Another great, funny, but painfully true beginning farming story from Steve Riddle about the exploits of ‘the cow’:
Personally I love this one (though I love all of Steve’s stories), because I have an interview video of a farmer telling me about getting a new cow and barely newborn calf. Assuming mom wouldn’t abandon her newborn, they left the trailer gate open while she took the calf to the barn – 100 yards or so (they couldn’t get any closer because it was during the biggest blizzard of the year). When she got back to trailer a (very) local cop was parked there, and informed her that her husband and several other people were chasing the cow through town – backyards, hedges, half frozen creeks (no China shops, but it’s not that kind of town)… in a foot and a half of snow.
It took them four hours to get the cow back into the barn (local cops are apparently only useful for informing one of problems in such cases – though you’s think a lasso would be more useful than a nightstick even in the most cop-like moments such locals experience. (Unfortunately in many of these towns a Has-mat suit and gas mask are the most useful pieces of equipment for dealing with the type of criminals they usually encounter, but I digress…). Don’t want to steal Steve’s thunder here – not that I could tell a story like him even if I wanted to…
I love this one not only because it reminds me of that other story, but because it’s typical Steve Riddle: beginning farming calamity and hilarity told with wonderful ‘put you there in the moment’ prose, and always a great sense of humor (tongue often slightly ‘visible’ within cheek). And more importantly for a beginning farmer (and almost everyone else in the world): they are told with an unusual sense of humility. Please also check out Steve’s Goat Story, Sheep Story, and Chicken Story. I hope there are many more to come. Enjoy! -Taylor
Whisper Cussing, By Steve Riddle
Man, I bitch and moan all the time about how I let a buddy talk me into putting up old used fencing several years back, because now it needs replacing. Well, it’s needed replacing for some time now, but with the addition of a few goats, and my wonderful cow, …ohhhh that blessed cow, they are always getting out. Walking right through large gaping holes in my rusty old fence. We patch that hole and “poof” another springs up right next to it! This never happened in all of the years I’ve just had my sheep. Only since I got the goat!
Friends, neighbors, strangers, whoever, …..always calling, or better yet honking their car horns letting me know “your cows out!” or “your goats out!”
…well thanks, I hadn’t noticed as I stand there with a lead rope in my hand. I even got a call from the local small town cop, who harassed me about my guard dog running up town. I tried to tell that “Barney with a bullet in his pocket” that my LGD was just “on wide patrol” protecting the local village people from predators, but he was stuck in “small-town cop mode” I should have asked him if he needed a doughnut to go along with that bullet in his pocket.
Seems, the only ones to stay put has been my brainless sheep, gathering in small numbers to look at the goat standing on the other side looking at all of them as if to say while eating a mouthful of farmer-neighbor soybeans, “Hey, Mikey, try it you’ll like it!” Demon goats, tempting sheep to behave like them. The goats are always the first ones to break out, tempting the sheep but they never go, …just the cow. I think it’s some form of “dairy club” ritual the goats and the cow get together and play. Maybe it’s the farmyard equivalent to the urban drug gangs, like the “crypts and the bloods”
The worst though has been the cow. When she gets out, she likes to stand there and “challenge” you to catch her. To which I play her game, and try to walk sideways turning my head so as not to make eye contact with her. Walking with my hands behind my back so she doesn’t see the lead rope. (as if it didn’t drag a couple of feet behind me on the ground.) She stands there, tail twitching, big eyes blinking and that long tongue licking her nose, until I get right up to her and, DAMN IT, she takes off running and kicking her heels up sideways for a few hundred feet. Then stops, tail twitching furiously now at this point, turns her head to make sure I haven’t given up the game yet. Sometimes she even gives me an encouraging “mooo” to keep after her as I cuss profanity to new dimensions. The one move she does that just kills me is, when she kicks up her heels and runs off a little to turn and hide behind a sapling pine tree not 4 feet tall. And there she stands, twitching tail until I get a little closer while still “whisper cussing” as I now call it. It allows me to let off steam keeping my blood pressure from boiling over while I play, “catch the cow” (it appears screaming cuss words while stomping towards all manors of livestock and small farm children will immediately send them running in the opposite direction.) Something I’ve learned over the years.
There is a time limit to this game, after 35 or 45 minutes where the cow gives up and lets me catch her. While I’ve proven my superior intellect and pulled a handful of grass and raise it to my mouth and start making smacking sounds LOUDLY. This plan never fails, and she always lifts her head a little higher and perks her ears while licking her nose, and then walks to me while I stand there eating my grass and clip the lead rope to her halter ending “the game” While all of this is going on, I can always hear the goats bells jingling as they run back inside the pasture on their own to avoid being “whisper cussed” at directly, (as I have no doubt that would hurt their feelings.)
So, I’ve spent the last few days putting up new fencing and boy does it look nice! Few jobs done around the farm bring around as much pleasure as standing there looking at new fencing. ….until the damned goat walks into view, ….on the other side, while eating a mouthful of farmer-neighbor soybeans. <begin “whisper cussing” now!>