The chimney plume is blown from the south west: it is wet and mild. Abbie is sentinel at the paddock gate. She shifts uneasily at my approach and her skin quivers as I extend my hand slowly, knowing that she is poised to flit. She accepts my touch and relaxes as I palpate her quarters. Her ears tight against her head, she starts a shimmy – her head moving one way, her rear another: her spine snaking as though scratching hard on a post. I must give her some time: I suspect she is being bullied by Holly though repeated special treatment may isolate her by expectation.
The silage in the round tombstone feeder is low with a hard-to-reach mound remaining in the centre. I climb inside to spread the remaining feed to the side both to make it available even to the young stotts but also to prepare a cupped seat for the new bale. The animals poke their heads between the uprights reaching down on all sides to pick over the rearranged strands as I bend to my work in the centre. The scene reminds me of those old;fashioned kids toys where carved chickens peck at a wooden disk.
Later I return with the quad and loaded buggy. I bring one of my precious hay bales to save the soft ground from damage, For today the heavy silage bales carted by the JCB, heavier yet, will have to remain on hard roads only. The winter campaign is just beginning, a mountain range to cross before spring.