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.