Bull Run

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I grew up in the Dairy State. Holsteins are the milk cow of choice for that area. They are big boned, meaty bovines, that produce massive  amounts of milk. Years of breeding has brought up the butterfat, making them even more valuable. The black and white cow is part of the Wisconsin culture.

Loving farming and working with livestock, I worked at different dairies over the years. I appreciated that most farmers treated their animals well.

The downside, in those days, was the hazard of handling bulls, but as the years passed more and more farmers switched to artificial insemination. A few farmers still ran their own bulls, but they were few and far between. Every family in the area had a story where a bull killed someone they knew, or knew of.

The female of the bovine species is usually gentle. Many come home to be milked when you call them. Buckets of grain are reward enough to bring them in for milking time; unless they are out on new pasture. Then, you have to go get them.

This was one of those times. The day before we had run a single, electric wire, on step-in fence posts, around a new field. The “girls” were  oblivious to my calls, so the dog and I headed out to bring them home for the evening milking.

The bull and I noticed each other about the same time.

This farmer had a bull, but he seldom let him run with the cows, unless he noticed one was in heat. Protocol was: he’d tell me if the bull was out and I would use the old, blue tractor to get the cows.

This was the day it had slipped his mind.

That bull and I looked at each other for a long minute. When he started to trot towards me, I lit out. That electric wire wouldn’t even slow him down. The five-strand, barb-wire, line fence might … slow him down.

Now let me tell you, I come from a long line of fine fence builders. You haven’t seen anal until you’ve seen a Wisconsin farmer building a line fence. They are straight and tight; so tight that farmers brag about bulls bouncing off of them.

This was not one of those line fences, but I was hoping the old boy might get tangled up in the barb-wire, cut a tendon or something, anything to get his mind off of me.

I doubted I’d make it to the line fence, but y’know, in a pinch you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m not fast and that line fence was pretty far away. I gave it all I had, expecting to feel the earth shake as that two-ton devil closed in on me. His breath on my heels lit a fire under my feet.

Time ceased to exist. What seemed like an eternity later, I found myself standing on the other side of that poor excuse for a line fence, no idea how I got there. I whipped around to see where the bull was.

My knees were like water.  I bent over, putting my hands on them to steady them, trying to catch my breath. If that fence didn’t hold him or turn him, I was toast.

The field was empty.  My heart hammered in my chest. What the hell?

Where was that bull? I looked near, first, then expanded my horizons;  saw the cows. Looking past them, I saw the bull disappearing into the woods, chasing the dog. (God, I love dogs.)

I melted against an old, wobbly post with relief. I had never run so fast in my life. After a long while, I recovered. I looked around to see if anyone had seen me fleeing my own imagination.

With a huge sigh of relief, I walked up to get the old, blue tractor.

P.S. Don’t worry, the dog was home in time for supper.

 

 

Demons & Peeves

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We all have demons and peeves. We battle them continually. Reading and writing are unique ways, or tools we use, to wage our war. Naming our demons reduces their power. Sharing our tactics and encouraging one another are also tools.

One of my demons is depression. (Did you know that depression is becoming a national epidemic?) Recovery programs have been amazing tools for me. Today I signed up to become a facilitator for a Depression Recovery Program for my area.

Our battles are never won, but we can hold our ground when we have the skills we need to fight. Why would we not share our tactics and tools in the battle we wage? There is strength in numbers … but only if there is acceptance and sharing among us.

The names may vary – depression, alcoholism, codependence, drugs, (plug in your demon here) – but the enemies are judgment, ignorance and isolation.

We are not alone. If we pull together, in recognition and grace, we can rise above the darkness that threatens to suck us under … and hold the ground we have won.

Never give up.

Ani

Mother’s Day

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I never understood my mum’s love until I held my own little bundle of potential in my arms. As I looked down at that precious little soul, I didn’t doubt for a minute that I would love him forever. I marveled at the newfound depth of love I had for this little creature and decided, no matter what he did, he would always be precious.

I marveled, then and now, that maybe … this is how God feels about us ….

Write on,

Ani

First Pony Encounter

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It was a November full moon. The snow was shin deep. I talked two of my little brothers into going outside to play with me after supper. They happily bundled up, thinking snowball fights, or moon shadow-tag, or some such little kid game. I was thinking … there are ponies in the pasture ….

We played in the snow for a while, but it was too cold to pack and too deep to run in. Finally, we ducked under the single strand, electric wire into the horse pasture.

There was a big horse, a black momma pony, and a white baby pony. The adults evaded me like professionals. The baby was curious, happy to be social but petting her was small consolation for the ride I had hoped to get on that beautiful night. (Though I’d never ridden, I watched plenty of westerns in my nine years. I was pretty confident I knew what I was doing.)

Since I couldn’t ride, I thought one of my brothers might as well.  “Hey, Lee. want to ride her?” He was the older of the two, so he had first dibs.
“No. I just want to pet her. She’s nice.” Typical first grader.
“Come on. It’ll be fun.” One of us was going to enjoy a ride on this sparkly night. I don’t know how long it took me to talk him into it. After I did, I didn’t realize what a chunk he’d be to hoist up onto that hairy little back.

In hindsight, it’s amazing the filly let us wallow around on her like she did. As soon as his legs clamped around her little sides, however, she took off like a shot; bucking and running.

Lance and I watched in amazement. Huh. Who’d’a thunk?

Lee stuck on for a couple of bucks and jumps before neatly sliding off, poofing in the snow. The filly kept on going, bucking and running. When she reached her herd, all three disappeared into the woods in a cloud of white dust.

I picked Lee up out of the snow, brushing him off. I had to get him to quit crying before we got back to the house.

Budgeting

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Budgeting applies to more than my finances. My energy and time are also limited. In my younger years, time and energy seemed limitless. Now they are as valuable as money!

My daily/weekly planner is a God-send.

Does anyone else have these issues?