13.12.06

Cows and owl skull

This morning the Sun decided to have a duvet day...it yawned, turned over and disappeared from sight under a thick quilt of grey cloud. With the wind tearing the last golden leaves from the trees, I tramped across the fields to investigate the skeleton which I have had stowed away over summer. Back in April I blogged a poor barn owl I had found lying dead in the farmyard. As I later found out, it had been brought back from the fields, and was terribly thin - it's been a bad year for them and we saw several sad corpses earlier this spring. I asked the farmer to keep the body for me and he stashed it in an old feed bin. Thinking it must be decomposed by now, I headed up the track...



...towards the farm. There are still cows out, which is a sign of how mild it has been. I found my owl - what was left of it. With a stick I gingerly prodded the mound of green sludge, rather puzzled as to why there seemed to be no skull. Ribs, yes, feet, there was the breast bone - but where was the fist sized globe I had been looking forward to retrieving? A closer look with tighly held breath (the atmosphere was - saline) revealed it lurking under a puddle of glop, much, much smaller than I had imagined from the original carcass. It was only a couple of inches in length and really quite nondescript. However, I fished it out, and a little more investigation uncovered the bottom part. I didn't take photos; not very salubrious.
I thought I'd head back the way I came, despite the two herds of bullocks and heifers I had to pass on my way in. I am sure that I overreact to cows, and they had been amiable the first time round. As I opened the gate, one of 'the girls' bellowed. Not a friendly call, either. Dithering by the fence I took my courage in my hands; after all, heifers don't attack people, it was just me being silly. Engrossed in negotiating the ankle deep mud, I didn't really take much notice of the increased war cries, until I glanced up and saw the blasted things scampering towards me - scampering - let me not mince words, they were charging. And they didn't want my autograph. Regardless of knowing that the worst thing to do is run, I calculated that if I didn't move pretty sharpish I might become one of those statistics - is it four people killed every year by cattle? I squelched as quickly as possible back through the mud and just got the gate shut as they careered up, blustering and snorting. We eyed each other with mutal loathing. This is the ugly face of Great Britain today - young ladies out of control, striking fear into local residents...




So, I had to add an extra mile and a half to my journey home and return the road way. Rewarded with a few blisters and the warming sight of old apples glowing against the grey skies like Chinese lanterns.


Mostly air and feathers, the hunter's costume is a merely a fearsome facade...


...how insignificant we all are under our fragile layers.


17 comments:

joanna said...

Goodness me, I see what you mean about that tiny skull; I shouldn't laugh, but the thought of you being chased by some angry heifers has caused me to chuckle, nay guffaw, because I'm sure you assured me that the cows posed absolutely no danger whatsoever!!!

PG said...

...hem...

my cover as a down to earth country gal has been well and truly blown...

Anonymous said...

We had a heifer incident the other week I was very glad to be the otherside of the gate

Soozcat said...

Wow, lady, you have some local toughs! Who knew?

Anyone who thinks cows are docile creatures has never been kicked by one, or chased by an angry bull.

Also, "Mostly Air and Feathers" would be a good label to put on my brain. :)

tlawwife said...

I would have moved quickly too but I think they probably were just checking you out to see if you had food.

tlc illustration said...

We used to escape to the tall rock piles in my grandfather's fields when the cows got too 'scary'. Sometimes we were stuck there for hours, surrounded by grazing implements of childhood terror. (Sometime remind me to tell you the story of the killer turkey my grandfather also owned!)

I recently recovered a tiny bird's skull - the victim of Mia-the-cat's hunting instincts. Such interesting shapes.

You Secret Fairy said...

Those Cows are posing in a perfect picture moment!
Ha ha

You should have had a package from a fellow fairy - i hope it hasn't got lost in the Christmas post!

Barb said...

This was by far the most incredible piece of blog writing I've ever read, to say nothing of the photos that went along with it. Normally, I speed read, but your words made me stop, slow down and savour every word. Simply amazing!
You and my sister make a good match. People drop off dead animals at her place, she puts them into crab traps and pops them in the ocean. Several days later, she goes back to retrieve the skeletons and skulls. In a cupboard that would normally hold best dishes, she has it crammed to the gills with bones instead!

lettuce said...

young ladies out of control, hahaha.

Lots of duvet days going on here at the moment - outside, not inside, unfortunately.

This is a great post. I'd meant to just scan and leave a quick thanks for the cards - but got lured into reading, as usual, by your wonderful words and by your beautiful pics.

Anyway, about the Red Flannel Elephant cards - I've loved using them and everyone thinks they are great. Thanks.

julie said...

a real gang of ladettes! There IS something spooky about cows, we are encouraged to see them as docile and a bit dim but maybe they're becoming wise to us! Thanks so much for the link - much appreciated and it lead me here. Have really enjoyed reading your post and love your illustrations - looking forward to reading more of your adventures.

carolyn said...

Very funny post, although it must have been quite scary for you, sad about the barn owl as well.

cotswoldgent said...

It's no fun when a herd of half ton cows are chasing you round a field. Sadly I know, but that's another story!

holly-rose said...

wow- my heart was racing about the cows...I think that happened to me once! :-)

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Love the cow photo! I remember my dad telling me once that one cow left the others and came after him to lead him over to a wounded dog. Poor owl.

tea
xo

Becca said...

wonderful post ... just stopping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas and thank you for your wonderful blog.

French Fancy said...

maybe it's an artist's thing, wanting to find out about the skeletons of creatures. Fascinating post and good pics. Sparklies by the way are to be found on the Guardian talk forum. A group of like-minded people coming together to talk about sparkly things...
http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?13@488.w1pZaAe0kQ1.1@.775d0ba8/0

Cynthia Padilla said...

Such atmospheric words and photos. Thanks for sharing your part of the world with me in Texas.

Botanical Art & Naturalist Illustration. international online forum dedicated to the realistic portrayal of plants, flowers and natural science subjects. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/botanicalart