As many of you may know at the farm we have 4 cats. They are as follows Simba a tabby who is 16 years old, Chole a tortishell who is 11 years old and Mars amd Mo two black and white brothers who are 11/2 years old.

But this is Simba story. We got Simba back in 1998 from a customer who had moved to Sawston and their cat had become a bit too friendly with the neighbour’s cat. We gave hime his name because we got him the same time that the Lion king came out and wanted to give him a big cat name and thorght Simba suited him.

Simba used to catch full grown rabbits when he was younger. he looked like a Lion carrying a gazelle. Having brought the rabbit home he would release it and let Meg our now saddly deceased border collie kill it. They would then share the rabbit meal, ever morning at a round 7 o’clock, till one morning Meg and Simba had a disagreement and he never brought another rabbit back for Meg again.

This cat is very distinguished with his bronzey- silver flecked coat daintly painted with thin black stripes, from head to tail.

He is a  very bright cat and it did not take take him long as a kitten to work out if he went to the builders yard or riding school at thir lunch time then he could get to sample some of thier sandwich guess this is why he is noe 3 foot long from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. also because of his impressive size he has learnt that he does not need to bother with the whole meooow, thing when a simple meow said deep will draw your attention to the fact he is beside you, not that you can really miss him.

This cat has a really charming nature a true gentile giant, and a particuar favourite amoungst our customers as a simple head rub is greeted with his very thunderous purr.

He can now normally be found curled up snoring in his favourite spot on the sofa. That if you dare to sit in his, thenhis lordship parks him self on your lap. A polite way of letting you know that you have sat in his own privet spot.

Despite Simba now in icreasing age I’m sure he will go on for a few more years yet as nothing in his world is ever rushed. And every thing is done for a reason. He is just one of those cat’s that once you have met him, he is not easily forgotten for that reason he will go on for ever.

The sheep

The ram has now gone back to the man I from whom I hired him from. With a bit of luck all of my ewes should be pregnant and lambs due in February through to the end of March.

All of my ewes are in fit condition so should have produced lots of eggs and be in good condition to go through the Winter, without to many problems. Ewes in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy need extra food as the grass dose not contain enough nurtrients for the ewe and her developing lamb(s). This can cause problems, like twin lamb disease which is a condition caused by lack of calcium. The ewe has for some reason been unable to eat enough food,weather it was because of the snow on the ground or having sore feet and being unable to get about.Because of this the growing lambs (only normal happens in ewes carrying twins hence the name twin lamb disease) has lost her resrves of calcium. But normal makes a full recovery if caught quickly and given an injunction of calcium and glucose they can be back on their feet in a matter of a few hours and back to normal.

But by making sure your ewes stay in good. Condition then you can help to prevent this and prevention is better than cure. But with all live stock keeping, nothing is a dead sert. Sometimes no matter what you do or the vet does the animal can’t be saved. Sheep seem to have a death wish. One old shepherd up in Scotland described sheep as having two wishes in life one is to escape and the other is to die. There are times when I wonder why I keep sheep. But like all farmers it’s in my blood. And the moment when you get your first lamb of the year, is a very special moment and the excitement of waking up and not knowing what you might find in the morning means that no day is ever the same or ever gets boring.

Finding a ewe with her live lambs next to her is always a special moment. Or when you’v got your arm up the back end of a ewe who is having problems lambing and pulling out the 1st live lamb and rubbing it to stimulate it to take it’s first breath and handing it back triumphantly to it’s elated mother to licked clean is some thing you can’t realy describe to any one. It is one of those thing where you realy have to be there. So for those reasons guess I will be farming for as lonh as I can. Not to sure if it’s a blessing or a curse but what ever it is. It’s just some thing that I love even though you work 24/7 some times with little to no rest and holidays are a luxury and sunny dry days are a lovly blessing from all the rain and cold. I would not change it for all the tea in china. You only have one crack at life so if you can spend it doing the things you love then you are one of the lucky ones like me.

End of the summer grazing

The cattle are now home. We had 20 cattle on the commons in Cambridge. The council like having cattle on the commons as it saves them money and time in keeping the grass cut. Also they get paid by the people who own the cattle and they can claim government grants. It does also bring the town back to a more oldey worldy vibe. Of how things used to be and the Chinese tourist seem to like seeing the cattle there.

It was a commoner’s right to graze a cow on the commons in Cambridge. If you lived in Cambridge and owned a cow then you could put a cow on the commons. But when the Cambridge cattle market shut back in the 80s as with many markets in the centre of towns. The land became to valuable for building. And with more townies moving in the smell and the sound of the cattle were enough to force the close of the markets to close.

So the council now has to allow people from outside Cambridge graze the commons. We have now had cattle on the commons in Cambridge for over 10 years. We get our haulier to take them out when the grazing season starts in April and we get them brought back late in October. We do not have to worry about them till they come back unless there is a problem. The pinders (a person) who has the to look after the cattle while they are on the commons. They check them daily and feed them and put them back in if they have escaped. So we can rest assured that they are in good hands. Which leaves us the small task of looking after the 70 other cattle that we have. But we have lots of friends who live in Hixton where our other cows are grazing. As one lovely lady put it “I have a duty to keep an eye on them being as they are at the bottom of my garden” . This lady was hanging out her washing and at the bottom of her garden fence lay a 2 day old calf called Derek. The lady had been watching the calf and Dorothy (it’s mum) left the calf alone for 1 hour and the calf had flys on it and a magpie kept coming near it so the dear old lady stood at the bottom of her garden swigging a tea towel over the calf to keep the flies off it and to chase away the magpie as she thought the cow had abandoned her baby. She spotted dad and I turning up to check the cattle. And came running over to tell us about the abandoned calf. I reassured her that it is not uncommon for cows to leave their caves to go off grazing and as I approached the calf Dorothy Suddenly looked up and come running over to protect her baby. So a cow may not appear to be paying any attention to it’s calf but if a fox, cat,dog or human approaches it then they come running back to protect it. Cows often have a baby sitter when there are more than one calf. They leave one cow to look after the calves while the rest of the herd are grazing but if the cow on baby sitting duty spots danger and calls out the whole herd goes into guarding mode. Ps there are more people hurt by cows guarding their calves then people being attacked by bulls as there is no bond stronger than a mother and it’s child. So if you are out walking across a field do not get between a cow and calf and keep your dog on a lead but if chased by the cows then let your dog go as the dog will always get out of the field and then are less likely to be injured by the cows trying to attack your dog.

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