November 21, 2008

Bringing the Cows Home

They have been out on the new grass, on their new farm, our new farm, for 3 hours now. No kicking or jumping; no soujourn across the river. They have inspected the perimeter and the vegetation a few times, stopping for the clover and delighting in the giant plantain. But its the enclosure's feel and their absent herd uppermost on their minds: noses pointed bang-on every revolution of the fence as they reach the closest point to their old home. A quick but gentle touch of the wire on the nose: I see her test the the fence. It’s between zaps, that big brown one I call Curls backs up, ears back, contemplates a jump, but goes back to the clover.
Five hours later and its pouring. The buckwheat in a plot beside the pasture bobs and tosses with the lovely onslaught. The cows are laying down and it some effort to find them in the long June grass. Relief that they are there hiding chewing their cuds in a warm hollow.
Once alerted they are up, all ears .
“You. drenched cows” their furry hides flat and dripping. “Come into the barn please. This is home now don't cha think”. All three of us wonder this now. Home is it?
A slow saunter behind them doesn’t hint them toward the building. No sense stressing them. Cows are for rain. The barn is empty except for the tractor and a couple of feed tubs. There is manure and soggy bedding from the last 2 days of the cows confinement in the tractor’s bucket and fresh sweet hay in the wide stalls to entice them back in. The barn is dripping from where the cupola once hailed. It is one of many projects to do. To keep me busy so my nose won't point toward my old herd.
Seven hours later and it is dark and a glich is observed in a corner post where a hosepipe and wire had been jimmied when the expensive corner insulators had run out. The pulse is audible along with its dramatic spark. Without thinking my hand is on the wooden post and is shot through from palm to hip, my injured hip. My body lights up the grass infront of me and I lay there in the wet. My hip is remarkably released. I turn off the electric fencer and run to the glich, screw in an insulator, fasten the electric tape and tighten up the line. Later, tromping through the long grass with a flashlight looking for my new cows, I come across their pathes etched through the pasture and find them lying faithfully on the furthest western point, noses pointed to their old herd.

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