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?"