Today, I’m reporting on the sighting of a pair of Houdini cows living and practicing their particular brand of “magic” within the confines of Bradford County, PA. Yes, you heard me right, I said Houdini cows. I call them that because these bovines have been caught practicing the art of the great prestidigitator himself, Harry Houdini. Like their mentor, these heifer’s high jinks include, but are not limited to, the ability to escape hot fences and miraculously jimmy them selves from between hemmed in spaces seeking to obtain the better things of life.
Case study: Over the past month, two cows (one solid black in color, the other a black and white patterned Holstein), have taken to the highways and byways near our house to find lush grazing spots on which to feed. The “mixed” minx was the first to catch our attention during a morning commute. Standing alone, smack dab in the center of a bag of haylage, she dined on forbidden fruit while her more compliant pasture-mates dutifully stood around a circle of bland old, dry old, old-old hay. Greedily munching the product of fermentation, our Houdini cow struck a defiant pose in the early morning fog. We chuckled at the thought of Farmer Brown addressing the habits of this malcontent once she was caught.
Next morning we noticed that Houdini No. 1 had been joined at the north side of Farmer Brown’s house to dine on the family’s flowering bush with Houdini No. 2. This time we grimaced, projecting trouble for the pair, once their jig was up.
Yesterday morning, there they were again–this time munching on shrubbery growing next to the barn and acting as if they’d never be caught; like they hadn’t a care in the world. Were it not for my upbringing, and the realization that cattle rarely gain loving favor in the hearts of their farmer friends when such naughtiness is afoot, I might have been tempted to think these two were chosen specifically for their knack at escaping. Could it be that they were allowed to run free merely for the enjoyment of their host family, we wondered? Maybe Farmer Brown and the missis were inside the farmhouse, mutually sharing with us this silly scene.
“How do they do it,” we exclaimed? “How do they manage to find their way out of the pasture every day and escape into literally greener pastures?”
I love living in Bradford County. I love having farmers for neighbors. I love seeing baby animals kicking their heels up and sprinting in competition with one another in the spring. Our Houdini cows are only a smattering of the joy country living provides. If only all the gas drillers would go away, we might be able to get back to being the sleepy burg we once were before progress came to town. Fat chance of that, me thinks, but where Houdini cows are concerned one dare not rule out the impossible. I love Houdini cows.