Just when I think I have things sorted..

It’s been bugging me the last few days – the state of the calving paddock.
It comprises an enclosure around the open shed where the hay and the digger are stored and where the cattle can find shelter. It has the rocks of the gallows mound for dry footing and a small area of south facing pasture where the girls sun themselves on a dry day.
It is intended for short term occupancy in the period around a calving – but they are now a month late: a whole month of poaching the ground where the water runs off the hardstanding. I normally approach from the other side to skoosh nuts in the trough or remove net from a silage bale, but today I penetrate the interior to see how Demi-Og has settled in: I strain to lift my feet from the coagulated mire.
Some animals like Abby keep themselves clean; others like Flora flaunt caked mud. All of them labour in the heavy footing: it could prove fatal for arthritic Morag or a new baby learning to walk.
I think back to my first winters with no buildings on the farm. virtually no fences – the animals roamed around the farm at will, seeking the best for themselves, finding hard ground and limited shelter when they needed it.
Trouble is – I had to wander about too, looking for expectant mothers who had found privacy for birthing or babies hidden in long grass. If anything went wrong, we might be a long way from warmth and cover – too long sometimes.
Nonetheless, tomorrow I will make changes. Weather permitting, I will install a new gate from the paddock to the field below – where they will be able to range, dry their hooves- and return for food and shelter.
It is not as easy for me to manage – but it demands to be done – I hear it.


2 thoughts on “Just when I think I have things sorted..

    • Bit dull though wasn’t it? I guess good intentions often are – but the world still looks good even if the ground is deep in sh**te. (motto for the loo door perhaps?!)
      Which brings me to an irony inherent in yesterday’s story that I missed in the dusty cupboards at the back of my mind.
      That ugly muck turns good earth to mire and kills all but acid loving greenery. Once dropped on pasture, stretched and spread with quad-hauled chains when the first warm breezes breathe the onset of spring,
      – it becomes the most generous propagator.

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