Ricardo’s Story

☆ May 27, 2010

ricardo and frisco chillaxin'

When I met Mike, he had five geese who lived at the corrals.  They were known simply as “The Geese.”  They would go on walkabouts, and bathe in puddles, and terrorize me.  But, one by one, they got killed off.  One was killed by a neighbors’ dog.  Two were hit by cars.  Another died mysteriously in the corrals, and we don’t really know the cause.  For the past two years, there has been only one goose.  That goose is Ricardo.

After all his geese-mates were killed, Ricardo adopted a cow.  Cow 234.  The “2” which begins her tag number represents the last digit of the year she was born.  For most ranchers, a cow whose number starts with 2 is a cow that was born in 2002, and is eight years old.  But Mike keeps all his cows until they die of old age and Cow 234 was born in 1992.  She’s 18.  She be old.  Spry and full of vigor, to be sure, but she is old enough to warrant special care, and she is one of Mike’s Special Project cows who do not take the long walks to spring, summer, and fall pastures.  She, along with a select few, travel just 1/4 mile down the road to the fields Mike leases for his Special Project cows ~ the injured and the old.

234 & her goose

So.  Two winters ago, Ricardo adopted Cow 234 and they became mates (in the Australian sense of the word).  That spring, Mike and I slowly trailed the Special Project cows to the nearby fields.  As we began our short journey down the road, we heard frantic honking, and, lo and behold, there was Ricardo waddling down the dirt road, trying to catch up to his cow.

Mike scooped him up and carried Ricardo on his lap to the new pasture, where he spent summer and fall with the Special Project cows.  The families who lived around the fields were delighted by Ricardo, beau of the bovines.  He became the talk of the neighborhood.  Soon, the Special Project bunch had been renamed the Goose Group.

When all the cows come home for the winter, the Goose Group cows stay in the corrals along with Daisy and Frisco, near Sir Baby, Houdini, and Sunshine. Here, from left to right, is Frisco, Cow 234’s calf, Ricardo, Cow 234, and a cow recovering from a broken hip:

the goose group

Ricardo is recently named. This winter, while I was spending so much time at the corrals waiting for Daisy to calve, I decided “the goose” was no longer an appropriate moniker for this force of personality. He needed and deserved a name.  And it was Ricardo.

Ricardo immediately grew fond (and possessive) of Sir Baby and Frisco; if I dare interrupt while Ricardo is with one of the two of them, I get quite the earful.  And threatened with pecks.

Ricardo and Daisy have little to do with eachother.  She tried to roll him twice (she does not like small animals and has tried to take Eli as well) but now she ignores him, and he ignores her.  He gets plenty of love from the black bovines, and he loves them right back.


64 Responses to “Ricardo’s Story”

  1. Angela
    May 27th, 2010 @ 8:43 am

    How sweet!
    Special Project Cows? That is wonderful! The dedication that you and Mike give to every single one of your animals is so incredible!

  2. Teri
    May 27th, 2010 @ 8:51 am

    I love Ricardo! Really enjoyed reading this post.

  3. Katie
    May 27th, 2010 @ 8:58 am

    Animals have such personalities. It’s so strange to hear people say that animals don’t think or have feelings… when you live around them for any length of time, that is proven so amazingly wrong.

    Ricardo has quite a dignified bearing to them, as well.

  4. Janet M
    May 27th, 2010 @ 9:07 am

    This was such a sweet story of the cows and Ricardo. I am mad with jealousy that I live in the city and can’t keep cows of my own.

  5. Meg
    May 27th, 2010 @ 9:08 am

    Hehe I really like this story and your choice in his name! I like how animals can attached themselves to each other. My cat Emma once bonded with my Beta fish. Everyday Emma would jump up on the table with the fish and put the very tip of her nose in the water and the fish(Klaus) would swim up and nip her nose a couple times in what I assume was their special little greeting. It was the oddest and cutest thing, when Klaus died I bought another fish, Emma tried to befriend it the same way she had done with Klaus, but this new fish had no interest in her. At least I got a couple pictures of their unique bond :)

  6. mere
    May 27th, 2010 @ 9:19 am

    Your stories make this suburban girl (who once ran screaming from a cow on a pre-dawn hike) want to have a farm.

  7. kate
    May 27th, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    Great story!! Thanks for sharing slices of your life with us; I can’t wait to show this post to my daughter.

