Farm Adventures


Summer versus winter  butter.


These are busy, busy days with Ethan gone.  After 9 months of no income, he has at last found a job, but unfortunately it doesn’t just take him away from the farm, but out-of-state for many weeks.

So it is just me and the children and the animals, busy from sun-up to long after the sun has disappeared, working always with the summer drone of insects in the background.

These long days are filled with sunshine, rain, butter, wild mushrooms, and misbehaving animals.  I have never been solely in charge of the farm and three children for this long at a time, and I’m still struggling with the electric fencing and twice a day pasture moves.

Trespassers William, our 800+ lb Gloucester Old Spot boar, has nearly eaten me twice.  He doesn’t mean anything by it.  He is not aggressive, just very, very greedy. As soon as they see me approaching, all the big pigs begin horrible squealing noises, and Trespassers foams at the mouth. He is enormous, and has big tusks, and I avoid him as much as possible, but last week he was getting into the habit of slipping under the electric fencing and roving towards the barn – a very dangerous place for his appetite.

I like adventures, and every day is an adventure, as I have no idea what will happen. So far we’ve had encounters with a rattlesnake, some great wild foraging expeditions, and once I had to fly into a berserker rage at Geranium, who was being a big, bad-tempered roadblock.

Geranium isn’t REALLY a milk cow, although for a few months of the year, she likes to pretend she is.  We had dried her off a few months ago, because milking her is like milking an over-eager Auroch, and she only makes a gallon of milk at peak lactation.  She is SO jealous of the milkers  who come down every day to be milked.

She was in an extra-bad temper because I had moved them, but it wasn’t a really lush pasture. To make up for it, I went ahead and staked out a fresh paddock to move them into in the evening. When she saw me get everything ready, and then NOT move the cows immediately, she decided something must be done.  And that something turned out to be to park her large, bossy bottom at the gate, and moo demandingly at me with grass sticking out of her mouth.

I hate getting angry at the cows.  They are mean like the mean, mean girls you meet in middle school, the kind that have exclusive cliques and push you when they walk by, and they always seem to have the last laugh, anyway.

This is never a problem for Ethan.  He has the firm, male energy they respect. But Geranium is so big, and so bossy, she usually just shoves me aside and does whatever she wants.

First, I tried to peacefully lead her away by the halter, with no effect.  I tried pushing her aside, and she moved about 3 inches.  Then I ran and threw myself at her, and hurt my shoulder, and Geranium didn’t move at all, just licked the flies off her back and mooed her annoying fog-horn moo in my face. I was filled with anger and frustration.  The chores needed to be done, the other cows needed milked. I felt small and helpless, and here was this big, bossy bitch mooing at me and standing in the way.

Luckily there was a sturdy electric fence post at hand.  I stood back a few paces, weighed it in my hands, and then ran at her, shouting nonsensical threats.  She stared at me coming closer, almost with amusement, almost with a sneer, so I made the fence post whistle through the air right in front of her nose.

Geranium turned up her heels and ran, shoving smaller cows aside as she retreated. I tossed the fence post aside, and chores proceeded as usual. Sometimes you just have to be the biggest, bossiest bitch.

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