Dishes done . . . cats fed . . . kids bundled up . . . laundry started . . . ready to leave . . . what have I forgotten?
Oh, crud, I forgot to feed hay. And here I am in my heels again. Shoot.
(I swear I didn't plan it, but Saturday I found myself in a hurry, on the haystack yet again, in heels.)
But wait, what's that noise?
Right there across the manger from me was a strange beast. Not the normal, fat, red or black beef cows, like this little lady --
-- but a black and white, rangy bull, like this one:
(Original photo stolen from these guys)
An interloper, a Holstein bull who had somehow gotten into Dad's pasture. Meaner than Leona Helmsley, but with nicer features. He was making the most gawddawful throat rumble you ever heard, and staring right at me. Not interested in the bevy of lady cows at his disposal, not interested in the tasty hay I was throwing him. Just crabby.
Also? He had a goiter. Or something.
"Knock knock," I announced as I walked into my parents' house a few minutes later. "We're here, we're ready to go." Dad came down the hallway to get his jacket. "Oh, and Dad?" I asked. "Do you know you have a Holstein bull with a huge goiter in the east pasture?"
"No?" Dad was perplexed.
"Well, you do. He must have crossed a neighbor's fence. Did I mention the goiter? He has a goiter, or a tumor, or something. He's not the least bit happy about it." Can't say I blame the poor guy.
Later that day I helped Dad cut the bull from the rest of the herd, along with another smaller bull who was an apparent break-in accomplice. When I say "helped" I am referring to my aborted attempt to stay in the corral and hold the gate for the bull. Really, I was there for moral support. Also, I need to work on my clambering-over-the-manger-without-losing-a-boot skills.
Had my camera batteries not died I would have gotten video, complete with sound, of the snotty Holstein bull. His bellows and growls were constant, threatening and weird, and he spent most of his time -- a full day, as it turned out -- not just pawing the ground, but actually throwing dirt up and around in a circle, raining it down on his own head. He apparently liked it.
"Sparky, you've just seen the most dangerous animal you'll ever encounter outside a zoo," I told my little girl. "You don't need to be afraid of sharks or mountain lions or anything -- just this guy," I said, pointing at the bull, who was glaring at us through the fence, head lowered, hooves throwing dirt on himself.
"Him?" she asked.
Well, holstein bulls, specifically, I thought. More generally, young males in the wrong place at the wrong time with nothing productive to do and a bad attitude. And the goiter didn't help, I'm sure.
"You're not afraid of sharks?"
*"More" refers to tomorrow's post at my other blog, Reasonably Educated Bumpkins. It's about our trip to the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale and there are photos of real live bulls! Or, there will be, once I get them off my camera. Make sure to stop by over there tomorrow.