Not content with more calves in the spring, in the summer we bought up a disbanding herd of 8 cattle to help restore a marsh we've taken on. They proved to be a very mixed blessing—we should have guessed as they were the original herd of the three fat ladies, and were similarly large, nervous and wild. One (an ox known in a cottage-garden sort of way as Ollie) has provided some challenging moments (frustrating hours?)—at one point we thought he'd live out his days running wild in the Avon Valley. He's about 15 hands, well over half a ton, athletic, and very good at evading capture and hiding in rhododendron bushes. He can canter through dense scrub and up almost vertical banks. He can nearly wipe out Rue by jumping over her. He can demolish fences and swim ditches. He can throw himself in and out of the river. No doubt he can leap tall buildings at a single bound... Having finally caught him (with the aid of friends Immy and Kick and a manoeuvre executed with near military precision) we installed him in the yard, whereupon he caused severe damage to our brick stable block. Unfortunately, at nearly four he's not legal to eat, so we have him until the rules change next year (unless he escapes, or we decide life's short enough already without wrestling dangerous wild animals).
Photos: Olly looking nervous as usual, and Huckle, as always in a scrape—we had to turn the whole rack upside down and shake him out!
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