Cowboys and Crazy Cows

Mirin riding on Geranium

It’s been so hot and dry…and it’s only June.  Tropical Storm Bill is sucking up all our rain somewhere in the gulf.  Somehow the grass still managed to grow, and yesterday a storm went so close to us, the thunder seemed right overhead, and I, always lightening-shy since my 5th grade teacher told a gruesome story about a friend of hers who was struck in a parking lot in town, hurried along in my chores.

The cows went out yesterday evening.  They didn’t trumpet, or kick and shake their horns around as I’d expected.  Instead they bent their heads quietly, reverently, and ripped at the fresh, green grass as soon as they stepped out.  I have been so sorry they had to eat hay in June, but that was how it worked out this year.

Matilda is always a pain to bring back after being milked.  If they are grazing on the eastern half of the farm, it is easy to move the other cows and she gets desperate and hasty to get there first and eat more than they do.  But she has been the sweet-mannered, obedient one lately (in comparison).  It does take both Ethan and I to get her back, but that’s only because she has no respect for me.  I’m mud, and she’s too shy of Ethan to let him lead her back.  Therefore I work the gate, he shooes, and it works very well most of the time.

Geranium, on the other hand… takes three people to manage Geranium.  I stand by the gate and watch the antics, and Ethan and Mirin take turns encouraging her towards me.  It’s quite the circus show.

You can’t lead Geranium, or pull her along.  She’s built like a cement mixer.  The lower center of gravity leverage you can get on tall Matilda doesn’t work with Geranium.  She doesn’t budge.  If you try to pull her along, chances are she’ll pull you somewhere you really didn’t want to go.

Ethan’s trick is to lean on her back.  It’s like another cow is mounting her, which is a dominance behavior among cows.  So unless she’s in standing heat, it makes her run forward a little to get away.

The problem is, she’s getting more and more used to this trick.  Now she cleverly evades by either running the wrong way, or just ignoring him completely.  If Mirin is leading her, she just throws him aside and charges where she wants to go, so Ethan has been doing the leading and letting Mirin try leaning on her back.  Mirin actually rode on her for several minutes the other day.  He’s always asking for a horse to ride…

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