“Watch the hole.”
“Which one?” is the bewildering question in our mind, but at least we know better than to ask.
Anyway, it’s already too late, the cow “went in the hole,” and the wrong one, “again.”
Sorting livestock into specific pens, and out of where they’re not wanted, is a major task, whether it be horses, cattle or hogs.
While experience doesn’t seem all that important, it is beneficial to have an instinctive awareness of what a critter might be inclined to do, although they typically never do what we think they will, or should.
Likewise, it’s helpful to have an inside clue on what those we’re working with might be expecting. Again that changes upon the spurt, and there’s really little consistency from one second to the next.
However, numbers of assistants are an asset when gathering, sorting or penning livestock. Whether horseback, or afoot, “bodies” generally make a difference in how fast a job gets done.
Oh, there can be too many helpers, on occasion, if an “uniformed” is stargazing when they should be moving, or when an “overzealous” hand wants to be everywhere doing everything, instead of handling the intended task.
One on every gate, and at every hole, would seem the best combination of work force, but that’s often not feasible, when a large cowherd must be sorted for a dozen different summer pastures.
Adding to the tedious endeavor is when all of their bawling babies have already been sorted in another distant pen, and mommas look that direction, rather than where we want them.
The pasture manager decides ahead of time where every pair is to go and, when one comes through the chute, hollers, in not always the most congenial tone, that information to everybody assisting.
Understanding the pasture’s call-name and a cow’s four-digit-ear-tag number isn’t too easy, when the wind’s blowing, others are talking, cows are bellowing, and we’re hard of hearing on top of it.
Then, just when we think we’re getting along pretty good, the manager, harshly it seems, demands: “What were you doing?”, or “What were you thinking?” We feel reprieve with our congenial-and-true response: “Watching the hole.”
Reminds us of Second Corinthians 6:8: “When you’re doing your best, you’re still blamed.” However, Acts 23:5: “We were along to help out as needed.”