Friday, December 30, 2011

Quite a week on the farm

A close approximation of my encounter with One.
This story really started this past summer.  We had corralled  12 black Angus steers into a round pen from which we planned to direct them through a chute where we would apply some de-wormer onto their backs.  Kerry (our horse loving reluctant cow hand) had mentioned that she had had a few close encounters with one particular steer she had nicknamed "One-Horn" (on account of a short stub of a horn protruding from the left hand side of his head).  For this particular exercise we had recruited 3 or 4 fearless men, all of whom regarded "One" as a challenge.  Well, I guess One decided that he was going to accept and trump our challenge.  First he charged the fence, breaking out of the pen. Then he charged one of the handlers, jumping over a feed trough at him. Finally, as his ultimate act of defiance, he charged me and lifted me by my butt up over the fence.

Fast forward to this past week when One was scheduled to start a 90 day program of "finishing", a nice farm term for "fattening".  Once again, One established his domination by breaking out of his stall by head butting a newly built gate.  Then, he jumped clear over the gate, breaking it off of it's hinges.  We humans put our heads together and decided that maybe One should skip the finishing program and go directly to the butcher before anyone got hurt.

In the middle of this drama, our eldest horse Chance stopped eating and declined rapidly over 2 or 3 days to the point where the vet advised that the most humane thing would be to put him down, using a technique similar to that used by Dr. Conrad Murray in the case of the King of Pop.  While its always sad to see a horse die, its even worse to watch it suffer.  Chance was a real gentleman who had a good long life and enjoyed lots of affection over his long life.  He was buried on the farm while One looked on.

Clare, a seasoned local farmer transports our steers to our local butcher.  He arrived on Wednesday morning ready to load One onto a livestock trailer.  Well, One had another idea.  He tested all the fences and gates.  He went around and around staring each of us down, and then, without warning, he put his head down and charged me head on.  My life really didn't pass before me, there wasn't time, but I did think I was in serious trouble.  One knocked me to the ground and one hoof came down on my big toe, while another came down on my head.  All I could think of was Sidney Crosby and his concussion.  I managed to get up and get out of harms way before One came around to finish me off.  Suffice it to say that One is now safely contained in one pound brown paper packages of hamburger and I am not feeling any remorse for his demise, but I think I am starting to remember why I don't care for farming so much.

On the equine side of the operation, a Spa guest dropped off a beautiful mare named Roxy who will be joining our small heard of gentle giants. Roxy is a great jumper and Karey is hoping to show her next summer.  Drop by the barn for a visit.  I will keep you posted.

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