August First Already?

Oh my goodness, it’s August. The goldenrod and Joe Pye weed are blooming. Sunrise is later and the birds are quieter. Most of the swallows have already left. Tick. Tick. My summer work time is running out.

I woke up a little before 4 this morning, thinking of my lists. DH has been in Colorado for the past week and Lucy is away at a friend’s house, so I sat up, snapped on the lights, and pulled out my yellow pad.

I won’t know until August 24 if our school housing is going to change. The move would be only a half-mile down the road, but after sixteen years in this apartment there would be plenty to sort and pack and load into a truck. (The books alone will be a haul — almost every wall in the apartment has floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.) Faculty meetings for the new school year start a week later, one month from today, September 1. DH will be on the other side of the world that week, traveling for work in China. Thank goodness for Kyle.

Allen once told me he was going to paint the words, “Quit your worryin’!” in big letters on the side of my barn. I do know my mental fretting is a waste of time and energy. All I have to do is put one foot after another and push through the lists, methodically crossing things off every day. Discipline will get me there.

In the meantime on the farm I have plenty to keep me occupied. One of my steers-that-are-really-bulls has turned ugly in the past week. Conway Twitty is testing every limit. The moment I fill the water trough, he battles with it until he turns it over. Seventy gallons — 560 pounds — roughly his own weight. When I turn the cattle out at night, Conway does not move away from my urging but instead turns, lowers his head to bring me into focus, and paws the ground. When he’s truly aggravated he kneels and rubs his head in the dirt. (Bulls kill by crushing.) He could not signal any more clearly his growing impulse to attack.

These “Doublemint twins” are only ten months old. They are teenagers; they are small. Here they are yesterday morning chewing their cuds in the cool dark of their stall, with the geese visiting in search of any dropped breakfast grain.


How could you be afraid of one? I always say: imagine being attacked by a 500-pound dog.

I know when I drove into the farm this week and found Kyle’s driver standing at the aluminum pipe pasture gate talking kindly to Conway pacing on the other side, I went cold with fright.

These boys are not due to go to slaughter until October, but I’m calling today to make an appointment as soon as possible. Luke Bryan has not been any problem yet but at this pressured time I can’t make the four-hour round-trip twice.

Besides, with Jersey bulls and aggression, it is always a case of not yet.



One Response to August First Already?

  1. Ned says:

    I read somewhere that Jersey bulls can be a little ornery. It’s odd how the cows can be sweet a dolls and the bulls tend to have a mean streak in them. They should be good eating.

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