Monday, January 18, 2010

Cowboy without a Horse

I asked my wife last night: "Have I ever been a cowboy?" She said she didn't think so. At least, I hadn't told her if I was. That got be to thinking...Do you have to be on a horse to be a cowboy? After all, I did use to take care of cows on the farm. I had to take hay out to them and break up the bales and spread the hay around. They seemed to appreciate it, although, they never said.

Cows are pretty docile if you don't spook them, just like on the westerns. Spook them and it's 'katie bar the door'. They will run over everything in their way.

On this cold winter day the ground was frozen and me and the cows had frosty breath coming out of our noses and mouths. I was minding my own business getting hay off the trailer and spreading it around. Butch was our collie. He herded cattle by making them mad and letting them chase him to the desired location. That day he was just being a bad dog. I tried to tell him but he kept playing around. He would pinch a cow with his teeth on the back of their leg and then run under the fence where they couldn't get to him. He was having a ball.

I on the other hand was out amongst the cows breaking up bales of hay. They couldn't get Butch so eventually they turned their anger toward me and my red shirt. Don't ask me why I wore a red shirt. I knew better. Probably it was because my other one was dirty. I tried to give the cows extra room while I went about my work. They continued to crowd me until I was separated from the tractor and trailer and my load of hay. I decided to sprint away from them and circle back around the old building that was there. That was a bad idea.

The first cow started to cut me off and was followed by the rest of the herd. I didn't know that cow was in charge of the whole bunch. You are right. Butch must have gone to the house now that his fun was over. Anyway, I started to jog and so did the cows. I looked nothing like Butch. He traveled on all fours and ran low to the ground. I ran on twos and was taller than Butch. Somehow the cows got me into open pasture. It was a half mile to the next fence. There were no trees. I was no longer jogging. I ran flat out for the next fence over, that divided our pasture from the neighbors. It took me a quarter of a mile to get enough distance so that the cows could no longer see me. I started to circle and so did they but they lost sight of me finally. Did I say I was fast on my feet?

I made it to the dividing fence and started to climb with the intention of jumping into the other pasture and following the fence line back to my barn. Just as I started to leap I looked down and saw the biggest red bull in the world. It was the neighbors bull who appeared to be watching the whole thing as if it was some kind of show. I threw on the jumping breaks and noticed our cows had gone back toward their breakfast.

I know Butch, the red bull and our cows all had a good laugh over me running down across that pasture not caring what I stepped in. I was not laughing although I do find it a little funny now. I still don't know if that makes me a cowboy. I expect I'd still have to have a horse but on that day I'm sure I could have out run even a horse.

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