Farm living lesson 1: How to strain a marriage

“Charolais” is such a romantic word but it can be enough to strain a dairy farming marriage, especially on a husband’s birthday.


Yes, it is Wayne’s birthday today. No doubt anticipating a showering of treats and charming kindergarten-style presents, he was up extra early.

He’ll be home extra late, too.

Wayne had set off to round up for the afternoon milking an hour later than usual after being delayed by another helping of blueberry birthday cake.

Retrieving the cows from the far paddock, he found them reluctant to go around the corner that heads towards the gully.

Furious tooting of the quad bike horn simply had them packed up tight. The blockage, it emerged, was in the form of a large cream-coloured beef bull at the front. Apart from the obvious traffic jam, this brought two more issues: it’s not mating season and we don’t have a cream-coloured beef bull.

Testosterone-charged interlopers are very unwelcome guests in the country. Feuds involving firearms have been had over such things in days of yore.

So, it was the Milk Maid and kids to the rescue. Enraged by the sight of the blonde beast riding one of our favourite black-and-white cows, I armed myself with the only weapon that came to hand – a straw broom.

Now, straw brooms are powerful arms indeed if you are a genuine witch. But, as it turned out, the bull sensed that this was a witch only in name rather than by profession.

With me hollering a war cry and brandishing the broom like a ninja, the bull rolled an eye away from the cow in front of him to take in the show. He was clearly unconvinced but the cow had never seen anything like it before and shot forwards with the randy B in hot pursuit.

I was winning. With a smirk, I deftly sent her off into the yards, leaving him stranded up the side lane.

Sadly, the sense of heroic triumph proved short lived.

Bonny Prince Charolais simply hopped over two fences, burying himself deep in the herd, which, in a huge tidal wave, swept back past Wayne and headed north into the night paddock lined with fresh hay.

As every farming couple knows, this is when the arm waving starts. Suffice to say, we got the debauched Frenchman into the yard for speedy collection by his apologetic and obliging farmer.

Suffice to say, it’s almost 9pm and Wayne’s still milking on his birthday. Charolais has become quite the “c-word”.


7 thoughts on “Farm living lesson 1: How to strain a marriage

  1. Haha … Lesson 1 in a long string of “how to strain a marriage”. Relate all too well to hand-signals and raised tempers. Pleased to hear ‘old creamy’ has been returned to his own herd.


  2. More excitement for the day than you needed, Marian! Reminds me of the day I arrived at the entrance to the long driveway into the winery where I used to work. A bull from a nearby farm was standing across the road, blocking traffic. The bull eventually moved on and back into the fields after some horn honking. On another day it was a mule from down the street. The mule was more obliging than the bull, but we had nowhere to put him, and he hung around most of the day, attempting to stick his head into the windows of customers’ cars that slowed down to have a look.


  3. Very annoying when this happens with a neighbour’s bull, or even your own bulls. Do you just accept that there will be some little cross breed bundles of joy on the ground in time for Xmas, or do you try and retrieve the breeding program with some veterinary evaluation and intervention? More expense and time wasted not to think of the impact on genetic gain in the herd.


  4. Happy birthday to the old bull for Monday. Did you offer him some Bailey’s Irish Cream afterwards to celebrate his day off or given that he had to stare down at 20 paces a debauched frenchman maybe a good champagne would be more fitting.

    I don’t understand why you branished the broom around like a mad french maid and didn’t just climb on it and zoom down the lane and do your thing, I mean when you mount that broom and charge MGC you scare the daylights out them so why was a teenie weenie male french bovine such a problem.



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