Growing up in rural Texas, seemed that just about all my friends were either into some sort of agriculture related school function.
Me, being the “outcast” if you will, never gained an interest in raising farm animals. None whatsoever.
I often thanked my father for not being a farmer, because there was no way that raising these big, massive animals would be my forte. Let alone the stench – that was enough to send me running.
I only knew this because I often would go with my friends after school to feed hogs, heifers, lambs, etc.
Of course, I would stand outside of the pens as they did their daily duty. It was bad enough dodging “land mines” on the way to the pens. Especially while wearing the proverbial “Jeff Spicoli” Vans, while they wore the then popular Justin Ropers.
I just wasn’t into Ropers. Besides, it took too much to put them on and take them off.
So while given the chance, I was able to help “feed” these animals, if you will. It may have been a slither of hay in my hand, but it was enough to make me cringe when that slimy tongue swiped my hand to pick up that hay.
And I was in no way going to help bathe the hogs. Besides, I didn’t understand that part, knowing that hogs are, well, hogs. They eat, sleep and play in hog…well you get the idea.
It wasn’t until attending my first livestock show that I realized that all these animals eventually become groomed, bathed and even some dressed with glitter – all to show off and be sold.
I guess I never realized it until after the livestock show as I sat there slicing a piece of my pork chop. So this is what it’s all about?
Once I was out of school, my farm days were over. I never really had a chance to step foot in any pens or help wash hogs after becoming an adult.
Until recently, I have had the experience of “helping” with my father in-law’s cattle. Due to his health, he requires some aid, but not much. He isn’t about to give up his beloved cattle – and for whatever reason, I tried my hardest to figure that out.
I haven’t really had the guts to step foot in the fenced in area where the cattle are, but recently, I was sort of “pushed” into the situation to feed them some grass.
But it was okay for the moment. Besides, they were about 200 yards away from me as I scooped grass into the feeding troughs. But as I looked over my shoulder, I see some massive cows herding my way in a cloud of dust.
And to make matters worse and my heart beat faster, my father in-law decides to do his “It’s din-din time” whistle, only to make the cattle begin to gallop towards me.
I worked quickly and was out of that pen as they approached.
I could stand there for hours watching them eat as they watched me standing there…chewing slowly. I often wonder what they are thinking as they watch me…something like, “geez, can’t a cow eat in peace?”
After spending last weekend with my in-laws in Pleasanton, I was watching the cattle as my father in-law was feeding them. He whistled to them from the pasture, as they all came galloping to the feeding area.
Then two baby calves came running up to find their mommas as they fed on the feed. Though one still had shaky legs, it was the cutest thing ever.
Now I understand how my father in-law has grown to love his cattle. It was kind of hard not to, seeing those little baby calves, that were just brought into this world.
I don’t know if I will, but for a split second, I felt like getting a pair a Ropers. Maybe, just maybe, it will happen.
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