Runaway sheep, flock and hiding cattle...

Emma Heseltine - 11 November 2012

We are bagging some barley in the shed when all the ewes go running past and head up the drive. It’s going to be one of those days. It seems the other half of our gang today were getting them in to change the colour of the paint on the boys. Some miss-hap has meant one of the gates got left open and so away they go! We leg it up the drive and manage to turn the vast majority of them at the corner but four make a break for it and head up the drive. Four youngsters’ two dogs and one Susan on a quad bike head off up the road to get them back. We get the majority of the ewes in the shed and wait for the stray four to come back. It was, surprise surprise, some of the shearlings that made a break for it, going to be trouble this lot.

The geese are getting some extra feed now and they are pretty excited about it. Whenever anyone comes through the gate with anything that even vaguely resembles a bucket they come stampeding over, flapping and squawking. It would be pretty bad if you were scared of birds. I’m feeding them this evening and they escort me to the troughs. I feel like I’m part of the flock until they try and trip me up as I’m pouring out the grain.

I’ve gone to Drumburgh to check on the cattle and after a long slog through the mud found them just fine. Next stop is Bowness-on-Solway. This proves less easy. It’s no problem getting to the actual reserve, unlike Drumburgh, but when I get there I cant see the cattle anywhere. It turns into a game of hide and seek which takes forever. The cattle are in their element, its all brush and little trees and ponds and islands with vegetation crawling all over it. I nearly get in over my wellies several times trying to follow their tracks and find out where they are hiding. I find Jacob and June but the other two elude me. Eventually I chase June out into a different section Jacob follows, they both start mooing to their herd-mates and I get a clue as to where they are. Just follow the moos. One is hiding almost under a hedge near the fence and the other is on a seemingly impossible to reach and massively overgrown island. They really do love it in here!

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

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