Tag Archives: farm animals

“Boy cows.”

20 Sep

A few weekends ago, our old friend Josh came to visit the dairy. Amongst his many other wonderful traits and skills (sorry, ladies, he’s taken), Josh knows how to film and edit video.  As someone who just discovered the panoramic setting on my normal camera, this skill always amazes me. Josh makes informational videos for his adorable nieces. What a guy. And really, all kiddos should know about cows.

Josh made two videos, a “boy cow” version and a “girl cow” version, the former of which you can view below. There’s no such thing as a boy cow (it’s either a steer or a bull), but that’s how Josh introduced them to his little nieces. It’s an easier transition. Anyhoo. The Dairy Man was running late for the tour that day, so I’m the star …er… narrator of the video. My information is almost always correct—not bad for a gal who didn’t know an iota about farming until she met her Dairy Man.

As I explain, steers are male cows raised for beef. They differ from bulls in that they don’t have the parts necessary to perform bull-ish duties. We have a bunch of steers just up the hill from our house; they enjoy leering at us and mooing… all the time.


So, without further ado, enjoy this brief video introducing you to the dapper gentlemen on the dairy: the steers. They are incredibly friendly and love to lick things. And people. And cameras.

(*Disclaimer, after watching this video, the Dairy Man informed me that the steers are more like 15-18 months old. Not two years. Close, but no cigar.)

Moo.

A family of three.

26 Jul

I am the best wife ever. No, really.

A battle has been gently raging in our home for several months now. In one corner: a Dairy Man who wants a dog. In the other: a modern farm wife who doesn’t.

Until recently, the battle was at a complete standstill. In a marriage, if one person wants a dog but the other doesn’t, you really can’t get a dog.  You can’t just come home with a puppy one day and say, “Don’t worry, honey. He won’t affect your life at all.” It’s like having a kid. Both parents need to be on board.

And I was SO not on board.

Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs. I like petting other people’s dogs. I like playing fetch with other people’s dogs. I like taking other people’s dogs for walks. But I especially like sending the dog home with those other people.

Maybe it’s because I’ve never had a pet in my entire life, other than Jewel the 15-cent fish who only lived for 36 hours and a certain barn cat named Shadow. I’ve certainly never taken care of anything large or furry that might pee on the kitchen floor. I don’t have the foggiest idea how to care for a “real” pet. And yes, I’m the girl living on a 300+ cow dairy.

For a while, the Dairy Man and agreed to disagree. But after a while, his arguments started to get more convincing than mine.

MFW: I ‘m gone from the house for at least 12 hours every day! I don’t have the time to care for a dog or give it attention.
DM: We live on a farm! I can take him with me to work and check on him all day. He won’t ever be cooped up for too long.

MFW: I love my shoes and I don’t love cleaning urine off the carpet.
DM: The dog could live outside or in one of the barns! He/she wouldn’t ever have to come in the house.

MFW: It will be like having a baby.
DM: I don’t want a baby. I do want a dog. Besides you can’t teach a baby to herd cows.

The more the Dairy Man stepped up to take responsibility, the more my resolve weakened. So I made a decision. The Dairy Man’s birthday was in a few short days and I had the perfect gift. A little research found me a breeder. And a few deep, cleansing breaths later, I was ready. That’s how we ended up weaving through country roads on a Friday night looking for Baird Farm Kennels. The Dairy Man had no idea where I was taking him, but he was beyond excited when I told him, “You get to pick out your puppy!”

One million wife points earned instantly.

The Dairy Man made a connection and thirty minutes later we were on the way back north with a puppy in tow.

This is Jersey. He is a 10 week old Border Collie puppy with a sweet disposition and the cutest little crooked tail.

We tossed around a lot of names, but somehow “Jersey” stuck. Jersey like the cow, of course. (For all of you dairyites: yes, “Holstein” would have been more accurate name due to his coloring, but Jersey is a much cuter name. And we’re all about being cute.)

For now, Jersey will sleep in the kitchen. When he’s a little bigger we will turn him into a rough and tumble outdoor-lovin’, cow-wranglin’ canine. The Dairy Man will take him to work, slowly introduce him to cows (he is terrified of them at the moment), and become best friends.

