We took a drive over to Duncombe Park where we keep a herd of 16 young Longhorn heifers; 11 daughters of our prize bull Dynamo and five recent new editions, from herds in Settrington and Derbyshire. Having never been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals, the parkland has very rich pasture and is rife with wildflowers - and at this time of year, wild garlic.
|Wild garlic, dutifully picked for our Askew Road chef Gemma|
|Wild English bluebells, which form a thick, beautiful belt around the pastureland|
|Aubretia, Dierama, Berberis, Angelica, Black Elder...and so on|
|Leeks, cabbages and cordoned apple saplings|
Show preparation is essentially Britain's Next Top Cow Model, involving halter training, learning to walk, learning to walk amongst other cattle and then a lengthy grooming process. The girls get a thorough brush, shampoo and condition, blow dry (with a special cow dryer), curry-comb to remove all the dead hair, and are then clipped to make sure they're neat and tidy.
|Sarah leads Maisie out on a halter, Jim's in the background with Medlar|
|Maisie tied and ready for a brush|
|Hey, good looking!|
|Poshpants, real name Tanfield Lace. Gorgeous animal but more attitude than Beyonce...|
And while there's no better sight than a field full of cattle, this has to come fairly close - our sheepdog Nell and her four six-week old pups.