My world of cows….

This blog is dedicated to all the cattle beasts I have known and the thousands more that I’ll meet in my lifetime.
I was raised in their beastly shadows and am privileged to have been their observer; their admirer; their follower; their caretaker.
Like people, some of them let me into their lives willingly with trust. This is a trust that must be earned. That’s how it works in the animal world. It ‘s purely an instinct thing.
Like people, most cattle have been good-natured, curious and obliging. A rare one turned on me, distrusted me or just never warmed up to me. Some were unstable from the get-go and some were just plain nervous. Some are what I’d call “smart” while others just never seemed to learn. Some are quite the characters. Some just want to be left alone. Others can never seem to get enough attention.
Being allowed into their space and working side by side with these remarkable beasts has been a privilege.

Cows have taught me most of my life lessons………
Life is beautiful.
Life is tough.
When life gets complicated, it’s usually because we made it so. (We run from potential disaster, though it’s never usually as bad as we think it will be.)
Change is scary.
Life isn’t always fair.
Life is competitive.
Life is awe-inspiring.
Life starts with a painful birth that is sometimes seamless and sometimes a fight for survival.
Life is full of sacrifice.
Life is abundant.
What you resist persists.
Simple jobs can turn into very complicated ones.
We are all part of a food chain. (Responsibility and an attitude of gratitude is what’s required when you’re at the top of that chain.)
Life is habitual. It is largely comprised of routines.
Allegiances are sometimes important.
There is strength in numbers.
It is important to breathe; to live in the now; to just be; …….to ruminate. We need down time. (About one third of a cow’s life is spent sleeping. Another is spent ruminating.)
Life is looking after our “family” and loved ones – our “herd”.
Life is an endless series of surprises. No two days are ever the same.
Life is an endless search for sustenance.
We are all food-motivated, to some degree or another.
Exercise is essential.
So is fresh air.
Don’t mess with a mother cow. She is a fierce defender of her offspring.
In the animal world, it really IS survival of the physically fittest!
Herd mentality can be non-productive…..dangerous. But sometimes is isn’t.
Mother Nature is without sentimentality. It can be ruthless.
Some beasts are not cut out to be parents. But most step up to the job and take responsibility once they ARE parents.
Victimhood is a human condition.
Sometimes we just need to dance (or kick up our heels, so-to-speak).
Some lead; some follow. Some respect fences while some push beyond them.
Our actions (and energy) speak louder than words.
We think too much………

Life with my husband started as a friendship centred on our love for cattle, as it remains today and is now shared with our beautiful daughter. When I first met my husband, I told him that even if it meant I had to live in a shack, I visualized my future life with cows in it. that is when we knew we shared a common bond.
Since then, it has been a life commitment to breeding, raising and managing cows together. For better or worse, this commitment has involved peace, joy and fulfillment paired with financial stress, physical exhaustion, very long days and many wakeful nights; not to mention a virtually non-existent social life outside of cattle circles. It has been a commitment that few family and friends could be expected to understand. No doubt, it seems illogical. But animals don’t take holidays and since we care for them, rarely, if ever, do we.
I also write for a living, as a hobby and for cathartic reasons. And since I’ve felt a great disconnect from the ones I love and from city folks who are further and further removed from their natural existence, I will write, in this medium, in the hopes of making much needed connections.
Ranching and livestock agriculture will be central to my discourses. So will sharing my beautiful life with cows in it.


Published by

Cate Brown

I have been a cattle woman my entire life. I am currently a cattle rancher in British Columbia Canada with my husband Phil. As part of my job here, I am also fortunate to work with - do the dance of life with - cattle and horses. I am a philosopher and a meditator in my quiet time and I love to write. I'm a prolific reader and a bit of a podcast junkie. I have earned my living in the cattle industry in both commercial and purebred sectors and have also been an agricultural and livestock journalist for publications across Canada for at least 35+ years. I am passionate about the cattle culture in which I currently work and live. I regularly contemplate our way of life and the ways we can improve our sustainability, relative to our relationship with our nature - Mother Nature. I champion low-stress livestock handling and women's increasing input on this landscape. This blog embodies one of my efforts to better connect with family, friends and colleagues in the cattle business. Beyond that, I hope to make our way of living and cattle production practices more transparent and to better connect our producers and consumers. It is also a joy to share my observations of animal psychology to help everyone better understand what motivates us and them. [ig: catebrown66 ]

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