Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I met Fred when he was a neighbors pet. He had been orphaned at birth and the rancher my neighbor worked for, gave him to Paul with the stipulation that when he was grown, the rancher could use him as a breeder for his herd. Paul would receive a fee for Fred's services should he be a successful breeder.

But that was in the future. For now, he was a grand little Brahman bull calf who would suck fiercely on your fingers or on any exposed flesh. Shorts were not a good idea when visiting Fred. Leg and arm hickies are hard to explain.

None of these are my photos but are close what Fred looked like.

Fred was my first up close and personal experience with a bovine. My attachment to him eventually led me to the raising of day old calves. Some people think cows are dumb, I prefer to think they are selective learners. They learn what they need to sustain life and pleasure. The rest is just useless information.

He very quickly learned for instance that I was a bringer of treats. His favorite being a grapefruit cut in half. Not a neat eater, he often left my jeans a mess as he wiped his mouth on me. I was also looked upon as an easier of itches from those dratted horn flies. I always brought a brush and gave Fred a vigorous brushing. My how he loved that. He leaned into every stroke. Because of my pampering of Fred, he would run to the fence when he saw me coming. I was heart broken when my neighbor moved and took Fred with him. I really missed Fred.

Every now and then, when I was in Fred's new neighborhood, I would stop in to see him. I was always enormously pleased when he would see my vehicle and run to the fence. Oh yeah, I never went without treats and a brush. He eventually matured into a handsome fellow.

Brahma's are very large cattle and are a favorite in Florida for their ability to withstand heat. They actually have more sweat glands than other cattle. Despite their huge size, they are known as a docile intelligent breed, if handled with kindness from calf hood as evidenced throughout India. Officially known as Brahmans, locally in Florida,the breed is pronounced Bram'er. The Brahman has a distinct large hump over the top of the shoulder and neck, and a loose flap of skin hanging from the neck. Their ears are large and floppy. I find their long droopy ears very endearing.

Quite a while passed and I lost track of Fred. One of my jobs was to check the ranchers pump meters. These were electric meters, in the middle of pastures that provided water for the stock. Contrary to popular opinion, electric meters do not run faster as they age, in fact they slow down and stop. One of my jobs was to check to make sure a meter showing zero consumption was inactive and not stopped.

I had an order to check a pasture pump meter not too far from my area so I checked it on the way home. I usually checked to see if the water tank was abandoned or functioning. This often required walking quite a distance into the pasture. I looked to see if there were any cows around the tank and saw none. This was fortunate, for range cows can get spooky around a person on foot. The empty, high growth pasture indicated that the pump was inactive but I went through the tall grass to check. My main concern was stepping on a snake but I had a bigger surprise waiting for me.

As I got closer, the grass moved and a low rumble came from behind the tank. First the rump appeared, then the back, then the head of a 2000 pound bull. He had been completely concealed in a bull hole he had dug in the tall grass. I was a good 1000 feet from a fence line. He had me.

I am certain my heart beat could be heard in the next county. I only saw two options. I had decent speed as a sprinter and felt with surprise on my side, I could out run him for about 20 feet then I would be tromped to death. Or I could freeze and hope for the best. Both options pretty much guaranteed my flesh being rearranged.

I don't know why for the chance was slim to none, but I hopefully pleaded, "Fred ??"

The huge bull came towards me, backed me into the transformer pole and shoved his head into my chest. Ever so gently for a giant, he rubbed his head up and down my body, making funny little sounds. It was my friend Fred.

I can only urge you to be kind to all you meet along the way, for you never know when you will want that kindness back. My paybacks that day were blissful.

He followed me to the fence line, gently nudging me with his head as we walked. I say gently, but several times I almost lost my footing. I gave him an apple from my lunch and scratched his back while he ate.

That was the last I saw Fred. I went back a few weeks later but he was gone, probably to another pasture to spread his seed among the ladies as a proper bull should.

Live long and propagate Fred.


  1. Daddy had several different bulls, one at a time and raised one. Only one was ferocious. All were Herefords AS I REMEMBER, although his females were mixed.

    All bulls had names but the one I remember was named Bestie--not sure of spelling nor meaning--maybe some variation of BEAST, fairly sure it was NOT Bessie1 He was Daddy's first bull purchase and I think a discard (too old). He seemed gentle enough, but then Mother did not let us even near the fences where the cattle were. He was finally replaced, but was useful a number of years.

  2. Patti, you simply HAVE TO write a book!! This is a great story!

    BTW: Give it up - what did 2BZE2P mean? I can't figure it out.

  3. I loved your story Patti. How lucky that Fred remembered all the kind things you did for him.
    Sunny :)

  4. What a wonderful story, patti. You have a way of connecting heart to heart with all the creatures you encounter. It is so lovely.

