Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No Calf Yet

Or what my cow likes

I have probably made it pretty clear that I am a little afraid of Violet, and it's hard to really love something you're afraid of. I think yesterday, I kind of fell in love with Violet.

(For those of you who don't like lots of hokum about communicating with animals, you might want to stop reading.)

On Sunday, I was busy burning brush close to one part of the pasture that Violet has steady access to at the moment. She spent much of her time pretty close to the fence where I was burning brush. I always chat with any animals who choose to keep me company, so I greeted her and asked her rhetorical questions and went about my business.

Then, I suddenly "knew" she wanted fresh grass. Yes, yes, she's a cow and cows eat grass and all that. Naturally, if there was grass available, a cow would want it, but this at least felt different. Maybe all that pine smoke was getting to me. Anyway, I opened a gate that let her onto another section of pasture and she left.

She was at the fence again around chore time. This was my cue to feed her apples or a pumpkin and to throw her some fresh hay. That's our routine; I did what she expected. I was still tending my fire, so I just stood and watched her while she was eating. And again, I just "knew" she wanted me to pet her, so I went into the fence and petted her. She obviously enjoyed the contact and gave me an appreciative lick, which is much different from the thorough salt-seeking lick I often get from her. After a couple of minutes, she seemed done with petting and I left to finish the other evening chores.

Yesterday, I was gathering leaves from around the edge of the pasture. Little enough light gets to those areas, that it hurts nothing for me to steal those leaves for the garden. Also, we've placed long pieces of pine along the slope of one hill. I wanted to stack leaves against these to help create a mound that will slow down the water in that part of the pasture. The plan is to put waste bedding on top of the leaves and see what happens. We hope we see a change in the grass just below these mounds.

Anyway, I had the garden cart to haul leaves to the garden, and as I pushed it through the gate, I wondered where my cow was. She poked her head out of the barn and followed me. When she saw me going through to that new patch of pasture, she picked up the pace. I think she hoped I had apples in the garden cart, but I do not like for a cow to run after me. So I stopped, held my rake up in front of me and waited to see what she was doing. She sniffed around the garden cart, and then sniffed the rake, and then began to graze about five feet away from me.

Maybe you're not at all afraid of huge animals like docile cows. If so, then you're not like me. Her grazing that close made it very difficult for me to focus on raking. Then, when I got ready to move the garden cart, she did her rodeo routine. Have you ever seen a very pregnant cow bouncing around on the tips of her hooves? It's a sight.

I stopped everything and waited for her to calm down. Then I talked softly to her as I moved the garden cart a few feet, giving her a very wide berth. And I kept raking, and she kept very close to where I raked.

It was soon obvious that my cow was just spending time with me, though not me in the specific, probably. She just liked having company in the pasture. I raked leaves for two hours and for the first 90 minutes, she stayed within ten feet of me, grazing. Then, she slowly grazed her way back to the barn. And I felt such warm affection for my cow who is so slowly teaching me what it is cows like.

Yes to petting
Yes to company
Yes to soft voices
Yes to apples, pumpkins, and hay
Yes to brushes
No to wheels
No to loud noises
No to dogs
No to sudden movements

1 comment:

  1. In one week it will have been five months...oh, I do hope you haven't left your readers in a lurch. A good blog should never expire. I'm waiting (smile).