OK, technically not my cow, Paul’s cow, but mine all the same.
I had just starting spending a lot of time at the farm when Ed was born. Mama wasn’t nursing well and Paul and Lyle were going away. I’d go out to the pastures and find Ed every day to check on him. I knew what to watch for and although he wasn’t thriving by any means he was doing OK. He stayed out in the fields that summer with the herd, often sneaking into the ‘off-limits’ area to munch the grass on the other side of the fence. Someone would then have to go shoo him back through the gate but he’d just sneak back out again.
At the end of pumpkin patch and hayride season a Nor’easter headed in, it was October. Paul decided that Ed wouldn’t survive the coming storm or the winter that would soon follow if left in the field to fend for himself so the decision was made to intervene at that point and bring Ed in to a sheltered spot. He’d have to be bottle fed daily. I was home full time and enjoyed being at the farm. I also thought it would be a great experience for our daughter so I asked Paul if we could take on the responsibility of taking care of Ed. Paul readily agreed and that should have been my first warning of getting roped into farm chores.
When not snowed in I spent that winter mucking the stall, bottle feeding Ed and watching him grow. I fell in love with him, stupid thing to do knowing that he’d eventually head to the butcher, but I did anyway. When spring came we moved him to the outside pen and he loved running back and forth. Since there were no other cows to play with I got head butted quite often and came very close, more than once, to landing on my backside. Even now if I go out to visit him in the fields he’ll try to push me around and knock me over. I learned real quick how to avoid it.
Most of the cows I can bribe to come to me with apples. The only thing I ever found that worked for Ed was grain but even that didn’t always work. Sometimes I’ll go visit him in the pastures. Most of the time he’ll come to me, sometimes he’ll snub me. I still remember the day we released him from the pen into the pasture. He took off like a bat out of hell, so happy to be free. I have many happy memories of Ed that I will cherish for a long time to come. Even though I’ll be heart-broken when he is gone I don’t regret volunteering to take care of him. Although he will eventually leave the farm, my memories will be with me for a long time to come.