Thursday, January 24, 2013

Waiting on Cows

You've heard a lot about feeding cattle from me this winter, primarily because that's the main thing we do with our cattle this time of year, especially on years like this when they don't have any grass to partially fill up on.
The thing about feeding cows is it is easily one of my favorite activities. I love gathering up my two little dogs, making a latte, grabbing my camera, and loading everything into an old pickup with squeaky doors, dents, and other downfalls that come with hard working vehicles, then slowly shifting through the gears on the way to load up with cake or hay.
From there it's a drive down deserted, often rutted roads, where at most I will see one other vehicle belonging to our neighbor, who is also out feeding. The more common traffic is of the bovine, sheep or wildlife variety.
Upon reaching the pasture and catching a glimpse of where the cows are, a decision is made on where to feed. Then I wait. In my busy, often hectic but wonderful life, the most important part of my day is waiting for cows to trail in for the meal I have on the back of my vehicle. This wait varies from minutes to well over an hour, depending on how far away the cows are from a location I can reach and feed them at. Weather also hinders or helps their progress.
Some days this causes me frustration and stress, as there are a lot of things to knock of the "to do" list before I can quit for the day. But, most of the time, this chance to sit, let my dogs out to explore, drink my coffee, and listen to the radio if its working that day, is a wonderful and rare opportunity to relax. There is no computer or phone, no people or tasks demanding attention, no noise beyond that of the wind, pickup and radio.
There is just this land my family loves so much, and these cows we have worked so hard to make into what they are today. My camera, dogs and coffee round out the list, and are also all things I love and hold dear.
It is a joyful task, and that joy doesn't diminish as the cows arrive. As they trail in I get to look at them, admire personal favorites, mentally change less outstanding individuals, and enjoy all over again these animals that we are blessed to make our living from while admiring the results of the care we've provided over the winter months in their current shine and condition.
Once the feeding is over, I often take a moment to drive back through the cows, or stop and enjoy the fact that they are completely happy and perfectly content, munching away on their cake or hay, and that they will also be warm and full until I return. Just look at the cows above. Sometimes it's hard to believe that this is part of my "job," because it's so fulfilling, enjoyable, and important, all at once.
To me, the chance to feed a cow is worth waiting for.

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