Morag’s Day Out

There is alot to remember. Two bottles, two buckets of warm water, feed tube, stowed ready for use. Close all gates and doors, apart from the ones where I want to channel the beasts.
Moira and her baby know where to go; they might jib a bit but they get there. Moira squeezes down the race into the handling crate, little man at her heels and out the side before the gate is shut behind her. Milk her, feed him and then out to the field.
Today there is a further operation: tagging two calves: Demi Og’s little red bull, another teddy bear like Moira’s, and Holly’s strartling white heifer. More gates to open – pens to create; mother’s separated, babies trapped and then released.- gates open, then close again.
I sit in the office registering the new identifying numbers, numbers carried through life and beyond, when I spot company. Old Morag shambles down the road on three good legs and starts grazing below my window.
I forgot to close the field gate after putting Moira and the boy back to pasture. These two are happy in the field but the old girl has seized the opportunity to take a day out. It doesn’t matter; this evening she will return like a pensioner on a free bus pass.
She settles down, rear to the breeze, face to the sun, chewing the cud, exuding contentment.
She sits among small mounds that provide her with some shelter. I know these shapes, there are stones under the grass, walls in fact. The gaps are windows and doors, the thicker section a chimney, the long tail stretching down the hill maps a cart shed and peat store.
This is Uvie farmhouse. I know what it looks like: thatched, one and a half storey. There is a photograph in the village hall, 1903. There are female figures standing outside the door – Mrs Logan and the two little girls.
They lived and worked here-
on this spot-
where an old white cow takes her ease on a spring day.


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