What could be better – a week off from work, an uneventful drive to the coast and a few days relaxing- bliss.
In reality, this was a tad optimistic – to expect a task free interlude would be naive given our past experiences of looking after our garden in Wales. Trepidation started last Thursday when we were given a clue about what to expect on our arrival by Sophie, who helps us with the garden; she texted a message with this photograph asking whether we’d purchased a couple of calves! Thankfully, Sophie was on hand to alert the farmer to the escape of the mischievous ‘Aberglasne Two’!
However, after thinking ‘how sweet’ and ‘aren’t they cute’ – thoughts mirrored by family and friends on seeing this picture, when we arrived at dusk on Monday, the sight confronting us didn’t result in such warm feelings….
Our priority was to lock Ollie in the house – we could just about see that this was a poopfest and the last thing we needed was for him to start rolling around in it! These charming bovines had been in the garden, apparently unmissed, for at least two days (estimation taken from the cowpat count).
At first light, a full assessment of the situation was possible – the roaming youngsters had obviously been hungry, but surprisingly it seems they are partial to photonia ‘Red Robin’ and aucuba japonica – both plants in the hedge had been stripped of all leaves at head height and below, giving us an explanation as to why they had decided to kick all our garden furniture over when it is so close to the house (although they had also made attempts on the back door, their wet nose smears being the give away)!
The ground is so soft after all the rain in October and unfortunately calves hooves sink very deeply as they romp around – and these two had covered at least two thirds of the ground, including the borders and beds – grrr!
After picking up all the poop between us (ugh – a couple of wheelbarrows full), Chris came to the rescue – he has painstakingly forked up all the holes over the last two days – using his golfing pitch-mark repair technique to good effect and hopefully once the ground settles it’ll all be flat and smooth (fingers crossed)..
Another area of intense interest to the hungry calves has clearly been under the apple tree – the ground is now devoid of any grass – or apples. As we didn’t get chance to harvest them this year, there must have been hundreds of these scrumptious cookers on the ground – there are now none! It is however pleasing to know that they haven’t gone to waste and have provided a few meals for the two absconders!
48 hours later and all poop has been removed, the grass hosed off and order restored, the ground may take a while to fully recover but at least Ollie can now go back into the garden – thankfully he hasn’t shown any interest in unsavoury odours!
But our work was not done – the time had come to get on with the garden tasks we’d expected to do this week – Chris has been clearing the borders of spent plants and decaying stems and I have tulips to plant (haven’t done this yet)! There’s always a bonus of course – the weather has been kind!
As ever it’s all good fun, never boring – happy gardening!