So the pasture is beginning to wane a bit. Not as much grass. At this time of year we put a harness on Daisy, the milk cow to be, and take her on a dog leash into the wild long grass. I am not kidding, I wander along (she will not be hurried) leading this cow – I come up to her shoulder, she is a bison of a cow. I lead this 1500 pound full grown Ayrshire like a dog, out the gate, around the outside of the fence and clip her to a long dog chain attached to a fence post. She has been doing this all her life and loves it because the leash and the click of the dog chain mean untouched long long green grass… her absolute fave! Click, click all good – I take her more water and will be back to shift her every few hours.
I meet Our John at the barn and we load another hundred bales of hay and straw. He takes more water to Daisy. I come in, the tomato sauce is on, the mail is in, I have posted my latest post and I am trying to decipher my grandmothers recipe for rissoles and I hear The Shout. If either of us hear The Shout we RUN straight out the door then dance around in circles like a bird dog, trying to get an idea of where the call for HELP has come from.
Another shout and I get the direction. I head South. As I run closer I hear what is being shouted. Which frankly cannot be repeated here (the language you know) but I got the jist of it, so I veer west, over a gate, grab the leash and a stray piece of rope back over another gate and jog North again.
Past where Daisy SHOULD be.. ok.. so now I am looking for John and a very tall escaped cow. I am running down the bank above the creek and I see nothing unusual, which only leaves the actual corn field. You will remember that we are surrounded on all four sides by corn fields. I appears that Daisy has escaped and is in the corn. This is not good. The corn is about 10 + foot high and thick. I can see nothing. Nothing.
TonTon and I dive into the corn, walk through about ten rows and then stop to listen, turning and peering down each row. We are blind in here there is nothing but corn stalks, soon I am not even sure which way I came in, so I watch TonTon listen, his ears veer to the west and so we walk that way for a bit going in deeper and deeper, another shout, it is muffled now but the general message is painfully clear, they are together and Our Johns language is very seriously in the gutter. I call back. I still only have a vague idea as to where they are. I am in a 60 acre field and that joins another field and another field right across the plains. I can see a scrap of sky above me and about five rows in on either side. It is suddenly very quiet. TonTon is trained to walk behind me, this command is ‘in behind’ and so this is where he is. I look at him, call him to the front and say ‘TonTon. See John.” (which means, find John) he is off, in fact he is instantly gone, and in seconds I am alone.. mm.. well that was useful. Then I hear him find John (one bark). I must be getting closer because I start to hear rustling, corn breaking, some new cuss words, and then Our John command ‘See C’ within a few seconds TonTon bursts into my row and barrels straight to me, panting. He turns and I follow him back towards John. Where did this man learn words like these, I smile as I move closer because he is alternating the most awful cussing with this sweet talk as he keeps Daisy calm and with him. So he is calling her all kinds of dreadful names in a sweet gentle voice. An unnerving combination.
Out of nowhere I see the paisley hide of the cow and the blue of Johns shirt, ‘TonTon down and stay’. I creep up and hand John his leash, then as he attaches his, I go around the other side and attach my rope to her harness. She is looking quite wild. But we have her now.
Ok, so Our John has her on one side and I have her on the other and we look at each other, eyebrows raised – which way is back?..(though it seems Our John has lost his sense of humour by now) .. mm…Daisy has begun to frantically pull every which way ripping off ears and munching on corn, sensing that her adventure is over.. BAD CORN too, Genetically Modified corn. I am completely lost. John looks up and with the instincts of a farm boy, heads out and I tell TonTon Go Home and he takes off in the same direction. And so we make for home, the rows are about 18inches apart and the plants about 4 inches together. Two adults being shouldered and shoved and stood on by a very annoyed cow means you are making your own trail out. There is very little room to maneuver in a corn field. We just hold onto her as she smashes and stomps her way destroying the perfect rows of corn until we erupt back out into the home orchard.
She is in a paddock now. No more tying out this summer. She has got a taste for the corn and there will be no stopping her dragging her chain and the fence with her. Poor naughty Daisy is supposed to be an organic GRASS fed cow! Ah well.
Those of you who have been in the corn fields with me before, the night the coyotes came, will notice that the corn is drying. The plant dries from the bottom up and is turning more golden every day. Soon it will begin it’s crackly whisper, my favourite sounds in the corn field. Any breath of air will set off a concert of bush stroke rustling in the field. It is worthy of a pause.
Now as promised: Grandmas rissoles
These are Grandma’s words. This is written in her beautiful copperplate handwriting as a big paragraph straight into my recipe book. I have placed the comma’s and full stops exactly where she placed them.
Left over mashed potatoes. Cold meat minced or cut into very small pieces, small onion chopped finely, parsley chopped, salt and pepper and a wee pinch of seasoning. Mix together, stir in with beaten egg. Dip hands in cold water and roll portion of the mix together then roll in flour, put into pan, all ready with really hot fat. Keep rissoles apart and shake pan frequently to prevent sticking. Remember to dip hands in cold water for rolling mix into balls.
Grandma was born in 1905 and died in the early 1990’s.
Actually I have her recipe for scones too, it is in my head, I will write that for you another time. Her scones were really good.