Friday, January 11, 2013

A Day at the Ranch

When my alarm sounded *Monday morning on my day off, I was in no hurry to get up. In fact, I briefly considered going back to sleep, but suspected the day ahead would be worth the early start.

We arrived at Kurt and Kristi's at 9 a.m. and after a quick stop at Cross Street Market in Baltimore for breakfast, coffee and a fresh fish as a gift, we were on our way. An hour or so later we found ourselves in Western Maryland at a cattle ranch. We slowly navigated up a driveway while curious cows casually blinked at us.

I was slightly apprehensive but curious about our adventure. After watching a few too many documentaries on the treatment of cattle and chickens, I do try to buy free range, but even then I wonder. Kurt and Kristi had told us all about this ranch where they had purchased a whole cow and wanted us to get the full experience.  We were kindly greeted by the owners, Celia and her husband along with their giant, white Samoyed dogs who lazily followed us along for the tour. It was cold, really cold, but the sun was shining and it felt good to be outside.

A gorgeous winter day in western MD. 
Celia answered so many of our silly questions like, "how much do they weight?" and was so patient with our provacotive statements such as, "his tongue is like sand paper," (Nat) and "Look!!! He's poo-ing!!" (sadly, me) while we fed the cows and even the massive bulls. I felt special when I unknowingly fed a white calf who had never taken treats from anyone including Celia before.
Casper, taking his first treat ever!
They called me the "Cow-Whisperer" and all was good until "Pop" the head bull decided he liked me too. I gave him a treat as I was about to climb back out of the fence, but he followed me. I fed him another treat, backed away and proceeded to exit again. Pop and his long horns, (NOT just a clever named) followed me along with a couple of other calves.

Entering the fenced in area. 
"Um, guys. I'm starting to freak out a little bit," I said as I gave him another treat. Kurt, helpful as ever, offered little guidance, but filmed by minor panic attack quite enthusiastically. "Stay." I said to the bull after putting another treat in his mouth. No longer the cow-whisperer, Pop moseyed on towards me some more, while some other young calfs closed in as well.

I only have a picture of me with "Pop" behind the fence, but look at this massive animal.  It looks like I'm counting my fingers to make sure they are all still there. 
Eventually, I escaped from Pop, but not from another blonde moment. Heading back to the house several chickens clucked about.  "So these guys just have free ran---oh, free range," I caught myself. Celia smirked and said that yes, they came and went as they pleased and were only put away at night for their protection from foxes and the like. Not one to quit while I wasn't even ahead, I questioned. "But how do they know to come back? I don't think I would know how to find my way home." My friends and husband thought this was hilarious as I insisted, "if I was a chicken!!!" But seriously, who knew chickens were that smart?

In the end, we learned that girl chickens can lay an egg everyday without the help of any boy chickens. The boy is only needed to fertilize the egg to make chicks.

Adult field trips are just as fun as school field trips, if not more! If I were in class the day after the trip and the teacher was asking us our favorite part, she would write down,

Julie said,  "My favorite part was when the roosters came running for the bread from Celia."

Mini Long Horns

*I wrote this last January and I just got around to attaching the photos. I had the Monday off because I was working in retail at the time. Depression was overtaking me last winter and this day was just as bright and cheerful as the photos reflect. 

1 comment:

Eva Gallant said...

No joke, Pop was one huge animal! Glad you are feeling better!