Friday, September 24, 2010

Holy Cow!

Our landlord is a farmer. He is also by country standards our neighbour (if you consider half a mile up the road, behind century old trees a neighbour). He specializes in suckling i.e calves. I still haven't quite yet grasped the concept though. For me, a cow serves 2 purposes, milk and food. Now breeding cows just for the sake of breeding them is still a bit of a mystery to me. He probably sells them on to other farmers so they can make milk or food I suppose! He owns a few fields (as farmers do) and specifically, owns the field beside us. Well, actually, our house is built on one of the corners of the field. He also uses another bit of the field (right beside us to stare bails of hay). In itself, it's not a problem. It's actually quite nice to be looking at bails of hay, although these are wrapped in black plastic. He also parks one of his things there. I don't know what the thing is. It's some type of green trailer, with an open top, a bit like a big huge skip on wheels. I assume it has something to do with feeding the cows, but I'm not really sure.

I wouldn't say our landlord is much older than we are. We know that he is not married and lives with his mum in the big farm. We drove up there once before we moved in and I was expecting a farm, complete with, you know, chickens running around, a lazy cat somewhere, a couple of dogs, you know the stereotype. And to my surprise, oh no, it wasn't your typical farm. It looks more like a manor with manicured laws, ivy climbing up the facade and flowers strategically planted. Until he took us to the back, now, that was a proper farm yard, minus the chickens. I still have trouble imagining him living in that kind of house. With the job they do, farmers are not people that generally worry too much about their appearance, they are not afraid to get dirty, and wear practical clothes. So does our landlord, you will always find him wearing a pair of mucky overalls, or a dirty pair of jeans with a dirty shirt. OK, all farmers don't go around with big holes the size of my fists in their shirt but he does. That and his trusted boots, not wellington boots, more like safety boots. Anytime he calls in (which is not often), I invite him in for a cup of tea or something and whenever he accepts the invitation, he takes his boots off at the door, even though we keep telling him that it doesn't matter. There is something funny about your landlord standing in your sitting room wearing a shirt full of holes, dirty jeans and his socks though!

The other morning, as we were having breakfast, I took a look outside and as usual, the cows were in the field. And then, I noticed that one of the calves was standing by the bails of hay, despite the electric fence that is around them. I called Mr Foodie who called our landlord. A few minutes later, the landlord pulled up, not in his usual filthy, dirty Jeep but in a Jaguar and used it to block the entrance to the field. The place where the bails are kept doesn't have a gate, and there is no need for it, well at least until the electric fence stops working. He came in for a little chat and informed us that one of his 'girls' (he lovingly refers to his cows as his 'girls') was about to calf and if Marie wanted, we could go and have a look at the baby, once it was born. He also informed us that the fence was fixed and that there shouldn't be any more replays of the great escape.

Was it? Not really for the past couple of days, the same calf keeps going through the fence and grazes where the bails of hay are. We, being neighbourly, keep hushing him back into the field. We would be sitting down, helping Marie with her homework and notice the calf in there, again. So one of us would go out, make a lot of noise and wave our arms so that the calf would get a fright and go back in. Only, after 2 days of that treatment, the calf has grown used to the two legged weird looking things coming out of the big box and making strange noises and moving in a very suspicious way. He now just stares at us and doesn't move an inch. So we go out onto the road and into the field and get closer and closer and closer. So close, that eventually, he does get a bit scared and runs back to his mates.

So imagine our surprise when yesterday afternoon, while once again doing homework at the kitchen table, I looked out the window to see the calf. Not where the bails of hay are, no. With its nose nearly stuck to our sun room window, looking at us while ruminating. I felt like a fish in a tank! Mr Foodie called the landlord and told him that he was going to get him back into the field. We have a big gate at the back of our garden, that leads into the field. So off Mr Foodie goes, into the garden, opens the gate while wearyingly staring at the small bull who is now grazing on the lovely little arbusts that are supposed to eventually grow into a hedge. The young bull, having grown more than accustomed to us, is just staring at him. So Mr Foodie has to get closer and closer again and eventually manages to scare him back into the field. Mr Foodie closes the gate again and all is well.

But, oh no, about an hour later, the same little stubborn tear away is in our garden, again, grazing on all the tasty grass. Mr Foodie goes back out and chases him into the field again. Only this time, Mr Foodie has to run after the beast and this one, instead of going through the gate, decides to go straight through our barbed wired mesh fence. So now, not only does the electric fence need fixing but our fence does too. Our landlord will come by today to do so as we called him last night to let him know that the calf might have injured himself. But one thing is for sure though, we had a great laugh and it was well worth getting a new fence. My only regret is not having my camera at hand! Mr Foodie, how about dressing up as a cowboy for Hallowe'en?

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