August 2020 at Wark Farm
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This is a guest post by SaM:
“The secret life of cows.” It’s a book that was written by Rosamund Young, that was first published in 2003 and is now lying on the table next to my bed, waiting to be read. The book details how cows live, have family groups, friends and even their favourite humans.
Among all of the cows we have at the farm, three of them are special to me. Deedee is a beautiful Dun, with big friendly eyes and a lovely gentle character. Her big pal is Pandy, a white and black Belted Galloway heifer who tends to be a bit more timid and will tolerate children easier than adults. Pandy will let the contract worker’s daughter touch her in a whim, but every adult will need to literally win her heart step by step, sweetie by sweetie. She now sniffs at my hands and as long as I speak calmly to her, she won’t scamper off, but it’s definitely a hard won friendship. It was gained by visiting them daily, sometimes even twice, with a bucket of pellets (which I call their sweeties but are just pellets made of compressed grains). At first you leave them the bucket and you walk away, until they learn how ‘cow delicious’ the pellets are. Something probably about the protein in them and cows instinctively knowing that they’re good for their system (imagine us longing for ‘salad rushes’ instead of sugar rushes or fat rushes… how healthy would we become; Wished we were more like cows in that respect). Once they’re ‘addicted’ to the pellets, you stay with the bucket until they no longer shy away from you. Next, you reach out and then one day you’ll get as far as being able to scratch them all over. A process of weeks, sometimes months. But worth it, as once they know you, they won’t easily forget you. I know, because I travel up and down to Belgium, and even over the phone, when Laurel turns on the speaker and camera, I can see how they respond to my voice when I call out to them. It’s the most funny, and at the same time wonderful thing to see. And then there’s the third cow, a white and black Belted Galloway heifer as well, called Page. She’s my extra special one, a smart cow with a streak of stubbornness and with certain teenage manners about her which remind me of my 11 year old eldest daughter in Belgium. She likes to test boundaries and sometimes I find myself in something very akin to a power struggle. With Page I find I have to hold my grounds and even though at times I find her rather tiring, I will admit these ‘struggles’ also make that my strongest connection is with her. And vice versa, whenever I show up with my buckets, it is Page who’s the one rushing at the head towards me, and whenever the pellets are finished, it’s Pandy and Deedee who walk off first, but Page who remains a bit back. When other cows move away, driven by ‘herd intuition’, Page has a slight inclination to stay with me. Almost as if she sees me as part of ‘her herd’, her family. And when I stay away for longer patches of time (when I’m in Belgium), she’ll actually act out, showing her dissatisfaction with me. Her behaviour towards me is distinctively different compared to others. Similar like a teenage child behaves better with strangers than with its own parents. But you know, despite that, deep down, I do believe I already found the core of the book that I’m reading. I found ‘my’ cow. The cow for who I am her favourite human.
Our August ordering form is now open to book your orders. The link can be found below.Link to order