Country Mouse, City Mouse

Sometimes, I just don’t know how to combine the two roles.

This morning I went to a lovely breakfast meeting.  I dressed up a little….well, not probably by most people’s standards, but I wore some nice black capri’s and cute little sandals with shiny jewelly things on them.  Not my regular spring time chores uniform of rubber boots, torn jeans and a too small tank top covered by an old jacket of my husband’s.

After breakfast, I jumped into the truck with Ron to go and do a ‘grass tour’.  A grass tour is where we go for a drive and determine if the grass is growing, how much alfalfa there is, check fence, and generally decide if we need to make any changes to our grazing plan.  I should have known better than to jump into that truck in my fancies.

After a nice drive through the grass, it was decided that we might as well drive through the heifers.  My husband pulled up to the gate, and when he stopped but didn’t put the truck in park, I knew that was my cue to get out and open the gate while he would drive through.  I thought about protesting that I was wearing town shoes, but decided it wasn’t worth it, how dirty could I get opening a gate in grass?

Well, I didn’t consider that there might be the goliath of all ant hills under the grass where I stood to open the gate….and I walked through something wet…..which I hoped was heifer pee and not gopher pee, because somehow gopher pee seems gross.

But whatever, no big deal, I closed the gate and hopped enthusiastically back into the truck to continue our date – I mean, grass tour.

It was decided that since the heifers were pretty interested in the truck and they were all following us anyway, we might as well let them into the next paddock a day early and give them a little treat of some fresh grass.  We knew that the fences were all good in the next paddock, so I got out again and gingerly stepped across the grass to open the gate and let them come through.  I bet I looked really nice out walking in the grass wearing my bejewelled sandals.

The heifers saw the truck drive through the gate, and suddenly their demeanor changed from mildly curious to ravenously starved as they came through the gate at full tilt.  We smiled at each other and commented on how lovely it is to see these young beautiful animals so healthy and enthusiastic about every new thing.

Then we saw that a piece of fence at the far side of the paddock was torn down.  The heifers saw this too, and our peaceful date – I mean grass tour – was over.  The race was on.  If you have ever had the privilege of driving with a rancher in his 4×4 while he tries to overtake a group of 400ish yearlings, you know what happened next.  If you haven’t had this privilege, it’s very much like the runaway train ride in Disneyland….depending on how many hills are in your pasture….complete with jerky turns, high speeds, and the occasional loud horn sound.  If I’m with you, my hands will also be in the air in an attempt to let my rancher know that I feel like I’m in Disneyland – the happiest place on earth.

We got there first.  Yay we won!  I was told to jump out and hold them there while Ron quickly fixed the broken wire.  I jumped out, held up my arms and got the heifers’ attention.  Phew!  They were all looking at me curiously, which was good because now they wouldn’t notice the hole in the fence and it would give Ron a few minutes to fix it.  However, holding the attention of just under 400 yearlings is like holding the attention of 4000 nine-year old girls at a Justin Bieber concert.

They would look at me because in my capri’s and fancy shoes, I was pretty cool to look at. Then someone would see a butterfly, and they would all swirl off in a flurry of hooves thundering to another spot until I got their attention again.  I would move between them and the holey fence, and try some new act to get their attention.  One act that worked well was to slide through a slippery green patch of previously digested grass and fall down.  They liked that, and came to see more.  So I whistled a very low whistle…..ffuuuuuwwwww……that worked too.  They all crowded around and were so quiet I could hear them breathing, and coughing – until one of them saw a bird and they swirled away again.  These young, beautiful animals so healthy and enthusiastic about every new thing were really starting to get on my nerves.

Thankfully, the fence was repaired quickly and efficiently and we were free to climb back into the truck and go home for lunch.  I looked down at my ensemble and it had changed a little.  My romp through the grass resulted in green slime on my bejewelled sandals, also on my toes and up my legs.  My nice black capri’s did not protect my legs from neither ants nor rose bushes and they were now not so nice and not so black anymore.  

But I had fun.  And my clothes will wash……probably.  I am now back into more appropriate clothing for me – torn jeans, a too small tank top with a jacket over top and I’m heading to the porch to slip into my rubber boots.

“Cows are my passion.  What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a swiss farm and live entirely surrounded by cows … and china.”    – Charles Dickens



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