Spring and turning heifers out


It’s amazing the difference a few nice days can make. Because we’ve no sheep any more we aren’t lambing and at the same time we have grass. So a few dry cows were turned out. They frolicked briefly and then proceeded to sit on the grass basking in the warmth.

Heifers are a different matter. Rather than risk an over-enthusiastic simulation of the Pamplona Bull Run, we put them in a trailer and took them to the field that way. To be fair, after something of a token frolic they too have taken to spending much of their time just soaking up the sun. I do wonder if, like us, they’ve just been utterly hacked off by this winter. Endless rain and driving wind does start to undermine the morale.

The next job was to fix a bit of a gap before the basking dry cows bestirred themselves and discovered it. Next door has wintered some bullocks in the field next to us. It’s perfect for that, large parts of it are effectively sand (burns off pretty much every summer) so it stays dry underfoot and doesn’t get trodden up. Also there is shelter for cattle who want it.

The gap was about thirty yards from the blackthorn in the photo. On our side for some reason there was a section with sheep netting but no breast wire above it. I think a sheep had got its head caught in the netting and in pulling and pushing to (successfully) get its head out, it managed to break a fence post which means the whole lot was now sagging.

Next door’s fence had also suffered, a tree had gone down in the winter winds. As it had been acting as an informal straining post, it left a gap on their side. I was surprised that next door’s cattle hadn’t wandered into our field through it until one of them came across to see what I was doing. At this point it discovered the mud in this hollow was still belly deep and floundered off back to join its mates. I suspect we are going to forget how wet things actually have been and I can see people getting vehicles stuck where they’ve never got stuck before. It might be nice now and a lot of ground might have dried, but there’s still a lot of water about.

I suspect we’ve had new springs appear because I’ve got one gateway standing water than never stood water before. It’s at the foot of a steep bank and I think the water has started seeping down through the bank from the field above.

Anyway I got the fence fixed, two posts and a bit of spare wire. I even managed to patch up a breast wire on the other side to cover the gap the tree had left, just in case the mud gets shallower and the bullocks get more adventurous.

Looking about at the larger world, one phenomena I’ve noticed, social media seems to be full of older people ranking about the stupid thirty-somethings who have keep going out and seeing their mates. Up here it’s the thirty-somethings who are trying to talk sense into the older folk.

Another thing I’ve noticed is all sorts of self-righteous people ranting about the list of companies they’re going to boycott after it’s all over because of the way they’ve not looked after their staff. I wonder when people will start ranting about education authorities? I’ve got family and friends who work as supply teachers or supply teaching assistants. Once the schools shut, those working on supply contracts have just got no money. Indeed the 80% doesn’t help them, because they’re only paid for the hours they have in their contact and they’re all effectively on zero hours contracts. Perhaps the self-righteous should get on with naming and shaming these authorities as well.


There again, what to I know. Speak to the expert. Now available in paperback and ebook

As a reviewer commented, “his is a delightful collection of gentle rants and witty reminiscences about life in a quiet corner of South Cumbria. Lots of sheep, cattle and collie dogs, but also wisdom, poetic insight, and humour. It was James Herriot who told us that ‘It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet’ but Jim Webster beautifully demonstrates that it usually happened to the farmer too, but far less money changed hands.

I, for one, am hoping that this short collection of blogs finds a wide and generous audience – not least because I’m sure there’s more where this came from. And at 99p you can’t go wrong!”

Tagged: , , , ,

3 thoughts on “Spring and turning heifers out

  1. Jane Sturgeon March 27, 2020 at 11:25 am Reply

    Through your words, I can picture you out there in the fields with your livestock, Jim. Much love flowing to you all. ❤

    • jwebster2 March 27, 2020 at 1:16 pm Reply

      You couldn’t visualise it in better weather as well, shirt sleeve order here 🙂

      • Jane Sturgeon March 27, 2020 at 2:24 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: