South Slope. Asheville.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Feeding Cows

For now, this is just set to music.  The audio is good, and has lots of Dad talking. 
Just need to do a bit of editing.

I shot this video before I had a digital camera or digital camcorder.  I had been living in Thailand, and had returned to Headland for a month-long visit around Christmas.  Kade and I were only dating then, and she remained behind in Thailand.  So what I decided to do was take a video camera and shoot various parts of life in Headland - Christmas party, my Dothan home, the bank, Shorterville Baptist Cemetery, etc..  I did this for Kade, just so she could have an idea of what life was like in Southeast Alabama.  Prior to this, I had never been a video junkie, apart from doing the occasional big trip videos.  That's it.  Nowadays, with YouTube, smart phones and compact digital camcorders, making everyday videos is commonplace.  Anyway, this video shows a bit of M&M Farms (Major & Mark) and some of the Wilkerson Place farm.  Growing up, the Wilkerson Place was one of the farms where I would go with Dad when he'd feed cows.  I'd usually get the gates.  But out in the pastures, it was a place where I first learned to drive really - long before getting my permit.  Later, when I got my permit, and then license, I would sometimes do all the driving, and Dad would get the gates.  We had good times together, and remember we'd change the radio stations back and forth.  I wanted to listen to some pop music, and then he'd try to get it back on to the Auburn or sports talk shows.  Most of the time, we'd have some small talk....typical father-son chats. 

Incidentally, it was out at the Griffin Farm (part of M&M), in the pasture in the video above, where an accident I was involved in put an end to feeding cows on my own.  It was summer, and I was in my senior year of high school I believe. Dad had asked me to take his truck and go out to the Griffin Farm to feed and count his cows.  It was my first time ever feeding cows out in open pasture, yet I had seen Dad do it hundreds of times.  Drove his truck out there, opened the gate, blew the horn to call them up, made the "cort" calls, and the cows came running.  Naturally they were hungry, and they knew, like Pavlov's dogs, at the sight of the truck and sound of the horn, bags would be ripped open, pellets would be poured in lines on the ground, and it would be time to eat.  And when they ran in to eat, it was en masse, and it was in a hurry.  I had always remembered Dad pouring the feed in a quick fashion, and then moving out of the way to avoid being trampled by the cows.  It always looked kind of scary.  And there was always a bull nearby - a big one.  That too scared me.  My plan this day was to pour the pellets out quickly, long before they got really close to me, and then run and jump back into the truck.  I got out there and poured the pellets, but just hadn't anticipated how fast the cows moved.  And thinking I was being safer, I poured a line fairly close down the side of the driver's side of the truck - about three feet out - and had planned to maneuver around the front of the truck, using it as a barrier, and then jump in the passenger side.  Lo and behold, I was so focused on the pouring and getting my ass out of way, I did not close the driver's side door completely.  It was open just a tad.  And I looked up, after pouring the line, and these big, hungry cows were charging towards the food.  One scraped the door with its body, opening it pretty much all the way.  And then a second cow, like stepping on aluminum can, hit that door and bent it back.  Time slowed down, and that metal, and the hinge on the door, sounded like it was being crushed in a scrap yard.  I'm sure I was thinking "Oh God", and remember wishing I could just kick that one cow.  I was angry!  I finished up the count, got in truck, pulled the door as close as I could, and then drove back into town, knowing that Dad would not be happy.  I pulled up to the side of the bank where his office was, went in, and I'm sure looked frightened..  Dad came up, was in a good mood it appeared, and had that typical happy-to-see-you look.  I said, "Dad, all the cows were there, and I fed them.  But there's a problem with the truck.  Come outside."  Dad and Jim Woods, a bank officer with a very good sense of humor, walked outside with me and looked at the truck.  And for thirty seconds, Dad's eyes got big, his voice changed and he was very upset.  I said I was sorry.  Luckily, Jim made light of the situation, and Dad then laughed a bit.  I could then breath.  Insurance took care of the rest.  After that, I never fed the cows again, which I considered a 'win' for me!  And over the years, this story was something Dad and I could share.  It became nothing but funny!

Here's the same M & M cap in Sri Lanka! 
This beauty of a beast was pulling a cart around the capital, Colombo.

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