  8. Scargosun
    May 27th, 2010 @ 9:36 am

    I love hearing about the farmly and I am so happy to hear that there are cows living out their sunset years so well cared for. You guys rock!

  9. Kristan
    May 27th, 2010 @ 9:38 am

    Um, this is pretty much the highlight of my day, if not week, if not month. Thank you!

  10. Claire Chisholm
    May 27th, 2010 @ 9:39 am

    Thanks so much for such a wonderful story! I check both of your websites daily – a highlight of my day. Your pictures and stories are truly touching. I feel very fortunate that you are willing to share your life with all of us!

  11. MCJ
    May 27th, 2010 @ 9:51 am

    Best. Story. Ever.

    Long Live Ricardo!

  12. Ann from Montana
    May 27th, 2010 @ 9:52 am

    Well told!

    And so interesting to watch animals pick their friends. I’ve watched my dog, Karl, decide in about 2 seconds if another dog will be his friend (play bow) or if he will decide to ignore (SO rude, but funny). But Karl got his comeuppance from my neighbor’s horses that rotated through my corrals one summer – he took his soccer ball out to get them to play and they ignored him! He was mystified. They did all nap together – 2 of the 3 horses napped on their sides on the ground (so zonked that often the neighbor or I would run out to make sure they were alive) with Karl in amongst them.

  13. Sally
    May 27th, 2010 @ 10:15 am

    I have a 16 year old standardbred gelding and a 4 year old husky female that have bonded in exactly the same way. They sleep together, “graze” together and just plain hang together all day long. She mopes and pines when I take him for a ride (if I take her she likely won’t return- she’s a sled dog in the truest sense of the word) and if for some reason they can’t be together they lie next to each other with the fence in between. So sweet.

  14. Karen
    May 27th, 2010 @ 10:15 am

    I see “lovely children’s book” in this story.

  15. Terran
    May 27th, 2010 @ 10:30 am

    Thank you so much for sharing Ricardo’s story! Ever since your first post about him, I wanted to know more. He is one lucky goose! :)

  16. Dave Robatcek
    May 27th, 2010 @ 10:37 am

    It is quite apparent that kindness and caring aren’t just the traits of the human members of the farmily. Bravo!

  17. Lorrian
    May 27th, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    Shreve, thank you for sharing Ricardo’s story – I’m fighting back tears here at work. Serves me right. ;-)

  18. Meadow Lark
    May 27th, 2010 @ 10:51 am

    I applaud Mike’s decision to keep the cattle in the Goose Group. Most ranching types would ship them off to the local meat locker after they become useful, wouldn’t they? I heart Richardo, too. You have a very unique farmily and I love to read about your interactions.

  19. GL
    May 27th, 2010 @ 11:04 am

    234 is the coolest!

  20. Dani
    May 27th, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    I love the inter-species bonding..geese and cows..cats and coyotes..what a wonderful thing you have going on!!

  21. Sandy
    May 27th, 2010 @ 11:21 am

    This story is beautiful. What a great guy to take care of “kids” in their old age. Animals are so special and they do bond. Willie cannot even go to the vet without his gal pal Sasha. Now that Khali the 13yo Newfie is old, slightly blind and has trouble with the stairs she stands and barks for either me or Sasha to help her. Me by words of encouragement(she does not want physical help) and Sasha stays directly in front of her.Animals are at the top of the food chain certainly not humans! Check your sites everyday—-luv ’em

  22. Amy Jo
    May 27th, 2010 @ 11:31 am

    I am really enjoying the stories of your animal friends! Honey Rock Dawn is great company to Charlie’s (and his friends) blog. You sure met a kindred spirit in Mike.

  23. Jackie /Montana
    May 27th, 2010 @ 11:33 am

    Just plain heart touching. And thank you and Mike for being so good to your special project bunch. My mother who is now 81 would say in reference to her hennies (chickens) that she was the only one she knew who’s hennies died of old age. I agree with Karen I also see a “lovely childeren’s book”.

  24. Claudia
    May 27th, 2010 @ 11:35 am

    Oh, I’ve been waiting to hear Ricardo’s story! Even more wonderful than I imagined.
    And I love that Mike has a special project group — such kindness.

  25. Claudia
    May 27th, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    I second Karen’s comment!!

  26. belle
    May 27th, 2010 @ 11:40 am

    I agree with the children’s book idea.

    let me know when it is done – i have three grandchildren waiting….

