July 31, 2019
Of all the things gardeners don’t want to hear, ‘there’s a cow in the garden’ comes pretty close to the top of the list – perhaps second only to ‘there are cows in the garden’. Today’s visitor was just a lone beast, and fortunately, once it had been ushered away from the veg patch, quite happy to browse on the long grass near the compost tumbler, while Moo-I-5 stared at it over the fence, making helpful suggestions.
The question was where it had come from – unlike our usual coo neighbours it clearly wasn’t a dairy cow, being a rather fetching shade of dark brown (I would post pictures but these things inevitably happen when your camera is out of battery …). The likeliest source was the farm down the road, but we didn’t have their phone number so I hopped on the Brompton to rouse our neighbour to see if she was missing any cows, because obviously the person you need in a misplaced coo crisis is an octogenarian who stands about 4 foot 10 in her sparkly wellies.
She didn’t think she was one of theirs but came up the road to inspect our new resident anyway, and agreed that the best place for it was their field rather than the suspiciously lush grass around our septic tank. It took a bit of ushering from the three of us but the cow finally, reluctantly, relinquished the prime grazing of our lawn for the rather less luxuriant grass next door and we got the gate secured.
‘Do you get to keep it if nobody claims it in a couple of weeks?’ I asked.
‘It’s the owner to blame if it gets out,’ she pointed out with a twinkle in her eye. ‘Might fetch a nice price at the market …’
And then she headed back to the house to, I’m sure, make strenuous attempts to find out where it had come from and return it safely home.
September 26, 2018
For those of you eagerly awaiting a Moo-I-5 update, I have a slight confession to make. Alarmed by the fact that the fence that separated our garden from their field had become somewhat less than cow-proof (in that two of the fence posts were no longer in any meaningful sense attached to the ground), I rang the farmer before our new neighbours discovered this and became our uninvited house guests. I was expecting him to bang in a couple of fence posts and all would be good, but instead he just closed a gate and confined them to the other field, shaking his head and muttering about the fact that ‘you can grow them all the grass you like’ and that appears to have been that.
This is good news for our trees and the bits of the veg plot within cow reach, but bad news for the blog and probably the cows too because our garden – as well as being home to tasty cow treats – is also a source of endless amusement to them in what I suspect are otherwise quite dull cow lives. Certainly, when I moseyed past this afternoon on a walk up to the woods, I quickly drew a fascinated crowd.
They were also watching me over the wall as I harvested some of our purple sprouting broccoli this afternoon, no doubt hoping I’d leave some for them. Their stay out in these fields is usually quite short (and, to be brutally honest, I don’t think they go on to pastures new either). Obviously it’s ridiculous to feel guilty about the fact that I’ve banished them from half a field and some variety in their bovine lives.
And yet, somehow I do …
August 16, 2016
No, not the human ones, although most of the folk in the houses round about have dropped by to introduce themselves since we’ve moved in. It’s our other neighbours who cannot contain themselves from watching our every move, the ones we’ve dubbed Moo-I5
‘Left hand down a bit’
Particularly this morning when we had electricians round who made a bit of a production of backing their various vans into our drive – possibly not helped by having an audience of fascinated bovines.
‘He’s going to hit that gatepost …’
Cows suffer from FOMO too, so the ones in the other field had to come over and have a look.
With the house full of workmen indoors, and a gloriously sunny day outdoors, I cut my losses and decided to take gardening leave for the morning, so of course the cows had to just happen to be over on our side of the field.*
And a brazen few overcame their nervousness and came over and said hello. They have surprisingly rough tongues, cows.
And then, after about half an hour of gardening with several pairs of big brown eyes fixed on me, they all got bored again and wandered off, leaving me wondering if it was something I did…
*when we got all the paperwork pertaining to the house, there was a fairly long clause explaining how we had joint responsibility with the farmer over the fences around our garden, which boiled down to the fact that they were responsible for keeping the cows’ feet off our property, but if we wanted a fence that would prevent their heads from coming over and eating everything within cow reach, that was our responsibility. We now understand the full force of that …