Living the Dream: Drey observations and foot trimming

Once again I was watching our local squirrels going about their business. As I sat at my computer, typing away, I looked, as I do, out of the window in front of me and paused for a minute to watch a squirrel leap from tree to tree through the woods, with each leap taking him higher and higher into the canopy above. At this time of year, the trees have really no leaves at all to talk of, which opens up such a different picture in the tree tops. In only a few moments the squirrel was soon at the top and, as I sat there observing all this from the comfort of my study, I thought to myself, '˜he's going to get himself into trouble if he isn't careful', as he climbed into a very large rook's nest which was swaying from side to side in the breeze.

Anyway, I didn’t think much more about this until I was walking through the wood a few days later and observed him taking the same route, into the same rook’s nest. That was when the penny dropped and I realised that in fact it wasn’t a rook’s nest at all, but was in fact his own nest, called a drey.

I soon got my binoculars out to take a closer look and couldn’t believe the work that had been put into making this large egg-shaped construction in the tree top. What’s really interesting is that since noticing this drey early in the week, I have also spotted another high up in an oak tree behind the llama pen, which again is very large and I don’t know how I’ve not caught sight of it before now.

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There comes a time each year when I need to arrange for my ‘coos’ to have their annual pedicure and that time for 2017 came only this last week. It came just at the right time too. With the frosty mornings that we have been having, I noticed that all the mud around the ring feeder, their drinking water bath and the field gate was becoming frozen solid.

As a result of this frozen ground, the coos were having to, very carefully, almost tiptoe across it to either eat or drink. In fact on one occasion I did notice our Monica doing her Bambi on ice impression, just so that she could get a drink of water. I also noticed, I think as a result of the hard ground, that a couple of them had chipped the front of their hooves.

I gave Mandy at Yorkshire Foot Trimmers a call and, lo and behold, she and her trusty team arrived to sort my girls out. It always amazes me how clever they are to take a cow, with the weight they are and flip them onto their side on the back of a truck, to then enable them easy access to sort their feet out, 
without overly stressing the cattle either.

It was while Mandy was taking care of their feet that I was once again reminded just how small this world actually is. That’s because, I found out that she grew up in the same area of Lancashire as I had, in fact attending the same primary school.

Through her, I have been able to get the details of a farming friend whom I haven’t spoken to since 1974 and so, over the next couple of weeks, I will be making contact with him again, to let him know just how he inspired me to take the leap into country living.