There is something oddly familiar with bringing cows onto Happy Earth Farm; déjà vu all over again in a Yogi Berra sort of way. It dawned on me the other day that having cows is just replacing being the parent of a bunch of kids.
Heading out to feed the cows reminds me of when the Domino Pizza delivery guy rang the doorbell. A massive stampede of five crazed kids could be heard from blocks away causing the delivery dude to look at me like he was wondering when was the last time I fed them. In the next frenzied ten minutes the boxes would be emptied as they ripped through each slice. God forbid one of them would have a friend over who was an only child……that kid didn’t stand a chance in the mayhem and would end up leaving, most likely, with an empty stomach.
The cows hear the RTV approach the gate every morning and they line up in wild anticipation. All eyes are on the chain that holds the gate closed. As Steve drives through and makes his way to the feeders it looks more like the Running Of The Bulls than a peaceful farm. In an attempt to be first to the feeders, they run and buck, while shoving one another out of the way. Our latest addition, a steer, is still learning the ropes so by the time he gets with the program……two minutes later, the feed is already gone. You snooze, you lose buddy.
It was always almost impossible to get all of my kids to look at the camera at the same time during a family photo, even harder to have them all smiling. These damn cows just won’t cooperate. I get the face of three, the ass of two and one taking a dump every time I attempt a group photo.
And there is the familiar “make so much noise that mom has to come investigate” only to have all children freeze in unison as if nothing was going on. I can see the cows from the kitchen window. In the evening, things start getting a little crazy. The cool temps and darkening sky is invigorating it seems. I can make out a lot of activity as they bump heads and frolic in the pasture, but as soon as I head out to video the fun, they stop dead and look like “what!? We weren’t doing anything!”.
But just like my own children, they are becoming best friends. The youngest ones, a steer and a heifer, have bonded so completely that they cuddle up together to nap in the sun. The adolescent cows line up by the oldest to wait their turn for her to groom them with her very rough tongue. They moo in delight as she cleans their necks and faces.
Something just feels right with all of this. I guess I am right back where I started 34 years ago except I don’t have to pay for braces or college tuitions.