Reliving my Childhood

My earliest childhood memories are of life on my grandparents’ farm. There were cows and pigs and chickens. Gradually, as my grandparents got older and started getting out of the farming business, the pigs disappeared. The cattle no longer belonged to my family. Instead, we leased the pasture to neighbors who grazed their cattle on it. The chickens stayed. I remember feeding them and gathering eggs well into my adolescence.

I loved the farm, but there were a few things I did not enjoy so much. Such as being “attacked” by the chickens. In actuality, I was late doing my chores and the hens were simply flying out of their roosts toward me as I entered the chicken coop with their dinner. But the dust and feathers and the smell stuck with me.

I also have less than pleasant memories of being awakened early in the morning to my mother’s shouts of “the cows are out.” They may not have been our cows, but we still had to herd them back. In case you don’t know anything about cattle, let me just clue you in. They generally will not go back in the hole they came out of. Nor will they go through the gate you have opened. Instead, they will panic and create a NEW hole in the fence to get back to their herd.

This weekend, I’ve been revisiting my childhood memories on several levels. Our friends and neighbors, who own Nikki and Admiral along with the local farm market, are away on vacation and I am tending to the critters. There are the horses, but there are also dogs, cats, fish, cattle, and chickens. I’m feeding them all. Just call me the critter sitter. As repayment I get to keep any eggs the chickens lay this week. They’ve been very generous so far and none of them have attacked me. The rooster who bruised my shins during my last stint as farm sitter is GONE. I had nothing to do with it. He’s just gone. Let’s leave it at that.

Then, yesterday, as I walked over to my mom’s to visit, I spotted another neighbor’s cows in Mom’s yard. Five of them. It was perfect timing because that neighbor happened be out looking for his missing bovine and spotted them about the same time I did. With childhood memories flashing through my head, I helped them attempt to get the cattle back in. Three of them actually went back through the open gate between our properties. The last two did as I recall so many stupid cows doing and tried unsuccessfully to jump the fence, instead ripping it from the posts and creating a new hole to patch.

Hubby and I located the break in the fence where the bovine Houdinis had gotten out. It’s on our property, which means we have some fence fixing to do. Cows may not be bright enough to go back in the same hole they got out, but they always manage to circle around and find that hole to escape from again.


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