Where, oh where, has my little cow gone?

This weekend Hubby and I had a weekend off work. These only roll around once a fortnight so we have to make the most of them. This usually means that weekends are just as busy as regular working days, the only difference is we get a few extra hours in bed in the morning. We end up rushing around catching up with family, shopping, maybe have a day out walking or photographing the countryside, and on the very rare occasion, treat ourselves to the cinema and dinner out. This weekend was no exception, but we were home early enough in the afternoons for me to make a pork roast dinner on Saturday and Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies on Sunday. The roast dinner was a treat as I don’t often have the time to oven roast a full meal, and the cookies were so good they should be illegal!

Anyway, as I didn’t try out any new recipes to share, I thought I’d tell you a bit about what I do at work. One of my many tasks is to ‘check stock’. In the summer months the heifers and young stock live outside, and making sure they stay where they’re put can be a near impossible job. A couple of times a week I go round and check on each field of cattle, counting them to make sure they are not wandering the back lanes, having a secret rendezvous with the nearest bull or attempting to drown themselves in a ditch. These scenarios all happen at least once every summer, often more than once. Last Friday was slightly more tricky than usual.

In order to keep track of how many head of cattle are in which fields, we keep a list in the farmhouse kitchen. I check the list to make sure it hasn’t altered since last time I looked, jump on the quad bike (and try to remember to check I have fuel and 4 fully inflated tyres) and set off. On Friday I came to a field which should have had 25 calves in, but was empty. I checked all the other fields round about, found 1 extra in one of the fields, but couldn’t see any sign of the rest. So I had to find one of the bosses and ask what had happened to them. He told me where they were, so off I went again. When I got to the field, there was one missing. I found it two fields away, as close to a field of milk cows as possible, practically touching noses through the wire. As they were all accounted for, I went on to the next lot, 60 black and white Holstein heifers. When you are surrounded by a herd of heifers, all trying to lick you, and the bike, jostling and milling about, with their black and white patches making one cow merge into the next, you very quickly end up frustrated and bog-eyed. Today, this wasn’t a problem. They weren’t there. It was like a game of hide and seek, looking in each field as I rode past. To be fair, it is hard to lose 60 heifers, so it wasn’t too long before I found them, and luckily for me, they were all spread out across the field making it pretty simple to count them. Having finally accounted for them all, I just had to go back, update the list and head home for a much needed cup of tea!

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