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From the Farm

Cherish the country sounds

July 3, 2009
By Kerry Hoffman

Years ago, when my mother would pack up practically the entire house for our family of six to spend a weekend camping, I would be so excited I could scarcely contain myself.

I loved camping. I could've spent hours and hours sitting outside by the campfire. I would wake up earlier than every other log in the camper and just listen to the birds chirping to welcome the day.

I still enjoy waking up to the sounds of the birds.

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Kerry Hoffman

It's too bad that here on the farm, it can get so noisy, a person can't hear the birds early in the morning.

Some mornings, I almost want to grab my two-ton feather pillow and slam it over my head.

The fear of suffocation stops me.

Wednesday morning, I heard Steve get out of bed at 4 a.m. No, I don't feel guilty. He likes getting up that early! Yes, it's odd. I don't mind being awake at that time, because I know that I will be able to get at least another two hours of shut-eye.

This particular morning, for some reason, the birds were up early and already busy chatting up a storm.

I relished the thought of being able to lie in bed and listen to the birds and slowly roll back into a slumber.

I was wrong.

Apparently one of the newborn calves hasn't figured out the feeding schedule. She started bellowing for her food as soon as she heard Steve shut the entryway door on the house.

Calves aren't too bad when they make a lot of noise. They do tend to come up with a pattern though. This particular calf would cry out for food approximately every 15 seconds. That's four times a minute; 240 cries per hour. You would think a calf would lose its voice.

This one just kept going and going. She shamed the Energizer bunny!

When the mother hears her calf and starts trying to communicate with the calf, that's when the obnoxious choir starts. I take that back. It doesn't even have to be the mother that answers the call of a hungry calf. It could just be a cow that thinks she should be the mother.

Cows can moo really, really loud, and I am beginning to think cows can throw their voices for long distances.

Sometimes it sounds like the mother cow is standing right outside our door trying to make us feel bad for not answering the call of the calf.

So, the calf would whine; the mother would answer. This continued Wednesday morning until at least 6 a.m. Then I committed to my defeat and rolled out of bed.

The animals around here don't only make all kinds of racket early in the morning. Oh no, they make their presence know at all times of the day.

The other night - late, late at night - a cow was offering up her voice to the heavens. That's about the only reason I can figure she was being so insufferable. It sounded like she was right underneath my bedroom window. Then I heard another on joining the chorus. Now, if these cows could at least harmonize, I could consider their vocals a musical. It sounded more like ... there are no words to describe.

So there I lie in bed wondering if the cows were playing a humorous joke and throwing their voices, or if I should get up and look out my window. Maybe all the cows are out? Looking out the window doesn't work all that well at 2 a.m. I would have to go downstairs and turn on the yard light.

I think Chuck the rooster was a little torqued too, because then he started to add his two cents as well.

Then again, I suppose I should consider myself lucky. Chuck is a bird. It's too bad he crows and doesn't sweetly chirp.

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