Saturday, January 22, 2011

Open Gates

My daughters and I finally opened up the "January Field" today. We're a little late. And it has been a rough winter. All of our old animals know the January field. The new cow and her calf, however, didn't.

We had to stretch a little hot wire but first we called the animals over and opened the gate. Old cow said, "Yes," and went straight for it and buried her head in the standing mostly dead but green at the bottom grass. Donkey came and guarded the threshold until Duke made it that far. Duke moves more slowly but once he figured out why we were hollering for him, he was on his lumbering way. Donkey followed him through the gate. The calf had been hanging out behind the now open gate. She pushed it as though she was pushing it shut. New cow didn't move from where she'd been all along.

I first got in the field behind the calf and asked the calf to come out. She came around the gate but would not go through. I went to get her mom thinking the two of them together might go. I've been around cows before enough to know that when going over a threshhold, well, I've seen them all balk and balk and balk until finally one goes and then they all go like they are water flowing. These two just balked. Uh huh, no way Jose, I'm not going over there. Nothing is in their way and there is grass on the other side and also all of their field-mates are on the other side too but no.

Eventually the calf did come, at least partly because old cow is as much mother to her as new cow. Calf, by the way, is just as big as the other two now.

And to be honest, new cow probably didn't cross the threshold as much because she was born and raised on a dairy farm. Until she came here, she'd always had the same herd, always on the same farm. She's done really well but she isn't as wily as old cow who's been a homesteader all along.

As the girls and I were stretching that bit of fence and we were talking about how stupid those cows were to be doing that, I said to them, "You know girls, we can be exactly that way. We get used to an obstacle being in our way, we get used to one way of how to do things, and we'll stand at an open gate with a whole field of grass on the other side exactly like that."

We stood there a moment, taking it in and wondering what open gates we just might not be seeing.


Cynthia S. said...

Good lesson there at the end. Everyone's like that about something!

Madcap said...

Every once in a while it seems like the scales drop and I see EVERYTHING in a different light. I love that. Love this post, too.

annettelikesrain said...

Before I quite finished reading this post I was thinking, "Oh Lord, I am that cow."

Hoo boy.

CG said...

Two entire DAYS with everyone else out picking grass before she went through. The third day she finally did.

This is what I really love about life on the farm; it shows you stuff. The mirrors are everywhere, I know, but I think people mirrors are easier to dismiss. At least they are for me. But the ways the animals and the plants and the ground and the sky talk, I can hear that. I can apply that to my life.