With the piglets gone and the calves gone, Middelmost was a tad quiet.
"Can't have that!" I thought, "Time for the bull."
I like to get the girls a bull for their Xmas present each year but with the weather and ground conditions being so ghastly, their presents had been postponed and they, like Mrs Pig, had gracefully accepted a promise and a pin-up instead. But, mud or no mud, rain or no rain, I couldn't delay it any longer. The arrival date was set, the bull's owners approved the accommodation and feed, and the girls had their tails shampooed and combed. Now, the northern approach to Middelmost is a two-kilometre-long, gently sloping road, down which the bull was to be walked. On the arranged morning the pigs and horses were shut in and all the gates from the back paddock to the road gate in the forest were opened to enable us uninterrupted access to where the bull was going to stay. Because the entrance into the forest is very dark I thought it could possibly put the gentleman off, so I decided to have Little Cream Cheese tied up to the fence just inside the gate to encourage him to come off the road and into the trees. With a full, clean water trough and plenty of baleage in the bin in the back paddock, everything was organized and I took Little Cream Cheese out through the forest and onto the road to wait.
There he was - a tiny black dot in the far distance being followed by another tiny black dot which, of course, was the four-wheeler. I watched as the two black dots disappeared to the left, then appeared, then disappeared to the right, then appeared with an extra black dot, then disappeared to the left, then appeared still with the extra black dot plus an orange blob.
"Oh, dear," I thought and I started to walk Cream Cheese up the road to meet them. Mr Bull was obviously rather agile and rather uncooperative and I was sure a glimpse of Little Cream Cheese would do the trick. We waited, me with baited breath and Cream Cheese with a mouthful of clover, as the tiny black dot became larger and larger - and also gathered an entourage of colours, shapes and sizes, and I wondered...did I have enough cheese to go with the crackers and beer? Over the last hump in the road came the bull and he was huge - I thought I was going to be loaned a youngster! Up went Little Cream Cheese's ears as the man of her dreams approached and, with his attention gained, I turned and skidaddled back to the forest, quickly tied Cream Cheese to the fence, armed myself with the leaf rake and charged back out to the road to stand guard and to help turn him in.
Oh, how devastating! There was my Little Cream Cheese, beautifully glowing in her creamy best, her ears and tail at twelve o'clock, her eyes gleaming with anticipated delight. There was me, as proud as punch, knowing that there was Little Cream Cheese - a cow that bulls would die for. And what did he do? Not a notice, not an acknowledgement, not even the hint of a sniff or a snuffle or a melodious moo! He just rocketed straight past her, through the middle forest paddock, through the cowshed paddock and out into the back paddock where I had left Poppy munching the baleage. This was too much for Cream Cheese and the rest of her body joined her tail and ears at twelve o'clock as she broke the lead rein and galloped, bounding and leaping, after him. But it was too late...he had fallen in love with Poppy.
Like the slighted teenager, Cream Cheese was inconsolable as Poppy made the most of the situation for the next three days. Yet, all good things do come to those who wait and on Friday the deed was done and Poppy was discarded. Cream Cheese now has him all to herself. He lies down - she licks him. He stands up - she licks him. He walks around the paddock - she follows and licks him. It is so disgusting. At her age, she should be a little bit more modest! Never mind, if the back paddock is to be a brothel - so be it, but I am concerned about the bull's trip back to his owner's place. With cut grass and top quality baleage being constantly offered, with a sheltered and warm shed to go into at night, with fresh rainwater on tap, with a beautiful lady who desperately wants to care for all of his needs, what man would want to leave?? I think it will take the same entourage to get him home again - but hey, what a good excuse for another party.
Middelmost suffered a sudden and destructive storm during the week. I saw it coming and quickly moved all of the animals into their shelters before it hit, and I crossed my fingers that the girls out grazing would be fine up against the shelter break in their paddock. Along with the heavy dumping of rain came vicious whirls of gale force winds and a battering of large-sized hailstones. For forty minutes I fought with iced-up gutters and a leaking roof as 70mls of hail and water beat the living daylights out of the district. The neighbour opposite lost seven fences in a flash flood, the oat crop next door was flattened, the paddock of maize up the road being grown for silage was stripped to a few pathetically lonely stalks, and Middelmost was converted to a sieve. After the storm had passed, and everyone had calmed down, I viewed the damage comparing the property to the bullet-ridden places you see on the TV news, and I thanked my lucky stars.