That Darned George
That darned George!
Anyone who has seen our kids knows that genetics is an imperfect science. But our milk cow, Helga, has come close to perfecting it this time.
A polite term for Helga could be feisty. She gets what she wants and nothing nor nobody is going to take it away from her. As a 7-year-old, she has mellowed enough so she can summon a calm demeanor for a short time, but her true self stays close to the surface.
Helga’s calf this year, George, inherited her looks and personality, and even added a few twists.
George and I have a deal: Every morning, he gets half and I get half. He nurses on one side of Helga while I milk from the other side. Our deal seems fair to me.
Only George wants more than his share.
After I let him into the milking area, he runs to Helga’s side while I close the gate. Before I can start collecting my share, George reaches under Helga and nurses the teats on my side. I have to tap his nose and slip my faucet from his mouth.
George likes to play games, too.
Each day, George gets his fill of Helga milk all day. At night, I separate him from his mother so I can have my share in the morning. When it is time for him to move to the eastside corral, George jumps and kicks as he circles the hay feeder. I can almost hear him giggle out loud. We go through the same routine every night: he rounds the feeder over and over until I get tired of reversing my trajectory and herd both Helga and George into the eastside corral. Then I let Helga back to the west. George contentedly lays down in the straw, apparently worn out from his carousing.
I could move the feeder so George loses his advantage, but he has so much fun that I just laugh instead.
One morning I came to the corral with my milk bucket, but I didn’t need it after all. Helga stood near the gate in one corral while George stood lazily in the other; his eyes half-closed in a reverie of a full warm belly. He had found a way to reach through the metal corral panels. He has not performed this trick since that day. I wonder if he just wanted to prove he could do it.
I’m not the only one George wants to impress with his suave personality and long lifetime of skills and abilities.
The other day, I needed to bring a couple of bulls to the corral so I moved all of the livestock to the eastside. George did not want to go.
Fine, I thought as I left the gate to the pasture open so I could herd the bulls in later. George could enjoy some freedom for a while. I knew he would come back to his mother soon. As I headed out on my horse to find the bulls, George made his escape with his heels in the air.
A little while later, I came back with two bulls. George decided to make a stand.
Helga’s 350-pound, 4-month old calf shook his head and bellowed at the bulls.
The bulls tried to ignore George, much as a wise man in his prime would ignore teenaged antics, but George would not be ignored. He stood in the gate with his head lowered, then charged toward the 1500-pound bull.
The bull just stood there and let George bounce off of him.
So George took after the 900-pound bull. Bad choice again. The smaller bull answered the challenge with his own bellow.
George trotted in to the corral and snuggled up to his mother. Helga shook her horns at the bulls, then turned to nuzzle her baby.
Like mother, like son.