The cows have been mad at me all day.....
It started out because we overslept. I walked out to the laundry room, looked out the window, and found Mabel standing at the gate, peering intently toward the side door of the house. She had that look of impatience about her - radar up, nose down, stamping of feet, gnashing of cud, etc. She wanted breakfast and was upset about her schedule being messed up - she SHOULD have been out in the front yard, munching on grass by now.
Breakfast had BETTER be good.
WEEELLL....While there was plenty of nice meal to be had (I even put in a little extra as an atonement), I was running EXTREMELY low on "cookies" (alfalfa cubes) - and Mabel LOVES her cookies.
Mostly, they got 3 small cubes each, and some dust. This does NOT make for a happy cow.
Normally, they get done in the stanchion, then I open the front door to the barn, and they go sauntering outside to happily mow around the front of the house. By noon, they usually have worked their way to one of 3 trees behind the house. By 4:30, their "normal" spot is under the tree on top of the hill in the hay field. If it's cool enough, then they are at the farthest reaches of the pasture.
They know (because I bought them pocket watches) when it's time to come back to the barn, get a drink of water (although - the gates open all day, they can get water whenever they want), and mill around for 15 to 20 minutes before supper.
This afternoon at a little after 12:30, I found three cows camped under the apple tree in the front yard. They made SURE I was looking at them before BOTH of the "moms" reached up and snagged an apple off the tree. All the while, standing knee deep in windfalls.
What could I do. I chased them out from under the tree.
Mabel started to mosey on down the fence line to another tree, and Daisy, with her boy in tow, headed out to the middle of the yard.
I turned my back for about 5 minutes, and they were all back under the apple tree. I looked at MY watch, and saw it was lunchtime, so the cows got lucky. My lovely wife called, and asked if I wanted a sandwich. I stared down the evil bovine, and muttered something under my breath about "No, I'll eat my lunch raw....", and went inside for lunch.
By 2:30, they were back under the tree again, so I figured enough was enough, and herded them (unwillingly) back inside the gate and closed it behind them. I figured that, if all they were gonna do is stand around under a tree, then they could do that inside their pen, and the apples would go unmolested.
At 5:00, I grab my pails, and head out to squeeze the cows. First off - DAISY was first in line waiting. This only happens when Pluto, Saturn, and Uranus (WHO named that one, anyway?), line up directly over head.
Ok, its happened 3 times since the calf was born....
But anyway - Daisy milks fine, stands still, no kicking, no stamping, and only a couple of tail swipes. All goes well until it is time for her to leave the stanchion. This is when they normally would get cookies.
Ever try to convince a cookie crazed cow that there ARE no more cookies? Daisy refused to budge from the stanchion. I even found her calf, made sure she saw him, and forced him clean out of the barn.
She stamped her feet, shook her head, and stood fast. It took almost as long to get her out of the stanchion as it did to milk her - and I ain't the fasted milker in the world. I Finally pulled, tugged, shoved, poked and prodded her out of the area.
Mabel, the "innocent bystander", saw all this and decided to head outside to wait. Ok, this was fine, except that she preferred to wait halfway down the hill in the pasture. It's funny how they can come up with ways to make a 30 minute job take an hour....
The call of supper was too great, so Mabel moseyed up the hill and into the stanchion. All was well in the world once more, the planets were back to their proper alignment, Mabel was munching away on her food when she did an odd thing.
Since she has only one good quarter, and I have bad knees, I sit on her left side and extend my leg underneath her. This helps me be able to sit there longer, and also helps hold the bucket where it belongs. All of a sudden, Mabel takes a step forward, and lands a hoof right on my pant leg.
I didn't feel a thing, no skin was damaged, no blood, nothing - except I COULDN'T MOVE. That crazy cow had all of her 6 tons standing on my jeans! Under "normal" conditions, I just reach over and tap which ever leg I want her to move. Tap on the front, she moves it back, tap on the back, she steps forward, tap on the side...well - you get the point.
There I was, sitting with one leg under the cow, the other behind the cow, and not able to move. Do you think Mabel would remember her training at a time like this? I tapped for 5 minutes, and all I got was a snort and a threatening lift of the tail.
I tapped, poked, even rubbed her side and leg, but all for naught, she stood where she was. I wasn't REALLY fearing for my life - I knew Deb would miss me after a couple days, and figured I could survive on milk THAT long.
My biggest worry was that ominous looking tail.
I finally managed to scare Mabel into letting me loose (she wanted a signed contract for more alfalfa, but I wouldn't budge...). I tossed the three pieces of apple I had nearby into her feeder, she jumped and I was free.
Having escaped, I figured I had won, but Mabel had other ideas. When it was time to leave, she stood there like a rock, waiting for cookies. She wasn't happy when I got her to leave without any, and walked off snorting.
Let this be a lesson to you all, if you over sleep, remember that your cows hold a grudge, especially if there are cookies involved.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The cows have been mad at me all day.....