Friday, February 12, 2010

The Bull Emerges

Yesterday, Joe got out of his paddock and roamed among the general population of cows. Joe, you see, is a bull and lives alone in a large, expansive paddock fenced off from the female cows of the farm. Since he entered these confines some nine months ago, he has never ventured out. By my choice, not by his own. Until yesterday.

I was up town doing errands, enjoying the sun. I rode my bicycle down the long driveway to the house and caught a glimpse as I passed the curve of a much different cow in the far pasture. The bovines are always in my vision, even if I am not aware of it. When one black cow was in the midst of the small herd of fawn colored cows, I knew something was wrong.

Joe was born with coloration very much the same as the others here. He had light brown, tan maybe even taupe colors. Nothing different or special or unique. As he grew older, however, his hide changed its colors. Now he is distinctly different: black. He is not solid black, like an angus cow, but rather highlighted with black. Even from three hundred feet away, he is different.

I left my bike by the side of the road and headed up pasture, through the gates, through the muddy low areas and up into the main pasture. In fact, there he was. And enjoying himself. Quite.

Thankfully food is the great motivator for animals. I returned to the barn for supplies. With a flake of hay I proceeded to lead the cow who he was the most interested in to the bull pen. Dinah 2.0 gladly went along with this plan. Sex is good and all, but food is better.

Joe followed his young amour back into his residence and enjoyed a bit of the extra hay as well, but his interests continued with the lady. I decided to keep her in the bull pen for the afternoon. She needs to be bred and I was happy to keep them together in that goal.

What was fascinating about this entire, predictable bovine story is not that the bull had an interest in the cows, but rather how it all came about. When I came up to the bull pen I realized just what had happened. Cows have a few skills, but the ability to back up or to grab anything and pull it toward them is not one of them. The gate of the paddock was pushed in as was the fence surrounding the enclosure. Joe simply walked out to the waiting ladies. He had nothing to do with the tearing down of the fencing nor the opening of the gate. Presumably Dinah 2.0 had pushed the gate in, pushed in the fencing, ripping the heavy, metal staples out of the fence posts. It was she that wanted to get to the man, not he trying to get out.

And so, on the eve of St. Valentine's day, I look at love a bit different. Or at least lust. I try not to judge what is truly going on. I like to be surprised. You never know who is pushing in the gate of love.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Turtle Time

Okay, this is way late, I admit it. I found these photos in my iphoto and realized that I had never posted them. I still like them though, even if they are a bit tardy. A lot tardy.

Last summer, back when the sun was shining and I was wearing just a tee shirt, I walked out of the kitchen, down the sidewalk and nearly stepped on this turtle. Scared the hell out of me actually. There it was on the sidewalk in front of my house. A turtle.

Oddly, I had just walked by this little patch of concrete moments before and had no seen any sign of such a beast. It just appeared. I picked it up, sheepishly, looking around for fear that someone might notice me plucking said turtle up. It just seemed so damn exotic that I was convinced that it was a fantasy of mine; that I couldn't truly have such a lovely animal here in my front yard.

And then I had a very active, strong willed turtle trying to get away. I grabbed a cardboard box and placed it gently in the bottom, convinced that this would hold him until I could come up with a plan. My only thought at this point was that it was a pet, brought to the island from a tropical country, to live out its life in an aquarium in one of my suburban neighbors' homes. I have a few kids around so I went from fence line to fence line, alerting my neighbors that I had indeed found their young child's pet and that they could retrieve it from me now.

I found no one who would claim this beast. He was now my charge. Thankfully, the internet has made it an easy option to find out that in fact he -- I was at this point convinced that he was a he by his strong resolve -- was in fact an inhabitant of this corner of the world. I felt that his shell was far too flashy to be of this region. Our natives tend to be more drab and dull, then this bright orange and black striped turtle.

I determined that the only thing to do was to walk him over to the lower pond and lead him to the brush that surrounds it, and let him free. He quickly scurried into the thickets and I never have seen him since. I like to think that he had emerged from that pond and simply lost his way, that he has a rich, full life just feet from my house and that from my sheer ignorance I never noticed his existence. I may never know for sure, but come spring in a few weeks, I will look into the reeds, confident that a clutch of small baby turtles will emerge and I can welcome them to the farm.