This time of year, the cows cross the road into a section of land we call Harry's. This is actually a field we crop, and also has some grass rows and tree rows. It provides excellent fall grazing on grasses and crop stubble. The only problem is that this field does not have any running water. So, this means that the cows feed during the day on Harry's, then at night they come back home where they have access to the watering fountains in the corral. In the morning, they are lined up at the gate, ready to go across to Harry's, and in the evening, they're lined up at the gate on Harry's ready to come back across to home. Back and forth, every day, they do this routine. This morning, it fell upon me to go to Tom and Carol's house to let the cows across the road into Harry's.
I got to the house about 8:00 a.m. By this time, a group of cows were already lined up at the gate ready to go feed.
|Cows dot the feeding pasture, and some were already lined up at the gate to go to Harry's.|
|Sweetgrass Hills in the background. Such a lovely view from this spot.|
|You lookin' at me?|
|The last stragglers.|
The final step was closing the gate to Harry's. I had never actually closed this gate before, or any gate with a crank closure, in fact. But, with a little over-the-phone help from Tom, I figured out the mechanics of securing the gate. Morning mission accomplished! The whole event took about 40 minutes.
As I was handling the herd on my own this morning, I couldn't help thinking about my job. Specifically, working with my group of Eighth Graders. These are the kids who continually have behavior issues in school, low grades, oppositional behaviors, etc. It's my job to help them raise their self esteem, teach them social skills, and generally how to be better citizens. We have a weekly group session-- me and five of these kids. I get asked sometimes how I can handle them on my own, how it is that they don't drive me crazy or run all over me. Things like that. "How do you do it?!"
See, working with cows, I have learned that you have to give them some space. You have to be gentle, calm, and above all, respect their movements, preferences, and tendencies. Cows are big, big animals, and they can't be controlled with fear or violence. If you're confident and respectful toward them, they'll likely do as you'd like. The best thing to do is to encourage them on the path they'd like to take anyway, and be positive. If I can handle 100+ large cows, then a group of five Eight Graders should be a breeze. Above all, treat them with respect.
Getting back to why I was doing this all on my own this morning anyway. Jeff and his buddy Jeremy and his wife Jacynta were out hunting for deer this morning, so Jeff asked if I'd be comfortable doing this cow chore. This was totally fine with me, in fact. And where were Tom and Carol? Well, they had a pretty good reason for being gone...
And, just for fun, I present you with these punny images:
Have a great weekend, everybody!