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Posts Tagged ‘cow’


In our little corner of country, it’s tough to go anywhere this time of year and not see wisps of animal hair floating along behind someone on the street or in the corner mercantile. It HAS to be spring, because all the animals are letting go their warm, winter coats.

 

Springtime shedding, and animal hair is everywhere -- on jeans, in coat pockets, wallets, cars....

Each day that I brush buckets of red hair from my horse, Callie – I’m certain that’s the end of the shedding. Next day, still more clogs my brush and floats to the ground.

Sometimes Callie stretches out her neck and sort of licks or smacks her lips as I brush her: Horse folk say that “lip thing” is a sign the horse likes the feel of what you’re doing. Similar to our, “Oh, that feels SO good,” response to a good back-scrath or back rub.

Callie scratches her own back when she gets the chance: If turned out in the sandy arena, her routine  includes sniffing out the right spot (rather like a dog does before bedding down). Then she: kneels; plops down the rest of her 1,200 pounds; rolls onto her back; twists, rubs, scratches; rolls to her side; heaves herself up; and repeats the exercise a second time.

This week, I counted seven-in-a-row repeats of the go-down, roll-around, get-up moves. Oh how all that dead hair must itch! Shedding’s not the only sign spring is nigh. Critters in every corner of every pasture are pushing hard at the fences preventing them from nibbling the fresh shoots of grass on the other side. If their earnest desire for green

Spring's first blades of grass. Horses pull at lead ropes to grab a bite; sheep squeeze heads between fence rails; steers lean into fences -- all enraptured by the green.

actually takes a fence down, well the cattle, sheep, goats don’t go far: They’re too busy eating. But fence repair, especially done when it’s still raining and muddy, can try the patience of ranchers.

Then there’s the newness of all the animal babies. Newborns trying to navigate on spindly legs is one of the most touching, and sometimes comical, of sights. Adjacent to the long drive leading to Callie’s barn, is a sort of “birthing” pasture. When calving time approaches, the owners move their cows into this more hospitable, grassy area.

Spring is here, as witnessed by bursts of yellow daffodils roadside. Animal babies by the dozen are another clue. Not more than an hour old, this calf attempts to rise as his mother licks him dry. The little guy is so brand new, the umbilical cord is still attached.

Last week a red calf arrived. Mostly, I saw it nursing, sleeping, and, I think perhaps — hoping Mom would not graze far, so he didn’t have to struggle to get up on those darn things called legs again. This week, I spent time on Callie not really riding anywhere, instead simply watching that calf and marveling at Mother Nature.

Yesterday, I was blessed to be near at hand moments after a black calf was born. Several times, it almost wobbled up. Its mother, intent on licking away the afterbirth, sort of toppled it back down with the strength of her tongue. The now “big-brother” red calf appeared to be completely taken with the whole operation. If not today, I bet tomorrow the two calves will be gamboling about.

As I was clicking my camera off, I felt like I was being watched. I figured someone riding in the far arena was straining to see the calf, too. I turned to look. Staring back at me, or through me, from behind his fence was a very broad and sturdy black bull. The proud papa perhaps?

The high-pitched chant of blue jays and screech of hawks and falcons was with us all winter. Now birdsong is with us again between rain storms. Soon the challenge will be to keep the cats away from the nests and fledglings.

It will be a gold-star day when the first red-breasted Robin shows itself. I couldn’t honestly say if I heard it somewhere or made it up: I always feel like Robins bring good luck.

Maybe one or two of the does that frequent our “neighborhood” of woods and meadows will have a Bambi of her own. If they’ll just stay away from my roses when they start to bud and bloom – all will be well.

Tonight we move the clocks forward into daylight savings time. The timing all sees right.

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