You are never on your own in Ballyyahoo. Everywhere you go someone, or something is watching. You might think you’re on your own but you never are. There are animals, birds and insects in every part of Ballyyahoo and they all have eyes and they are usually watching you.
Take today, I walked down the lane to the Halfamoon beach to collect some stones. I made myself quiet because I could hear the sound of birds singing and I wanted to listen to them. As I listened I could feel eyes following me all the way down the lane.
Now, you might think I’m imagining things but believe me I am not. The eyes are big and brown and they are always peeping. They peep out from behind walls, trees and gates – just about everywhere you can peep from. I love these watchful eyes because they belong to these curious cows and I like to think they’re keeping an eye on me to keep me safe in Ballyyahoo.
Here are some pictures of the cows that were peeping at me today. These little ones below are new additions to Ballyyahoo. They are very light coloured and they all have the same sticky-out ears. They are friendly yet shy at the same time. I don’t go near them because I don’t want to scare them away. They are very curious but also easily scared. If you approach a calf when its mother is around she will shoo them up the back of the field and keep them up there until you are gone. There has been a lot of new little calves lately. Every year new calves are born in Ballyyahoo. The farmers are kept very busy making sure the calves are born safe and well. Sometimes a calf won’t stand up and you will see the farmer looking very worried. The farmer who owns these cows and calves lives on our lane and is called Finbar. You hardly ever walk the lane without bumping into him. He always looks on the bright side of life. If it was raining he would always say ‘well it’s raining but it will soon be sunny.’ If it is cold he will say ‘it’s cold but that will clear the air.’
A SICK CALF
One day I met him and he was rushing down the lane with a very strange expression on his face and he didn’t say anything cheerful at all. You see, he was very worried about one of these calves and had been awake half the night worrying.
If you look closely you can see that the calf second from the right – the brown one is a little bit smaller and a little bit shyer than the others. That little one is called Bonnie and Bonnie wasn’t very well when she was born. Finbar didn’t think she would live. Not only could she not stand up but she couldn’t feed either. She was so weak she couldn’t suck milk from her mother’s udder and Finbar had to feed her from a bottle.
When the other calves were already walking around, poor Bonnie stayed lying down – for three days which is a very long time for a calf. On the fourth day Finbar said he ‘wouldn’t give tuppence for her chances,’ which means he was expecting her to die which is not a very cheerful thing at all. But later that day when Finbar went towards her with the feeding bottle Bonny all of a sudden jumped up and took her first little steps. Finbar said Bonnie’s legs were trembling as she tried to walk but she kept trying and trying and didn’t give up.
Finbar said Bonnie had the ‘strongest spirit he had seen on a calf in years.’ Soon she was walking around with the other little calves and you would never know that Finbar had thought she was going to die.
This cow is called Molly. She belongs to Finbar as well. Molly is always there at this same stone wall whenever I go past. You can see all the other cows high up in the field behind her. Those cows never seem to stop grazing but Molly is different. Finbar says ‘she could look through you and out the other side!’ She never seems to leave her post behind this wall, although that could be a coincidence that she goes to the wall at the exactly time I do. I don’t know. I think Molly is one of my favourites. I love her brown chocolatey colour and I like her expression.
It seems to me she’s a thinker cow – and I would love to know what she’s thinking – maybe she’s wondering why I am always stopping to stare at her. Sometimes I wish cows could talk. They spend all their time watching the goings on in the world around them.
Imagine the things they’ve seen, the tales they could tell. I bet a cow from Ballyyahoo could tell a story or two.