What’s Wrong With This Picture

A trail of cattle in a grass pastureThe title of this story could be Where’s Waldo. Instead of looking for a quirky bespectacled imp with outlandish stripes on a stovepipe hat we are looking for Opal.

The rest of the herd is just hanging around and munching on pasture grass here and there while Opal is not to be found, but we know where she is.

We had just moved the herd from the far, far field to the large fields around the barns and hillside. Opal has only one thing on her mind as we open the gate to let the herd trickle through. She does not follow with the rest of the herd and she sneaks away so they do not follow her. Opal heads directly for the fruit trees that are way across two fields and the river. This senior cow is on the fruit circuit and she prefers to do the laps all by herself.

She has a designated pattern as she harvests (as long as no one interrupts her). Opal hits up the biggest plum tree first since they are beginning to ripen. She spends several minutes ‘hoover-ing’ up all the dropped fruit. She doesn’t take time to chew, she just sucks them off the ground and swallows, the chewing will come later. Once the ground around the largest tree has been cleaned, she makes a quick loop around the two smaller plum trees.

With all plums cleaned up, she moves down the pasture to the apple tree located by the copse of cherry trees. The apples are much bigger than the prunes and she has to take her time under this tree to chew each apple enough to get them into her first stomach. She can spend a half hour or more under this tree cleaning up any apples that have fallen since the time we moved the cows out of these pastures five days earlier.

Once this apple tree has relinquished all the fallen fruit, she moves back up by the front end of the pasture to the golden delicious apple tree for the same process. The golden delicious is a very sweet fruited apple, but they will not actually be fully ripe for at least another month so that is why she got the other apple tree first since it is an earlier variety (the girl knows her varieties and sweetness factors). Next she heads over to the gigantic crab apple where she goes back to ‘hoover-ing’ to snarf up all the fallen, marble-sized apples.

With belly full, Opal once again returns to the herd where she lounges around while chewing her cud and remembering the sweet fruit circuit that calls to her from across the pastures.


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