Friday, 2 October 2009

'That's Life'

Farmers, shepherds and stocks men get accustomed to life's highs and lows. Working with the unpredictability of the weather, stock, machinery, trade and the government day in day out hardens them to a degree.

Having said that they care, that's why they do the job they do, it's in their hearts. There'll be the shrug of the shoulders and the utterance 'that's life' when things go wrong but there'll often be a hurt, unseen to the outside world but there all the same which brings an unspoken understanding amongst those that know and deal with the same 'problems' day in, day out.

A phone call to a farmer last night brought about one of those moments, as when someone is bereaved, words fail, nothing can be said to make things any better. The loss is felt.

An explanation as to why fire engines were in the district - a cow in a cattle grid

A calving heifer (first time calver/young cow) no less, experiencing difficulties, so brought off the herd along with another for company to be driven to the steading with the intention of assisting the birth and having a healthy cow and calf as a result. If only that simple.

A lack of staff on farms makes every task more difficult, the farmer is dealing with an unpredictable cow alone. The gate beside the cattle grid is open but she spooks and for all her pal walks through, she decides to jump the cattle grid. The result? Not a pretty one.

On the bright side the calf was brought into this world alive, a small consolation to a man who cares. There is the financial loss, a heifer worth at least £1,000, vets bills, call out for emergency services?, dead cart to pay, powdered colostrum and calf milk to buy. Painful to the pocket but not what is causing the hurt that is felt.

Those who work the land are a tough hardy breed, resilient, hard working, committed and conscientious, they will shrug their shoulders and say 'that's life' but remember - they care.