My Mom asked me what we intend to feed the cows. I told her, “grass!” We are grass farmers. Brent has done a lot of reading and experimenting with the pasture, so I won’t go into it. He can give you tons of detail on grass. In fact, don’t get him started on grass. I enjoy listening and understanding the intricacies of grass and grass species, but it’s not for everyone. You can always get him back on track by talking about the rugby … a little tip for you. But really, cows eat grass. They LOVE it. They get all giddy with a new field. Brent has been moving the girls every day or so and watching what happens when they get there as well as what happens after they’ve moved. Along the way they’ve been testing our fence design. After the herd merging action, things have been a lot easier. Okay, well less-hard let’s say. Brent is cool and has been here before. Me? I’m still in shock with all the new things confronting me. Along with never googling “fencing,” I’ve never googled “cows.” I could benefit from taking some time away from setting up house and baby to get a bit more educated on cows. We’ve learned two things about fences. First, clear the blackberries and brush that touch the wire. Up until yesterday, I was the fence tester. I had no issue touching the fence and feeling that it was on. Yesterday, however, in the new paddock, I tested the fence and got the SHOCK OF MY LIFE! HOLY CRAP!!! That shit was on. I’ve since been using my little pocket fence tester that I thought was broken. It turns out, it works perfectly. Our fences were not charged very much. This explains why one of the Salers heifers could play with the temporary fence. Second thing we learned. Was the fine art of hungry-hungry-heifers (that’s Brent’s term). When the cows are hungry, they push the boundaries in search of better tasting grass. Brent saw this first hand when he was setting up their next paddock. When the cows see Brent futzing with fences, they get interested. This day, they watched him as they do, but they were extra hungry having been through their paddock twice. So in a very golden retriever way, they clustered up staring at him and pushed through the not-very-zappy temporary fence. At that point, Brent calmly open the gate to the new paddock and they all walked over the road to greener pasture. I wasn’t there when this happened. I was getting Zélie ready to go join him with a few finishing touches on the new paddock. I looked out, saw the cows in their new paddock and figured out what happened. They’re very well behaved doing their cow thing. They munched away and then did their ruminating routine. Since we’ve got the zap right, They’ve stayed put.
(photo by M. Curtis)
Little Gordito gets out occasionally, but he always finds his way back. Today’s move was uneventful. Brent decided to move them in the afternoon when they’re lazy and not as hungry. Each time we get better and better. This work gives me the same feeling as “hotfixes” with websites. Each time the cows are moved, they (the Mirandaise especially) walk the perimeter getting to know their new digs. We watch and wait at the ready to fix any bugs they find. Because I’m new at this, I check on the cows all the time like a mother with her first baby. Only instead of “is she breathing?!?” I make sure they’re all in their allotted rectangle. It’s like my own personal screensaver where you watch the cows munch their way around a known space. When they go off the edge of the screen, you have a problem. It has the speed of a baseball game and if we keep it all calm, things go smoothly. Any animation, and they move to “go mode.”
Also to note, today is April Fool’s Day … for Americans. For the French, it’s Fish of April ( Poisson d’Avril ). This is where you slap a paper fish on your friend’s back and laugh hysterically. I highly reccomend it. It’ll bring you back to the old “kick-me” signs of yester-year.