To many people 199 holds no real signifigance. It’s just the number before 200, the busy road that drives through Williamsburg, or the number of times they check Facebook in a day (hopefully no one really does that). But to me, 199 is the number on the ear tag of my favorite cow. At our farm, we manage part of Polyface’s herd and my sweet little 199 is part of that group.
It all started earlier this year when I would come visit the farm (before we were married and I lived here), I would often accompany Buddy on the cow moves. While he would set up the next paddock, I would try to get as close to the cows as possible and try to pet one (but never actually touching them because they’re too skiddish). Or, I would grab a handful of the greenest grass I could find and try to coax them into eating it out of my hand. It never worked, but I liked the challenge. Throughout my attempts to treat these animals like one of my pets, I would consistently notice one cow in particular. You guessed it, 199. He would regularly walk up to the fence when I was there and I always thought he was a little cuter than the rest. As time went on, I proudly proclaimed to Buddy that 199 was my favorite cow. He, of course, thought I was crazy for picking “a favorite” and said it would only make it worse when the cows had to “leave the farm” (we all know what that means). Despite his naysaying, I justified my favoritism by stating that I hadn’t named the cow, I merely call it by it’s number and it happens to be the cow that I think is cutest that happens to always be at the fence when I’m there- I can’t help that.
My affinity for 199 has grown over the past few months and I’m happy to report that 199 and I reached a milestone in our friendship–I scratched his head. That’s right. He walked up to the fence, I leaned over and did my typical grass-in-the-hand method, and before I knew it he was close enough to touch and he didn’t move away. So, I dropped the grass and gently scratched the top of his head. Buddy saw the whole thing happen (and still thinks I’m crazy).
I knew I had to get proof of this whole ordeal, so this morning I jumped on the 4-wheeler, and drove back to the farthest field on the farm to where the cows are. Sure enough, 199 walked over to me first.
Please note that the white is my shirt, and the blue is my boot…