Cows are not as sedentary as one might think. They are also smarter than one might think. We know because we have new neighbors.
Being the first PV employees here at the VX, we’ve had the chance to look at the layout of the place and choose a pasture rotation. It’s been up to us to pick which pastures the cows are in in which season.
I, especially, thought it would be just wonderful to winter cows here in the pasture where our house sits. Our house is fenced into about an acre of barbed wire, with the winter pasture surrounding our yard fence on four sides.
The cows have been in the winter pasture for about a week now. It’s a very large pasture, but so far they stay pretty close to our house. They actually circle our house — I have a great view of them so I know — grazing along slowly and always, it would seem, keeping one eye on us.
They like to park themselves right outside our kitchen window periodically, and at first I thought they were staring inside. Now I think they’re actually staring at the white Chevy pickup parked near the front door, which is the one Beau would hook up to the cake wagon to bring them a bit of cake. You see, cows are at least intelligent enough to correlate that white pickup with the bellyful of delicious protein it could deliver. They just won’t give up. Because it’s cold out. And the pickup is in sight. Surely any moment now someone will feed them.
But traditionally we don’t start feeding until after the first of December, and Beau is irritated with them for begging for food anyhow when they should be out foraging, so he just might make them wait a few more days before he begins the winter routine of feeding them regularly.
Still, they are a persistent bunch. These girls define “cow eyes” as they silently watch to see if we’ll be bringing them cake this go-round. They will stand out there for an hour or so, then drift on in their circular pattern, cutting through the meadow, crossing the creek from east to west, grazing along the bench, then crossing the creek from west to east, traversing the greasewood, and knocking on our door once again.
I can’t help but be a little touched by their simple expectancy and their big, doleful browns. And as always, I am amazed by cows… because when it comes right down to it, they’re not a lot different from us humans.