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From Winter to Summer (Bridport Times, April 2020)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Written by Ellen Simon

April is the changeover from winter to summer. In the winter the animals depend on us for their food and comfort. Most of them, all the ones indoors, would be knee deep in muck if we didn’t clear it away for them and give them fresh bedding; they would be without food unless we gave it to them, and that depends on our having saved the grass from last summer. In summer, by contrast, the animals are all outdoors and don’t really need us. We see them daily but, if all is well, that is all we do: we look, we see that they are comfortable and that they seem happy and we leave them to themselves. April is the month by which the big change-around has happened. It is a relief to finally return to the summer pattern; we have by now become weary of feeding and bedding and it is a pleasure to see the animals enjoying the weather and the sweet spring grass. For the vegetables, there is an equivalent shift around now. Through the winter and well into spring we are dependant on last year’s plants and last year’s work and now we are setting out this year’s and just beginning to crop the earliest of them.

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Beginnings (Bridport Times, April 2019)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Written by Ellen Simon

Our cows’ main job is to be mothers, and they are very good at it. We can recognise the start of each cow’s mothering by hearing her talk to her young one. She will start when she is beginning labour and uses her special mother’s voice only for the next day or two. As human beings we raise the pitch of our voice when we speak to our babies. Cows lower theirs, making a very particular sound, one we never hear at any other time. If we hear the characteristic quiet, brief lowing as we go out in a darkening evening to check the cattle, we know for certain that there will be a calf newly dropped or one about to appear. It’s a mother calling for her little one.

Continue reading “Beginnings (Bridport Times, April 2019)”
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Hardy Country (Bridport Times, October 2018)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

When we took on the conservation grazing land at Cogden in 1995 we changed our herd of mixed  cattle with its wonderful array of colours and shapes to mahogany coloured, deep bodied pedigree Red Ruby Devons. These  hardy animals (also called North Devons) are particularly known for living outside all year round on the wild coast and moors of North Devon and Somerset, but have been local to this part of Dorset too. Continue reading “Hardy Country (Bridport Times, October 2018)”

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