Sunday, November 09, 2014

Encounter of the Third Kind

I honestly have no idea what the other 2 kinds of encounters might be but for me, today, it was one of the third kind. Why? Because it was extraordinary. At the root-sense of the word. Meaning, something out of the ordinary. 

(OK just checked, technically, an encounter of the third kind is when you see an UFO which is nothing of the sort).

As most of you know by now (and if you don't, you should read this blog more often! and be ashamed of yourself for not doing so earlier) I now live in the countryside. And even though i don't work with animals, needless to say i've come across cattle more than once. 
I'm not confortable with big animals. Not because i think they're scary or gross but because i've never had interracted with them because i know knew nobody who actually breed them. Up until now obviously.

One of my better half's karatéka is the son of a cow breeder, another one the son of horses and ponies breeder (yep, not comfy with horses either). My grand father in law used to breed swines, my father in law used to breed sheeps but they only have cats left now. And as cats are concerned, i'm pretty well served with my 3. So when i was told that a cow has a tongue that is raspy like one of a cat, i was in shock. I thought they had a smooth one like a dog. Same when i heard that cows are actually pretty affectionate animals. And i thought, damn, i need to go see (and maybe even pet one) from up close.

So i called the guy after my man had told him about my little query. And i met him and his cows today. 

When i parked by the field they were staying in, first thing that came to my mind was, damn, they are huge animals. It's very impressive. And i was quite far away from them still! We went in, but since it was in the field where a couple of born-yesterday calves were at, mommy cows were extremely alert and following our every move. So he took me to another field, to introduce me to Marguerite (this is such a stereotype name for a cow, i love it), a cow whom mother died calving and that he pretty much raised on his own, feeding her with a baby bottle.
Daniel and Marguerite
He kept her horns because other cows, as she was growing up, were mean to her because she acted different than they did. Animals are just like human beings, they're racist! They don't like Different. So now, she can actually defend her food when others are trying to steal it from her. 
It was amazing how he called her by her name and how she recognized it and came to us. We had brought some flour that she voraciously devoured. She even ate from my hands. I mean I HAND-FED A COW!!!! (no pic here, it was so over the top that i didn't think about asking him to take a picture)
Marguerite so very much enjoying her food!
I was a lot more nervous when he called the bull. We were in a field with about 15 cows with their calves and one bull. A one point two ton bull. It's bigger (and heavier) than my very own CAR! But i pet him. I PET A FREAKING BULL!!!
THAT bigger-than-everybody-else's bull
We then went to a third field with another baby-bottle fed cow named Peach (Pêche in French). And i couldn't help but ask for my picture taken with her. Otherwise nobody would trust me that i did go in a field full of cows and actually gotten close enough to pet them. 
Peach and I
 I couldn't pet a calf. They're fearful and always stand aback. But jeez aren't they curious. You can tell they're scared but their curiosity is still stronger than their fear and they want to get closer! It's funny. They're like a little kid hidding into mommy's skirt!!

I even got to drive that little tractor (it's not a tractor but i don't know the name of it, not even in French, let alone in English!) to bring a haybale to them. I was on my own (with the farmer's dog) in that little engine, in the middle of a dozen cows, bringing them that caramel flavored candy to them (seriously, this stuff smells like caramel, no wonder they like it!).

Farmers in France, even in the countryside, have a reputation of being assholes. And jerks. Well i have yet to meet one of these nasty specimen because all the ones that i've crossed path with have been nothing but awesome with me. Maybe it's because i'm new to this world, maybe it's because i'm a woman, maybe it's because i'm the wife and the daughter in law of a very well known family here, or maybe it's just because i'm excited about learning and discovering all these new things.
The way he talked about his cows was touching. He could pretty much tell which calf belonged to which cow, and he talked about Marguerite and Peach with some kind of pride but most of all, a tremendous amount of love and affection. This guy cares for his animals and it shows.

It was a fantastic experience for me. And you could tell he was only too happy to show me his "babies". And what is probably so natural for him was an extraordinary encounter for me. Kinda made my day :D

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