Monday, 9 May 2011

The one who got away.

Time has flown past so quickly. Days have turned into weeks and weeks into a new month.

Today, after much faffage, we decided to let the little stirks out to pasture. OK, I decided and The Farmer frowned a lot.
He frowned because 'traditionally' they go out on the 12th of May and only God knows the reason for this.

I have mended the trough for the field, filled it with fresh water from the only tap and possibly sweated several kilos carrying said trough and setting it all up. Everything was ready and they were jolly well going out whether it was the 12th or not.

It all went very well with seven out of the eight. They went out beautifully with merely a 'cush cush' as encouragement. They walked to the field and settled immediately.

Lazarus, the calf who was born with a leg deformity, ambled amicably beside me. We spent hours and hours with him when he was newly born, soothing his tight front legs and helping him to walk. We fashioned a hammock as a lifting aid as he became bigger and two would take the weight while a third would 'walk' him.
The work paid off and he eventually walked himself, very stiffly at first then became more fluent in his gait.
He and I walked together to the field and he seemed very content. I felt very proud of him and ruffled his coat.

The idyll was only fleeting because There Is Always One.

'The One' was a black and white feisty stirk who jumped over the hurdle and galloped off at speed.
"Please God do't let him go to the top field" I muttered.
My eldest son went to find him.

"He is up in the top field and I am going to just lie here and be sick because I ran up the hill after him". My son looked green.
Sure enough, there was a black and white dot on yonder hill. The furthest point of the farm and up the worst road in Scotland.

We had to go round shutting all the gates to the newly sown barley fields but the stirk had taken the path of least resistance and gone as the crow flies - straight across all the fields.

An hour or so later, we took a convoy of tractor, trailer, car and green son up The Bloody Awful Road And We Must Do Something About It, to the top field.
There was a stare off and I could hear 'Duelling Banjo' play in my head.

The Farmer was there for expert advice but warned not to lift gates or run which he broke almost immediately by lifting the gate and breaking into a trot.
The cow ran further down the field then hopped easily over one of the many horizontal fences which may deter the odd dandelion from growing but would not contain so much as a guinea pig never mind a hoofingly large stirk.

It got to the good bit in the 'Duelling Banjo's', the bit where you want to dance wildly and shout 'YeeHa!".
The cow ran back to the farm just as I managed to get stuck in the only tight bit of the fence.
My eldest son took hysterics at my getting stuck and I swore at the ground and flapped my way free, dignity long gone, cow long gone too.

The roles were now reversed. We were the specks on yonder hill while the stirk was at the farm. I imagined it was laughing or worse. Smirking. a Smirking stirk.

We hauled the sorry circus back down the Pits of the Earth road, our very eyes shaken out of their sockets by the deep ruts and finally returned to the big shed.

Smirk stirk was calmly munching oats.

Let's just say that another hour, which I will never get back, passed and we finally managed to get the stirk into the trailer only to drive it about 50 feet to the field.
It romped out and joined the Good stirks.

"I have just aged ten years" I said to The Farmer. Eldest son was beyond speech.

"Of course, you stood in the wrong place" said The Farmer. Calmly.

"Wrong place! I was standing near Inverness at one stage, what do you mean wrong place? That cow was possessed by Satan!"

"Stirk. It is not a cow, it's a stirk".....

When we got back to the big shed later on, a tiny calf had just been born. It had managed to take it's first faltering steps just outside the feeders and was wandering lost while it's mother mooed loudly.

We lifted the calf back beside it's mother.

"Don't even think about escaping'. I muttered to the calf. "Just because the first thing you saw was a runaway, don't you dare think it was setting a good example. And anyway, the top field has monsters lurking which eat runaway calves".

I will be watching that one in the future.


  1. Sitting here with tears of laughter running down my face. I'm not familar with the term 'stirk' but it sounds like the sort of beast that just would be thrain, you were fortunate only one acted up!

  2. Oh my, can you imagine if they had all run away? *gibbers at the thought*

    A stirk is a one year old cow or bullock.