"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

January 18, 2011

For husbands head-butted by cows when an ice pack is not enough...

No animals, or children, were harmed in the taking of this picture.
At first when my husband said he wanted to raise grass-fed cattle (with the occasional bag of grain), I thought, well, this will be easy. You get a bunch of cows, you let them out on your newly-fenced pastures, you bring a few bulls in from time to time, you watch their cute young frolic and grow, and then you load them up when it comes time to do the deed. (Yes, I'm an animal-loving carnivore hypocrite.)

Not so, of course. Then again, what have I ever known about livestock? I raise about fifty chickens at a time. That's my speed: notional hens with no names and a few errant roosters to liven things up. My husband, call him Temple, has had extensive experience on dairy farms but he hasn't raised beef cattle, either. So far, so good on that front.

Except that we need to change what I termed recently, 'the grain delivery system.' Cows who hear the truck or JCB coming think, oh, it's time for that sweet stuff in the trough. Let the bellowing begin! My husband, alone, was graining them on Friday the old-fashioned way. By dumping bags into the troughs. Problem is that the green grass is gone and summer hay bales must get a bit tiresome by January. Those cows wanted that grain!

And so, in their excitement, one of them whopped Temple on the face, giving him a bad headache, a black eye and blurry vision, and tossing his glasses into near oblivion (they were able to find and repair them). This happened at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. At the start of a holiday weekend. You trying getting someone to go to the E.R., even when the doctors on the phone advise it, that you've managed to catch in their offices at 4:45.

He saw our eye doctor yesterday who ordered a CT-scan today. We'll know if there is major head damage by Friday. In the meantime, I said that he needed to be optimistic: 'Maybe you have a brain tumor and they'll see it now where you might not have known about it before!' He wasn't amused.

Neither was he excited to learn that Martha Stewart's French Bulldog head-butted her over the weekend, sending her to the hospital for nine stitches. [Thanks, Rosemary, for that news update!] It's like the time I fell off a headstrong horse while riding around a ring, and landed right on the wood fence: I had more bruises and stitches than Evel Knievel who jumped, unsuccessfully, over the Snake River Canyon the very same weekend in 1974. I thought that was strangely cool.

But getting head-butted and near-blinded by a large bovine is not cool. You just have to keep things in perspective, hope for the best, while realizing that farming is among the most dangerous, and risky, of professions. In the immortal words of Roseanne Roseannadanna, who probably didn't know much about cattle, either, 'If it's not one thing, it's another.' And that goes for a farm with large headstrong beasties on it.

You come back when you're ready!



  1. Oh dear, hope all is well with your hubby. Those head injuries are not to be ignored.

  2. That's terrible. I hope your husband is okay and feels better soon.

    By the way, I like the font on your blog.

  3. Thank you. He is now sleeping soundly. I'm trying to get him to do less but it's next to impossible. He's better than he was on the weekend!

    As for the font, thank you! It is a new blogspot option on their page design (ENGLISH, I believe?) I reminds me of early typefaces in New England primers. The header font is another one that I've already forgotten (does it look loopy and slanted to you?). I hope that non-Macs can experience these new fonts, too, from a visual perspective.

    Just when I was ready to switch from Blogspot, they kept me! Like all of their new features, too, like the tab function.

  4. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to my buddy, Temple.


  5. Yikes! I hope he's o.k. We live near a BIG cattle farm. I used to feel so sorry for the lowing mothers when they took their calves to new fields-you could hear them bawling all night.


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