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The Too Friendly Bull

Farm Tales From My Youth

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Foals - Black Bull

As a teenager I had a weekend job working on a farm which involved actually a hell of a lot of manual work dealing with many tasks and animals to earn a little money to spend on whatever,

An annual task was to sort out the woodpile, this involved sorting through the large waste woodpile and removing any rotten wood . I suggested that we used the wood on the farm's wood burning stove but the farmer was adamant that we kept the pile because it might come in useful and if you burnt it you might have needed that bit of wood for something six months down the line.

One of the tasks was manually collecting eggs and feeding the hens. The close proximity to so many albums resulted in bug infestations in har and elsewhere needing a severe showering and clean-up when I got home dumping all my work clothes in the outhouse before entering the house and straight to the bathroom.

Then there was cleaning out the pigs which was quite funny , the little pigs loving to try and chew on your wellington boots , an odd feeling of your toes being chewed by tiny piglets, who were also very friendly.

Cleaning and cleanliness was always a big part of farmwork although it might not have looked like it, if you did not keep things clean there were any number of infestations that could happen. One year we had an infestation of crickets , which are the most annoying creatures. I am fine with them in the wild , but if they get in your house they just don’t give a damn about you. They make their noise and look at you as if to say “I dare you to try and kill me, I am so fast you don’t stand a chance”.

Then the dairy cows had to be milked , although calves were kept with their mothers , but that is not apparently the norm in todays factory farm situations, but the calves were looked after where I worked.

Of course on a farm you also get rats, which were the only animals that I ever shot to kill, but actually domesticated rats are both clever and well behaved.

The milking of cows was on an industrial scale and the milk stored in an extremely large tank. Before milking this was cleaned and sterilised as were the milk bottles we used to supply local customers , but most of the milk was tankered away.

Remember this never stops, like in the normal working world, on a farm it is 24/7 and that’s when everything runs smoothly.

When I was bottling milk every so often when putting the lids on to seal the milk bottles on would smash resulting in a time consuming task to clear the broken glass from the dairy.

Every summer we baled hay and straw, then loaded trailers with bales to take to the barns to feed and bed the animals over winter.

One of the weirdest and almost frightening animals I had to clean out was the bull. Confined to a smallish pen it was taller than me at the shoulders and had about three feet either side in the pen. When I got in the bull , as a gesture of friendship , would rub his side against me pinning me between the bull and the sturdy brick wall. The first time did scare me , but I learned that gentle push back and the bull would move away and allow me to clean up

Throughout my time there I was in that bull pen many times and fine with it , but had he wanted that bull would have easily crushed me.

On my walks these days I often walk among the cattle on Newcastle's Town Moor but always make sure I have a get out route.

The only animals I have a problem with are horses who tend to bite me , but I am fine with most others, even fully grown bulls.

Music wise it has to be "Black Bull" by The Foals and if you liked this:

you can read more of my stuff here.


About the Creator

Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

Weaver of Tales, Poems, Music & Love

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Comments (3)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 years ago

    Awww I love piglets! They're so cute!

  • Babs Iverson2 years ago

    Did farm chores too. Collecting the eggs and feeding animals, I am thankful that I didn't have to deal with a bull. Fantastic story & read.👏💖💕

  • Cathy holmes2 years ago

    This is great Mike. Nice to learn about your past. I don't know if I would have wanted to get in the pen with the bull though. Yikes.

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