Our home in California backed up to a green belt with a seasonal creek. In this peaceful setting I easily forgot we lived in town, as we enjoyed watching the deer and birds.
Last summer we moved to the piney woods of Texas, to a small neighborhood on what was once farmland. Our neighbor, a descendant of the original farmer, has for years kept chickens, horses, cattle, and at times, show goats.
The back of our house is only twenty feet from a forty acre section of the farmer’s pasture land.
After breakfast we swivel our comfy chairs in the sunroom to face a line of large windows where we watch the morning’s activities. A dozen cows, one fine Angus bull we named Dozer, several calves, three retired cow horses (and sometimes deer) entertain us throughout the day as well. They amble, single file, from our end of the field to the other and back again. They graze, frolic and butt heads, and care for their young. Many nights, looking through the same windows, we marvel at God’s glorious handiwork in the night sky.
Two calves, close in age, a black bull and a gray heifer, pretty much stay together, often in a fenced but not gated section. Sometimes they venture into the larger field with the rest of the herd. The mothers, one an Angus and the other a brown cow named Dolly Parton, take turns keeping watch over both calves while the other mother is grazing farther off. Here they are with their mamas. The Charolais (white one we named Char) gave birth to a gray bull calf last year. It’s been fun watching him “grow up.”
We worry when the calves won’t cross through the mire from the paddock to the pasture where their mamas have gone. Farmer Ron says, “They’ll figure it out — eventually.” They do.
We get excited when a cow gives birth in the field, delighted to witness her calf take its first wobbly steps, and sad when after a week Farmer Ron tells us, “The calf didn’t thrive. I had to bury it.
We are amazed when Farmer Ron calls and the whole herd rushes, one behind the other, from the far end of the field to the barn for their afternoon treat.
We feel sorry for the mama cow that bellows day and night for her calf. Farmer Ron says, “It’s weaning time for these two.” It’s part of life for them.
Watching cattle graze in the field is very calming. I agree with the saying: “No one ever got stressed looking at a cow.” It seems there is daily drama in the pasture, and we are learning life lessons as we observe their behavior.
We’ve had no part in the lives of these animals, except for when they come to our fence and my husband feeds them acorns, or we talk to them and pat their foreheads.
After ten months, we have become somewhat attached and were sad when Farmer Ron announced he is retiring from farming and will be sending his cattle and chickens to a new home.
We’ve been observing a bluebird couple getting their house ready for babies. Birds of prey sometimes swoop down on the field or sun themselves on the fence. Even without the cattle, there should be no shortage of drama out back.
Has anyone ever got stressed watching birds?
But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; And the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know That the hand of the Lord has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? Job 12:7-10