    I so enjoy honey rock dawn and daily coyote

    truly the simple things in life which make us smile

    thanks so much!!

  27. Chris
    May 27th, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

    Thanks so much for Ricardo’s story. It makes me think of a poem of mine about animals; I’ll email it to you.

    My late stepfather once wrote a book about animal intelligence (Robert Froman, “The Nerve of Some Animals”). He said it was never a question of whether animals were LESS intelligent than humans, but that they had their own KIND of intelligence; one that suited them just as ours suits us.

  28. Audrey
    May 27th, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

    What a beautiful friendship.
    thats a brave goose to hang out with animals that could probably kill him if they wanted to!

  29. Sarah
    May 27th, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  30. Holyoke Home
    May 27th, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

    I think maybe this post is why the internet was invented. My heart is filled. Thank you.

  31. Becky Lynn
    May 27th, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    Love the story. I was given a pair of geese when I bought some baled hay for our horses as an odd sort of “bonus”. They were about 1/2 grown, and I hadn’t a clue what gender they were, so named them Pat and Ashley. Something that would work for either sex. Ashley was unfortunately mortally wounded by dogs, and my husband had to shoot her. After that, I renamed “Pat” because it became apparent that he was a male. From then on, it was “Patrick.” He soon adopted our German Shepherd, Greta, and followed her wherever she went. He could run nearly as fast as she did, with wings widely spread, and little orange feet flying across the pasture. He would check out new things by fondling them with his beak. i.e. my beach towel when I went out to lie in the sun; tools carefully laid out on the lawn by the pump by the plumbers. He eventually was given to a neighbor who had other geese, and even survived a fox attack, living 4 or 5 more years before he mysteriously disappeared. I used to pick him up and put him in a safe place for the night, but on one occasion, didn’t quite get a grip on his neck as I cradled his body, and he was able to turn and bite me square away on the tip of the nose, leaving it raw for about a week. I wore a band-aid on my nose to work, much to the delight of my colleagues. Thanks for bringing back some sweet memories.

  32. Birdcage
    May 27th, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

    Shreve, When I’m really old and worn out, do you think Mike might let me come and be a Special Project Cow? Short walk to a special pasture in the summer, then back to the corral in the winter …. sounds nice. I think I could manage that.

  33. Colleen
    May 27th, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

    This is one of the cutest animal stories ever! Great name choice for “the goose.” It suits him well. When I come back in my next life I want to be an animal of Shreve’s!

  34. Steph in Oregon
    May 27th, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

    I love EVERYTHING about this story!!!

    Mike…you prince. I imagine having special project cows in Wyoming might be bucking the trend. I respect and honor you for that.

  35. Michele
    May 27th, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

    Wow…that is so great. I always knew geese were a little crazy! I just love this story…in fact I love all your stories!!!! Thank you for sharing everything that you share!!!

  36. Della
    May 27th, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

    Love! <3
    I agree that it would make a great kid’s book!

  37. catherine
    May 27th, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

    Mike is a good person.

  38. pansypoo
    May 27th, 2010 @ 8:58 pm

    talking of old cows, i was linked to a story of a 28 yr old cow they thought was just getting fat. no, she had been NATURALLY inseminated. that cow needs a name too. lucy?


  39. Amanda
    May 27th, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

    This is why I love this site. Thank you so much for sharing, I am filled with warm fuzzies right now.

  40. Emily
    May 27th, 2010 @ 10:56 pm

    I like Ricardo :-) We had a neighborhood goose that also took to living with the cows. He’d cross the road from his pond to their field and just wander among the herd, pecking at the ground right along side of them.


  41. Maia
    May 28th, 2010 @ 5:28 am

    I think you and Mike are probably the kindest people on the planet. This is a wonderful story.

  42. Leah
    May 28th, 2010 @ 6:57 am

    I can’t get enough of your Farmily stories!

    How long would a cow live, if allowed to live out her life? I hope Ricardo isn’t in danger of losing his best bud to old age any time soon.

    I’m so glad that there are people like you and Mike out there, who are aware of-and nurture-the very real emotions that animals have.

    Very sweet story.

  43. annbb
    May 28th, 2010 @ 7:04 am

    An absolutely delightful read. Thank you!

  44. Rachel
    May 28th, 2010 @ 8:17 am

    This post brought warmth to my heart…and my heart hasn’t had the easiest last few months!!! Thank you.

