Hello friends!! Let me tell you, there is not a more terrifying phrase on this earth for a cattle farmer than THE COWS ARE OUT! This does not mean they are out in the pasture, it means they have escaped the confines of said pasture and are wandering freely. I just happen to have an example handy. Two, actually.
Houdini Dolly. Dolly is one of our smaller sweethearts and Cattle Daddy’s favorite. She has attitude and loves her feed. We used to feed her with a separate small red bucket because the others would bully her, and as soon as she saw that red bucket, it was off to the races. When we decided she was old enough to fend for herself, man did she let us know she didn’t approve!
One day, I came home from work and decided to take the dogs for a walk into the back fields. They run free and stay close by, and when it’s time to go back, Bully gets the leash because he’s a jerk. I love him, but he still can be a jerk. We’re halfway to the back field, approaching the end of the cow pasture, and I see everybody gathered under a far oak tree. This isn’t particularly strange, they hang out in the shade now and then, but EVERYBODY was down there in a tight circle and mooing. We move around the edge of the fence and I see somebody is on the WRONG side of the fence. I whisper “holy shit” to myself because I have two herding dogs that don’t know a damn thing about herding, only chasing. I make a quick turn and yell “let’s eat” to the dogs and they turn with me. I snap Bully’s leash on and run them back to the house before they catch on. I come back outside, slightly panicked and wondering if I should call Cattle Daddy at work. No. I got this, because here comes little miss Dolly trotting (wait…do cows trot? jog?) and she’s following my path back to the house.
What a good girl! Oh! Red bucket! I run to the barn and grab the red bucket and feed, and she follows me right into the pasture! Victory!! Disaster averted!
I walk the fence to see where she may have gotten free, finding nothing. Houdini. I happened to take a picture of Dolly trotting down the fence and sent it to Cattle Daddy. Then I called him to brag about my mad skills as a cattlewoman.
The Cows are Out – Second Edition
This morning…yes, this very morning – a story hot off the presses! I’m working from home and just finished my cherished cup of coffee as the sun rose over the pastures. I hear mooing. Odd mooing. Yes, there are varying degrees of mooing and I had not heard this variation before. I look outside and I see Mouse standing by the troughs and mooing in the direction of the driveway…what in the world. Then I hear an answering moo…from the driveway!! Then I see Bessie and Nelly come around the house, up the driveway!! Red and Simi are by the barn and tractor equipment!!! I did not whisper holy shit this time!! I ran back and forth through the living room and kitchen in a panic, not whispering all kinds of obscenities. I call Cattle Daddy, because he’s on the way home from work and will come tearing up the driveway like Ricky Bobby at any moment. He answers and I yell THE COWS ARE OUT!!! ALLLLLLLL OF THE COWS ARE OUT!!! PARK AT THE END OF THE DRIVE BECAUSE BESSIE IS IN THE CARPORT!!! He blurts out some obscenities. I grab the bread. He says grab the feed buckets and grain. Good plan, I gotta go!! He says he’s ten minutes out.
I grab my bread and head outside to the first group, handing out bread and asking them what in the hell they think they are doing in my sweetest voice. I grab the feed buckets and everyone starts gathering around. I go into the barn, hoping to lead them through the other side and back into the pasture. No go. They are not digging the barn. Crap. I fill a bucket and head back out. Everyone is waiting on me. I start walking the LONG way around the front fences to the side gate. Everyone is following me, but a few start to drift off, sniffing flowers.
I have about half of them following me, so I just go with it. I lead them into the adjoining pasture, through the gate, and back into their home pasture. Victory! I go back for the rest, same process, and same result! YES! Everyone is back in!! Mad cattlewoman skills AGAIN!
Everyone is mooing angrily now because they didn’t get feed, so I head back to the barn and feed them. Mostly because I need to find the escape hatch before they get to it again. I call Cattle Daddy to let him know I have them all and his carport is cow-free. He gets home about five minutes later and we find that the little rascals had pushed a gate open just enough to squeeze through, literally like a foot wide. They had feasted on our hay bales in storage! Two round bales were torn to bits!! And at the moment, they were all gathered by the gate that I had led them through, trying to figure out how to escape again!! We take that as a good sign that it’s time to rotate pastures!!
And that was my Wednesday morning. #farmlife #madcattlewomanskills #crazycowlady
Thank you friends!!! Time to go find more adventure!!