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Friday, February 12 2010

 

In weather like this, feeding cows is the least pleasant chore on the farm. This is because it requires a 4Wheeler to slog through the mud to carry hay and an 80/20 mix of cottonseed meal to very, hungry cows who mob you like Christmas shoppers the day after Thanksgiving. I normally like to have Blue Heeler with me when I do this to keep the cows off me, but then I end up with a wet, muddy dog too, so lately I've just braved the mob alone. 

It's not ALL mud out there, it's just a sloshy, mud-pit by the gate and near the feeders. Because I feel sorry for the cows, I have lobbied (successfully!) for a new pole barn out there where the cows with calves can get in out of the winter weather. Unfortunately we will have to wait until next summer to build the darned thing. So . . .  the cows and I will just have to endure the mud for another winter.

Yesterday was a typical morning of feeding cows:

A cold, steady rain is falling. The cowponies hear the chain on the gate.  Mean Cowpony has taken the only open lean-to stall and pushed his buddy, Sweet Mustang Cowpony, out in the rain.  While he is dry and warm, Sweet Mustang Cowpony is standing as close to the porch as possible to stay dry.  His head is dry.  The rest of him is soaked.  I go into barn to start 4Wheeler.  Didn't cover it with a tarp and now the chickens have pooped all over it. Note that Other Half will have a fit if he sees that. Coax machine to life in the cold.  Load it with hay and move it to barn door.  Sweet Mustang carefully squeezes through barn door to pass 4Wheeler and stand by his warm, dry stall.  Move 4wheeler outside.  Still raining. Go back inside and let Sweet Mustang into his stall. Mean Cowpony comes out of lean-to to raid 4Wheeler. Slings hay off 4Wheeler into mud. I grab rake and run out of barn while screaming like a Fishmonger's Wife. Horse is mildly impressed and trots away from hay.  Does he go into his nice warm stall?  NO!  He dances around me like a soccer player to come back to hay.  Consider throwing rake at him.  Scream things at him in a language used only by police officers and sailors. (my Grandmother would be so ashamed of me!)  Horse finally meanders into barn. Feed horses.

Still raining.  Load 80/20 cottonseed meal onto 4Wheeler. Re-load hay.  Putt-putt out to cows and calves in roping arena. They gather at gate like Wal-Mart shoppers on Black Friday. Stop at gate. 4Wheeler makes a wake in the 8" deep water at gate. Grab chute panel beside gate to help steady myself as I climb off 4Wheeler which has now become a ship in muddy waters. Accidentally hit gas pedal on handlebar with my glove.  4Wheeler shoots out from underneath me and slams into gate.  Cows jump back.  I fall in mud. More cussing. Thank God that at least I was hanging onto chute panel and didn't fall face first in mud.

Climb back on 4Wheeler.  Put that Bad-Boy in Neutral!  Climb back off 4Wheeler. (carefully this time!) Open gate.  Cows are watching with great interest.  Not only is there the promise of food, but it is a Dinner Theater!  They can get a comedy show with their meal. Perhaps the Human will fall off the Machine again!  Wise Cow informs the rest of them that this is only funny if Human falls off Machine when Machine Filled with Food is INSIDE the arena.  Not funny if food is still outside.  Other cows bow to this wisdom.

Another calf was born.  This is a little bull calf.  He is cold and wet and shivering violently but seems to otherwise be healthy.  We have GOT to get a pole barn up for these new calves! Calf that was born in the cold rain last week is motoring around pasture and quite pleased with herself.  She has mastered the art of moving in the mud and showing everyone how fast she can run.  At least someone is having fun. Since birth she has known no other world than cold and wet, so she accepts it with good humor.  Looks like she will survive.

Unload feed as cows are pulling it off the 4Wheeler.  Finally get all the feeders filled. Little Bull Calf has wandered away from his mama and is headed for opened arena gate.  WHY???  He sees me coming at him and sloshes through mud faster as he heads toward open gate.  Again - WHY??!!!  Move out at an angle to close gate before he can reach it. I make it to gate before he does.  (HAHAHAHA!)  Almost fall in mud closing gate.  (He gets to say, "HAHAHAHAHA!")

Stalk back to 4Wheeler.  The seat is wet.  Use an empty bag to cover seat.  It is wet too.  Damn.  I still have to go by feed store for dog food. My hair is soaked, my down jacket is soaked, my new leather gloves are soaked, my ass is soaked, my boots are covered in mud, and I STILL have to go out in public. Hose the mud off my boots and head to feed store.

Walk in feed store.  Girl Behind Counter does not look in the least bit surprised to see me looking like a muddy, drowned rat. (That's almost sad . . . ) She asks about Other Half.  I show her phone pictures of him playing in snow with New Police Dog.  He is playing in the snow.  I am stuck in the mud.  He owes me.  He owes me big. 

Oh, I almost forgot!  Underneath the wet leather gloves is a really cool Vogt silver horseshoe ring. So maybe he DOES know that feeding cows in the mud is a Major Headache.  Yep, he probably knows that already.


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 01:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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