Friday, June 8, 2012

Bad Buffs/Good Buffs

Oh how their ears must have been burning. I've been talking about the buffs to lots of people recently but I've neglected to post any recent photos. Nor have I been updating you on their antics. My bad. No, their bad. Well, it's complicated. And the ear burning is probably mites. Sigh.

First, if you're new to the blog and want some background, check out these earlier posts: Why buffalo? They can walk on water., some early pictures: Buffalo pix, and see them getting bigger last summer: Fluffy Buffies. Now for some shots from earlier this spring:

One buff....

...two buffs....

...three buffs....

...maxing and relaxing in the lower pasture. Note the popsicle trees in the background--conifers from which they've stripped all the lower needles and branches. If I pulled back the shot just a bit, you'd see what look like Christmas trees on very long sticks. Not that we're complaining. The trees weren't terribly healthy nor well-placed, so we're just as happy to have them used as rubbing posts. Plus, it makes for a kind of cheap topiary effect.

And much better than what this bad boy got up to.

When last we spoke of Eschol, he had just taken another door off the barn. Over the spring, he completed his mission of removing all the barn doors. Not wanting to miss out on the full entertainment potential, however, he did not simply remove the doors from their very sturdy hinges. No, he also rolled each door down the hill and into the ditch. Often, with the framing post attached. Sure, easy for him. Not so easy for us to get them back up the hill and stowed in a safe place in the barn. The days I had to recover doors on my own gave me ample time to ponder the concept of leverage. But also to ponder the causes of my bull's bad behavior.

I had started to dread the long walk to the barn each morning because I'd hear the telltale "thunk, thunk, thunk" that meant he had started on destroying a new target. After the doors, he decided that a more open floor plan for the lower level of the barn would be the way to go. After a few (mostly) non-essential support posts and a whole lotta stall components got knocked out, he got the whole crew banished from the barn. The weather was warm enough for it not to be an issue; I had simply hoped to give the grass more time to grow in the other pastures before turning them loose.

Bad? Maybe. Well, definitely for the barn. But it occurred to me, that he might just be a frustrated bull. As spring went on, it became apparent that the girls were no longer entertaining his affections. Our fervent hope is that they both are pregnant and aren't just annoyed with boyo.

That might make me forgive him a little for busting into the lower barn and wreaking havoc in there. He, perhaps with some help from the girls, knocked out several posts and connected beams. Again, nothing structural, just some of the internal scaffolding for drying tobacco. The heavy cross beams didn't come down at both ends, so Jim had to go up on a ladder to cut them down. And that's how we saw the first rat snake of the season--when it was shaken off its perch by the chainsaw vibrations and bounced off Jim's head. Good times, good times.

And Eschol isn't the only one to get in trouble. I'm pretty sure that Effie is to the electric fence what Eschol is to the barn. Since our good Catholic girl is forever kneeling down to get her head and incredibly stretchy neck under the wire to access the primo forage, she is my prime suspect in all fence-related matters.

On several occasions, I have walked out to one of the temporary pastures we refer to as the Repair Field only to find the single strand of wire on the ground. My best guess is that Effie misjudged where her horns were in relation to the wire when she backed up to change position and hooked the fence. Judging from where the wire landed and how the posts were flung about the field, I'm guessing she did not enjoy the experience. Fortunately, the buffs seem unwilling to cross the wire even when it's on the ground. One time, she must have gotten such a scare, that she blasted through the gate (also electric wire) and ran all the way back into the main pasture. The others followed. Despite the gates being open and there being tasty treats along the driveway, all three buffs stayed in the main pasture. That's what I mean when I say bad buffs/good buffs. They can cause a lot of trouble but their basic instincts are so good. I'd much rather repair a fence or a barn than have to go on a buffalo roundup in the creek or the neighborhood.

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