Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cow (mis)Adventures

Yes, it was painful to even type out that title. For any of you who don't remember the origins of the (mis)Adventures I present to you:

Donkey (mis)Adventures part 1 and

Donkey (mis)Adventures part 2

Jason and I were so scarred by the experience of moving Sparky it took us almost 18 months to convince ourselves to move the last of my Dad's remaining animals to our farm.  For 18 months I have been telling Jason that we needed to get the "pet cows" moved. The pet cows were my dad's little group of cows that he chose to keep instead of sell through the years. The most well known pet cow was Buster who sadly passed away this summer. His mother Beulah preceded him in death a little over a year ago. That left us with only three pet cows to move.

The week before Thanksgiving we parked the stock trailer in the cattle corral at my mom's farm. We wanted the cows to get used to the sight of the trailer for a couple of weeks and then get them moved. We had both legitimate and manufactured reasons not to move them for the last two months. Finally we decided this week that we were going to move the cows, or at least try to move them.

As Jason and I drove to my mom's farm we didn't talk a lot. I was cautiously optimistic that we wouldn't have too much trouble getting them at least into the loading chute. After all they were used to being fed grain in there through the years. Jason on the other hand was convinced that we weren't going to get them within half a mile of the cattle corral. Carter was beyond excited about going to move the cows. He babbled non-stop about the cows as we drove to my mom's farm.

Once at the farm we set about getting things ready. We needed to put up a couple more corral panels, check the trailer tires since the stock trailer had been sitting at my mom's for two months and generally make sure we were well prepared.  While Jason wrestled with a couple of corral panels I looked around for the cows. As I looked around for the cows I had so many thoughts and emotions.

Jason always get the hard jobs on these occasions


checking the trailer tires


It was depressing to be moving the last of the animal collection from the farm. All of my memories of the farm revolve around it being a happy place, teeming with life and filled with my parents' collection of wayward animals and my horses. As I scanned the pastures I finally spotted the three pet cows over by the pond and I was struck by how empty and lifeless the whole farm felt. I couldn't stop the tears.

I was sad about all the memories that will fade over time, as most memories do when they are crowded by new ones. I was sad that my dad was gone. I was sad that my mother still struggles at times to accept that he is gone. I was sad that so many things have had to change so much since my dad's passing. And I will admit I was a frustrated that 2.5 years after his passing I'm still dealing with all that my dad left behind at the farm. All of the machinery, equipment, tools, animals, insane amounts of ham radio stuff . . . everything.

What was once my happy place is now a constant obligation, responsibility and source of additional work that I don't have time for. My mother doesn't have the knowledge or background to deal with it all and my sister lives a few hundred miles away, so it has all largely become my problem. And of course by default Jason's problem. It should go without saying that I feel guilty for having these feelings, nonetheless they are there. So I was a mix of sadness, guilt and feeling sorry for myself. The perfect frame of mind for loading three cows who have never been on a trailer and definitely weren't planning on packing up and leaving their lifelong home that day.

Poor Jason. He saw me crying and asked what was wrong. "Nothing, I'm fine."  He stood there frozen with no idea what to do. I managed to spare him from full on sobbing tears and pulled myself together. I started hiking out to the pond with a bucket of grain in hand. Normally all we have to do is shake a bucket of grain and the pet cows come running. Except on moving day of course. On moving day they all just laid by the pond, none of them would even stand up.

I shook the grain bucket. The cows stared at me, unmoving.

I shook the grain bucket some more. The cows laid there, blinking at me.

Unfortunately this post is getting long and I'm running out of time. To be continued . . .

__________________________________


Donovan and Rubrico


Rip, Thomas and Leo


Griselle, Sparky and Timbit


Merlin, Fabrizzio and Walden


Maisie having a tough day


Merlin and Slinky


Cocomo and Lofty


Alex, Mick and B-Rad



7 comments:

Kate said...

I'm worried about where this may be going . . .

I know what you mean about having to deal with the guilt/duty/love/obligation aspects of dealing with parents and all their stuff - you can't ask them to give any of that up if they're not ready but it surely can be a burden. Perhaps just feeling what we feel - good, bad and in between - and letting that be OK is the best we can do.

Lori Skoog said...

A pretty emotional time for you. Now I can't wait to read the rest of the story.

Anonymous said...

I can so relate. In my Dad's case it was airplanes. Engines, parts, wings, fuselages, all spread out over three properties, a lifetime of parts and tools collected, and not one instruction left in how to deal with it. I used to stand there and ask out loud, " ok Dad, what am I supposed to do with this?" It's not an easy task, I totally understand the emotions you're going through.

Anonymous said...

I can so relate. In my Dad's case it was airplanes. Engines, parts, wings, fuselages, all spread out over three properties, a lifetime of parts and tools collected, and not one instruction left in how to deal with it. I used to stand there and ask out loud, " ok Dad, what am I supposed to do with this?" It's not an easy task, I totally understand the emotions you're going through.

Anonymous said...

I'M AT THAT AGE WORRYING WHAT'S AHEAD FOR MY DAUGHTERS TO HAVE TO HANDLE.WE SHOULD BE GETTING RID OF BUT IT JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN. GRAMPS AND I HAD A BAD YEAR AND JUST NOW GETTING IT TOGETHER EVEN THOUGH WE'VE AGED. SO I KNOW WHAT YOUR GOING THROUGH. LEARN TO TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME. GRANNY [FLORIDA]

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Is it possible, for the things you and Jason wouldn't want or use, to find someone knowledgeable about those things, who could group them into lots and price them for sale on ebay, or auction? Maybe you could offer this person pick of the litter in exchange?

Just some random thoughts. My father is in his 70's now. I'm the only child in the area, and can admit I to having gazed upon his "collections" with foreboding...

Vivian Vetere said...

I know just how you are feeling. My Mom passed away (my Dad had been dead since 1961) two years ago next week. As I live in Fl., most of the job fell to my sister up north but I can definitely relate to the feelings of your childhood home and how it is so quiet and just not the same....