Bean

Country Life Every Week - - From The Fields -

a kick to the shin when play­ing with the Con­nemara, he goes straight to the wil­low tree, where he strips off the bark and leaves. Wil­low con­tains salicin, the raw ma­te­rial of acetyl­sal­i­cylic acid (as­pirin), painkiller and anti-in­flam­ma­tory. Then again, the pony might just eat wil­low be­cause he’s called Wil­low. Last week, all three of our horses at­tacked the elm in the hedge, tear­ing off the bark to ex­pose the white wood un­der­neath, whiter than their teeth. I don’t know why they dosed on the elm, but I do know the de-skinned elms now have the ap­pear­ance of a bone­yard. Af­ter four hours of cut­ting, I have a trailer heaped with glossy holly leaves and drive across to the cow field. By now, the weather has changed and the af­ter­noon sky has low­ered to place a muf­fling misty lid on the val­ley. Our Red Poll cat­tle stay out­side all win­ter, with a pole barn for cover from the rain and the snow. They have ‘rugged up’ nicely, mean­ing they’ve grown thick win­ter coats to grace a buf­falo.

‘There’s al­ways a cer­tain amount of com­edy in cut­ting holly with pruners. Sure enough, a bough catches my fore­head

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