The Cardboard Cow

Try this one with a glass of Blanc Nu – our brand new stainless steel Chardonnay!

February 2019 – It was a pretty nice dawn for the middle of winter…could see my breath but not feel any wind. I was on my way to our Woodfield vineyard to help with dormant pruning the Chardonnay.  I made a left out of our driveway in our hyper green Jeep.  Just as I pulled out, to my right, deep in the field across the street was a huge flock of snow geese – looking literally like a two acre patch of actual snow that was ebbing and flowing slightly as the geese gently moved, walked or raised and lowered their heads.  To my left, just a hundred yards up the road, was a white pickup off to the side.  A guy leaned out the driver side window peering through huge binoculars, presumptively at the geese.

I drove past and got to the vineyard a mile away and immediately realized that I forgot my pruners.  Wonderful.  Got back in the Jeep and headed back home to get them.  As I passed the white pickup, I noticed that it had been abandoned.  I glanced to the left into the field and saw something that looked like a cow walking towards the snow geese.  Initially I thought nothing of it and kept driving.  Then suddenly it occurred to me that the cow had been walking not head first, not tail first, but ribs first – it was walking sideways!  I immediately slammed to a halt before reaching our driveway and reversed it back up towards the pickup again.  As I got close, I stopped and looked over my left shoulder to see that in fact the cow was walking sideways towards the snow geese!  Then I squinted – trying to see better and trying to make sense of what I was witnessing and realized that it was in fact not an actual cow but a cardboard cut-out of a cow that was not walking on its four legs, which were hovering slightly above ground, but by two legs walking underneath it which belonged to the guy from the pickup.  Impressed with the stealth, ingenuity and resourcefulness of this particular bird watcher, I sat for a minute and watched the watcher as he slowly, gently, meticulously inched his cow towards the snowbank of geese.

Full of admiration, mixed with a generous helping of incredulity, for what I was witnessing, I felt I had to take a picture of this as evidence for the retelling.  I quickly and quietly pulled the iPhone out of my pocket and turned my torso as much as I could to my left so I could take the picture.  As bundled for the cold as I was, with multiple layers under a big Carhartt coat, it was a little difficult to get turned around but I was determined to do so and, if at all possible, without making any noise or being noticed.  Finally I did and held the phone to my eye and snapped a few quick photos of the sideways moving cow silhouette with six legs.  Then – as I tried to lower my right arm and turn back around –  my right elbow landed squarely on the horn in the middle my steering wheel and the Jeep shot out a loud, shattering honk that was prolonged for several seconds as I panicked first not realizing what the sound was and then trying to disentangle myself from the steering wheel to make it stop.  I looked up to see a massive blizzard of snow geese rise up from the ground with a rush of wings and wind and fill up the sky and begin to utterly overwhelm the cardboard cow which was now almost lost to view as the avalanche engulfed it.  I immediately hit the gas and began to escape, hoping that that my hyper green Jeep would not be seen and later recognized.  I glanced back one last time to see the silhouette of the cardboard cow tipping over, all six legs up in the snow filled air…             

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