“Scampering about”

This article was a lot of fun to write. Although it took a number of weeks for the paper’s photographer to get out to the farm to take pictures beacuse of rain, a clear sunny day finally appeared. Charlie said he had fun capturing some adorable pictures of the baby Scottish Highland cows. Unfortunately that day I was not able to meet Charlie at the farm, so I had to wait and see the pictures. On Sunday, I received an extremely sweet email from Kathy, one of the individuals I interviewed for the article. I love hearing feedback!

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Hi Meghan,

What a delightful article you wrote about our “babies.” We’ve had lots of comments on it and have enjoyed re-reading it many times over.

I proudly purchased 25 copies, and the article and pictures have been mailed all over the United States! The babies continue to treat the hot wire as if it didn’t exist and they lounge under the Leyland Cypress trees in the shade while the moms moo and scold them. They don’t venture far away, yet, and if they do, we hear lots of bellowing from the moms. Even Quinn scolds them. What fun.

Keep up the good work.

Sincerely, Kathy Breen and Roger Drake

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Scottish lads and lassies

Farm family welcomes new calves to Highland herd

Published in April 29, 2014 issue of the Herald & Tribune

Three new Scottish Highland cows, which recently came into the world, have brought a bit of extra joy to a Jonesborough couple who enjoys watching them frolic through the fields.

Roger Drake and Kathy Breen, who moved to Jonesborough in 2006 from New Jersey, decided to look into purchasing cattle for the first time because of the acreage that surrounds their home.

“We have adopted this as our new home,” Breen said of the area. “It’s a beautiful place.”

Drake said they purchased five Scottish Highland cows and a registered bull two and a half years ago.

20140506_103358-1“We got interested in them when we were doing research about cattle,” he explained.

The horned breed of cattle attracted the couple because they fatten well on grass and have excellent maternal care of their babies.

Drake said the breed, which has been domesticated for more than 400 years, is a hardy old line of cattle that is not affected by the cooler weather. He said a good portion of the Scottish Highland herds are in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“We have 20 acres and wanted them to be workers to eat the grass and keep it up,” Drake said.

In an effort to simulate the old pattern of the migrating herd, Drake spends about an hour moving his fence every two to three days to allow the cattle to eat the grass to a certain level.

“That keeps our grass healthy and growing,” he said. “The drought didn’t affect us that much at all because we have tall grass and we can move them and let the grass re-grow quickly.”

He said he compares his property to pizza; he’s giving the cattle various slices of the pasture while moving them 50 to 100 feet at a time.

“We are trying to rebuild our land using these cattle. We are letting them spread their waste in an organized pattern,” he said. “We control that migration.”

The first of the three calves, Patricia, was born on March 17. A week later the second baby cow, Angus, was born, followed by the third the following week. A good Scottish female name is currently being sought for the third-born.  Drake said the fourth arrived April 27 and is named Mactavish.

“The day Patty was born, we had her and the mom in a corral,” Breen said. “The first day of her life she ran through five additional barb wires at the perimeter and went into the neighbor’s yard. That was Patty’s first day and she hasn’t disappointed us yet.”

She said Patty seems to be the leader of the pack.

“She has Angus following her like a little puppy,” Breen said. “We have fun with them. We enjoy watching them out the kitchen window.”

Drake said they are having a marvelous time watching them scampering about.

After all, he said, what is there not to like about calves kicking their heels running and playing?

“He is a good father,” Drake said of his bull. “He seems to be very interested in their babies and seems to be gentle with them.”

The new additions cannot be officially registered until they are 2 years old.

Drake’s plan is to have 12 to 14 Scottish Highland cattle for his property.

“I have a fine registered bull. He better bring me fine little babies,” he said laughing. “He seems to be quite interested in my five cows. We are going to breed him along for a couple of more years and by that time we should reach a steady state.”

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