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Out to Pasture

There are a couple of aging cows on the farm, numbers 049 and 005 are the oldest. Both are in excellent health, there's nothing to worry about, but I worry anyway. The issue is; Can they withstand a harsh winter?

A couple of years ago the winter was severe. One of the cows, 9143 slipped on the ice during a storm that started with freezing rain and ended in fifteen inches of thunder snow. We made a skid to bring her into the barn where she was blanketed, tube fed, and, using a hip hoist lifted onto her feet. Every hour she was raised up for ten – fifteen minutes, then flipped onto the opposite side from the one she'd been laying on for the previous hour. The vet said her age was working against her. In the end she didn't recover.

Garrett joined me on my walk out to the pasture. On the downward slope of the hillside he noticed the slight limp in my gait. “What's up with your leg?”

“It isn't my leg, it's my stupid butt muscle. I pulled it planting bulbs.” Earlier in the day I'd transplanted shrubs, tilled an area in front of the house and planted one hundred-fifty tulip and daffodil bulbs. It was a great effort which was ruined by turkeys, ducks, and dogs digging up the bulbs and scattering them. It will be a great surprise if any make it until springtime.

The single strand of electric fencing was moved aside so the cattle could graze the next paddock in the rotation. “Despite their ages 005 and 049 are moving well. They could give some of the younger cows a good run.”

“Why wouldn't they move as well?” Asked Garrett.

“They're getting old. They'll be fourteen this winter, which is old for a cow.”

“Oh. Hey mom, that reminds me - did you know that of all the kids in my class you're the oldest mom.”


“Yeah, you're the oldest. Me, Brian, and Colten were talking about how old our parents are. You're the oldest.

“It's Brian, Colten and I, by the way. And, your dad's older than I am.”

“Yeah, but he's not the oldest dad, but you're the oldest mom.”

Damn. Throwing Keith's age into the mix didn't help me. “Great. Thanks for sharing, Garrett.”

“The guys like you, they were just surprised that you're so old.”

“Don't you have anything else to do? Maybe you should spend time taking that enormous size fourteen foot out of your mouth.”

“Are you mad?”

“No, I just need muscle cream, aspirin, and Botox along with a good geriatrics program. Then I'll be fine.” Subtle sarcasm is lost on a sixteen year old boy.

“The cows look good, mom. I don't think they'll have a problem this winter. I'm going back to the house, are you coming?”

“No. You run ahead. I'm going around the field then I'll head up the lane.” I didn't want him to see me limping along. These 'old bones' need time to heal before they can kick that sixteen year old's a**.

Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth. - Peter Ustinov

The saving grace for the cows; their calves will be weaned soon and calves can't talk. My son's going to be here for a while, a long, long while. It's a blessing and a curse.


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