The Tale of Two CowsPosted Thursday, January 27, 2011, at 3:28 PM
This is a story about two very different cows.
The first cow's name was Whitey. (she was all white, thus the name). White was a wonderful cow. If you could get her walking in the right direction, she would lead the entire herd wherever you wanted them to go. She made our job much easier when it came time to move the cows.
Whitey was calm, slow and determined. She could amass 20 0r 30 head of cows in a matter of minutes to take her lead. It was a sad day for us when she was struck by a train. I don't think that we ever had such a great lead cow again.
Cricket was our Holstein milk cow. We called her Cricket, because she had a stiff back leg and her hip would make a distinctive cricking sound as she walked.
When we first got her, all of us were under the mistaken belief that she would be gentle and slow. After a few days of milking her, my sister Bev and I knew better.
Cricket was one of the most uncooperative cows that I had ever known. She was almost evil. I mention Cricket because she was part of our character building. Her timing was perfect. She would wait until you were almost finished milking and calmly drop her foot into the bucket, thus spoiling the milk. Or take a nice bathroom break and flick her nasty tail in your face. (complete with fresh manure). She could outrun you despite the stiffness of her leg.
One day, for some reason my dad had to milk her and that was the end of Cricket. She was enjoyed very much as hamburger.
If you have ever been around cows, you know how to expect the unexpected. They will go through a fence faster that you can herd them through a gate, or run in the opposite direction from where you wanted to go. They have caused great tension in marriages in the spring during sorting or herding.
Whitey is an rare example of what we want in leadership. She was calm, plodding and stayed the course. Cricket would make you think that you were going to get a full bucket of milk, but you would end up with something liquid and green instead.
Today, we find ourselves in a huge cattle drive. We want a good lead cow that restores calm, and keeps moving straight ahead. Instead, we have cows busting the fence, ruining the newly laid crops and demanding to be first in the feed line.
We all know that a good cowboy never sleeps until the herd is settled.
The question of the day is, how do we settle the herd? There are several ideas and theories out there being presented to us. However, if you have ever seen what a feedlot looks like while the cows wait for winter to be over, you know that we are being covered in manure and being told that we should be content because our troughs are full of food.
Settling the herd begins with one calm cow who breaks the trail for others to follow.
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Walking the Fence Line
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Fixing fence is the one of the hardest jobs on a ranch. I no longer live on a ranch, but I do know what hard work is. Fences are everyone's concern, but nowadays,the "hole" is always your neighbor's side not your own. It used to be that you would respect your neighbor and mend the fence together. If their cows got in your field, a simple phone call resolved the problem. You might even saddle up your own horse and help them gather them up. We need more people who are willing to roll their sleeves up and fix the fence regardless of who your neighbor is. There are people in this country who need to be reminded that a fence is like the way you should conduct your life. Your posts should be straight and neat. The wire needs to be stretched tight and your gate might be closed, but can still be easily opened. And most of all, we can all saddle up together and ride the range, it won't matter if you have an Appaloosa, Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred. The cows still have to be gathered, fences have to be fixed, and the range is a wide open space of opportunity for us all.