From bucking broncos to cows by the trampoline, to pizza, it has been a bit of a day here on the farm. On days like today, I have to stand in the field repeating to myself, 'this is all worth it, this is all worth it, this is all worth it". Today was one of those days where I learnt something I never knew about cows, knew a level of patience and calmness that I never thought I could have, and reached a new appreciation for our children who are not afraid to get right in there and lend a helping hand.
I'm not much of a cow person. I've always had an appreciation for them, and I can remember as a little girl feeding the cows across the fields from us on holiday. Fast forward to our hobby farming days and although I love to see them in the fields I have always been slightly overwhelmed by the sheer size and agility of these animals. My least favorite job of all was moving the cows from pasture to pasture. It was like they had never seen green grass before. They would kick their heals up in the air and high tail it right past you, so close you could feel their hair tickle your nose, their breath breeze past you! Yes, not one of my favorite times. Then of course there is the time that it would come to load them onto the trailer. We had them from young so they would follow me anywhere, and it was always myself that ended up in the trailer with them, not the best place to be.
Well, today found us again at the time to load a cow onto the trailer. The hauler messaged to say he was on his way, so the children and I headed over to get the cow into the coral my husband and son had built especially for this. A breeze, it was a breeze. I found myself amazed at how well this had gone, certain that the hauler would pull up, the cow would load, and we could go about the rest of our day in peace. Did I mention that we have not raised these cows from birth. They are from a beef herd and did not follow like our others. The hauler arrived, I had the cow we needed nose to nose with the end of the trailer, all was going well until the cow turned and literally jumped, did I say jumped, over a 4 foot (ish) panel. I have never seen anything like it. She flew over that panel as easily as taking a stroll in the park. It certainly brought a new appreciation to the nursery rhyme about the cow jumping over the moon. It doesn't seem so unrealistic now! The cow, now rather skittish, was having none of our attempts to get her back into the coral. I saw our winning streak of loading cows rather quickly ebbing away. We tried, and we tried. We finally got her into the coral, and she was heading right for the trailer when she saw a small opening filled by a bush off to the side. Not to be deterred by a bush she went straight through it. Now we had a cow loose...... loose in our yard where we are surrounded by corn fields. ' Breathe, breathe, they can feel your tension, breathe', I told myself as I was the one high tailing it to flank the cow that was quickly heading for the other side of the house. Round the house she went, stopped for a quick look at the trampoline and then took off round the back of the house. Thankfully, between our rather unprofessional attempt and the wisdom and knowledge of our quick-witted hauler she high tailed it back toward the barn. That was definitely a new one on me. We've been rather spoilt with our past loading of cows, in fact it has gone so smoothly that I have felt guilty that they would follow so easily. Not today, today made up for every ease of moving cows we have ever experienced.
After a couple of hours, we finally rigged up a different system and eventually got all three cows to load, and our hauler was then able to lead the other two back off!
I'm beginning to think that maybe boer goats would be better.
You may be wondering where pizza fits into this whole thing. Well after a couple of hours of trying to get a cow where it doesn't want to be, follow that with cleaning out an enclosure because we had to move some animals around in the process, and then barn chores. It was rather late when we got done for the night. The chicken for dinner was still sitting waiting to be cooked and nothing else had been prepared. Pizza was a good idea at that point.
Farming is anything but boring, and just when you think you've seen it all something else happens to remind you that every day is a new day with new experiences both good and bad.
For obvious reasons I do not have any photos of today's escapade, but as a family, we do have some more memories to file away. Memories of a time that we can now laugh about. A time where perseverance, patience and calmness won out.
In all honesty, I may not have felt it at the time, but I am thankful, I'm thankful for the bonding as a family over something that could have been stressful, I'm thankful for the lessons learnt, for the life we get to live here on the farm.
Now, well now, I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep! Here's to some rather boring days on the farm to come!