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Learning from the Beasts

Posted by kurtwood on August 3rd, 2010

It has been a dry summer even if it hasn’t been particularly sunny and hot. The pastures have dried up and the grass growing is slowly down. As I have eleven cows that need to be fed daily, I have stepped in and begun to feed them hay, to save the remaining pastures from over grazing.

I have decided, however, to leave the three cows in milk in the pastures so that they can have the last remaining fresh grasses to eat. Seems like a good plan — the milkers on the high quality pastures, the dry cows in the barn paddock eating hay.

The three milkers — Baby, 4×4 and Dinah 2.0 — think otherwise. Their ability to reason and view a complete scenario is limited. They are presently standing at the fence line staring at the rest of the herd locked in the barn eating last winters left over hay. They have been stationed there for the past four hours, bellowing loudly. They feel that they have been cheated; that they got the short end of the stick. In reality, they have ten acres to roam and find great, fresh, pasture grasses.

It is tempting to fall into the old axiom of ‘the grass is always greener…’ but I will try to steer away from that. I am myself often that milker standing at the fence line looking forlorn at those beasts locked in the barn. It looks so nice. It must be better than the pasture under my feet.

The thing that I have taken from this morning experience is not that you think it is better on the other side of the fence, but rather, even though you eventually learn the truth, it takes a bit of time to do so. The trio of milkers will eventually get tired of complaining and turn around and begin to forage for themselves. It will take some time though. They could have been eating their bellies full all morning long.

And so I am trying to appreciate the pastures beneath my feet. Sure, that barn looks great from a distance, but in reality it is the distance that makes it appealing.