Saturday, October 22, 2011

A GOOD MOTHER PROTECTS HER BABY

Occasionally my dad would purchase a cow or two at the local cattle auction to increase our dairy herd.  One time he bought a young cow that produced a lot of milk but had a mean disposition.   We guessed she had been abused by a former owner since she plain didn’t like people.  We kids learned she was easily threatened if we carried a stick, even a small one.

In the spring new calves arrived almost daily and I loved the new babies.  Although our cows were protective of their shiny black and white toddlers most of them allowed us to pet and handle them.  So when I was helping bring the cows into the corral one evening I was attracted to a new calf.

Suddenly I realized this one belonged to our cranky cow.  She lowered her head and charged.  I don’t think I even touched the ground as I shot across the barnyard.  Ornery was right behind me as I rolled under the fence.  I don’t remember screaming but my mom heard me and was out of the house and dusting me off before I knew what had happened.  We tried to gentle down our grouchy cow but Dad finally had to sell her.

There was another time my mother came sprinting in response to my scream.  Not all our fields were well fenced to contain the cattle.  Some were surrounded by a single strand of barbed wire, but that wire was charged with a pulse of electricity.  The cows and the rest of us, including the dog, had a healthy respect for a one-wire fence.  Accidently touching the wire would give a surprise shock we didn’t forget.

One evening as I was bringing in the cows from pasture I decided I could jump a big puddle across the path.  I missed the jump and instinctively stretched out my hand to steady myself only to have it close around that electric fence.  Standing in water must have really increased the buzz because I let out a yell that brought Mom in a hurry from a hundred yards away.  I had recovered from the shock by the time she arrived.  I think I was more surprised at how fast she could  run.

Illustrations are watercolor pencil on paper from my sketch book.


15 comments:

Mrs Catch said...

Love your sketches. And I'm glad that the ornery cow didn't get you!

Debbie said...

great art, you really have amazing talent!!

glad you recovered from your shocking experience!!

CeeCee said...

I would guess that look would be called the "Stink Eye".
Cattle are so pretty, but they can definitely eat you for lunch. Glad you got away from Grouchy!

TexWisGirl said...

oh, i have a couple of these memories from my farm yard childhood too. great job on the holsteins!

Sarah said...

Interesting stories of your youth on the farm Leenie. Poor cow-how awful to have been mistreated and made into an angry creature. I was once pushed over by a cow-it only nudged me-I was trying to offer it my chocolate bar! I remember the electric fences-I have touched them on a number of occasions as a half dare-but never with my feet in water. Ouch!

Sarah said...

Oh-and I love the cow drawings!

Eli said...

Great cow sketches. This really takes me back to my childhood too. There's nothing like a herd of Holsteins bearing down on you to grab your attention!

TheSims said...

I remember one time I went out into the field to read a book. I had been really into the book and hadn't moved for some time. Suddenly I heard really loud breathing coming from the other side of my book. I thought it was just the dog who had followed me out into the field so I slowly looked over the top of the book. I came face to face with a cow. I slowly sat up and realized I was completely surrounded by cows. They had all come to see what I was doing just sitting there in their field.

Terry and Linda said...

When it comes to your children in distress a MOM can run faster than the speed of light!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Far Side of Fifty said...

Lovely watercolors! I can relate to a few ornery cows too..and an electric fence..they can give you quite a shock:)

Linda Sue said...

You have been on my mind all day- I was looking for a cow in the shops sown south but found only dumb ones. Came home , tuned in, and there you are with a cranky cow and her cranky baby- a cow whisperer you are not.
The story of the fence made me cringe- OWWWW!!!! DAng that hurts! How is it that you are alive?

Samantha said...

Great sketches!

It's a miracle our mothers allowed us to survive all the scares we gave them!

frayedattheedge said...

Beautiful drawings - and I loved the stories to go with them!!

Jeannelle said...

I've had contact with electric fences, too. Not fun!

susan m hinckley said...

I absolutely love the face on that cow picture! My favorite kind of cows, incidentally -- I have a real soft spot for them from my childhood at my grandparents' farm, but I was a scaredy-cat and never dared get very close.

Just thinking maybe I should put an electric fence on our pantry cupboard...fall makes me want food.