Recharging our batteries – 5

by David

….and if this won’t do it, you need a new one.


We usually wind up our English tours at the tip of Cornwall…not only because of the cows and the scenery but because this is where our search for pure traditional English Devon first began five years ago.  I used to say this was “Doc Martin country”…but now I guess I should say “Poldark country”.  And the lovely thing is the people aren’t much changed from those times.

My mate, Ivan Rowe of Goldings herd, is a case20150612_391 in point.  But all the attention we’ve paid him has made Ivan something of a celebrity.

One of the days we were there a TV crew showed up to record our ramblings about traditional English Devon and why we were so interested.  Ivan has been “doing” Devon for 35 years and dairy cows for many years before that.

20150612_351He’s also been a senior judge of many breeds of cattle and so a visit to Goldings is something of a post-graduate course.  Still even Ivan considers Wooz something of a “fanatic” for the way she vacuums up every piece of information.

Within a few minutes of arrival, we always make a bee-line for wherever Falcon is staying.  Full name:  Ashott Barton Millennium Falcon, the anchor of Traditional Devon America™ and still Ivan’s herd bull at the age of eight.

Normally Ivan keeps a bull only three years, like most English  20150612_477breeders, but you don’t let a bull like Falcon get away.  It’s been worth it to Ivan to change his normal pasture assignments.

And our first look at Falcon always makes every trip to Cornwall worthwhile.  He certainly isn’t showing his age.  And we were delighted to learn that Ivan’s farm will be on the World Devon Tour next year so you’ll have a chance to make up your own mind.  (or you can just visit Thistle Hill and see his sons and daughters.)20150612_469

But these are Falcon’s daughters in England.  Ivan made a buyer wait for about 20 of his heifers until after we had seen them.  Pounds are never mentioned but I would guess the sale made a nice impact on Ivan’s retirement plan….except he’ll never retire.

It was this stop in particular that we wanted our grandson, Church, to experience.  The kind of people, the kind of cows, the kind of farming you find there won’t last much longer.  It’s our vision for Thistle Hill!