Whilst we await the final few months of our little human belly friend to arrive, we can fill it with the excitement of our third season of new cows coming to the farm. All being well they should be joining us in the next couple of weekends.
This year we are trying out a small breed call Dexters. There are a few reasons:
- lighter footfall on the land and suited to steep slopes
- we know some local breeders who are ready to sell
- smaller handling for myself and the baby when I’m on maternity leave being full-time farm girl
- cute and small, therefore better costs for hobby farmers like us who’s big cows last year nearly sent us bankrupt due to summer feed costs
- ideal size for the freezer (yes, this is to be the year when we accept the reality of home-grown meat)
- we can keep them longer over the summer and try our hand at breeding
- they are celtic in origin (sits well with my mystical leanings)
We are excited and looking forward to having friendly ‘mooing’ echoing across the paddocks again.
Yesterday I went out into the yard for a wander and heard Rajiv and the chickens giving out loud distress calls. The first thing that entered my mind was a fox, so I sort of did a shuffly-jog sort-of-run around to the chicken yards (as fast as someone with a 6 month baby belly can move). I had my breath absolutely taken away by what I saw.
Two beautiful, immense wedge tail eagles were sitting on the fence adjacent to the chicken yard. I have seen them circling over the hills here but I had no idea they would be so bold as to come anywhere near a property where there is human movement and sound. Even seeing them high overhead leaves me in awe at their size, and so to see them so close was a shock. It reminded me of the first time I came eye to eye with an owl in the UK which was looking down at me at night in torchlight. Birds that large with such penetrating strange eyes are so completely unnerving up close – in a way that makes you hurry to put some space between yourself and them, and then immediately regret your reaction.
Whether the pair were after the chickens or perhaps some mice or rabbits which may be around, I’m not sure. As they flew off between the trees, I was torn between wanting them back and the initial panic of thinking of them as chicken predators.
After some beautiful, plentiful rains about a week ago, our dams are full, the tanks are topped up and the place is green and alive. With those autumnal pumpkin-coloured twilights and days filled with big storybook clouds, you can’t help but be in love with the planet.
New winter vegetables are sprouting in the vegetable patch, and the place is once again alive with a happy frog chorus each twilight.
This is the new cosy place to keep in touch with adventures on our farm. All the posts have been migrated.
On the weekend, sometime overnight on Saturday, little Tansy, our hoofed funny friend – died. (At least we think it was Tansy, it’s still quite hard to tell them apart). For a few days, Tara has been pining for her playmate.
We’re not sure why Tansy died, the theories are everything from an existing condition to a snake or spider bite. She just died in her sleep. Needless to say, it was damn sad and I couldn’t bring myself to actually look at her.
By being in total denial, I managed to keep it completely together over this most significant death on the farm. No burnt falafels this time. Losing ducks and chickens is bad enough, losing something as large and with such prescence and personality, aches badly in the heart region. I took a modern approach, to grief – supress that emotion and get on with the week. 😉 The more animals that you let into your life, the more that depart it.
Anyway, it presents us with a problem that needs solving. Goats need company so we’ll need to get another, preferably around the same age. I wonder if anyone sells goats at Christmas?
I realised I haven’t posted any recent photographs of them, so here’s some of Tara taken tonight.
Munching some alfalfa from the vegetable patch (grown for the animals) …
Discovering how tasty a skirt is …
Just because they are cute …
Note how Elf seems to have an identical expression in both photographs. Uncanny.
Some people might say that putting cats and dogs in ridiculous hats and poses and taking photos of them is demeaning. Disclaimer: Each of these looks was personally chosen by the animal in question and all of these hats belong to me (er, except Molly’s).
Gandalf, mistaking himself for a Jedi Knight
…but even great Jedi heroes get sleepy
Elf goes for the puckish look
Merlin gets stuck with a real hat from my childhood.
Molly is a daddy’s girl