Doing a Double Take


Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, large animals are not as dumb as they may seem. Although normally they abide by the rules of the farm and get along with their fellow critters(including humans), they can also be quite conniving when they  decide to mutiny or if they just get into a ‘mood’.

I was just about ready to go out into the frosty morning when I noticed a lot of noise coming from across the road. From the sounds, it was obvious that the main herd had crossed the river and was impatiently waiting for breakfast along the fence line of the county road even though they know that the ONLY place they would get breakfast would be back on the other side of the river in the outdoor feeders.

At least one momma cow was bellowing. We have a couple of cows that will be calving within the next month, but I did not think any were close to calving. Yet this bellow sounded like a new birth was possible, and after the earthquake we had the evening before (3.9 in Mollala and we felt it here as we were watching the evening news) the atmospheric changes could have made someone go into labor. It would also explain why the herd had crossed the river.

Donned in two sets of socks and winter Muck boots, wool stocking cap, rain pants over long johns and jeans along with my heavy winter coat and gloves, I headed out to see what was going on. (You can imagine that I look like a multi-color Michelin Tire Man only more bumpy). ((It was 20 degrees, all common sense for fashion goes out the window when the temp drops below 25.)) ((( it’s a fact, look it up))).

Some black cows on the other side of the fence.As the area where they were standing started to lighten from the dark of night, I spotted a calf out near the crooked apple tree.

First order of business was to get the main herd back across the river so they could eat breakfast, then I could deal with the momma and baby.

I drove the Gator over the bridge and loaded five bales of hay into the bed, and headed around to the barns to the outdoor feeders as the herd was already mostly across the river and trailing for the feeders. I broke the bales and filled each feeder doing a head count as the animals came up. I was only missing the herd sire, Renaissance. He is always the last one to come to the feeders, it is his job to make sure the herd is altogether. Since all the mother cows had come up from the river I assumed that whoever had calved left her calf on the far side. I only assumed that for a moment before I saw the head of another cow come up over the bank along with the calf.

It was Topanga and Zion. They had escaped the nursery field during the night to rejoin the main herd. And Topanga was hungry along with being noisy, she wanted back into the nursery area so she could get into the barn for ‘her’ hay. By opening the gate of the barnyard, Topanga and Zion moved easily away from the herd back to their own quarters.

I could chalk it up to the earthquake, or the cold night, to Topanga wanting her new baby to meet the rest of the herd, or maybe this small mutiny was just to keep things lively during the cold spell. She must have known that I needed fodder for the daily blog post (maybe she is smarter than even I give her credit for).




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