I very rarely go near the cattle if I can help it.
They are huge and scarey and very unpredictable. I much prefer sheep as at least, they give you a sporting chance. Not so cattle.
Eldest son usually feeds or helps my husband to feed the cattle. The cattle are in the big shed for winter and they are given bales of hay and silage plus some sort of alchemist's mixture which my husband mixes up and dribbles over the silage (with MY watering can).
The barn is warm and dry and smells of cows, silage and oats. Plus a faint whiff of molasses and hope from the alchemy mix.
Today, my son was late, so my husband asked if I would help with the cattle. Now, I am banned from using the tractor which has the spikey prongs on the front. It is not 'my' tractor, I don't like to drive it and my husband fears that I might 'stab a cow'. The accelerator tends to go from stuck to whiplashed neck in a nano second so I don't trust it and avoid this tractor.
This is only my second time helping with the cattle. The first time was when my husband was very ill with flu and I insisted that he let me feed them.
I am still traumatised years later.
My job today was to open the gate and let my husband in with some bales of straw and hay, then quickly shut the gate. Any cows who were 'thinking about it' had to be stopped in mid rebellion by muggins.
While I was waiting, I decided to make some small talk with the cattle (who had gathered and were staring at me through the gate).
"Nice hair" I said to a big white mean looking cow. She had a terribly impressive bouffant on the top of her head and she looked quite regal. A large brown cow pushed her out of the way and sauntered up sassily. She was Top Cow and as mean as the Hard Girl at school who smoked fags and went with the bad boys behind the Janitor's garage at lunchtime.
"Wow, get you! Check out your mullet !" Brown cow had the mulletest mullet I ever saw and was obviously having a bad hair day.
She looked at me in a way which said "I am going to chase your sorry ass then stomp you".
I got The Fear.
Husband returned with the bales and patiently waited until I opened the gate......"I am having the Fear" I shouted to him but he never heard me over the noise of the engine.
The gate was opened very slowly and big bad cow did a little stomp at me. Well, a huge This Will Work Better Than Prunes stomp. All the other cattle began to surge forward, just enough to turn me into a gibbering wreck, then they turned and followed my husband to the feeder.
Never was a gate shut so quickly. I had a furtive hyperventilate and wondered if a duffle coat hood would work like a brown paper bag.
My son turned up at that moment, all dressed up to the nines and wearing his good funeral coat.
"OK?" he asked.
"No actually. I am triple incontinent with fear, the cows bullied me especially the badass one with the mullet and I think my duffle has poo on the sleeve, my nose is running and I don't have a hankie and where are you going dressed up in the Death Coat.......?"
"It's Friday. We go into town on a Friday, every Friday and we are going to get the Christmas shopping. I made an Effort".
We filled the car with all the children, even the Arctic suited ones who had fallen in a puddle but were only wet on the outside.
"Oh, hang on a minute, I forgot something" and I went back into the cowshed.
Brown Cow glowered.
"I don't like your mullet, you big fat cow" I whispered, then galloped out of the barn.
I bet she is waiting for me at the gates. Her and her mates......