Friday, July 30, 2010

The Week I Didn't Get Run Over By Cows

My mom and dad decided to take off for vacation last week and left me in charge of the farm.  Grin.

As my sis said, I got to play farmer while they were gone, and I admit, I liked it.  (Especially since there wasn't anything really difficult to do.)  Every day began with starting up my dad's big green pick-up truck in the silence of the morning. I'd roll the window down and drive into the sun to feed "the girls," as Dad calls them.

My dad gave up livestock many years ago, but he still has to have a few animals around.  He just can't help it.  So right now, he has four beautiful young black cows that come once a day from the pasture for breakfast. 

The routine is simple.  Drive the trunk, honk the horn, fill the bucket, unlatch the gate, and pour the feed in the trough.  Dad calls to the girls before he enters their area (and actually gets close to them).

I decided to switch things up.  My routine went something like this:

Days 1 and 2:  I'd sneak in as quietly as the truck allowed, fill the bucket and then honk the horn -- to give me a little more time before their eight hundred pound bodies were hurling toward the feed bucket.  Then, I'd simply smile and say, "Good morning, Girls," and those huge young things would stop short so fast, the dust would whirl.  Power in the word.  Dad swears they're his most docile cows ever, but I wasn't taking any chances. I have three children at home, you know.

Day 3:  The cows are waiting for me at the gate, blocking my way to the feed trough.  Fiddlesticks.  I speak to them, hoping that my voice will spook them enough to clear the way, but apparently my power is gone.  I gather up my courage to get in amongst them, but frankly, I don't have much.  So I climb the fence by the trough instead.  The cows get fed; I don't get run over.  We're all happy.

Day 4:  I sigh with relief that the girls aren't waiting for me and prepare the bucket of feed.  I struggle to get the bag of feed open and to lift the hefty bag without spilling it, but thankfully not all my muscle is gone, and I get the job done.  I carry the bucket, honk the horn, call them to breakfast, pour the feed and wait.  And wait . . . and wait. 

I've lost the cows.  I look all over, listening carefully, driving up and down the road and trying not to panic.  I return to the barn and peer down the pasture as far as I can see.  No sign of them anywhere.  I have no cell phone with me, and I'm wearing flip-flops (not practical pasture-walking wear).  So, I race home to get into farmer gear and make sure Baby Girl is still sleeping.  I grab my cell phone, pull on sturdy shoes and rush back to the barn. 

Wouldn't you know it, while I was gone, the girls decided to appear.  My heart rate returns to normal, and I give them a scolding.  Just so they know exactly what they did to me by showing up late.

Day 5:  The girls are used to me now.  I've given them names:  Lucy, Ethyl, Penny (a Pound) and Chicken. 

Lucy and Ethyl are quite the pair.  They just make me smile and they always seem to come together.  There's safety -- and good times -- in numbers.

Penny (a Pound) takes her food seriously.  She hardly ever gave me a glance once that feed was poured and was first to the feed trough.  She's doing her job to make a fine steak.  (Notice the bored stare as she impatiently waits for her food.)

And then there's Chicken.  At first, she refused to eat if I was near.  Skittish.  Even when I was on the other side of the fence, she'd hang way back -- missing out on her meal.

Eventually, she'd decide to get her food before Penny ate it all, but she'd keep a wary eye on me.  She must have been afraid I'd eat her or something.  Ahem. 

As I watched them feast the last day, I realized I'd miss them and this routine.  But I admit I'm a teeny bit glad that I don't have to worry anymore about getting run over every morning.

And I'd hate to get any more attached to them.  If I did, I'm not sure I could eat that steak.



the shoafs said...

i love this! we are living on my in-law's farm right now....and boy, do they have cows. about 30 of them. and when they go out of town, we have to "hay" them. and by "we"...i mean austin and the kids. the only time i have really interacted with our cows was when i was VERY pregnant with ava and a few of them broke through into the chicken house and came into my front yard. giiiiiirl, i was the poster child for barefoot and pregnant....and chasing cows back into the chicken house. it was my finest redneck moment ;) i do love that you gave them names...but we aware...once you name them, they become family!

Karen said...

Thanks for the smile this morning...I enjoyed this post!

Cranberry Morning said...

I love this post and all the pics of 'The Girls.' Are these heifers that are going to be sold when they become cows? or is your dad milking cows? Either way, it took me back to the farm, when our heifers would get out and I'd have to help get them back in. Standing with outstretched arms (trying to imitate a fence, I guess) while my dad tried to steer them to the right place, feeling certain they were going to stampede right over me!

I love those names! :-)

Maggie S said...

I love cow faces. They are so beautiful and individual and not necessarily so serene. And they are ALWAYS up for some mischief.

Missie said...

Lol! What a fun and comical adventure!

Carrie said...

That sounds like a great way to start the day!! Did you have to get up really early?!

Hubs used to have a big green pick-up truck! :)

MamaMonki said...

You make me want some cows to raise. Love the pics and the story. Hmmmm wonder what Hubby would say if I said I wanted a cow for our city yard.

Anonymous said...

I love cows! When I used to help my husband feed his dad's cows when we dated, I'd quote Shakespeare to them - they love Shakespeare!

I'm a little tough-hearted I guess - I could look one right in the eye and then grill it for dinner! I love steak that much:)

You are living the dream - and I'm so glad you didn't lose the girls!

Claudia said...

love it - my uncle had a farm and we used to visit him for the holidays - and i just spent hours and hours with the cows...trying them to talk..but never managed..smiles

S.I.F. said...

What a fun week though! Growing up, my aunt owned 2 cows... she kept them as pets really though. I'm assuming these girls are a little more wild, because my aunts cows basically let us walk right up to them and pet them like horses.

I used to love going to visit her!

e-Mom said...

I'm amazed! I had no idea you lived in a rural setting. The "girls" are beautiful! ღ

Julie said...

Cute story! I love the cows, they are so cute. But... I love steak more. =) My mother just recently got some turkeys to raise and my daughter became extremely attached to them. She does, however, know that they are for Thanksgiving. I saw you visited my blog today via the blog frog widget. Just wanted to stop by and say hi. I'm your newest follower. =)
Juile @ Bunches of Bargains

Anonymous said...

hey hun! fantastic lo i have tagged you for a question and answer game... visit my blog for the questions :)

Melanie said...

Lucy and Ethyl?!? That is SO hilarious!! Oh my goodness! I needed this laugh today!

so nice to 'meet' you! :)
~ ~

Jennifer said...

That is sweet of you helping out. Cows are one type of animal we don't have, though my youngest daughter shared with us that she would like to have a milk cow named Daisy. Every animal here becomes a special pet, so we keep saying no to raising a beef cow, too.

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