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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Birds, Bees and Bulls

August 20, 2011
Last Monday, I believe it was, Ellen and I were walking down over the ridge to get the 4-wheeler from where hubby leaves it after his round-up. As is usual, the bull was standing there in the trees, a ways behind the milk barn. (He follows the herd up the hill and then stands there while hubby shuts the gate on him. He later decides he wants to join the cows and pushes the gate down to get to them. But that is a different story.)

Ellen has seen the bull numerous times. We have had many discussions about how cows have udders and give milk, but she’d never really thought about what the bull is for…until that night.

As we were walking by she suddenly asked; “Mommy, what does the bull do?”

Trying to keep it light and unthreatening (to myself, not to her) I replied: “He eats grass and sleeps all day.”

“No, Mom,” Ellen wasn’t satisfied. “What does he DO?”

GULP

Weeeelllll…

I jumped in with both feet and just gave her the truth, since she obviously wasn’t going to fall for anything other than the unvarnished facts.

“He makes baby calves.”

She thought about that for a moment.

“How?”

GAH!!!

I forget exactly what I told her, but I said something along the lines that bulls and cows make calves. She was satisfied with that and went on talking about parades and flags and whatever else 4 year olds ought to be worried about. The whole conversation took maybe less than a minute.

Hubby was aghast that I told her that much. But I doubt I did any lasting harm.

Facts is facts; as they say.

Two nights later we walked by him again. This time she paused and looked at him. I could tell she was thinking. Just a few minutes earlier she’d said that the bull was going to miss getting milked. I told her that bulls don’t give milk. So she had to check him out. Obviously he didn’t have an udder.

She pointed.

“Mommy, what’s that hanging down there?”

*sigh*

After a split second of thinking about how I could get out of it, I just gave her the clinical answer.

“Those are his testicles.”

“What?”

“Testicles.”

“Oh.”

She hasn’t mentioned it since. I hope and pray it’s awhile until she sees him in action; performing his duties. Please, God. Maybe she’ll hit her father with that question. Hahahahaha…

But really, seriously, I am glad she is noticing so young. I am just going to give her the simplest facts for now and as she gets older there won't be any overwhelming shock, surprise or disgust about it; it will just be natural and normal.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Little Black Cow


A few days ago, on Monday evening right after milking, we looked up the road and saw a little black cow and calf on the verge of the road, sniffing over the fence at our herd. We knew she'd end up being trouble of one sort or another. We were right.

We had no idea where she came from. We surmised she'd come from the little herd just behind the 12 acres across the road. But the owners live in Marshfield and we have no idea of their names or phone numbers. We hoped she'd go on about her business and find her way home. I didn't want to mess with her as she's a beef cow and they tend to be aggressive when they have a calf.

A couple of people either stopped and told us about "our cow" that was out (Nevermind the fact that we don't run beef cows.), or honked loudly and repeatedly as they drove by.

Finally, at about 8:25 pm, a car pulls in. It was the owner of the cow. She'd actually come from about 2 miles from here (hubby said the guy has the old Kiekebush place)! The guy, I will refer to him as "Ed" was in a panic. Didn't know how to get her back, didn't know what to do.

Hubby came back soon and the chase was on. During the whole thing the guy, who was totally unprepared for a cow chase in the dark, had the gall and audicity and no cell phone on him, to ask ME to call the sheriff and have them send a deputy out to guard the road so she wouldn't get hit.

To make a long story a bit shorter; hubby chased the thing for 1/2 hr or so in the dark. She was wild, I mean WILD!! She took out a 20-30 foot section of our garden fence-the posts were 20+ years old, so that's no big loss. Finally hubby got her herded back behind the milk barn and closed the gate on her. Hubby was frustrated as much by the owner as by the cow; the whole time Ed had kept up a chant of "I'm so sorry, I'm sorry" until Hubby told him to knock it off. hahaha...

She hopped a fence and is now in with our youngstock; heifers about 8-12 months old.

She is still wild as a buck. Her calf stuck to her the whole chase and is with her now. The blurry picture is about the best shot I could get of her.

The poor thing originated in Texas, was transported to Oklahoma and ended up in Marshall Missouri, where Ed bought her on Sunday. When he let her out Sunday night she lit a shuck and took out for the high hills. She just wants to raise her calf and be a good mom, but these two-legged fools keep messing her up. Was I her, I'd have taken off too.

The owner was going to just write her off. Hubby told him to give her a chance to calm down and we'd try and catch her in a week or two. She is coming to eat with our heifers, but she holes up down in the ravine during the day.

The end of this story could be interesting.