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Talking to the Neighbors

Saturday, February 4, 2017

As I continue to recover from surgery and shingles, feeling around to find my strength and wellness again, I'm slowly upping my hours and miles back to something that feels normal. I try to surpass 10,000 steps per day. It feels so good to cover some ground again. I'm not sure when running is going to feel right again. Hoping it will. Ankles hurt all the time. Not sure what that's about.

For now, I'm in hiking boots, slogging through mud and over tussocks.

If the morning is fair, which it all too rarely is, I hurry out to catch the sunrise. 

I can never capture it to my satisfaction, but trying is fun. There's the corner oak that marks the east 40 on our property. 

If I capture the land, the clouds suffer. 


If I capture the clouds, the land suffers. Still, digital phone cameras are worlds better than my little film Pentax and Canon AE-1 used to be. Dawn's always a challenge. 


On my way out to the sunrise I stop to see Ellen, or what's left of her. She's still lying in the field where the coy-wolves dragged her, the same one where she fell. Just a ribcage, a spine, a leg and a hoof. 
She'll be gone with the first hay cut, just some hard bits of bone in a hayroll somewhere.


This is why I need Buffy, Flag and Pinky. I need them like I need breakfast and hot tea.

I need these wide landscapes and softly smiling skies.


And oh, I need the sun, the shadows. It's been behind gray blankets for far too long. My friend Scott called them "dryer lint skies." Just about as inspiring as dryer lint, too.

But on a sunny morning, well, anything's possible. My brain works a lot better.


The base of an oak reminds me of a mountain slope with trees creeping up to timberline. You look at a distant mountain in the West, and you can't believe how tiny the huge trees look, straggling up its flanks. You try to imagine walking out there. That's what this oak bole brought to mind.


The bark of another oak, a fresh amazement. How can the code for this corky structure be contained in the DNA of cells? How does it form so characteristically by species, into perfect runnels and ridges?


Set back from the new fenceline is a row of old posts, relics. Someone strung them with barbed wire while they were living trees, and the wire cut faces in them as they struggled to grow around it. I saw a moai god, come to Ohio. Rapalachian cow scratcher. 


I'm delighted to see the neighbors coming up out of the woods.


I haven't met them here this time of day.


The lone Holstein heifer takes herself a good scratch on the log god. Looks like he's saying Ooh Ooh Ooh.


I can see much of it is worn smooth from such daily attention. This is why I can't put bluebird boxes up in cow pastures. They'd get scratched and leaned and pushed right down.


This little Hereford bull calf is so adorable in his heavy fur coat. 

And I'm charmed by the markings on this one. Look at her bib, the spot between neck and breast; the particolored ears. Cattle are dead easy to tell apart at first glance. Whitetails, not so much. 


You can look at her stance and see something's going on here. She arches her back and cuts a luxuriant fart, doing her part to add to the world's methane.


In the woods, another little sprite pauses to look back at me. 


A smart person won't fall in love with beef cattle. Happy to be dumb then, blundering my way through others' hayfields, hanging on their fencelines, talking to the neighbors.


9 comments:

Darn, I wish you had called it Fartin' with the Neighbors.

This comment has been removed by the author.

Cows are my favorite neighbors.

This is kind of a fluff post ... as in fluffy cows.
We don't see winter coats here ... more like sweaters.
Heal baby heal!!!

A smart person can fall in love with beef cows – if s/he is a vegetarian like me! ;-)

Oh thank goodness for the new post. I'm watching the super bowl and I hate football just as much as I did last year. Maybe I'll get it in 2018.
Anywho, I love that you photographed that lovely cow's chest blaze to look like a hawk! Do you see it? Maybe it's just me and my Sauvignon blanc. The few days of sun have done me good, too. So happy to hear you're finding more strength.

Thought of you and your walks on my too brief visit to Farmersville recently. Friends have a handful of beef cattle and piglets that I got to meet and take a bazillion pictures of. The fields and the farmhouses and open skies were astounding. The absolute opposite of NH woods.

I fall in love with each of my animals. I treat them as the wonderful sentient beings they are, and care for them with all my heart, skill, and money from the two jobs I work to support them. I don't think there's anything stupid about it.
Then I give them a tasty bucket of grain and they never know that their life is over.
It's a thing you have to learn, and it's very hard.
It's like leaving your child at preschool, going in for surgery, saying your last goodbye to a loved one, because that's what you're doing.
What makes it somewhat easier is that steers become total assholes right around the time they are finished growing. Roosters--the same.
I very seldom eat any meat, dairy, eggs, etc that aren't raised by me. I love animals too much to contribute to factory farming.

Kat, I respect all omnivores who humanely raise and slaughter their own animals as you do, guaranteeing the best life AND death as well as the most healthful end product. For me, I have enough "very hard" things to deal with in my life, so I choose not to eat meat at all.

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