20 January 2016


One of the places in the world that feels most like home to our children is their granny's (my mother in law's) house in the Durham dales.

The older bull - part of the family for many years.
She lives reasonably high up on a smallholding on which my father in law kept a herd of Dexter cattle and some sheep.  When the children were very young they used to love going to 'help' their granddad feed and water the cows and to pet his (very friendly and surprisingly gentle) bull and the little calves.  Indeed the animals were so much a part of their life that Mr EE had to tell the children bedtime stories about their 'adventures' when we were overseas.

His son, the younger bull was every bit as friendly
One of the great advantages of having the children grow up, if not around farm animals, then at least familiar with them, is that they have always been aware of the cycles of nature and the essential part of them which explains where their food comes from.  The first time they realised that the beef on their plate came from the cow they had petted on their last visit, they were a little upset but they have since learned to accept that the cows have a good and happy life and would not even have existed had they not been needed for food.  Furthermore, the efforts of the family are a critical part of supporting the animals and bringing food to the table.

The calves are tiny (Dexters are very small cows)
Sadly my father in law died some years ago but the cows have remained on the land and the children still look forward to going to see them and help their aunt (and Mr EE who takes over duties when we are staying) with the cows.  The herd will be leaving the farm soon, with the cows moving on to new owners, a real shame but a necessary move nonetheless.

Helping with the animals is a key responsibility
in summer and winter!
Animals are very important to us and, we believe, a most important part of the children's upbringing, teaching them the importance of care, stewardship, respect for the power of animals and hard work.

We are a family of many pets, and although the cows are certainly not that, they have given the children a lodestone of solidity and rootedness which many expat children find a little lacking in their lives.  In the years to come, Master and Miss EE will look back on their time on the farm with great fondness.

For more posts on expat life click on the link below.

Ersatz Expat

Posted in a link up hosted by Eco Gites of Lenault



  1. I could not agree more about animals being so important in children's lives. They teach them so much plus studies seem to show that children brought up around animals have fewer allergies. I could not have imagined bringing up the boys without animals around us. #AnimalTales

    1. They are so good for children aren't they. I also love the fact that ours learned the difference between a working and a pet animal.

    2. They are so good for children aren't they. I also love the fact that ours learned the difference between a working and a pet animal.