Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fast Mean Cows and Slow Mean Cows.

Those are the two types of cattle in the world according to Patrick F McManus, 'Fast Mean Cows' and 'Slow Mean Cows'. My wife is in full agreement with that conclusion. We raise 'city cows'. What, you may ask is a city cow? These are cattle that have been raised near the public and have seen most everything. Lowriders with bass speakers thumping a tune so loud it might curdle their milk if they were in close proximity too long, F-15 Eagles hitting their afterburners overhead, and every kind of dog, cat, chicken and remote control plane has chased them. In life experience, my cows would be the equivalent of the Las Vegas police department. Been there, done that.

Our city cows also have names, although not as many as we used to. There are four or five who still come up to the truck to eat out of your hand, one of those is Emmett. He is the bull and he is as sweet a bovine as you can find, but scary as the dickens to those who don't know him. He weighs about 1,800 pounds and stands even with your chin, if your tall. While he is docile and friendly, he is also very large and when he wants to eat, you better feed him. He is what my wife would consider a 'slow mean cow', or bull in his case. Most of our cattle fall into that category, except when they have calves. When they drop that calf on the ground, they become 'fast mean cows'.

Which takes us to this afternoon. One of our cows had a new calf Sunday and it had a hard time nursing its mother. My wife took the pair up to the barn to help the calf get on his feet. A good plan, until the cow and calf escaped today. Running down the road the escaped bovines encountered my wife and her friend on the golf cart. The cow looked at my wife and gave a snort. My wife got out of cart and tried to open a gate to get the offending cow off the road. As my wife approached, the cow lowered her head. "She bluffing" my wife said to her friend. The cow was not bluffing. As she chased my wife back into the golf cart, sending her out the other side, my wife decided correctly that the cow was now in full-on "fast mean cow' mode. The calf however thought my wife was pretty cool and since she had been bottle-feeding him, the calf thought he might find a little snack in my wife's lap. The cow did not see the humor in this, mama started to smack the golf cart with her head and bellow like mean cows do.

Thirty exhilarating, or terrifying seconds later, depending on whether you are telling the story or you are the subject of the story, the cow and calf were herded into the pen and the episode comes to an end. I can attest that there is no better feeling that putting a closed gate between you and a fast mean cow.

Raising cattle is a bit like a running a foster home, mixed with running a high security prison. The cattle need your care and attention from time to time and you do get to know them and love them, but they are always trying to escape and if you are not paying attention, the more devious ones will try to kill you.

Don't you just love cattle? I do.
My wife? Not so much right now.

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