For the last few weeks, I’ve been spending two days a week in Teagasc, Moorepark, in Co Cork, attending a ruminant nutrition course. Moorepark is a long way from Donegal, but, thankfully, a good proportion of the journey is now motorway and you can cover a large distance in a fairly short period of time, even without speeding!
If you’d told someone 20 years ago that you were going to drive from Donegal to Cork and you were going to do it by driving through Dublin, then they’d have thought you were mad.
But, today, that is the best road and the quickest way to go. Approximately five hours door to door. Leaving at 3am, of course, helps, as the traffic is light.
Although I am really enjoying the course, it could not be at a worse time of year for me, as my herd has just started calving.
However, we’ll keep plodding along as best we can and hope for the best.
I have a Moocall, a good camera system and plenty of good neighbours, friends and relatives keeping an eye on things.
The only other thing I need is a bit of luck and hopefully I’ll have minimal losses.
One thing that has really hit home to me over the last few weeks of driving up and down the road is how heavily dependent we are on technology. The first thing is the satnav.
I can vividly remember my father the night before we had to complete a long journey.
There he was at the kitchen table, with a map twice the size of a car bonnet spread out in front of him.
He wrote a list of every town, village and notable townland that we had to pass through en route to our destination.
It was a bit of effort, but was well worth it, as it usually simplified the journey no end.
Not too often we got lost. My mother never was the best of a passenger and getting lost in strange towns, or even worse cities, usually created a lot of noise and fuss. My father had a good reason for writing his list!
No one really leaves the house worrying if they might get lost anymore.
Almost all new cars have a built-in satnav. If not, just type your destination into Google maps on the smart phone and, hey presto, you can’t go wrong. Does take the adventure out of it a bit though.
I’m checking the camera every hour at least to make sure everything is OK
The second thing is the calving camera. When I’m away, I’m checking the camera every hour at least to make sure everything is OK.
At least if I see something calving or something wrong, I should be able to relay the information back to someone who will help me out.
Funny thing about it is, when I was away, everything went fine.
When I came back, I took my eye off the ball and ended up with a cow calved on the slats last Sunday morning!
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