    Did I already ask you if you ever read "Water for Elephants"-- If you haven't, I highly recommend it. I think you would love it.

  5. Nitwit,
    Think any bull with a derivative of Beast as a name would impress me.
    Your mom was smart, even the gentle ones can hurt you accidentally.

    Thank you so much Judy.
    I missed my exit following that car for I was going too fast to write it down. "Too Busy to Pee"
    Would fit your car nicely.

    Thanks Sunny,
    Boy was I glad he did. Could have been messy.

    I am just so glad it WAS Fred.

    I just really love all creatures great and small. They are so pure and unless the animal had some unfortunate connection to man, they have no baggage.
    I did read that book, thank you.

  6. You are a natural story teller becomes captivated with your words.

  7. Wanda is right. You tell wonderful stories. Can't wait for the next one.

  8. Oh what a neat story, Patti. Isn't it amazing what a little bit of love and attention can do???? It's not just with animals (who remember us forever) ---but the same goes for humans. All of us humans love attention and love. We cherish it and NEED it in order to live.

    There are lots of us "Fred's" in the world ---who meet others along the way, and never forget them. What do we remember??? WELL---we remember that caring, that love and that attention we got from them--and gave to them. Tis Life!!!!

    Great post, Patti.

  9. Wanda and Betty
    Thank you so much for your kind comments. I have just been very lucky in some of my adventures and I am thrilled for the opportunity to share them. Thank you for reading.

    Thanks Betsy,
    Yes, life if full of Freds of the two legged type also. I have only once in 70 years, seen kindness beget violence which is for a later story. Almost always,love and attention come back three fold to the giver.

  10. Well that's a bull story for sure. Brahmas are really quite mysterious creatures.
    I was caught in a field once with my friend and about 20 bulls were after us. I guess a field is really the wrong word, it was a fenced in wooded area maybe 10-15 acres. A deep gully ran down the middle and trees had been dumped into the gully – luckily for us the bulls had to go around the gully to get to us but the race was on. We both had rifles and were trespassing but I think I would have shot one if need be. We made it back over the fences thankfully. I did notice later that day, my friends pants were a little wet. Less trespassing on our travels became the norm after that expericene.

  11. What a wonderful story about Fred. My neighbor raises two or three yearling cows each year. One year he had one cow and she had a calf, when the calf got old enough as I was walking along the fence line to turn on the irrigation water the calf would buck and run along the fence line. Pretty soon I started running along the fence line too and this got to be a nightly ritual. I am sure my neighbors were wondering about me "playing" with the calf each evening.

  12. Grayquill,
    That really was a bunch of bull huh(20)? I totally understand your fear being chased. Twenty bulls is NOT a fair fight.
    Your friend was I am sure just lightening the load so he could run better.
    So funny in retrospect.

    Linda Starr,
    Good to see you again and thanks so much.
    I loved your story about playing with the calf. They do love to run and buck. Kind of glad you had a fence between you though for they can accidently hurt you in their enthusiasm.

  13. Beautiful story. I enjoyed it from start to finish.

    Pick a Peck of Pixels

  14. Your posts are soooo endearing. I could vividly imagine the entire sweet story that you brilliantly narrated.. along with a lovely moral (be nice to everyone u meet).

    I'm smiling thinking about this unique friendship :)

    Oh pls do visit my blog for my new posts. Would love your views :)

  15. Abe,
    Thanks so much. Always appreciate your comments as you tell a great story yourself.

    Thank you so much. I have been following you since you first appeared here but somehow I missed a post. Will catch up. Love your site.

  16. how wonderful!
    I am a big believer in karma, even bull karma

    Long Live Fred!

  17. What a great story! Not being a country girl I've had little experience with anything larger than a dog. (small ones at that) My kids had the pleasure of visiting their grandparents farm and their favorite animal was a bull named Sim!

  18. A great are the animal queen...

  19. Oh my gosh! What a neat story - I love it! You had me from beginning to end!

  20. What a great story! I enjoyed every line of it! Wonderful to meet each other on the blog! Thanks for your visit!

  21. Dianne,
    Bull karma is the best when you are looking a beast in the eye.

    Thanks so much. Bulls generally get a bad rap and I did now a guy who was mauled by one but generally they are fine unless you threaten their ladies.

    Thanks 4th sister. Don't know about queen but I do love the 4 legged ones. They carry so little baggage.

    cheffie mom,
    So glad you liked it, Thanks so much. Fred deserved his moment on the Net.

    Thanks so much Wil, Blogs are wonderful aren't they? We would never have met otherwise considering the many miles. Who ever thought up blogging has my vote.

  22. What an interesting post! The bull in the second picture is just incredible!

    Yes, you DO have a gift with words.

  23. Thank you Carol,
    The Brahman is a massive creature. I think they are quite exotic looking.