Thursday, May 22, 2014:

Sad sight last week, where the place across the road fed out beef cattle on round bales last winter and built up a huge pad of manure and waste hay, spilling nutrients into the water shed (not ours, fortunately) and grazing the pasture down to dirt. There are about ten or fifteen brood cows and a bull, plus a calf or two, on maybe ten acres with a barn, only the five acres nearest the road, where the round bale ring was, are devoid of plant life. The back half of the place is grass grazed down to plush carpeting, and a lot of very healthy multiflora rose. I guess the owner ran out of round bales because he stopped feeding them, and maybe he figures that now that spring in here the cows must be eating grass, only there isn’t any in there. So the other day when we drove by, all the cows, which are usually spread out trying to find a bite of anything to eat, or crowded under a tree looking for a shady place to ruminate on the mouthful or so which is all they got, were instead lined up at the neighbor’s fence, crowded right up against the barbed wire. It was such weird behavior that we took a second look. It was then we realized that the neighbor, who was mowing his lawn in a counter-clockwise direction, was blowing his cut grass into the fence wire. The poor cows, who, although surrounded by lush spring grass outside the fence haven’t had a square meal for weeks, were pushing their faces into the barbed wire trying to pick up the little clippings of grass thrown out by the lawn mower. Beef cattle are usually blocky and solid, but these poor animals are thin, bony, with ribs showing and hip bones sticking ‘way out.