Almost hit a calf…

All in all I spent nine days going back and forth across the plateau and up and down S&T’s mesa to feed and care for their dogs and generally keep Murphy at bay while they were traveling. I told them at the beginning that I could no longer promise that the Jeep was capable of doing that sixteen or eighteen times in a row, so T lent me the use of his truck for the duration. T’s dogs are rather smelly, not that Tobie would have needed them to be to know he was in other dogs’ territory, and although he enjoys a ride as much as the next dog he never quite warmed up to T’s truck. Also…

Every single frickin’ morning and evening the plateau was crawling with cows and small calves, most of which seemed to prefer to hang out somnolently in the middle of the frickin’ road for some reason. I have lost all patience with cattle in general long since, but I remain aware that keeping the poor darlings from harm is somehow my responsibility. I also know that the only creature on Earth more stupid than a cow – leaving chickens out of the conversation as clearly the undisputed stupidest creatures in the physical universe – is a calf. When a steer calf gets spooked it wants its mama, and it will do anything no matter how suicidal to reunite with her. Therefore…

As I was easing through the morning’s cattle herd in T’s truck, I paid careful attention to the behavior of all the many calves around me. They all look alike, you can’t tell which one goes with which cow, and it is inevitable that at least one cow will move off the road without concern for which side of the road her calf is on. Rather than simply stand still for two seconds until the coast is clear, the poor bereaved calf will always try to outrun the truck and cut in front of it to reunite with mama. When you see a calf apparently racing the truck, be aware that it absolutely will make a suicide run for the front bumper. You are legally responsible to prevent its grisly death.

So I was watching this one calf very closely as it built up velocity beside the truck. I couldn’t speed up and outrun it because I was still making my way through the herd, but I could slow down just enough to let it live when it cut in front of the truck. I was watching the calf so closely, in fact, that I completely missed the fact that there wasn’t just one calf.

Yup, mama had twins. Frankly I’m surprised the cattlemen let this runt live: I almost didn’t, for I looked up from watching the first calf safely cross the road just in time to see a second, smaller calf disappear at great speed in front of the truck.

People, I fully expected to feel a bump but somehow this tiny creature made up in afterburner what he lacked in size. He veritably squirted back into my vision inches from the bumper. It’s kind of a shame he’s already been castrated: they should breed him as a racing cow.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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7 Responses to Almost hit a calf…

  1. Mark Matis says:

    Cows do have much in common with deer. The father of one of my friends from back home had a deer stick its head into the front wheel well of his Olds Toronado back in the day.
    Calves know where their next meal comes from, and do not want to lose it.

  2. Mike says:

    Where I am, we have the same problem, except it’s with deer and not cattle that wander onto the road in the morning and evening. The only good thing is that if you hit one, it’s considered yours. So, if you have some sheet plastic in your truck, a good knife and are not too squeamish, there’s meat for the freezer. It’s a shame that you can’t do that with cows.

  3. Mark Matis says:

    Well, Mike, you CAN do that with cows until you get caught!
    But those cows are VERY tough and not good for much except jerky.

  4. Mike says:

    Mark Matis 🤣

  5. Joel says:

    But those cows are VERY tough and not good for much except jerky.

    The mama cows, I’m sure. The babies are destined for beef, and might be quite nice. Not that I’m likely to ever know, but there’s no law against thinking about it.

  6. John says:


To the stake with the heretic!