Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cow Tales | N. Virginia Photographer

Little did I know that living in the country would be so exciting.

We live on a very secluded and wooded property in a small town.  It is lovely.   Our property backs up to a huge farm that raises cows.  Lots of cows.  100’s of cows.  Sometimes they moo so loud it wakes me up in the middle of the night and early in the morning!  They live on approximately 600 acres of land.  No joke!   Rolling hills and deep valleys is their home.   They are pretty lucky if you ask me.  They have some of the best views of the sunrise and sunset.   They get to drink from a fresh spring and cool down under beautiful trees.   They really have it easy.

Anyway, the other day a huge black cow made its way into our backyard.   I thought it was a he because of it’s size.   But after about a half hour we realized that he was actually a SHE!   She was laying down in the yard having her baby!!!   Unbelievable.  I called 911 to help me get animal controls number, who helped me get in touch with the farm owner. 

But just as quickly as she came onto the property, had her baby, they up and walked back onto the farm.   Or so I thought.   Fun fact – baby calves can get up and walk on their own within 10-15 minutes after being born.  The mom first cleans them off and up they go.   They weigh approximately 60-80 pounds at birth.   Can’t even imagine that one!  But coming from a 600 pound full grown cow it sorta makes sense.   From far away the calf looks fairly tiny, but I can assure you they are way bigger than a large dog just two days old when you are up close to them!  CRAZY!

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About 7pm last night, there was a knock at the door and it happened to be Farmer Dan.   The owner of the cows that were all in our backyard again.   That’s right.   Not only did the original mamma bring her baby back, several of her friends came along to see what was so good on the other side of the fence.   There goes the theory the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  Apparently it is!  LOL!  Well, at least these cows all thought so.

So this little city girl quickly became a country girl.   Farmer Dan told me we needed go herd up the cows.   Let me remind you I don’t do prickly bushes, totally allergic to poison ivy (which is growing rampant in our woods right now), it was windy and a storm was brewing to let loose (which it did).   

Farmer Dan advised me to stay close to him and then when we got close to the mamma cow I needed to stay to the side so I wouldn’t get trampled.  Did you know they are 600-800 pounds full grown?  Did you know they are REALLY big up close?  If not, they are.   Seeing them in a field or even 10 feet away is very deceiving.   This mamma was HUGE!!!!! 

She wanted to stay in the woods on our property and no one was going to change her mind.  She had found the perfect spot to put her calf to sleep.  Who was all nuzzled in when we found them.  (From the time I took the photos in this post to the time Farmer Dan arrived she was already way up on the upper side of our property thinking no one would find them.  Farmer Dan was telling me that he looked and looked for them after being alerted she had a baby the day before.  He couldn’t find them anywhere.  He found where she delivered (and showed that spot to me – ewww gross) and saw where she had laid down again, but there was no sign of her and the baby.)  Which meant Farmer Dan had to go over and pick him up.  That’s right without even thinking about it, he picked up the calf who easily weighs over 80 pounds (closer to 100) and walked through the thicket like it was nothing.   Okey dokey!   I followed as fast as I could to not get hurt by the mamma who was quickly following after her baby.   Who is a boy by the way.   Which makes him a bull, I believe. 

Anyway, our first attempt to put the baby over the fence didn’t work.   Farmer Dan put the baby down and the mamma quickly made a beeline in the other direction and guess who followed right after her?   Yup, the baby.  So off Farmer Dan goes and I’m trying to keep up.   It is now raining fairly steady and I am running with my hands in my pockets to keep from touching all the poison ivy.  I know – not smart.   Oh well, I survived and didn’t fall.  Thank You God.   We catch up to the mamma and her baby, and now we (ha Farmer Dan) has to convince the mamma to go where we want.  OVER THE FENCE where she came in and literally flattened the fence.   I’m not kidding she is HUGE and strong and must have some crazy pain tolerance, because the barbed wire fence hurt me crossing over it.   But I’m a girl and don’t do these things on a regular basis.  I might need to toughen up just a bit to survive this country living.

As you can imagine, I’m now cold and wet, but REFUSE to complain at all to Farmer Dan who just at the moment we get the cows safely across the fence says to me, “I bet this wasn’t in your plans for tonight?”   Me, “Um no sir it wasn’t. But I wouldn’t miss herding cows in my own backyard for anything.”   I took a long deep breath in of the cold air and was exhilarated by all that just happened.   Heck I just exercised more last night than I have in a month.   But instead of just being hot and sweaty.  I was covered in poison ivy, stepped in several cow patties, and wet to the bone.   I thanked Farmer Dan for coming to the rescue and promising to fix the fence the next day.   We both agreed it had to be done immediately because this mamma will be back and her friends won’t be far behind her!  

We said our good-byes and I ran upstairs to get a nice hot shower.  Now that is what I call country living! 

Would you like to see some photos of the mamma and her calf before Farmer Dan came to the rescue?   OK, here you go!   Oh and before you get concerned, I was shooting on my deck way above them and far away (using my 70-200mm).   For a few of the photos I cropped them so you could see how cute her little boy is!  Otherwise they are SOOC.

The mamma was very busy cleaning her baby – it was so sweet!

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I believe I tried mooing really loud to get her attention long enough to capture her looking over at me.  She was not impressed with my mooing skills.  Ha ha ha!

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Literally for two seconds the calf laid down and was right back up.   Just like a busy toddler who can’t sit still.

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Looking like it is time to moooove on.  Sorry I couldn’t resist!

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Now that is one heck of a cow tale, wouldn’t you say? 

As you can see from my headers above, things are going to be changing around here.  I’ll be making an official announcement very soon.  Until then, enjoy watching me figure out the final touches on everything.   Rebranding is keeping me busy and oh so fun!  At least that is what I keep telling myself as I find a mistake on a slide after posting it for the fourth time.  HA!  

Wishing you all a blessed day!

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