For The Love of Cattle

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Going way back as far as I can remember I’ve always been a “farm girl”.  I swear it’s in my DNA, my best memories are almost all of growing up on our farm, out playing and exploring.  

When I was really young I loved going down the hill to the cattle yards and just sitting and visiting with the cattle.  In the second yard there’s a slab of cement outside the east side of the auger shed that I would sit and let my feet dangle into the yard, I could just sit for ages it would seem.  Often the cattle would get so used to me that the occasional head would eventually let me pet them.

I remember being in high school, being heart broken over one of Kirk and my breakups and going down behind that shed and sitting with the cattle.  Crying and smoking.  

Often I’d walk out to the far yards and walk the cement feed yard bunks, sit in the bunks and visit with the cattle.  More often then not they’d get so used to me that they wouldn’t run off when I’d walk out to visit.

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When we were young and the occasional feedlot calf would be born dad would give one of Brother and the next would be Sister and mine.  Brother’s always survived, Sister and I always would up killing ours off in no time.  Apparently if you leave the milk jugs down in the pen and only bring it to the house hours later to rinse out and fill again, calves will get sick and die.  Wonder why mom and dad were always chewing Sister and I out about our way of feeding our calves.  

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We had two lots of cattle that were fed via auger, with silage and corn from the two blue upright silos.  I loved going down to the auger shed to help feed. Usually I’d go sit out on the slab to watch the cattle come up to eat, sometimes dad would let me push the big buttons running the silage and corn out of the silos or to run the augers.  He’d always let me help sweep.  

When we were feeding at the shed, if dad was in the right mood, he’d humor me with his made up “Indian Rain Dance”!  On occasion we can still get him to do it, it’s a rare treat!  The far yards were fed with the tractor and feed wagon.  I was in the 3rd or 4th grade when dad out let me stand in front of the seat, between his legs, and run the steering wheel.  In time he let me run the throttle, then the PTO to start the wagon.  When I was younger I’d walk the bunks before him and throw out anything that wasn’t feed in the bunks, eventually I got good enough for dad to walk the bunks while I fed. That had to have been the best part!  I was never allowed to run the loader tractor and fill the wagon though.  

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When I was really little we had some feeder pigs.  They were kept out in a pen in the middle of the field on the south side of the road.  My cousin Britton and I would ask if we could walk out to see the pigs.  The folks would say yes but we were to stay along the grass water way and stay our of the corn or we’d get lost and never be found and to stay out of the pig yard, pigs would bite and we could get hurt and we would be too far away for anyone to hear us scream.

Britton and I were younger than 10, we were no longer feeding pigs by that time.  No idea how our parents could let us go unattended and just trust us being we were so young.  Way before cell phones!  

Britton and I would head out, walking in the grass water way as we were told, and we’d fiddle around in the corn field, don’t remember ever not being able to find our way out again with ease.  We’d get out to the pen, climb through the barb wire fence, we’d climb onto the huts and play, we’d go into the huts with the pigs.  They must have realized we were really stupid, never had one take us, as memory serves.

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Growing up, it was normal for us to decide to go out for awhile and just walk around the fence line around either of the fields at the home place.  We’d be gone for hours, no phone, no radio, just walking in the silence and peace of the day.    Our folks were not helicopter parents.  Don’t recall a time anyone ever came out looking for us.  Can you imagine how many kids would do that of their own free will now and to leave all the gadgets at the house?  Times have most definitely changed.  

Peace!

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