Feeling Frisky and Fine

Breakfast is complete and the dishes are piled in the sink for later attention. I dress in coveralls, ball cap, and muck boots ready to attack the ranch world and the Holstein. The Holstein must be locked up twice daily so two calves can have their milk. One calf is a twin and the other needs extra groceries as his mother is short of milk. I have finally been able to train the cow to enter the area behind the barn for feed. I then move her to the headgate for participation in the “share the udder program”.

The Holstein heads back out the gate to freedom and away from me. The game is underway and I am already cranky. I manage to head her off and turn her back toward the barn. She enters through the gate, spins on a dime, takes two giant jumps and kicks her hind legs up into the air. She punctuates that with a snot throwing snort. By this time, I am awake and conclude that there is not a lot of room behind the barn for a jumbo jet to be out of control!

I am truly impressed with the athletic accomplishment the Holstein just completed and even more impressed that I am still upright and not flat on my back in the muck. I have never seen an udder that high in the air. That udder filled with milk and those teats pointed straight down was a sight to behold. It looked like an UFO scoping out a landing pad or a secret, heat-seeking weapon dialing in on a target. I felt as though I was that target! As the cow propels herself off the incline, I scramble to close the gate and wonder if I should worry about containing her. Would I be able to stop a runaway tractor with a raised hand? I think not.

Run and duck was my final decision. Thankfully the cow appears to be done with her “I’m a cute little calf” routine.  I manage to get her down the alleyway and into the headgate where she is now safely secured.  I put a pan of barley pellets under her nose, so the calves will be able to grab the moving milk spigots.

While the calves suck, slobber and bunt, I lean on the nearest post as I seem to be a bit shaky. Even though it is a chilly morning, I have sweat running down the sides of my face into my eyes. I whisper thanks that I am still whole and have no new hoof prints on my body. What an embarrassment for a beef rancher to have a Holstein run over her and leave imprints! I wipe my brow and hope that tonight is a much mellower part of the day for the black and white bovine.


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