Monday, January 9, 2017

FRED THE BULL


Rerun from 2009.

I met Fred when he was a neighbor's 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 my fingers or on any exposed flesh. Shorts were not a good idea when visiting Fred. Leg hickies are hard to explain.


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


Fred was my first up close and personal experience with a bovine.  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.

Fred 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 Fred would run to the fence when he saw me coming. I really missed him when my neighbor moved and took Fred with him.  

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.

Brahman'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.  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 rancher's 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. They in fact they slow down and stop. One of my jobs was to check to make sure a meter showing zero consumption was actually inactive and not stopped.

Checking these meters often required walking quite a distance into a pasture and that day was no exception. 

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 most likely inactive but I went through the tall grass to be certain. 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 behind the tank.  I was a good 600 feet from the 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 stomped 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.

He followed me back 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 left over 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. Hopefully to another pasture to spread his seed among the ladies as a proper bull should. I hope he lived long and was fruitful.

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. 

44 comments :

  1. My heart was thumping as I read your meter checking predicament. Fred certainly deserved that apple.

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    1. Out to Pasture,
      He sure had my heart rate up. He was such a sweetie--I miss him.

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  2. You have had the most unusual and interesting jobs. A lot of different experiences.... LOL
    Bulls are not to be taken lightly. I grew up on a farm and they can be killers.

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    1. Belva,
      You are so right. About a month before my Fred incident, a fellow was killed by a dairy bull. They can be nasty.

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  3. Hope you were not wearing red and I hear it is best not to run (or is that with bears?) just in case it wasn't Fred. OMG!

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    1. Annie,
      Unless you are Usain Bolt it is not a good idea to try to outrun any animal cept maybe turtles or snails:))

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  4. Oh, my goodness! You make friends with the most interesting critters, but Fred is probably the largest one by far. I loved this story! Thanks for sharing it again. :-)

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    1. Djan,
      Thanks so much. He was a whopper but a sweetie. I do have a soft spot for animals.

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  5. Great story on several levels. Loved it!

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    1. joeh,
      Aw thanks so much. So glad you enjoyed.

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  6. What a wonderful story. And Karma? Your kindness paid off in perfect way. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Linda deV,
      Thank you so much for stopping by, commenting and following. Yep, I do believe in Karma as we all should.

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  7. Lovely story. Thanks for warming my otherwise chilly day.

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    1. Stephen,
      Thanks so much. Happy to have warmed you on a nippy day in Portland. You have really been hit this winter.

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  8. Such a beautiful story! And what a lovely bull. Happy New Year. :)

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    1. Linda,
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Welcome. For a while I thought you were another Linda. Yes he was a handsome fellow. Happy New Year back at ya.

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  9. I adore animals and your story gave me tears. I hope Fred is living a good life. Bless his heart and also to you- you must be very special to have a 2000 bull still love you. (sniff)

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    1. Debby,
      Thank you for your comment and for following. Welcome. I do hope Fred is still being the grand bull he was. Not sure it was me or the fruit and brushings he loved. Either way, I was quite happy.

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  10. Glad it worked out better than this story from one of my old posts:

    A man goes to Africa on a safari. While there, he comes upon an elephant, in great pain, with a giant thorn in its foot. The man very carefully approaches the elephant, and gingerly removes the thorn from its foot. The elephant begins to walk away, then turns and stares at the man for a full minute, locking eyes with him. The elephant then continues on its way. "I wonder if I ever see that elephant again if it will remember me?" the man muses to himself.
    It is a few years later and the man is at a circus back in the States. He notices that one of the elephants keeps looking at him, almost like it KNOWS him. The man wonders, "Could this be that elephant I helped so long ago?" He decides to get a closer look. With the elephant still giving him the stare down, the man moves in closer, getting right up in front of the elephant. They lock eyes. A knowing look seems to cross the elephant's face. It reaches down... picks the man up carefully with its trunk... lifts him high in the air... THROWS HIM, CRASHING TO THE GROUND AND STOMPS HIM TO DEATH!

    It was probably a different elephant!!

