The Deed Will Be Done


Contemplating food

Contemplating food


Well it seems I was being very naive, thinking that DEATHRA would consider cases on their own merit. Anyone would think the policy was for TB eradication in cattle. Alas, even their own vets acknowledge that the proceedure is aimed at monitoring the situation. Nothing more. Therefore any type of control is still a glint in the eye of the future. After many discussions mostly with vets whose spoken english does not extend to being able to recognise a persons full name. With my dealings with three spainish vets has been that the conversations go alongside theirs and they keep using the same phrases in answer to most questions. I would not have a problem if the lives of my cows were not at stake. Meanwhile I have been put in touch with one of the farmers from a Camphill Trust farm nearby, who happens to have encountered similar problems and is making a film about how the disease is being dealt with, or not, in the UK. 

Lazy days

Lazy days

Therefore come Tuesday morning my cows will be taken from their home and will both be dead by lunchtime. Not until six weeks later, will I know if they have the disease.

 The animal health inspectors have been brilliant and very sympathetic, making sure that the girls  final journey will be as stress free as possible.

 Meanwhile we are shearing a few sheep every day, or the days we have not had torrential downpours to soak right into the coats. I am saving a coloured and a white fleece for my mum who is going to spin them. She rang for a recipe for elderflower champagne, this morning and by the time I got off the phone, I had missed The Archers omnibus so will have to cast a spell to wither her hands thus stopping her from ringing anyone ev catch up via the internet.

 We have baby rabbits everywhere and see rabbits every where we go at the moment. It must be a good year. This afternoon I am collecting a root cutter from a local freecycler. The dear boy has learned to weld and picked up a very reasonably priced welding kit from Lidl of all places, as is my duty, I am finding him a few things to do and I want the cutter in working condition before the coming winter, if it is possible. So next week I will be clearing and cultivating a bit of ground to plant some root veg for the animals during the winter.

 It is going to be a very busy week as I have got to go and dismantle a small polytunnel which I have bought. It is 6ft by 12 ft and I need it up soon as I still have some tomato plants to go in and they will come to nothing if I have to plant them out in the open.

Now where did I leave...?

Now where did I leave...?

Published in: on Sunday June 28th, 2009 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Of nightmares

My annual TB test became due, so after arranging a meetup at the cowfield with my Vet, the cows were duly  led out to graze the pathway whilst their necks had patches of hair cut out in order to inject two types of tuburculin to see if they cause a reaction.

The cows were really stroppy and the brown cow sent one injector gun flying into the lean to. Luckily the Vet is well experienced and had painted a “marker” on each gun, both to identify one from the other and to locate them in the case of such an event. The flies are making the cows irritable and the black cow nearly pulled me over with the added assult on her person. When finished, we put the girls back behind the gate and whilst walking back up the bank I was bemoaning the fact that the cow was drying up and not yet in calf so we are going to have to rely on the goats for milk, but this does not cover the butter and cream we have come to rely on. And how can anyone cope without cheese? The Vet told me that we were very lucky to be set up with such luxury as DEATHRA is sneakily introducing the European plan for fresh milk. There will not be any. Within 10 years all milk sold on this island will be UHT. Uuk!!!

 Back at home I felt the need to share this gem of information and felt very smug, not only that we would not have to rely on UHT but we might just be able to readily find homes for any future heifer calves. DH’s first comment was, “I wonder what the next scare will be?” Hmmm…

 Roll forward to the morning of the test reading and I went to check the water as it was going to be a hot day and whilst strolling amongst the girls, The Boy suddenly made a grab for the nearest headcollar as he shouted to me. I went over and there on the necks of them both were huge telltale lumps.

 Panic began. I must try to get rid of the lumps in case the Vet thought they were reactions. Cursing myself that as I had decided to dry off the black cow, I had been doing a distance check. Making sure they were content and they had water rather than go up to them and bring them to the gate where they would stay and shout for hours as the routine was broken. Slowly as I was looking fruitlessly for a homeopathic remedy for flybites or stings, reality dawned.

