Girl Out of Water - Our Cows

| 7/26/2011 11:18:42 AM

And on that farm we had … three cows!

When we got the two calves, our youngest daughter wanted to name them.  My husband explained that we shouldn’t name our food because we might get too attached.  She insisted.  So without further thought, he declared the black calf “STEAK” and our little red calf “RIBS.”  He told the kids that he didn’t want anyone confused as to the purpose of these cows.

I had never had cows.  I was very excited to have these beasts lazily munching on the grass and looking at us with those sloe eyes as we mowed and did yard work.  I liked the thought of feeding my family beef that had eaten nothing that they weren’t supposed to and had no hormones or injections that were questionable.  But I had no idea what trouble two cows can be.

As these cute little cows grew into 1300 pound beasts, they became a royal pain in my side.  First of all, cows are not the smartest of animals.  My husband was doing work in the front yard next to the creek and was very concerned about the huge cliff-like drop off that the spring runoff created.  When I asked why he was so obsessed, he explained that cows aren’t the smartest tools in the shed, and would fall off.  Fall Off!?  What?!  I asked why they would fall off … didn’t they see the drop?  And why wouldn’t they just use the path down to the creek?  And I thought that there shouldn’t be much falling for these creatures.  After all, they have four legs and should be way more stable on those legs than me, and even clumsy old me didn’t fall off the bank into the creek (my dad calls me Grace because he says I have none)!  Harrumph, I thought.

Also, those cows were skittish.  I had to work hard to get those cows used to me coming into the field and into the barn to feed them.  It took months of coaxing with sweet grain to get them used to me and allow me to ease up to them.  Not that I wanted them to be like dogs:  I just wanted them a lot calmer than two large dust devils running through the field when the time came to load them into a trailer for their first and only ride to town.  And Ribs really never calmed down as she got older, but just stayed crazy.  She did not want Steak to get anywhere close to me and would head butt her when Steak got too close to eat the sweet grain out of my hand.  She kept them both agitated.

Over the course of two years, these cute little calves turned into destructive, demanding beasts.  They broke through fences.  They trampled gardens.  They kicked out the barn door.  They were much more demanding work than those huge breathing statues I had envisioned.   And they sometimes had to have their water medicated.  To do that we had to block access to the creek so that they would only drink the medicated water in a trough.  They usually kicked and beat up more things than usual when that happened.  That was such a pain that I threatened to build a bonfire in the back and drive those crazy cows right through it and have a barbecue party right then and there, handing out barbecue sauce to any who wanted to join in.

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