Wednesday, 7 October 2015

down on the farm #2

The original Down on the Farm laid out the science behind organic farming, but this post is a much more frivolous endeavour documenting some of the exotic farm animals to be seen around my home town of Penrith.

I’ll start with what I consider to be by far the best photo I’ve taken this summer. I’d just returned from exploring the walk documented in Petteril Pathways and Bovine Boogie Woogie when I spotted the four longhorn cattle that I mentioned in Early One Morning in the distance, standing in the pond in the middle of the nature reserve. However, it took me several minutes to reach a position from where I could take a picture, and I expected them to have moved off before I got there. They didn’t. The ducks don’t seem to have minded the intrusion.

…you wouldn’t believe the strange-looking sheep I’ve seen in some of the fields.
If, after looking at the next photo, you remain unconvinced that the three animals really are sheep, check out the following one. They are clearly not a native breed, but they are sheep!

I’m not suggesting that horses are in any sense exotic, although they must have seemed so 5,000 years ago, especially when being ridden. However, there are a lot of horses in the fields near the nature reserve, and I often see an open-top carriage being pulled by four horses along the lane where the next photo was taken (by Paula). It is probably a carriage horse, and it clearly likes to have its muzzle stroked.

On the other side of town from the nature reserve, I came across another exotic breed of cattle. The next photo shows two calves, and the first thing to note is that they have much longer hair than most cows. The second photo also shows some adults—note the strange shape of the horns.

The next photo, taken by Paula, is a portrait of the bull in the previous picture. I for one would not like to be in the same field as this beast, even if I’d been told in advance that it was friendly. And in case you’re wondering, Paula was on the other side of a sturdy fence when she took the photo, although it probably wasn’t sturdy enough to deter a beast this powerful if it decided that it wanted to break through.

And now for something really exotic. The animals in the next photograph look like long-necked sheep. They are in a field almost completely enclosed by tangled and overgrown hedges, apart from one small gap through which the picture was taken. They are in fact South American alpacas.

Finally, every farm needs a cat to keep the resident rodent population under control, and here is the perfect candidate. I call it Puss-in-Boots.


  1. Highland cattle look ferocious, but are really quite harmless.

    1. I’ll take your word for it Peter. In any case, although I thought they might be highland cattle, the shape of the horns is different from what I’m used to.

  2. Nice horse and cows ... : )
    Could we know the exact location of them?

    1. How much information do you need? If I said that the horses and the longhorn cattle (and the sheep) can be seen if you walk down Thacka Lane, and that the hairy cattle are located next to the public footpath that runs south from what used to be Scaws Farm, would that be enough? Or do you also need to know that this town, Penrith, is on the West Coast main rail line?


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