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    1. Fran,
      I remember that story when you told it and I loved it. When I read it on your post, I thought immediately of Fred and was happy he was the same animal. Phew.

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  11. I love this story so much! Thank you for sharing it. We should all have a bovine in our lives to remind us of the life in these creatures. Here's a link to a local story about the world's tallest Holstein. He's up here in Humboldt County, and you bet we're planning on taking a trip to say hello! Thank you for reminding me.
    http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20161217/holstein-for-the-holidays

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    1. robin,
      I checked that link and that is one huge steer. I do hope you go see him and blog about your visit. I love it when steers are kept as pets and not turned into burgers.

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  12. Boy I'm glad it was Fred in that field. What a cute story.

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    1. Joey,
      Ah if relief had been money I could have retired that day. I was pretty sure I was looking at my last day as a whole person.

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  13. That is just the sweetest story ever!

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    1. Olga,
      Aw, thanks. I am just so thrilled it had a happy ending.

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  14. A wonderful story and such a lesson in how kindness of the moment 'Amy be repaid in the future.

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    1. Linda,
      I do believe in Karma and never really subscribed to the theory that no good deed goes unpunished.

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  15. Wow, what a wonderful story, altho a bit scary there. It's right up there with the stories of people visiting animals that have been turned back out in the jungle that they had cared for and the animals still know them. The scary part is if it hadn't been Fred then I would most likely not be talking to you today! The first thing I learned growing up on the farm was never to go into a pasture with a bull in it. Of course you didn't know there was one nearby...thank God it was Fred! Your kindness to him was never forgotten, you had made a life long friend.

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    1. Cheryl,
      I think it was also a case that Fred had only known kindness from all humans since he was a day old orphan which also happened with those jungle animals.

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  16. Patti, you have lived the most interesting life! Thank goodness it was Fred, and how wonderful he remembered his friend.

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    1. Eileen,
      I have been very lucky and have tried to make each circumstance in my life a pleasant experience. Doesn't cost any more to try.

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  17. What an amazing life you have had. Your stories are endless, and you are a wonderful story teller. I love this one!

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    1. Linda R,
      Thank you so much. I have just had some fun opportunities and was lucky to have been blessed with a glass half full personality.

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  18. Enjoyed this story! When living in the rural Midwest in my youth for a couple years we had a couple Guernsey milk cows. I recall them being very loving and friendly. The breed bulls you mention must be unique emotionally as others I know of often gored their owners who had thought them to be quite docile (an uncle with a Holstein and a cousin with some other breed). Of course, maybe you had related to Fred in a way quite differently from what they did -- you were a bull whisperer.

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    1. joared,
      Bulls can be very dangerous. Fred had been raised by humans from a one day old calf and the day I ran into him, he did not have a herd of females to protect so he could be less cautious. Okeechobee is cattle and dairy country so gorings were not unheard of.

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  19. Love this! Who knew you could make friends with a bull, and that he would remember you years later? It's a reminder that we may not remember the details, but we remember how people/animals make us feel. Fred obviously remembered you as his friend. Thank goodness you had an apple with you :-)

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    1. Carole,
      Fred was gently handled by humans almost from his first breath. I think because of that and the fact that he had no herd to protect, he would not have hurt anyone on foot that day. Still I like to think he remembered me.
      He actually earned a bushel of apples that day but I only had one:)

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  20. A wonderful story! Glad it was Fred. Bulls can be quite aggressive when strangers arrive.

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    1. Gail,
      I know, I had a few close calls with some not so friendly bulls. Fred was a treat.

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  21. Ahhh ---great story, and what a Sweet Bull.. I never thought I'd put the word, Sweet, and the word, Bull in the same sentence.. But obviously, Fred considered you a FRIEND.... How special... I love all of your stories.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Betsy,
      Thanks so much. You have been around for most of them. Fred was a sweetie.

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  22. WHEW ... I congratulate you being able to keep your head and your nerve. Luckily Fred had a good memory.

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    1. Ginnie,
      I'd like to think he remembered but it could have just been that he had always been treated kindly by humans from birth. Either way, I am grateful.

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