Monday, October 18, 2010

Chapter 17 - Tiptoe Through the Pasture

Just the other day, I told you about Billy, the 1500 lb bull that we had had when I was growing up.  Well,  today's story goes back to when he was a little guy...a calf.  This happened while I lived in Southbury.  When we got him, he was the cutest thing you'd ever want to see.  If you've ever lived on a farm, the work seems endless.  I was always down at the barn cleaning stalls, filling the bathtub near the gate with fresh water, brushing or feeding the animals.  Let's see... back then we had Billy, our seventeen Black Angus heifers, six horses and two Shetland ponies, and about three dozen Capons.  So as you can imagine, the barn and pastures were always on the top of the "chore" list.

Anyway, when Billy was a calf, my cousin and I thought it would be cute if we could get him to chase us.  So, we'd walk up to him, knock on his little forehead (as if we were knocking at a door) and then run and hide...usually behind a tree trunk.  It worked!  After a while, you'd walk up to him, tap him on the forehead and then run and hide.  When we'd peek out from behind the tree and there he was standing there all wide-eyed with the cutest look on his face.

Now as Billy grew in size, so did his horns.  I distinctly remember hearing my Aunt tell my Uncle that he should get "those things cut off."  It never happened.  Billy grew.  His horns grew.  And the thing was, he was just so darn playful.  He'd toss his head side to side as if to say "somebody come and play."

Then during the winter, besides giving the animals fresh water in the tub, my cousin and I would walk through the pasture, which had a lot of trees in it, down to the small brook.  When it got really cold for long periods of time like it sometimes does in New England, the brook would freeze.  So,  it was our job to go down to the brook with our axes and "chop the brook" until the water was free-flowing once again. 

Now, I'm sure you're perceptive enough to figure out the rest of this story!  Yep.  You got it right, we had "chopped the brook" and were "tiptoeing through the pasture" heading back towards the gate when we spotted Billy.  He was standing there, tossing his head back and forth, pawing at the ground, when my cousin said, "run." 

(to be continued)


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Ha ha. That's kind of funny you all taught him to chase you!

Tiggeriffic said...

Billy always remembered when he was small two little girls that would play knock knock on his forhead, now that he is a big boy Look Out~!
Cute story...and great memory..~!

Verde Farm said...

Oh how fun...can't wait for the rest.

Lisa E said...

One of the things that stood out for me immediately was the casual way you mentioned your 'chores.' Nowadays, so many families consider giving a child chores to be almost child abuse! The mother sets the table, if they eat at the table, cooks and cleans (including the children's rooms!) and hopefully the father chips in... all this while the children are learnng no sense of responsibility and no sense of contributing to the family. I find it a very sad state of affairs. Heaven help these children if they're stranded on a desert island, as the saying goes. No wonder they waste their time on nothing but video games, etc. They have no sense of belonging. Chores are a good thing and look, they can even make for a good story!

Inger said...

JP, you should write a book. This is a wonderful story.


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