Year on the Farm
written & illustrated by grandad


Toby was really happy he was going to spend a whole year with Nanny on the farm. His parents were going abroad for work, although he would miss them, he did not want to miss school or being able to see Nanny on the farm. He loved Nanny and Roxanne so much and the farm was always full of laughter, which made him giggle all the time. Above all else he loved the animals, especially the cows and looked forward to seeing them every day.



"Nanny, I am exhausted, are you sure I can't go back to being a cow just for the summer?" Said Roxanne. Nanny laughed and said "erm, no, you try this every year." They both giggled, Nanny thought for a moment and then said "let's finish gathering the hay in and afterwards I will take you for a hamburger and a strawberry milkshake." She looked over at Roxanne and she was gone, then a voice said, "hey no hanging about Nanny, I have a date with a hamburger." said Roxanne, as she drove past Nanny at speed in a tractor.



Toby loved working in the farm shop with Nanny during the summer, Nanny sold her produce and produce from the neighbouring farms. Roxanne however, was banned from the farm shop, as she had a habit of eating the profits. They always laughed at Roxanne attempts to dress up and try to get into the farm shop.



Nanny was famous for her tomatoes and Toby loved helping her in the greenhouse. Roxanne never helped pick the tomatoes, when asked, she either said her hooves were not suitable for picking tomatoes or just said moo, which meant I am a cow and can't hear you. Nanny used to reply by saying Roxanne was a lazy human, which had everyone rolling about with laughter.



The puzzling thing was, loads of tomatoes kept going missing from the greenhouse, so Roxanne said she would go on guard. The only trouble was Roxanne loved tomatoes, I mean really loved tomatoes, something she had omitted to tell Nanny. This carried on until one evening Nanny decided to take Roxanne some coffee, as it was cold. Imagine Nanny's surprise when she entered the greenhouse and found Roxanne totally covered in tomatoes. Roxanne's immediate reaction was to say "where am I, what's my name."



Nanny could never stay angry with Roxanne, as everyone loved the cheese Roxanne made. Mind you someone had to be there when she made the cheese, to count how many she made. As they kept disappearing, so Nanny had to count them often. Oh, didn't I mention Roxanne loved cheese as much as she loved tomatoes. To be truthful, Roxanne loved food and had been known to cry as people bought her cheese in the farm shop.



Those of you, who know Roxanne, know she loves farm machinery and in the summer, she loves driving tractors, to cut the grass and wrap it. This becomes silage which is part of the cow's winter diet. Roxanne who is a very different cow, does not like it and prefers either a piece of cheese or a hamburger. Nanny can never get Roxanne out of a tractor, not even for her favourite foods.



The cows on the farm were sun worshipers and part of Roxannes duties was to bring the cows from the fields to the milking parlour twice a day. Except the cows took no notice of Roxanne and continued to sunbathe and play. There were two cows who always caused mayhem, always saying hey Roxanne, we are comfortable here, the sun is out, the grass is very lush, why should we move?



However, Roxanne had a secret weapon, salt lick, something cows could not resist, oh they tried, but once they saw it and then tasted it, they would follow Roxanne anywhere. The only salt Roxanne liked, was on her French fries with a hamburger. Another trick she used was to whisper in a cow's ear "if you go first, you will have more time in the sun, while the others are still in the parlour" and then stood back. The cow would slowly move away, the other cows will suddenly realise what was going on and try to beat that cow to the parlour, this always made Roxanne giggle.



Every morning Toby, went to collect the eggs while Nanny cooked breakfast. This morning, he didn't see Roxanne as he normally did and guessed she was in the milking parlour. When Toby got to the hen house he had a big surprise as every single egg was a chocolate egg, however, how hard he looked he could not find a normal egg. Suddenly he heard Nanny and Roxanne giggling and knew they had swapped them.




Toby looked over towards the barn and saw Nanny and Roxanne hiding behind it. He loved being with them, they were such fun and lived up to their nickname giggle sisters. He waited a moment and then said "I see you", this just bought more laughter from behind the barn. Finally, they came out and Roxanne starred at the chocolate, which made Toby laugh and he passed her an egg, which disappeared in seconds.



