Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Farm Living - Not for the Faint-Hearted!


I wanted to brag the other day how I efficiently had cows do the right thing and eat grass in peace without having to use weapons (sticks).

I stood in front of a cow when she wanted to move into forbidden areas (across the 'line') and she stared into me a bit. I talked to her calmly and told her how the grass was better in the other direction etc.
Then, I winked at her and motioned with my head 'Let's go back', and WOW! she moved away together with me.

I'm a complete NEWBIE at pasturing and having cows behave, I just remember enjoying their company as a kid on a few holidays at Grandma's!
(And I hate all forms of violence! On kids or cows or any animals..)

The good cows were quite great company.

One was quite 'wild' though, jumped across the wire (that didn't have any electricity in it) and then jumped back when I ran after her.
(And did you know cows could be LESBIAN without the 'boys' around?! And the bulls could go gay, totally! I was quite amazed at Uncle's stories!)

The cows behaved, pretty much... They were MUCH calmer than when I first ran up from the blackberry destruction!

Dad was running after them with a stick, and they were running away from him!

Dad later said he's scared of the cows a bit (?!) and wouldn't dare to step ahead of one, lol!
He used a stick and that only made them more 'crazy', so I tried to use none, and it worked, pretty much...

You know, young cows don't really know how to behave on a pasture in peace. How to walk in the grass, in steep terraine.. They get scared of airplanes or tractors or funny noises..
The trick is to talk to them calmly and stay calm..

So that's why Dad and I were helping Uncle to teach the cows how to be ladylike in a pasture. The first day was a wild success!!

The second day, anything but.

On day One, we laughed a lot!

The really funny thing was, I tried to 'feel' with a grass blade if there was any electricity in the wire yet, and I didn't feel any. I looked around, and all three cows were curiously trying to 'feel' the wire too!

And got 'hit' by electricity!

They jumped and ran away!
I think they held it against me a bit, but stayed away from the wire ever since!

The fourth young Miss only ventured outside later, and the fifth one didn't dare to go outside at all!

So next time Dad tried to 'encourage her' a bit too strongly!

Uncle said he had a cow that only went to the next cow's 'suite' the first day, to the other end of the stable the next day, and only ventured outside on day Three.
I wish we let this cow do the same.

On Day Two, we encouraged her outside, Uncle and I patted her a bit and tried to talk her into moving outside and then over an obstacle.

Dad said, 'I'll scare her' and he did.
She went out to the green, and even ate some grass.

Then she ventured too far. And the electric wire hit her.

She went into a wrong direction.

I thought to encourage her elsewhere, like the other cows, but it didn't work - it misfired. (Maybe slapping my jeans at the same time was a big mistake?!)

She went 'wild' and got scared, managed to get herself into a tiniest of openings, and ran into the woods and broke a leg.
If you know anything about big animals, this is REALLY bad news.

I swore never to try to get young cows who don't know how to graze into rain again!

It was like cowboys, like Animal Rescue - from a canyon! Like in a film, but it was for real! And raining all over. I wondered how she'd get out of that ditch alive?! But she did.

Alive wasn't enough though.

I wanted to heal her and remembered movies where a loving owner could heal the horse's leg, but I was told this only happenes very rarely.

Today we got the meat home, and luckily Uncle could find enough customers so he won't have to suffer too much of a loss - the vet and the service of slaughtering a cow (even when it's slaughtered at home!) are QUITE costly!

We didn't get everything back (like the inner parts of the cow, and the skin, etc) I wonder what is done with those? Are they just thrown away?
At least this is better than throwing the whole cow away - which is exactly what is done with somewhat ill or just older animals that wouldn't get a good enough price to even cover the costs! - I suppose they're all burnt in an incinerator, after the skin is taken away?! It's CHEAPER to burn then make tests and use the meat for food!

This cow was perfectly healthy, and the meat was of excellent quality, but Uncle would only get 10% of the cost of slaughtering officially if he sold it to the usual buyers. Luckily, the rest of the family and some neighbours and acquaintances decided to buy meat. Otherwise, he'd be forced to give the cow a 'lullaby' and have her taken away...

In an economic crisis like this, I wonder how sane it is to just throw food away?

This was a sad occasion for all.. (I couldn't sleep after it happened, neither could Dad or Uncle! We were all sad and sorry for what happened.. And feeling terribly guilty!)
At least it turned into an occasion of family support and celebration.. (Customers need to be celebrated, no? Aunt brought goodies!)
I didn't want to help out today, but someone had too.. Luckily, cousin, Dad and Mum did most of the work.. (I still can't handle meat!) This ex-vegetarian did her part though! Mostly I cooked tea and charmed customers.. ;)

All in all, a real farm girl must learn to handle all situations... /sigh/
Uncle hinted he'd like the young cows to go grazing again, but I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to help out again...? (Or if it's a wise idea??)
Not sure who else would help though?

Or where a school for shepardesses is??!!


  1. i love your blog it is so inspiring!

  2. I grew up on a farm i Europe and it always made me so sad when you couldn't "fix" an animal if it got hurt :(

  3. haha. I don't think I can ever live on a farm... not big on cows or hay.. though I always envy how beautiful it would be to live on a farm in summer :D

    yeah I thought about making ride pudding from scratch... but it's a bit more work hahaha I like natural food over frozen but I have been trying to make hot coconut rice tapiocas! :D

  4. Thank you Femke! :)

    Mrs Misadventure - WOW, you got to grow up on a farm!! :) So lucky!
    I wish I could too.. (Well, maybe I wouldn't be so fascinated with it all now..?)

    PopChampagne, lol! Cows are cute, I actually prefer sheep and goats though cause they're so cute!! And fresh hay smells so nicely.. Have you ever smelled it?

    Summer is time of most hay-making so sometimes it can be hard work too.. (At least for us city slickers.. sort of..)

    WOW! Hot coconut rice tapiocas - sounds interesting! Do post a recipe/tutorial!
    I try to stay away from any extra rubbish, especially what cannot be recycled, and since PP yogurt containers and such cannot be recycled here... :(

  5. Hello! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say
    I genuinely enjoy reading your articles. Can you
    suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects?
    Thanks a ton!
    Look into my web blog facebook marketing