Monday, October 4, 2010

Look out Jim, 1 Cow Out

I was born in Toronto, on a lovely treed street in Moore Park called Inglewood Drive.  From age 4 to 18, I grew up on a farm in Nashville, Ontario.  Our postal code was L0J 1C0, which I remembered with the words Look Out Jim 1 Cow Out.  Moving to Nashville was my father's idea.  I don't remember being consulted, but then doubt that I was consulted on too many things back then.  Looking back, I can honestly say that growing up on a farm had some real benefits.  However, I can't really imagine how my life would have turned out if I had grown up in the city.  For most of the time while we lived in Nashville we had animals on our farm.  We started off with Black Angus beef cattle, which were later replaced with the Charolais breed.  At one time we actually raised a calf in our basement.  I think it's mom died giving birth and we brought it into the basement to keep it warm and so that we could feed it.  Well before we realized it this calf had grown into a cow.  It was embarrassing when we would have dinner guests, only to have to explain the mooing, not to mention the smells wafting from the basement.  Although our basement dweller became quite domesticated, getting him up the basement stairs proved to be quite a challenge.  Ultimately, he ended up in the freezer and then on the dining room table.  We also had chickens, goats, dogs, cats, Guinea pigs, gerbils, fish and rabbits.  I tended to prefer the smaller animals to the cows.  Cows seemed to be a lot of unpaid work, and they were unbelievably stupid and not very cooperative.  They also created tons of manure, which we (7 farm labourers, otherwise known as kids) moved out by hand and pitch fork as part of our "farm chores".  Other choirs included fencing, (not with swords), de-horning, castrating haying, and feeding.  All good character building I'm sure.  Fast forward to 2010 and Jim the spa guy has 22 cows being fattened up for use at the spa - all Black Angus.  This weekend I thought I could single handedly move these 22 cows from one pasture to another across a paved road by tempting them with a couple of buckets of grain on the back of my truck.  This worked reasonably well until the steers discovered the juicy tall grass on either side of the road, and of course a straggler messed up the whole plan by refusing to leave the original pasture and playing catch me if you can.  Fortunately for me, my brother John, his wife Nancy and daughter Jenna showed up just in the nick of time to help corral my furry friends in the right direction, and the day was saved, except for the one loner who separated from the herd.  He'll come around; he'll miss his cow friends and his grain, they always do.

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