Some friends of my wife are out of town and asked her if she’d drop by their farm and feed their animals and just check and make sure everything was okay. Being a good person and a good friend, and also someone with a degree in agriculture, she said yes and asked if I’d come along. Being a good spouse, I hope, anyway, I said yes. And also there was nothing else going on and it would be a chance to get out of the house. I’ve been to their farm several times and I like it in spite of the cows.
It’s not that I have anything against cows. They seem nice enough that it’s a shame they make such good hamburgers, and I actually like them as long as they’re on the other side of a very strong fence. Getting up close and personal with cows is something I do my best to avoid. It’s not that I believe they’re suddenly going to turn into snarling, murderous beasts. I know cows are pretty well domesticated and ones that are used to being around people can be quite gentle. They’re just very large animals that could easily knock me aside without a second thought even if they don’t mean to. Also in the back of my mind there’s this fear they might suddenly turn into snarling, murderous beasts.
So of course when we arrived the cows had somehow escaped from their enclosure.
Fortunately my wife, with the degree in agriculture, was able to do most of the herding of the cows, although I helped a little, mostly from a distance. Then I carried the buckets of feed out to the cows who stuck their heads in the trough before I could put the food in.
“Slap ‘em on the nose if they won’t get out of the way,” my wife yelled. Easy for her to say. She’s got a degree in agriculture. I was convinced slapping a cow would turn it into a snarling, murderous beast. Because there were two food troughs I was able to distract the cows by going to one and then the other and managed to only dump some of the food on cows’ heads.
Then I turned around and I was completely surrounded by the sheep who’d also gotten out of their enclosure. It’s completely irrational but being faced down by twenty-seven thousand hungry sheep was funny to me, whereas a single loose cow would make me want to get back in the car and lock all the doors.
The sheep were also easier to deal with. Unlike the cows, who are distinct individuals the sheep would move collectively. Get one doing in the right direction and the rest follow.
Then we had to collect the eggs even though I would have preferred to hang out with the sheep some more. Chickens may be small but I know they can be snarling, murderous beasts too. So my wife collected the eggs. After all she’s got a degree in agriculture.