We had barely set off for a walk when, only a short distance from our home, we met this cow eating grass on a neighbour’s verge. As with most of these cattle that wander at will through the suburbs, this one looks in good condition. We found her calf lying down in the grass not far away. Apart from grass, they also eat aloes, succulents and browse on the branches of low-hanging trees.
Here is part of the rest of the herd grazing in the park between the street and the main road into town. The park hasn’t been mown for the best part of the year, so one cannot blame the cattle for being attracted to the green pasture – luscious compared to the dried out winter grass covering the rest of the veld.
These members of this Urban Herd had already started wandering up towards the industrial area on the edge of town. This lies at the end of the path and through the green bushes on the horizon. The mowing here has been done by the resident at the end of the road – not the municipality!
Many years ago this grassy area was a well-manicured lawn. No more: this cow is taking advantage of the municipality’s neglect to have a good munch before joining the rest of the herd going up the hill.
One of my readers mentioned the other day that I have been very quiet about the Urban Herd. Interestingly enough, there was no sign of cattle in town for the first few weeks of lockdown. I mainly drive to the supermarket and back, yet even that short trip used to yield sightings of them in the road. I frequently spotted a herd on the grassy hill opposite to where I live and the (mainly) cows would walk past our gate and often settle on the lawn below our house. There was nary a sign of them.
Weeks have turned into months … the Urban Herd is back. I see them on the hill opposite now and then; sidestep the evidence of their passing on the street; hear their lowing occasionally; and today there were about fifty of them on the outskirts of town. Here are the first few of many heading homeward – wherever that may be – at the end of the day.
I wonder how much ‘wilder’ our town has got since people were advised to stay at home eighteen days ago. The last time I drove anywhere other than to the supermarket I saw these cows outside the funeral home:
There were only tiny spikes of grass showing through the gravel. The cows at the corner of Lawrance Street were better off as far as both shade and grass were concerned:
Then there were three donkeys that came to visit what looks like an abandoned house – although I have seen an outside light shining there in the late afternoon:
Perhaps they were paying a courtesy call:
I imagine these cows were teaching a calf to stop at stop streets:
Meanwhile, these ones were walking purposefully towards a meeting place beyond my ken:
Among the several Urban Herds is one consisting of over forty head of cattle that we have dubbed ‘the forest cows’ that wander between the dry dam over the road of our house and the abandoned golf course – occasionally crossing the main road into town to explore the industrial area. We see them so often that many of them have names such as: the Arctic Bull, the New Year Cow and the Gate Cow. This is the Gate Cow chewing the cud – she was named after trying to enter our back garden when I opened our sliding gate to get the car out:
There is also the Brindled Dog Rubbing Bull, the Bronze Cow and the Spotted Calf now Cow. Here is the Black Bull with White Horns, for example, grazing on the lawn not far from our house:
I drove out of our driveway earlier this month to find these other members of the Urban Herd seeking shade on the pavement – the calf in the street, quite oblivious to passing traffic:
Just a little further on, this calf looked up at me as I drove past:
I was eyed by this cow when I stopped to photograph it:
While this white bull kept an eye on me too:
The considerable herds of domestic animals that now roam with abandon all over town are not confined to the suburbs. These ones have decided to visit the outfitters in High Street!
I happened upon a ‘survivor’ in our local Currie Park. This Giant Candelabra Lily had miraculously missed being chomped by the Urban Herd that have eaten most of the saplings planted there over the years to provide shade.
The background to this lovely flower shows that between the cattle and the drought there is no lawn left; a brave Vachellia is valiantly putting out new leaves from what is left of its stem; and a ‘visiting card’ has been left on the right.
A real bonus for my drought-stricken garden has been the magnificent blooming of Spekboom for the second summer in a row!