My beautiful cows were TB reactors!

My moment of dread and to avoid the shock truth, which was just too much, my mind had allowed the facts to filter slowly through over at least an hour whilst I piddled around.

Seeing my face, the Vet realised as soon as he came through the gate that something was very wrong and after confirming what I now knew, he spent a long while just talking about  other stuff, TB in general, TB in the district and about what would happen in the days to come. I remember some of what he said, or most or even all of it, I really don’t know. Firstchild walked away in devastation and drove home as she had a meeting to go to. The Boy and the shepherd came back and we put the girls away and came home.

Numbness took over the rest of the day, but I decided that I might be able to have a retest.  DEATHRAs own figures claim a miserly 65% accuracy for the skin test. I must be a special case as this was in fact 100% of my herd. There were no followers waiting to enter my milkherd, I could not just go out and buy two replacements. My girls were halter broken and can be led around better than a lot of horses. They had been handled and led around since a couple of days old. I could sit beside them and hand milk them. In fact I did daily until 3 days ago. To start again to get a milking cow and be at the stage I am at now, would take a minimum of 3 years. I must work my way through my arguments and I now had hope. I remembered the Vet had said I would hear from DEATHRA in about 10 days. So I had 10 days to decide what I would say and to work out why I should be allowed another test. I would find a herbal immune booster and the girls would be in the peak of health and shrug off the poisonous tuberculin as they have done every year since I got my first cows.

Published in: on Sunday June 21st, 2009 at 11:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Flown the nest

One day last week, or maybe longer ago, I became aware that the bluetits sounded more like adult birds quarrelling and chattering.

It was a momentary recognition and no sooner had I walked from the room than it was hastily tucked away in the dim archives of my mind.

Then last weekend, I realised that I have not seen the parents as they squeeze in and out of the boarding beside my window, to and fro with meals of bugs to satisfy their insatiable infants. No squeals of “ME ME ME”.

 They have all flown and I hope they are still nearby as I need them.

 They consume the insects who are hell bent on eating my vegetables, and who join the throngs whose sole aim in life is to annoy the cow, causing such misery at milking time, with the cows tail swishing to swat them and making her kick at them, spilling milk over the dusty ground and often over me.

Published in: on Saturday June 20th, 2009 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  

I have a family of Bluetits living in my bedroom wall.

A while ago I spied the adults  landing on the top of a downpipe which had become detached from it’s mooring and couldn’t work out where they were planning their home. Once it had occured to me that they might all get washed away if we had a real downpour, I re-attached the pipe but they had obviously already found the hole in the wall where the lapboard had lifted, the downpipe was just a landing board.

Now the babies are beginning to get more noisy as their vocal cries for food are  being rewarded and the pitch of the cries have come down to a level which is easy to hear, tho’ easy to miss if engrossed in something else. At first the cries were so high pitched as to be nearly inaudible so I am not sure when they hatched. Anyway the adults are spending their days busily searching all the cobwebbed undersills and crannies around the walls and windows  of the house and places around the garden.

Nesting birds are a very welcome addition to my patch. We have ash and sycamore trees which line the boundary and spread a sticky residue along the outhousing from where blackfly seem to permeate and then move on to my veg patch.

 Last year, unbeknown to us we had a family of wrens in the garden. One morning we saw them just as their children had fledged. They practised flying around using a variety of objects and buildings to provide landing pads. We watched for a while, admiring their skills and feeling honoured that we could witness this sight. Then to our horror, Tactless the cat ran out and caught one of the young, we grabbed the cat but all too late as we examined the bird, it was limp and dead, but worse was to come as another birdchild flew straight at the cat and met its end. For us a whole morning was ruined, but for that family, a whole lifetime wasted.

 This time I will be much more watchful of  the damned cats.


Published in: on Monday June 1st, 2009 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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