Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beware the Staff of the Ninja Cow

They come out of nowhere in the middle of the night: pitch black Angus cows.  My friend Ian calls them ninja cows, as driving at night is pretty scary when these masters of camouflage creep out of their pastures and onto the road.  My ego took a serious blow when one of these ninja masters hit me in broad daylight.  With a pole.

My parents raise Herefords, who are pretty gentle in compared to Angus, but any cow can be dangerous if a person's being stupid.  My dad has a picture of my brother riding a Hereford bull at age three.  Well, not so much riding as sitting on it while it ate hay.

Ninja Cows
Hereford
The selling price is a little higher for what we call black baldies, which are a cross between a Hereford and a Black Angus, so Dad runs a few Angus bulls, usually shooting for a herd of calves that are about half pure-bred Hereford and half black baldies.

Just after Christmas, I was helping my dad do Bangs vaccinations, which involves crimping medicine into a heifer's ear with a nasty looking, green-coated tool.  They don't like it.  My job was to stick a solid fiberglass pole behind their butts to keep them from backing out of the headgate, which is the mechanism Dad uses to catch their heads.  His headgate was made in 1954, so it had a few issues. 

One of the black baldy heifers, who was bigger than the Herefords but probably smaller than I'd like to exaggerate, hit the chute hard.  She kicked as I tried to slide in the pole.  I couldn't get it through to the other side, turning it into a giant lever.

She kicked again and all I saw was sky.  When I realized I still had all my teeth, I found that she'd caught me with a glancing blow to the right side of my jaw.  Thankfully she didn't shatter my jaw, but now there is scar tissue over the nerve that controls the right lower side of my face, making it feel for several weeks like I'd been to the dentist.  I tried to play trumpet with my fifth grade band, but the only sounds I could make were closer to that of a flatulent hippo. 


My husband asked me if I'd try to cover it up with makeup, and I joked that I'd leave it alone so I could get some street cred with the kids at school.  Funny enough, I really did.  In a rural community like this one, even the kindergarteners shook their head solemnly and said, "You've gotta watch out for those Angus heifers..."


I must point out that the Hereford bull that was in the chute just after the psycho Angus just stood there and let us cut off his balls.  So, for the health and well-being of agronomists everywhere, don't eat ninja cows. 

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