Toby loved feeding the calves with Nanny and Roxanne, he knew that you needed eyes in the back of your head, as the calves were so quick. He giggled as he remembered last week, when a calf run to the door, Nanny saw it and dived to grab it before it went out the door, then another one tried to escape, Roxanne ran and dived after it, missed the calf and ended up in the hay.



There was nothing Roxanne liked more to do in the summer than sit outside for her morning coffee, read the moo news and catch the sun. Roxanne loved to dunk her favourite biscuits in her coffee. Mind you she had to keep an eye on her biscuits, as the other cows loved them too and used to sneak up on Roxanne on a daily basis.



Since Nanny learned how to make pizzas on her holiday with Roxanne, they had a pizza oven installed in the farm restaurant. It was an instant success, trouble was Roxanne was its biggest customer. During the summer the farm restaurant was open 7 days a week, it was a lot of extra work, but was great fun.



During the winter months the cows were kept in the barns. However, there were 4 to 6 cows, who loved the snow and were always escaping to play in the snow. It was Roxanne's job to bring them back, but as Toby was there, he helped Roxanne. Mind you, the cows were clever, not always playing in the same place, so it took a while to find them. Toby did not actually mind, as he enjoyed hunting for the cows.



It was a very hot day and Roxanne had just made some cheese and eaten rather a lot of it. She decided to have a sleep and crept into a barn, but did not realise she had crept into the hen house, she did not like chickens very much as they pecked at her legs. She dreamt of huge chickens working on the farm and was woken up by chickens pecking at her legs. "Should have worked instead of sleeping." She said to herself.



At the beginning of winter, Toby came running out of the barn shouting Nanny, nanny there is a monster in the barn. It's orange and it has eaten Roxanne. Nanny rushed over to the barn with Toby and stood there and laughed. That's no monster, that's Roxanne, she hates mucking the cows out, so every year she makes the point, by dressing up in this silly outfit. Roxanne looked at them and replied, moo.



Toby loved to grow things, so Nanny gave him a corner of her vegetable patch. Every day he was there, weeding, watering and caring for his vegetables. Every week during the summer he would set up his small stall outside the farm shop and sell his own produce. He always sold everything and he was saving every penny, as he wanted to buy something really special for Nanny.



As you know Toby loved calves and there was one calf he was very attached to and the calf was very attached to Toby as well. Her name was Ruby, full of character and she gave Toby unconditional love. She was always excited when she saw him. Every spare moment Toby had, he could be found with Ruby and quite often Nanny found them both asleep in Ruby's pen.



A couple of years ago, the cows started to play football, just a kick about at first, but now they play every Saturday during the summer. They play cows from other surrounding farms and currently are at the top of the league. Roxanne is one of the referee's and enjoyed refereeing. Their biggest rivals are from the Rose farm in the next county, they had some really good players, one Roxanne suspects is a professional player and sure she had seen the cow playing professionally on TV.



Toby loved spending time with Roxanne, as it was like having a big crazy sister. In the winter time, they were forever sledging, having snowball fights, building snowmen and occasionally doing some work giggled Roxanne. In truth, winter meant extra work, but these two always found time to have some fun in the snow. Often as they whizzed past on the sledge, the other cows often had to do a double take, I mean a cow sledging !!!!!!!



In the summer they often played hide and seek around the farm. Toby was really good at it and nearly always won. Roxanne was always easy to find, as she always hid in the straw and always left her behind sticking out. Nanny was harder to find and once it took 4 hours to find her, mind you, she was hiding in the shops 5 miles away. They all had a real giggle that day.



One of Toby's favourite times of the year on the farm, was spring time, when the cows were released back into the fields after spending all winter in the barns. As soon as they were in the fields, they skipped and jumped and Toby spent hours just watching them. Roxanne was never happy when they were in the fields, as it meant that the barns needed to be cleaned out. Not Roxanne's favourite job on the farm.



When the ponds were frozen on the farm, Roxanne loved to skate on them. She didn't need skates as her hooves made perfect skates. Toby just preferred to watch. One day a friend of Roxanne's insisted she wanted to come with them. Toby laughed so much as Roxanne's friend tried skating and all you could hear was "oh oh, that's cold, my poor hooves." Yes, life on the farm was great fun, any time of the year.