before straddling the line wire. There follows a period of confusion, where Billy and the girls jockey for top position at the trough and I try to distribute the feed evenly while avoiding injury from heavy feet and hard horns. Morag sometimes plays at joining in, though she knows she is not fit to compete; but as soon as the others are fully occupied, she breaks off to follow me back to the fence, where I secretly swing the waiting bucket under her muzzle.

*

The Nog paces beside me as I run the feed sacks down the hardstanding. The quad was left outside the door last night – I kneel on the seat to avoid getting a wet arse. The stotts have two troughs to avoid congestion and bullying. One of these boys follows me uncertainly as a I move between the two leaving his fellows with their heads down. He has abandoned assured benefits in favour of anticipated advantage. He has a gambler’s soul.

We all have our stratagems.

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4 thoughts on “A weave of many interests

  1. B says:

    Wow. Whenever I see a pheasant there is a rapid flapping of the wings and off it flies. A coat of many colours escapes the camera once again. I can take brilliant pictures from a car or in the snow as they seem to either lose their sense of smell or their hearing or both. And there is one that struts around find horn like a domesticated bird ensuring that he is appreciated and loved by everyone. But there again it was minus three when we met so that might have been something to do with it!

  2. Tried to speak about pheasants but as usual it/ they flew away. Again my friend I try. Let us see. Yes, it seems to be happy to let me respond. Impressed by your link up with these feathery rainbows. Whenever I get close to taking a camera shot they flap and fly away. The snow and cold is the best time to catch them. No smell of humanity then and maybe less noise. Or in the car. Excellently friendly then.

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