The first day of spring didn’t disappoint last week and the entire week had been mostly warm and sunny. Usually this week in March is cold, damp, and snowy. It was exhilarating to be dressed in my (short) shorts, t-shirt, and (high-heeled) sandals. Of course, it was difficult to hear the meadowlarks singing over the din of my mother whirling in her grave. I love dressing just a hairs-breadth from trashy. I also do it to tease the New Boyfriend who is terrified I’ll insist on dinner at the “country club” dressed like a MILF on the make. He’s fun to mess with.
Paybacks are Hell. He takes advantage of my gullibility on a regular basis and that day was proof two can play at a very silly game.
After I scared him I was wearing daisy dukes and heels to dinner I, I changed into more ranch appropriate clothing and asked him to go into the pens with me so I could feed Harley. I wasn’t sure where the cows were and I’m afraid of the cows. I had visions of opening the barn door into the side of a freshly delivered calf or worse her mama.
In the corral, the hired man was trying to get one of the new mothers into a barn stall. I think she was having trouble groking she had a new calf. Dr. Doctor went in to help with his cow and I stood back and talked to Harley and gave him a bunch of dried apples that he—surprisingly—delicately plucked from my fingers. Harley is a pen with the hired man’s mares and the horses were getting pushy and getting in the way of Harley’s feast. Months ago when I first asked if I could give the horses treat I was told they get “nippy and expect all sorts of special things” So I did what I was told and never feed the horses anything outside a handful of hay. Dr. Doctor knows a thing or two about horses and told me to go ahead when the hired man wasn’t looking.
Dr. Doctor left me to my bad behavior and went into the barn to help sort out the stubborn cow and her calf. On his way in he cautioned,” Don’t give Harley too many apples you’ll give him a belly ache.”
My inside retort: “Sure, right…the same donkey who laid on his side and stuck his head under a panel to eat almost an entire bale of hay a couple of weeks ago. Is gonna get a tummy ache.” But I stopped feeding him because I didn’t want to be responsible for the donkey getting colicky. After he came out of the barn I asked after the cow and he told me she was “kind of stupid.” Again in an inside voice I disagreed, I think she’s in shock her carefree life of hanging out on the prairie just worrying about her cud and eating grass is over. I felt that way until Ev went to college.
Wait it gets better. As we’re leaving the corral, he motions me over to a pen holding one cow:
“C’mer and feed this bit of apple to this cow.”
“That cow is not going to eat that apple.”
“You just need to know how to talk to her.”
And he proceeded to call the cow like you would a barn kitten in a soft baby talk voice: “herecowherecow. Come get the apple.” While the cow—and me—looked at him with our best WTH looks.
“Dr. Doctor I’m gullible but I’m not THAT gullible.”
He looked so disappointed he hadn’t fooled me into trying to get a cow to eat from my hand that I took his hand and gave it a squeeze as we left the pen for the prairie. We walked maybe a quarter mile at the most and then turned back towards the house, at the edge of the pens he stopped and pointed at the black-faced cows staring out at us:
“See how they are looking at you? They want to be your friends. That one especially.”
I rolled my eyes so hard I gave myself a headache. The cow he pointed at is one I remember being extremely stubborn as they moved them in for winter. She has a mean look in her eye like she channels Big Rosie who died a mysterious death in women’s prison. I wouldn’t approach that cow on the other side of a fence with a handful of hay or a bucket of silage on a bet. Well maybe a bet if it was a significant amount of money. . .
“Just go over there and sit down in front of the fence, they will gather around you to be your friends and lick you.”
First of all “in front of the fence” was covered in cow manure. So even if I were that gullible I wouldn’t have done it. Secondly, I would rather sit in cow manure than have a cow slobber icky mucus and cud on me. The poop doesn’t bother me, the placentas don’t bother me (much), but the gooey mouth goobers make me shutter.
“You really think I’m that gullible don’t you?”
He looked sad again. So sad I felt sorry for him and I decided the next time he tries something like that I’ll pretend to fall for it. Maybe I’ll tell him he really fooled me when he told me sheep could suffocate in the rain so they had to wear blankets. “Wool shrinks when it gets wet, right?”
Rain must devastate a herd…er um…flock I mean…