In the cold and wind, I’ve taken to using the cattle in the field across the road as an indication which way to walk. Their rumps-to-the-wind weather vaning gives me the direction to keep the chill at my back until I warm up sufficiently.

On the way back from eagle’s nest viewing and following animal tracks on the riverbank, I was drawn by the ruckus among the cows in the pasture: much urgent mooing and shuffling for position against the pasture fence. Predator? Coyote? Unexpected dog?

Nope. To my great delight, I realized that they were crowding the fence because they’d heard a tractor start–half a mile away, by the hay barn. Just like my cat-buddies have come to know that coffee-time is also treat-time, the cows know that the sound of a tractor engine means food.

They were given a big round bale yesterday, and another today; this last right in front of the house. The tractor drags the bale behind it, back and forth, unrolling the hay as it goes. The new hay is cause for much excitement among my friends in the field. They follow it from one row to the next, mouths full and hay hanging, to find the next, freshest, sweetest bits. Their happiness is apparent, even from across our little road. I love that something so small can be the source of such delight.

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