How D’You Like Them Apples?

Every few weeks my wife and I drive an hour east to take care of the animals at a friend’s farm when she’s out of town. It’s pretty simple: we collect the eggs from the chickens and put out some food for the cows and the sheep. The only thing I have a problem with is going into the cows’ enclosure. Sometimes their food trough gets moved around or turned over and I have to go in and put it where it belongs. And I’m scared of cows. People think I’m kidding when I say this and it’s not as though I think cows are deadly, vicious animals that will attack me. I know they’re really gentle, even shy creatures, but a three-thousand pound animal can still hurt you pretty badly even if it doesn’t intend to. When the cows know we’re about to put out food they come running and I have to get out quickly because I don’t want to be pinned between a cow and the fence.

Still I’ve gotten to like the cows as long as they’re on the other side of the fence. I pet them and talk to them and try not to think about the fact that they’re destined for what our friend calls “Freezer Camp”. And she told me that if I wanted to do something nice for the cows I could bring them some apples. So the last time we went I took a bag of apples, halved so they’d know what they were being offered and for easier swallowing.

One of the cows sniffed an apple half, snorting hot air and cow snot over my hand, before cautiously taking it. Another eyed an apple half and then slurped it up with her enormous tongue. The rest were not interested. One even sniffed an apple half, rolled its eyes, and ran away as though I’d threatened it with an evil talisman. Or a ticket to Freezer Camp.

The bright side of this, at least, is that next time I have to go into their enclosure I can just carry half an apple for protection.

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  1. Thomas Slatin

    Would you like to take a day trip to our farm in Vermont? I could use the help. 🙂
    Thomas Slatin recently posted…The Muses Companion – June 16, 2024My Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That really would be great! I might even take care of the cows, if you have cows. I know I’ve been through Vermont on my way to visit family in Connecticut but it’s been such a long time I’d like to go back and really see it. And I’ve had longstanding hopes of someday being able to go to Bread Loaf.

  2. Ann Koplow

    When you go to Vermont, Chris, please stop off in Massachusetts. There are cows here too and they keep a respectful distance.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      One of these days I’m going to make a trip to Massachusetts, Ann, because there are so many things I want to see there, including you. I’ll probably skip the cows.


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