Swimming cattle saved by a garden island | Earth

Simmental cows and their bull swim to safety in Tatham, NSW

A lovingly tended house lawn and garden, on an island in the murky floodwaters of Tatham via Casino, has been turned into a pigsty by a host of cattle, saved from some drowning in this week’s extreme flooding.

Elaine Trustum and her husband Darcy, their daughter Elizabeth Steele and her husband Hayden and their two children Madison and Savanah, all risked their well-being to cheer the crowd on to higher ground.

Although they are grateful for the safety of their 64 head of Simmental cattle – and another 30 from nearby farms – there remains a sense of loss for the memorial roses.

Never mind corn, beans, oranges and lemons…

In the swirling waters, the grandchildren helped untangle the calves from the upper wires of the yard fence and Nanny had to turn away.

“I couldn’t watch them. I thought they were going to be swept away any minute,” Ms Trustum said.

With the crowd all gathered, they filled the garden of the house as if they were in the courtyards and shortly after shaking off the water from their coats, they were looking for food.

One of them went to Darcy’s wonderful vegetable garden, ripe with corn – which they ate first – then beautiful beans.

They ate the green leaves and fruits of orange and lemon trees down to the bare stems before moving on to roses.

The four memorial bushes, one for each of Elaine’s and Darcy’s parents, plus special varieties released for occasions like the death of Princess Diana, Gallipoli’s 100th anniversary and the one named after Don Bradman.

All gone. Their leaves contain copper and other important trace elements.

It wasn’t long before the hibiscus followed the same path, and Elaine’s precious “yesterday today tomorrow” shrub.

Then, with their rumens becoming functional again, one of the crowd spotted the passion fruit vine, laden with summer fruit, and it was quickly shaved with the choko.

“There’s not a vine left,” Ms Trustum said.

“When they started eating the flowers of my potted cacti and orchids, I said enough was enough and we lifted those plants into the back of the ute and closed the tailgate,” Ms Trustum said. .

Elaine and Darcy have lived in the house for 54 years and have never seen so much water come in at such a rate when the deluge first hit on Monday.

“We saw them swimming, all bellowing, and we called them – our cattle are a bit spoiled – and they came up and came through the little garden gate.

“How those two bulls squeezed through that little opening, well, I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

“If you had wanted them to cross that little space at another time, no way.”

Under normal conditions the new Simmental bull and sire Angus used on the heifers would fight and fight if left unattended in the same paddock, but in Tatham’s picturesque garden they would lie down together and sleep.

“They have all come to terms with their situation,” Ms Trustum said. “And they’re all so settled.”

Further reading:

Northern Rivers begins counting the cost of flooding

Fighting for their right to agriculture

Renovation of pastures for production on the northern plateaus

The Toyota ute collection continues to grow!

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