a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Not As Innocent As They Look

Sweet bovine face, right!
  They are not as sweet as they look.

For years we did not have a milk cow because we were on the road, working construction with Dad.  Mom and Dad had them in earlier years but by the time I came along, things had changed a little.

Our first milk cow, that I can remember, was Patsy.  She was a sweety pie.  We bought her from a blind lady, Annie Battles, that had trained her from a baby.  All you had to do was hold out her halter and Patsy would put her head in it and could be led anywhere. Patsy was a mix of milking breeds with a little Angus thrown in and was a lovely chocolate color.

Number one rule, that I chose to ignore, was don't ride the cattle.  If the milk cow is upset, she doesn't give as much milk.  If a steer is ridden, he loses weight.

Patsy was my confidence builder.  I would bring her from pasture each morning and night to milk.  She gave lots of milk and supplied all our family with sweet milk, butter and buttermilk with curd for the chickens and pig.  Patsy even produced enough that we had a truck pick up a can of milk every other day.  That girl was a milker!

Where we fed her was just below the opening in the loft.  There was a ladder up to the loft, you climbed up, busted a square bale and dropped some down for her.  Come back down and continue with the chore of milking.  I never became the expert at milking that Mom and Dad were.  They had milked many cows in their life time.  This was my first and became my last.

I soon lost my job as milking since I could not coax the volume of milk that Mom and Dad could.  I was demoted to the cow herder and feeder. 

I discovered, as any child does if left at something long enough, how to make life more fun.  There was a big beam close to the ladder that you could swing down on and reach the ground quicker.  I also discovered that if I would swing harder, I could straddle the cow.  Patsy did not mind, but there were complaints that some days her milk production varied oddly.  I never told and neither did Patsy, but I did stop riding her.

Not long after that, Patsy had a calf, and I, for the life of me, cannot remember his name. Not important, the important thing is to remember the rules...Don't ride the cattle.

He was cut very young and was a yard dog headed for the freezer.  We were very good friends.  He was confined to a lot with grass and feed.  As I mentioned, yard dog!  You could scratch him all over, pet him, do just about anything and he was good with that.

I had been to rodeos and always admired the bull riders. I am probably seven years old during this time.  I have and have always had an active mind.  You may have already guessed...I am gonna ride!  Forget that rule, no one will ever know, hop on and ride!  He's gentle, he's loving, I have ridden his mama, why not him?

I would like to point out a cow has nothing to hold onto.  Those bull riders had rigging, something I had not thought about...hey, I am only seven, can't think of everything.

I straddled that boy and settled my seat and I swear that is the last thing I remember until I was looking up from the ground with this big steer standing over me as if to say, you crossed the line, ole girl.  He nuzzled me.  Thank goodness, he did not stomp me, how would I ever explain that?

No confessions from me but I suspect Dad was watching because later at supper, he asked, "You do know that you can't ride the steer, don't you?"


Nezzy said...

It's amazing that any of us grew into adulthood. We had a hay loft such as you describe complete with ladder an all. I would push the hay through the hole them jump into the hay. I really don't know what prevented broken bones. Ya, know though, we were never~~ever board!

Have a sweet day Gail and I will continue to lift you up in prayer.

Heart of a Cowgirl said...

Oh, that gave me a good laugh this morning! Gotta love an adventurous little cowgirl. :)

MysticFish said...

Gail.. that is hilarious.. and I do wonder sometimes about things that we did as kids.. It is amazing sometimes to me that I am still here!

~Tonia said...

Lol that reminds me of the time my brother and i listened to my Nana tella story about her and her sister throwing chicken eggs in the barn... So you know the next time we go to check the eggs what do we do?? Ah yes We throw the chicken eggs... Then realize we have a few eggs to take back to the house. So we say there werent very many eggs... Daddy comes home does chore snad comes back to the house very Angry!! Eggs are splattered all over the walls.... We looked really guilty and were in DEEP trouble..
great story I really dont know how any of us survive childhood!!LOL

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! What a rich and interesting childhood you lived. :)


Rudee said...

What a great story, Gail. I hope your back is feeling better today.

Journaling Woman said...

I'm with Nezzy. With some of the things I did growing up, I'm not sure how I survived. Funny story.

Mel said...

Hi Gail, Thanks for the bit of laughter & also bringing back alot of childhood memories... I'm tellin' ya what, there is nothing like being a cowgirl, brought up on homemade fun, boredom does not fit into our vocabulary.

Take care of that back.

Blessings, Mel

allhorsestuff said...

Oh so funny! I am smiling and chuckling away GAIL! I wish i could hear you say "Don't ride the cattle!". Your poppa was so sweet to not convict you on the spot..he wanted to spare you from trying again- on that Steer!

DesertHen said...

Great story! I had a good chuckle at lunch....thanks for sharing.

Brenda said...

I enjoyed reading this Gail. I often wonder what life on the farm would be like. It is a daydream I have often. My grandparents raised cotton in the bootheel area of Mo. If they had animals I don't recall. They had chickens and cats and dogs and horses, but I have no memory of the horses. The farm I grew up on was a tree and flower nursery, but I call it a farm because of all the land and we always had a huge vegetable garden. So hearing your story about your cows was fun for me. Take care!

An English Shepherd said...

Nice tail, glad you were OK

Wizz :-)

Gramma Ann said...

I didn't grow up on a farm, I moved on to a farm after marriage, so I was old enough by then to know not to ride the cows,

However, my kids were raised on the farm, and they like you, tried everything. One day I looked out the kitchen window, and there they were up on the barn roof walking the rig roll. Of course, I just kept quiet and watched to see if I would have to call the rescue squad, as they were called in those days. But, the kids did just fine, got down and went on about whatever they were doing.

I enjoyed reading about your antics today.

Pyatshaw said...

Great story. I also wonder how my brothers and I survived. We had a single rope swing above the court where the bull was--and I'm talking dairy bull--ferocious beast, built tunnels in the hay bales, rode on the tractor mudguards, stood on the moving trailers without holding on---all without a safety harness or a hard hat!!!

ellen abbott said...

Oh, what a great story Gail.

achieve1dream said...

This had me cracking up!! ROFLOL!!

Vickie said...

What a funny story Gail! I can just see that clear as day. I got to ride a young steer a few times when I was a kid. My daddy put me up on him in a rodeo arena and I held on for dear life to his ears! Didn't take but a minute for him to take off running and leave me in the dirt!

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

What an adorable story! It brought back memories of my farm days. I never did learn to milk well. Try as I might I never got a technique down. I still love the smell of hay and miss those days. What a great childhood you must have had. Your Dad sounds like he must gotten a kick out of your first bull ride! :)

Pat said...

Gosh it IS a wonder that you lived to be an adult! I bet you have a whole LOT of stories you can share with us about your daredevil days! I bet you were full of piss and vinegar! In fact, I think you STILL are, when I hear some of the pranks you pull on your husband, you naughty girl, you!

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