As many may know, in our ample free time Mrs K and I operate a small beef cattle property, and around this time of year is castration time.
It is no big deal, round up the cows, drift them over to the neighbours’ place run the calves through the crush, put a ring on the dangly bits and drift them home.
It is a nice afternoon’s work, an excuse to go for a ride, chase some cows.. all cool
We have Murray Greys they are wonderful cattle, low maintenance, quiet and easy calving.
Did I mention quiet.
Approach cows and calves in the paddock, trying to get movement. “ Yes? Can we help you? Have you got food?” Quite eloquent looks from great lumps of ambulating beef that are prone to cease ambulating and recline.
Wander over on the Patchygrot, doing his best I AM A COW HORSE, I WILL EAT YOU walk. Cows eye him off, briefly and resume chewing cud and swapping cow gossip. A few of the naughtier calves gather in a bunch and pull faces at us.
Walk right into the midst of the mob yelling and hollering. Some of the calves skitter away, their mothers give us the occasional disgusted glance and continue whatever it was they weren’t doing.
Eventually the noise is too much and Golden Girl the herd matriarch lumbers to her feet.. gives one disgusted snort and takes off like a stripper at a billionaires convention (for the uninitiated that is very rapidly, but with lots of jiggly bits). All the other cows decide she must know something, so they too stampede, in exactly the wrong direction.
The grot and I are left standing somewhat bewildered, well I am bewildered, he is beside himself jiggling and jogging about, trying to turn himself inside out and chase twenty odd cows in seven separate directions.
We follow the stampede to where they have congregated under a tree and manage to get them moving in the right direction, and after considerable harassment have a sort of mob heading in the generally correct direction. (it is really hard to chase cows who aren’t the least bit scared of you).
Over hill and dale we go, until We have about 45 head or so moving along nicely. I stop at the house and No 2 son takes over the grot while I saddle up Rocky the wonder horse.
We take off again, with some extra help, Millie the fat lab and Midas the welsh B, who seem to have both arrived at the conclusion they want to be cattle dogs.
The cows take not much more notice of Millie than they would of any rock in the yard, but Midas is another thing.. he chases through the mob and splits it, nips at the calves and is generally a pain, Can’t even chase him off with out scattering the cows completely. He even managed to chase one old girl into the dam, where she was quite content to set up camp and stay, until No 2 and the grot went in after her.
Slowly, oh so slowly we approach the gate to the yards, the first cow sticks her head in… and midas screams, leaps and takes possession of the gateway, daring all comers. Fortunately the cows are so quiet they don’t run, just stare, but neither are they stupid enough to try and get past that maniac animal..
I then remember the magic horseman’s words, and whispered something to the effect of “dear pony, please leave the portal, for the sake of my sanity and your continued good health” never having heard such words the feral little shite decided discretion was the better part of valour and backed off, only to hang round the outside of the yards and terrify the calves as we drafted them into the race.
Didn’t take long to finish, let the cows out, and, without a word of a lie, by the time we had shut the gates, mounted up and started moving the cows were nearly back in their own paddocks.. by the time we got to the house, there was no sign of the feral monster who was covered in cow dung and dust, instead I am greeted by a perfumed and pomaded pony having his main braided and feet polished. I couldn’t even murder him as Miss Curls was watching.
On the great side, Rocky went very well, is learning a lot, and we even managed a canter or two..
(C) 2015 Terry Maher