Cows have finally arrived at Happy Earth Farm! Steve and I couldn’t be more delighted, as keeping cows makes this place start to feel like a real farm. Mama cow (Bessie) and her calf (Gertrude….Gerty for short) arrived via cow trailer on Thursday morning.
I was so excited about their arrival that I had never considered the reality that we were complete strangers to these magnificent beasts. I didn’t realize how terrified they would be. As they were led out of their trailer, Bessie looked at us like we were serial killers and Gerty tucked deep into her mother’s side. Every time we approached, they took off in the opposite direction. In addition, the sights and smells were completely foreign to both of them. They eyed the fencing, their feeding area, the chickens and the barns with complete wariness. Jubilant is not a word I would use to describe their mood.
To make matters worse, Steve and I had guesstimated the proper height for the electrified fencing and we were off by a few inches, so within minutes of coming out of the trailer, Gerty stepped between the too low bottom and too high top wire and into the larger pasture. Bessie understood the electrified barrier so she wouldn’t cross it and Gerty had no idea how to reunite with her mama.
Bessie mooed frantically while pacing the perimeter and Gerty darted about the open field while the two humans who were supposed to be in charge were more like stranger-danger than helpful friends. We spent over 90 minutes gently trying to coax Gerty back in with her mama. Finally, with Steve holding up the wire fence, I walked behind Gerty until she scampered back to her mother……and I thought chasing chickens was difficult! I quickly modified the height of the fencing and we backed off to allow them some time to adjust to their new home.
Since Thursday, we have made several trips a day out to their space. We stand quietly and speak to them in soft tones. They eye us suspiciously, but are no longer frantic in our presence. Over the weekend, Bessie finally walked towards us instead of away from us and in the mornings, they have shown great curiosity as we bring out their hay and minerals. Each morning they come closer and closer as we go about our chores.
Today, victory was ours. Bessie allowed us to come close enough to touch her nose and Gerty inched up and took hay out of Steve’s hands. It is moments like these where I am taken aback by what we are experiencing here on the farm.
Today we established trust. It is one of those qualities in any relationship that is vital for it’s longevity. I think we often lose sight of how important trust is in our lives. We forget how difficult the process is to build it and then the awesome responsibility it is to maintain it. I had also forgotten how good it feels when that mutual bond is forged. While I watched in awe as Gerty tentatively approached Steve to take the straw from his outreached hand and while Steve spoke in gentle encouraging tones, it made everything seem right in this universe.
I love my life.