Spontaneous Cattle Herding

Look Out For Noodles!

Apr 27, 2011 by

This week, I did pull ups and push presses.  I did heavy overhead squats and yoga that left my shirt damp.  Let this information establish my credibility as a person who can do hard physical work.  And then let me tell you that four hours of farm work wore me out!

I now view farmers with increased admiration.  They are agricultural superheroes, able to plant 20,000 onions by hand and convince a bull to go back into his pasture with no tool more protective than a sweatshirt, all in one afternoon!

The story behind that last one goes like this… A group of about 14 of us planted onions at Venetucci Farm one morning.  Another volunteer and I hung around to plant leeks in the afternoon.  We were organizing to head up the hill for a lunch break when Kim, a farmer, yelled out something I didn’t expect.

“Oh no!  COWS!!

Susan (The Head Farmer) and Kim took off running and my eyes followed them.  A line  of cows was happily heading in the direction of all the work we had just completed!  I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or run away.  We watched as the women covered the distance; waving, stomping and yelling.

It worked.  The cattle threat diminished as the herd circled back.  Have you ever seen cave paintings of cattle?  They look just like that when they run. Together, the herd morphs into something graceful, like a hippo melting into water, and a previously unseen wildness of land and animals seems to stretch out around them.

When they stopped again, one animal stuck out, standing apart from the herd.  And then my fellow volunteer said something that really did strike fear into my heart.

“Oh, that’s a bull!”

She spoke the truth.  The bull pawed and snorted.  Kim won my everlasting admiration when she walked right up to him and pushed his head until he backed up, as if he was a stubborn dog.

We volunteers had moved closer by then, an anti-cattle Maginot line.  The herd headed for the gate, but the bull turned and looked straight at me.  My heart jumped into my throat as Kim shouted a warning.

“Look out for Noodles!”

” Noodles?”

Lucky for me, Noodles was not in the mood to maul volunteers and Kim coaxed him back into the pasture with the cows.  She later explained that this particular bull had been born on the farm and bottle fed for a long time.  His temperament leans more toward playful rather than raging.

Perhaps I had not been in as much danger as I’d thought, but I’m still impressed.  We planted leeks after lunch, balancing our feet in narrow channels and carefully avoiding stepping in the furrows.  Even though I had mostly stood still during the spontaneous cattle herding, I only lasted another hour.  They were still going when I left for a nap!  I would not be surprised if they changed into superhero costumes, complete with floppy hats, before finishing the planting; faster than a speeding bull.


About the Author

Bonnie Simon Has Written 35 Articles For Us!

I am an urban homesteader in Colorado Springs, CO where I raise chickens, make my own yogurt and am learning to grow some food, all within sight of downtown in a 1950s era neighborhood. I am starting a small business designed to fill the gap between local farms and local dinner tables.
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