Yep, it’s wet. I got soaked to the skin taking some feed three hundred yards to a bunch of bullocks. The water is running down our drive like a river, and all in all, it’s the start of the Cumbrian Summer Monsoon.
It’s been wet for the last few days, on and off, but what struck me has been how dusty the ground is, just half an inch down.
But anyway, we’ve had a decent summer, it’s still warm, grass is still growing and that is what matters.
It’s funny, in spite of all my best intentions I’ve got dragged into discussions on the web about Israel and Gaza and all that sort of stuff.
I hadn’t intended to, I firmly resolved to keep out of it. But you know what it’s like, there’s only so much asinine stupidity a chap can put up with without coming over all ironic.
I suspect it’s the level we’ve degenerated to. It’s no longer necessary to actually know anything about the subject any more. All that matters is that you have an ‘opinion’ and you’re ‘sincere’ and that means you’re right.
Which brings me on to the other day; I dropped round to see friends. For environmental reasons Natural England want cattle grazing some of the fells. Fair enough, they’re willing to cover the cost because it isn’t really an economic activity. But because the fell has roads across it they want the cattle to have collars with fluorescent bands on them so that drivers, who might otherwise miss seeing half a ton of somnambulant bovine, might at least catch the flash of light as the occasional ray of Cumbrian sunshine falls on the collar.
So he was putting the collars on. This isn’t quite as easy as you’d think. You’ve got to get the animal into the crush where its head is ‘sort of held’ and then you put the collar on. So I ended up putting the collar on as he put them in the crush, which made the job go faster.
And it was good to be back doing something I’m good at. Just burble away cheerfully to them, in a voice that lets them know that you’re not worried so why should they be upset. Then as they stand there you carefully learn over them and gently put the open collar under their throat and charily fasten it. All the while being ready to drop everything and get out of the way if your honeyed words don’t keep them pacified.
It went well. One memorable moment was when I was dealing with a limi heifer, to whom the technical term ‘radged’ might be applied. I got the collar on and opened the crush gate. She hurtled out of it, crossed the yard, still accelerating and shot out of the gate, only to stop abruptly when faced with over six thousand acres of fell.
After all what’s the point in running madly, crashing through fences and making your break for freedom if the nearest fence is a bus ride away?
So outfaced by reality she stopped, stared at it and then wandered quietly off to join her mates.
Funny how many people cannot cope with the reality, when faced with it they just ignore it and wander of and stand with their mates, telling each other what nice people they are because they’re ‘sincere’ which means they have to be right.
Me, I suspect I’d probably just stick to doing what I do best, apparently this involves sticking collars on bullocks so sensible people can avoid them.
But doing what you do best can be fun.