Not to toot my own horn, but this may have been one of the Dairy Man’s best birthdays. And since the actual day is today, allow me to give a shout out to the DM:

Happy birthday, babe! Thank you for your encouragement, your strength, and your love. I love you and I love our new family. And I’m even starting to love the cows.

(Ps: check out the steers in the background of this picture!)

Multiplication.

15 Jun

A look outside my kitchen window this morning revealed this sight:

If you have been following my blog, you know that I have one cat. Only one. His name is Shadow and he’s my friend.

These two sheepish looking creatures are not my friends. But apparently Cat/Shadow has been socializing around the neighborhood and decided to bring some buddies over for breakfast.

Darn him.

On the upside, these two new cats are skittish and seem to have no desire to dart past my legs into the house every time I walk out the door. I wish I could say the same for a black feline who shall remain nameless. Once, he made it all the way to our living room before I was able to catch him!

So. Apparently math on the dairy works in an exponential fashion. One friendly cat + a bowl of food = three cats. I just hope the three musketeers are content with their clique (and feel no romantic inclination towards each other); otherwise I may find myself spending a fortune on cat food…

My Shadow.

12 Apr

I would be remiss to discuss my life on the farm without mentioning the cat.

Though the Dairy Man long ago dubbed this black ball of fur “Shadow” because he followed me around like a bedraggled puppy, I am just as likely to call him by his original name: “Cat.”

Cat came into our lives when we moved into our first house after getting married. The previous owners mentioned that there was a black cat that occasionally lived in the barn. For the first several weeks, we didn’t see a hair of him. But the Dairy Man saw signs of life near the barn, so he started leaving food out to see if he could coax the feline out of hiding.

To make a long story short, the cat showed up. He started eating our food. And, much to my chagrin, the Dairy Man kept moving his bowl closer and closer to our house. It’s not that I don’t like cats, but once this cat was our friend, he was our friend. He was waiting outside the door to terrify/trip me at 6:30 a.m. when I left for work. He came bounding from the trees whenever my car pulled into the driveway and would follow/trip me up the steps to the house and try to sneak in the door behind me. If I didn’t get out of my car quickly enough, he would sit directly outside the door and meow incessantly. Once he even climbed on to the hood of my car and put his paws on the windshield as if to say, “GET OUT AND FEED ME.” He was constantly annoying me, tripping me, terrifying me, meowing at me, or staring at me. People would tell me, “It’s not a big deal, he’s just being friendly.” But I knew he was evil. Those beady eyes followed my every move. I was a prisoner in my own house. Dairy Man affectionately called him Shadow. I indignantly called him “Dangitcat!”

Then, for no reason other than to distract him from my legs, I started feeding him. I discovered that if there was food in his bowl, he would leave me alone and I could walk to the house in peace. This discovery brought a level of begrudging tolerance to our relationship. I even started making him earn his supper—no food would be poured until he rubbed against my legs to acknowledge his subordinate role and gratitude.

Thus was my fatal mistake. Cat started to like me. I started to like Cat. I vehemently denied this fact to family and friends, but Cat had started to weasel his way into my heart.

A few months after I married the Dairy Man, we moved to a new (our current) house ON the dairy farm. We faced a dilemma: to take the cat or not to take the cat? On one hand, he was 100 percent an outside cat. People saw him all over the neighborhood. This was his turf, his home. We fed him, but he was perfectly able to fend for himself. Would he be happy on the new farm?

We feared he would try to run away from the new house, exposing his furry self to cars, cougars, and getting lost, so we left him. But out of guilt, I kept going back to the old house to feed him. I couldn’t leave him alone. So, one dark night, the Dairy Man catnapped our feline and brought him clawing and squawking to the dairy.

Since then, Cat has adjusted well. He appears to be the leader of a small group of wayward barn kitties and is seen all over the farm, as evidenced below:

Cat by the sliding door (watching us eat dinner):

Cat looking in the kitchen window:

Cat in the barn:

Cat has been here (poor car):

All of his creepiness aside, I’m glad that Shadow and I have worked out our differences. I might even like him just a little bit. But shhh, don’t tell.

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