Steerage

"Drat those cats!"

“Drat those cats!”

What is the barnyard come to?  Squirmy kittens running loose, climbing in the hay stack, getting underfoot, behaving like they own the place!  Feed Lot took a turn for the worse recently, chasing the kittens into an old abandoned cow shed.  I missed them when we got home from our morning walk to the barn, and since they are still getting used to their surroundings I decided I should go back and bring them home with me.  After a lengthy search I found Feed Lot banging his head and scraping his horns on the wall of the old shed.  He was pawing the dirt with his hooves and blowing and snorting into the open doorway.

Inside were trapped two very frightened kittens.  When he heard my voice, Oscar Wild peeked out and made a dash for me.  I gathered him up and we went in search of TuTu2. Figuring the coast was clear, she bailed out of an opening in back of the shed. After scooping her up, I began walking home with both kittens tucked under my arms when I heard the pounding thud of hooves.  I looked around to see a galloping, 1,200 pound steer coming around the corner of the shed hot on our trail.  He was rapidly closing the distance between us and I didn’t know whether to stand or try to outrun him.  I quickly decided my better option was to call his bluff, because to escape with two fairly hefty kittens in tow while wearing mud encrusted muck boots had a dim chance of success!

As the feisty, bellowing steer got closer I turned to face him, determined to do whatever was necessary to deal with the situation.  By this time four sets of razor-sharp kitten claws became enmeshed in my rib cage, aiding in my ability to let go with a hair raising screech that stopped Feed Lot in his tracks. He blinked, sides heaving from his exertions, and stood looking at us.  He licked his nostrils, waved his huge head from side to side a couple of times and watched as I took a few steps back, then turned and headed home at a jaunty pace.  I looked back just once and he was still standing where we had left him.

Longhorn Steer Wrestling

"I'll send this hunk of leather to the moon!" . . . .

“I’ll send this hunk of leather to the moon!” . . . .

Abe the steer has decided he doesn’t like the ancient saddle we mounted on the hitching post.  The saddle is stiff with age and quite heavy, and Abe has been attacking it, knocking it to the ground, and then continuing to “charge” it with great vigor.  We put it back up and he comes along and knocks it off again.  Only Abe knows for sure why??

"I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll stomp it to the ground!" . . . .

“I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll stomp it to the ground!” . . . .

Abe is akin to a five-year old boy with nothing to do.  He makes a regular raid on the goose pen, overturning a heavy, cast-iron feeding tray and eating the cracked corn and scratch grains.  Today he added insult to injury by drinking all the water from their pan, tore open a new bale of straw I was planning to use as mulch on a newly seeded hillside, ate the grain and made a complete nuisance of himself.  We keep a heavy rubber strap enclosure on the gate, leaving it open enough for the geese to come and go.  Abe waltzes right through it.

"What!???" . . . .

“What!???” . . . .

Since his birth last year in March, Abe has been wandering the property and by now he knows every nook and cranny where he may find a tasty bite, every vulnerable spot in the fences where he might explore new territory, and every watering station along the way.  He likes to drink from the bird bath outside the living room window (even though it holds a scant few cups of water) as well as the wading pool and water bowl we fill for the geese each day. He may choose to drink from the pond, the horse tank and Tilly’s two-way watering station at the corral, but his insatiable curiosity leads him to dip his nose into every other water source along the way.

The picture of innocence . . . .

The picture of innocence . . . .

When he’s feeling frisky, Abe becomes a 600-pound torpedo, bucking and kicking up his heels as he tears off at a dead run down the creek bottom. We keep a wary eye on him as he follows us to the barn each evening for his “cake” and bit of hay. I remember the day he came up behind our old black lab Lady and bumped her backside, and I don’t wish to be the recipient of such kindness.