  45. Marlene
    May 28th, 2010 @ 8:47 am

    I really like this story…I somehow think you may be in the middle of writing another book…I do hope it is about the animals in your farm…you bring them to life with your words..I can’t wait..Marlene from Cambria

  46. angie
    May 28th, 2010 @ 9:41 am

    i LOVE EVERYTHING about this story!!!

  47. angie
    May 28th, 2010 @ 9:42 am

    oh, and every time i see ricardo-ardo, i imagine him talking-alking-alking to the rest of the animals like the goose from charlotte’s-arlotte’s web.

  48. mlaiuppa
    May 28th, 2010 @ 10:29 am

    That is so wonderful.

    This is my idea of what a farm should be.

    But you still haven’t explained were “Ricardo” came from. I mean the name. Did it just pop into your head? Is it related to something? We know Frisco comes from the song. What was there about “the goose” that inspired “Ricardo”?

  49. Carley
    May 28th, 2010 @ 10:31 am

    OMG that’s the cutest love story of all

  50. Lesley
    May 28th, 2010 @ 10:48 am

    I will always think of Ricardo as the Patron Goose of Cows.

  51. catherine
    May 28th, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

    Ricardo is a name in movies for a great lover from Argentina or
    a Maitre d’ hotel in a fancy restaurant. I think he fits both images well. Lets not forget Rickie Ricardo, husband of Lucy Ricardo, my all time favorite.

  52. Donna
    May 28th, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

    Love, love ,love that you are so kind to your animals and keep them forever.

  53. penny
    May 28th, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

    So great Shreve…thanks for sharing that story and pics :)

  54. Kate
    May 28th, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

    What a good read! Came here on the advice of a friend and am so glad I did.
    Love that Mike keeps his cows until the end.

  55. Alice
    May 28th, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

    Loved hearing the story of Ricardo. His name just seems to suit him.

  56. Tina
    May 28th, 2010 @ 10:57 pm

    That is THE most ridiculous story ever. I LOVE IT!!

  57. Susan
    May 29th, 2010 @ 3:00 am

    You just amaze me and I love both of your sites. I’m old and I get to visit things, people, stories on the internet. It just amazes me. I follow your grandma’s blog as well. She also amazes me. I’ve not been brave or independent in my life and you just display that every post. Thank you for doing so.

  58. Michelle
    May 30th, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

    Ricardo’s story is wonderful. But the Special Project is something truly amazing. I am so impressed that Mike has that in him – it probably isn’t financially savvy, but it is the most humane and beautiful thing. Going to go cry now.

  59. soo
    May 30th, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

    Reading this post was such pleasure, i’ve done it several times already. Thanks for sharing!

  60. sherry
    June 1st, 2010 @ 10:03 am

    It seems impossible but after reading that Mike keeps ALL OF HIS COWS UNTIL THEY DIE OF OLD AGE, that I love him even more than I did before!!!! Could he be cloned? Gosh, don’t *I* wish. LOL.

    LOVED the story of Ricardo, thank you so much for sharing it!!! How is Eli? We never see/hear from him anymore.

  61. Trisha Miller
    June 1st, 2010 @ 11:52 am

    Wonderful story! I was saying ‘aaaawwww’ so much reading it my dog came over to see what was going on. I think it is awesome that you and Mike found each other. I so enjoy reading about your life, thank you for sharing! And Mike, well, any man that cares that much for his animal friends… what can I say?

  62. Jennifer Davis
    June 2nd, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    Wow, what a great [and heartwarming!] story.

    And I absolutely love that you and Mike care for your cows as though they were your children. It’s so disheartening when you hear stores of animals that are being dumped [or worse!] by their owners cause they are -too old, -crippled, -not needed anymore. Good on you two for doing the right thing [which, by following your life, I’m sure doing the right thing just comes naturally to you!]

    Be well,
    [And Dave the other half, LV the Appaloosa, Norman the cow, Nicholas the Bloodhound and Shelby, Icarus & Kira..the kitties.]

  63. Cynthia
    June 3rd, 2010 @ 3:57 pm

    Thanks, Shreve. All my questions answered in a pleasantly roundabout way, and plenty more. What an excellent piece of writing.

  64. BB Miller
    July 20th, 2010 @ 10:55 am

    Is Ricardo one of the geese that used to live up at the cabin…one of the 3 that were described in your book?

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