Escaping, mud down my neck and walls...

Emma Heseltine - 08 January 2012

There have been some escapees at Wallace Field. The heifers in Big Dipper are looking mighty happy and smug when I come down to feed the creatures, I wonder why? I drive round to the shed to get some hay for the calves and find some evidence. Bin of wheat, knocked over. Hay, strewn around and cow pats spread liberally throughout the shed. I suspect cattle have had something to do with this… sure enough the gate to Big Dipper is wide open. It seems the heifers have leant on it (it’s got a dodgy latch) got out and spent much of the previous afternoon and possibly the night chomping away in the shed. Then they took themselves back to their field and tried to look innocent. Nice try girls, shame you cant shut the gate behind you. Guess who isn’t getting much in the way of extra food today.

At Wallace Field the heifers have stayed in Big Dipper today but we are having another problem. The entrance is fairly steep and has got a bit muddy over the last few weeks, inevitably the quad and trailer full of silage for the heifers gets stuck. Team effort is in order and two of us push whilst Susan tries to drive it up and out. Some wheel spin and elbow grease and suddenly its raining mud, all down the back of my neck. I try not to shriek like a girl but its cold and makes me jump, dissolving into laughter I manage one more push and the bike is free. It is decided that we should go up the road and use the top gate in the future.
There is a wall fallen down at Wallace field. The halo group are going to help us fix it on Fridays, it’s a good group project and it’s a fair old length that’s come down. First its time to dig it out, get all the stones out of the area and sort them into size order, which makes it easier when reassembling. It seems the boys have it under control and soon have a system going on, so the girls and I clear out to get on with another job. The stable needs mucking out and the calves have made a lovely mess on the hard-standing their hay hecks are on. We spend a happy hour shovelling various types of poop about. You get used to the smell after a while and the fact that it will be great fertilizer is a motivator. We also discuss muck shovelling as a gym alternative, who needs weights and tread mills when there is shovels and a barrow? Its green gym; a free work out and a good turn for the animals and the environment. Its social and you can see results quickly, if only in the fact that the stable looks clean.

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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