Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Farmer in the Dell

The Mr. and I went with Dad to feed the cows this weekend. They heard his truck and came running for hay.
Cows are interesting creatures. They usually are a pretty good predictor of bad weather: gathering in one area of the pasture, huddled together, rears to the wind. They can find the most inopportune times to "get out." Any country kid can tell you that the cows getting out stresses everyone. (Fences are an important part of farm life. Seems like Dad has spent a lifetime working on fences.) Cows are somewhat human in their behavior. There is a herd or mob mentality. There are good cows and bad cows; ones that follow the rules and some that always want to do something a little different. Some take to "mothering" and a few don't, just like people. Cows don't like to be separated from their babies, which I totally understand. A few cows seem to run every herd. There is a "follow the leader" mentality that reminds me of my students. Cows like to be familiar with their surroundings, so you will see cows walk the fence lines to check things out. (Or are they figuring out a way to get out??)
I always liked feeding the cows with Dad. It usually involved a rough truck ride through ravines. Even this past Friday, Dad's driving on muddy trails was a bit like those roller coaster thrill rides. A thrill--yes, but I'm always relieved when we get where we're going! I can remember a winter of big snows when I was a kid. Dad hooked the sled and toboggan behind the truck so that every time he went to feed cows, my sister and I got a wild sled ride. (I seem to remember her tobogganing over the top of the sled I was riding.) And in the spring, it was fun to see the baby calves that had arrived in late winter.

Cows make pretty good company. Sometimes I think Dad prefers them to humans. (They don't talk back, and you can use a cattle prod on them without the SRS calling!! Who am I kidding? Sometimes I prefer them to humans! They frown on cattle prods in the classroom.) Yes, Dad might have been a cowboy if he had been born in a different era.


Alicia said...

I was just talking about cows the other day... Kind of a funny conversation with someone who hasn't really seen too many of them in real-life. And a couple of months ago, when we were walking through the park on a warm winter day, we heard a cow moo. Not exactly what you expect in Brooklyn :) I guess there's one at the zoo I should go visit! It's been a while since I've seen a live one...

Gayle said...

The toboggan and sled ride sounds like a lot of fun!

Yes, cattle prods are not allowed in the classroom here either. Heehee