Certain Man’s Wife feeds the Livestock

       Now it came to pass that Certain Man called his wife to the barn to instruct her how to feed the animals that he houses there.  He told her about the chickens and how to check and water them.  (The feeding is automated).  He told her that he gives the barn cats but one feeding a day, and showed her where the food was kept and what bowl to use.  And he reminded her that she needed to check on the water pail that he has for the use of the dog.  And he had filled the auto feed dog bin, so she would not need to worry about that.
       And then it was time for the animals of the bovine description.  Certain Man has the usual four.  The big ones with horns are about a year and a half old.  The younger variety are but a couple months.  The older ones are docile, having been parted from their manhood in a most timely fashion after the shenanigans of some of the previous tenants of the barn.  The younger ones have not fully learned the way of the barn yet, and do not always cooperate fully with the one who feeds them.  This is usually Certain Man.
       But Certain Man needed CMW to know about how to perform daily chores as there were some times when he needed to be absent.  So on the eve of one such absence, he gave her a CRASH COURSE.  And CMW dutifully wrote down all the things he said.
       “Give each of the big ones a half a scoop of Sweet Stock.  They work out for themselves who goes in which station, so just dump it down in front of the stanchion..  Split a half a scoop of sweet stock between the two little ones.”  He paused with a hint of aggravation.  “And here is where you might have trouble.  The little white one always wants to go into a stall with the little black one.  And then he crowds the black one out.”  
        He reached around behind him to where a rather new pitchfork was leaned against the wall.  “So usually I just get this pitchfork . . .”  He brought it around for CMW to see.  She was perplexed.  She could not imagine her gentle husband sticking his little bull calf with a pitchfork.
        “I turn it around like this,”  he said, turning the tines towards him with the handle sticking out.  “And I reach over the barrier like this and just sort of poke him a little until he gets the idea and then he goes over to the other side and eats what he is supposed to eat.  The handle is long enough for me to reach him quite easily, and that pretty much straightens him out.  Usually the white one eats on the left, and the black one on the right.”
       That looked easy enough to CMW, and she rehearsed the steps in her mind.  “Dump the feed . . . make sure each is in the proper stall . . . and if he isn’t poke him with the handle of the pitchfork until he goes into his own stall.”
       So this morning, Certain Man’s Wife went out there and fed all the animals.  And she had a little bit of trouble getting all the steers and calves into their rightful place, but she got out the pitch fork and poked with the handle and eventually everything resolved itself, and each animal ate in his respective stall.  It really wasn’t too hard.
       Tonight when she went in to feed them, not an animal was in sight, so she banged the gate loudly to announce her presence, and dropped the metal lid down with a kershlam! when she was feeding the sweet stock.  Suddenly, around the corner, full speed ahead came the four galloping bovines.  The little black one went straight to his stall.  Both of the big ones got into the same stall, and the little white went took over the entire empty stall belonging to one of the big ones.
       “Boo!” said CMW, waving her hands.  “Get on out of there. You don’t belong there.  Get on over to your own stall.”  The white calf moved back ever so imperceptibly, and watched this strange woman.  Aha!  The pitchfork.  That was what was needed.  CMW retrieved it from the wall.  She turned it around backwards and went after the little white calf.  “Move it!” she ordered, attempting to poke it.  It sidestepped neatly and still looked at her.  “Go!  This isn’t your stall!  Get out!  Get out!”  The little white calf retreated to the back of the stall and one of the big ones inched his way in to the feeding station. 
       “That’ll do it,” exalted CMW as she set down her pitchfork and headed to the door.  There was a sudden, hurried movement from the far stall as the big steer moved out and the little white calf moved forward to take control of the sweet stock again.  CMW went back, picked up her pitchfork and attempted to convince the little one to move back.  He did keep moving back, a little at a time, managing to stay out of the reach of the pitchfork handle.  About this time, CMW was wondering how much damage the tines would do to the impudent rascal, but she stretched ever farther over the barrier, trying to get a solid whack or poke or SOMETHING that would convince him to go back where he belonged.
       Certain Man’s wife was trying to steady herself with one hand and hold the pitchfork in the other.  She had her right hand firmly grasped around the neck of the fork while she flailed helplessly in the direction of the disobedient calf.  Alas and Alack, the tines were pointed toward her and on one particularly hefty swing that went sailing about with out making contact with the calf, the tines went up while the handle went down and the tines made solid contact with the arm of CMW just above the elbow.  CMW thought that it didn’t feel too good, but she saw that the calf was making a few delicate steps in the right direction and adjusted her swing towards him.  Again, it did not make contact, but it must have seemed menacing to the little white calf because he turned and left the stall amid made some tentative steps in the right direction.
       CMW took this opportunity to gingerly rub the smarting area where the tines had hit and came up with a bloody hand.  She craned her neck around to try to see the back of her upper arm, but there was no way she could see how much damage it had done.  But it did kinda’ hurt!  As she wiped her arm with her other hand, she realized that it was not much more than a surface wound, and would be better “before a kitty laid an egg.”  (Old family comfort phrase).  The little white calf was still somewhat wary,but when CMW left the area, he trotted right on up into his rightful place and ate his supper like a good boy. 
          Will he remember tomorrow?  Who knows?  Probably not.  But CMW still has that pitchfork; and this time, should there be such a dilemma, she will be more careful to get those tines in the right direction.


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2 responses to “Certain Man’s Wife feeds the Livestock

  1. Oh, dear Buckeyegirlie! I did think about you today and wondered how your duties were coming along. I certainly was not imagining such a close encounter with the pitchfork! Do be careful tomorrow, and when CM comes back, welcome him home with open arms!
    I grew up on a dairy farm, and I clearly remember such instructions as the ones given to you. They looked so simple when showed to me, but oh they took on a life of their own when I was the one in charge. My husband is a constuction worker, so ne bovines to deal with here.
    May your weekend go well!

  2. Be careful BEG!  We await further news of you this morning to ease our minds that you are okay after yesterday and that nothing eventful happened with this morning’s feeding. We had a cow/calf operaton and completely understand how onery cattle can be. My husband as a young boy operated a diary farm ………..he has no love for diary cattle. You might trade CM’s pitch fork for a simple pole, board or just a handle, be much safer for CMW.

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