Apologies for the headline, but we need to make an announcement … please welcome our newest arrivals at Churchtown Farm! The exotically named calves, Dave, Heather and Johnny, are the latest addition to our growing Red Ruby herd of ten. In keeping with tradition, the gang have been named by Rosie and Piran, with some help from Ben (Ben came up with Dave). The name Heather was inspired by the heather on the island and Johnny is of course(!), named after Johnny English, following Rowan Atkinson’s inspirational Olympics opening ceremony appearance last Friday. This also prompted Piran to watch all of his Rowan Atkinson DVDs again! All 3 gorgeous calves were born on the farm over the past 3 weeks and are coming along nicely as you can see in the photo above.
Back in August 2010, you might remember we took delivery of our original four blithe bovines, who came to us from a couple of locations – two from other islands within the Isles of Scilly and the other two across from a farm in Cornwall. For the past few years we have been working very closely with the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust (IoSWT) as part of the Higher Level Stewardship scheme, to ensure that our Red Ruby cattle help to look after our precious Scilly landscape and increase biodiversity on the Island.
We believe strongly in responsible farming and our cows are helping us do that by increasing the quality of our soil. After our flower bulbs have been in the ground for 4 years then we plant grass and/or fodder turnips for the next 4 years which the Red Rubys love. Of course what goes in must come out and all that cow poo is great for the soil.
Not only do our cows do an important job on our fields, they also work for the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, grazing the more wild parts of the islands helping to keep gorse, bracken and brambles in check. If these plants were allowed to just grow they would eventually dominate the landscape making it difficult for lots of other plants to grow, obscuring the beautiful Scilly view and preventing people from being able to roam and enjoy large areas of the island.
So, the long and the short of it is that we love our clever cows for their sweet natures, as well as their ability to keep the Scilly Isles fertile and looking beautiful. They contribute greatly to the maintenance of the key economic facets of island life, namely tourism and farming and as such, they are as much a part of St. Martin’s as we are.