Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hockey sticks as a farm implement

This is a disclaimer to any of you animal activists out there who've never dealt with cattle- you won't like this post.

When I first came to Mark's farm, maybe even for a visit before we were married, I remember seeing a broken hockey stick being thrown out.  I promptly said, "Don't throw that out if you really plan on having cattle someday! You'll need it!" 

Growing up, when we moved the cattle way up the back road to the summer pastures, we were all equipped with various sticks and shovel handles and placed strategically to prevent cattle, by whatever means necessary, from going where they weren't supposed to (into to the graveyard, or Grammy's house, or the wrong drive way, or down the big hill, etc.)  Probably when we were smaller, the hockey sticks were meant more as a security tool for our peace of minds rather than an implement of cattle discipline.  But as we got older, it became apparent that something about the shaft of an old hockey stick is a very effective means of moving a large beast.

When I showed my dismay at the tossing of the old stick at the Bernard farm, I was met with a face of utter dismay and the statement, "We'll NEVER use hockey sticks on cows here." 

Now let me be clear, it's not like I grew up beating cows and calves for fun.  We weren't put through any sort of cattle beating training and we didn't use them unless we had to.  But until you've tried moving a big Charolais steer into a shute, or separating a Hereford from her calf or teaching a stubborn Angus calf to lead, you cannot possibly understand the strength and stubbornness that comes with 1200lbs of refusing muscle.

Anyway, the point of this story is that Poppy escaped yesterday afternoon while Mark was mucking out the barn before feeding.  Up at the front barn I heard him whistling to the dog and looking a bit disgusted standing at the barn door while Poppy ran at high speed through the muck and the mud going everywhere but near the barn and near her bawling mother.  While trying to keep Rosie in and coral the wild beast, the dog was being of NO assistance (read:being a royal pain). But between the two of us we somehow got her close enough to the door to grab her; with me behind twisting her tail and Mark holding onto her collar, trying to drag her in.  Mark is not used to not being able to move something with sheer strength. 

I'm pretty certain that if I could have seen into his eyes they would have been saying loud and clear, "Dammit, I could really use a broken hockey stick right now."

The moral of the story is to watch those things you say you'll 'NEVER say'.

Hope this finds you looking for signs of spring around every corner- it's coming!!!



  1. That story is hilarious!!! I didn't get the full version yesterday when you said the cow escaped!! Thanks for the laugh!!

  2. broken ski poles work well as well except around electric fences!!!!!!!
    good to have you back