Archive for October, 2009

The Great Cow Race

October 28, 2009

THE GREAT RACE (not the reality show, the real one.)

It is the Saturday before Father’s Day. My friend and I held a writing workshop in Parker, but I have promised to attend a charity fundraiser dinner. Rather than stay for the entire evening my husband and I eat dinner and return home. It’s been a long day.

Sinking into my chair at the dining table, I consider ignoring several jobs that need doing and contemplate mindlessly watching television all evening. I’ve kicked off my dress shoes and perched my feet on a near-by chair in full relaxation mode.

There’s a frantic knock at the door. I straighten up and hurry to the top of the stairs. Below a woman asks, “Are you the people with the cows?”

This can’t be good. ”

 “There’s one out on the road down there.” She explains then hurries back down the sidewalk and roars off in her van.

I run to get my tennis shoes, then go downstairs and load a bucket with some Cattle Chow (we call them Cow Cookies). My husband is backing the car out of the garage. I’m walking down the paved road heading in the direction the woman pointed. The calves are in the northeast corner of the pasture. I stop and count. FIVE there are all five of the calves in the corner. Perhaps one of the little guys, Lewis or Clark, wiggled under the fence and back because they are all in the fence.

“We’d better check,” says my husband.

“They are all right there.” I argue.

“Except the one Angus,” he cautions.

I climb in the passenger side. We drive west, no cow. We drive east, no cow.

“See, ” I remind him. “They are all in.”

“I think we’d better go north.”

There not fifty feet from the intersection is a large Angus. How did that cow get so big so fast? I jump from the car and rattle the bucket. Unfazed by the promise of food, the animal turns and starts running east down the county road. The chase is on.

As I said before I don’t run any more so I walk at a quick pace, which is NOT keeping up with the Angus in full trot mode. The sun is setting and I rattle the bucket frantically. No dice.

A wonderful couple I’ve never met before, pull into a nearby driveway, park and after seeing my husband with his portable oxygen tank trying to head the animal off, join in the chase. The Angus jumps the fence into our neighbor’s field without even slowing down. Perhaps this one is related to our flying cow!

I jump in the car with my husband and ride to the closest road in a frantic effort to head the animal back into our pasture, all the while running possible places where the escape could have been made through my mind.

The fence is in pitiful condition in the subdivision and I am afraid the animal will get back out on the road. Folks drive 60mph+ on this road, not conducive to good cow/auto relations. A local sheriff’s deputy arrives, but rather than assisting stands at the side of his car and shouts at my new best friend and me to “get off the road.” Apparently he would rather have a 800-pound animal on the road. Several cars speed past but seem oblivious of how much damage this animal could cause should it decide to jump back into the road. A car full of hecklers drive by laughing and pointing at our dilemma

The Angus takes off again heading south, away from the road but not toward our pasture. And the chase continues. By now it is nearly dark, of course there’s no moon. A black animal in a field of five-foot high grass is akin to finding a pebble in a bucket of clams. By now my neighbor has joined in the chase. We follow the animal to the far end of the nearby airport and then back in the direction of our pasture. I explain to my new friend that I can’t risk snagging my best clothes on the barbed wire fence; she crawls through and joins the chase with our neighbor.

My new friend’s husband urges me to get into their car and ride back to the subdivision road or to take me home so I can call help. It is a black night now. I can’t see the cow, my neighbor, my new friend or anything else so I relent. Minutes tick by and I call to everyone but no one answers. Defeated I stand on the road hoping to help drive the animal toward our pasture. Out of the black, my new friend materializes almost beside me, says my neighbor is behind the cow coming this way and that she must really get home with her ice cream. I thank her profusely, promise her a steak from the meat we get and watch the car drive away.

I’m sure it is nearly 9 pm. still no moon. Out of the dark, the black cow appears running full tilt toward our pasture with my neighbor close behind. Wow, can that woman run!

I’m worried about her stepping in a hole and breaking an ankle. I finally beg her to just drive the animal as far south as possible and come back to her house before she is injured.

It is almost 10pm. when we arrive back home. We call and leave a pleading message for the man with the cutting horse to come help us the next morning.

THE AMAZING RACE (PART TWO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes,” I answer. 

THE GREAT RACE (not the reality show, the real one.)

It is the Saturday before Father’s Day. My friend and I held a writing workshop in Parker, but I have promised to attend a charity fundraiser dinner. Rather than stay for the entire evening my husband and I eat dinner and return home. It’s been a long day.

Sinking into my chair at the dining table, I consider ignoring several jobs that need doing and contemplate mindlessly watching television all evening. I’ve kicked off my dress shoes and perched my feet on a near-by chair in full relaxation mode.

There’s a frantic knock at the door. I straighten up and hurry to the top of the stairs. Below a woman asks, “Are you the people with the cows?”

 

This can’t be good. ”

Yes,” I answer. 

“There’s one out on the road down there.” She explains then hurries back down the sidewalk and roars off in her van.

I run to get my tennis shoes, then go downstairs and load a bucket with some Cattle Chow (we call them Cow Cookies). My husband is backing the car out of the garage. I’m walking down the paved road heading in the direction the woman pointed. The calves are in the northeast corner of the pasture. I stop and count. FIVE there are all five of the calves in the corner. Perhaps one of the little guys, Lewis or Clark, wiggled under the fence and back because they are all in the fence.

“We’d better check,” says my husband.

“They are all right there.” I argue.

“Except the one Angus,” he cautions.

I climb in the passenger side. We drive west, no cow. We drive east, no cow.

“See, ” I remind him. “They are all in.”

“I think we’d better go north.”

There not fifty feet from the intersection is a large Angus. How did that cow get so big so fast? I jump from the car and rattle the bucket. Unfazed by the promise of food, the animal turns and starts running east down the county road. The chase is on.

As I said before I don’t run any more so I walk at a quick pace, which is NOT keeping up with the Angus in full trot mode. The sun is setting and I rattle the bucket frantically. No dice.

A wonderful couple I’ve never met before, pull into a nearby driveway, park and after seeing my husband with his portable oxygen tank trying to head the animal off, join in the chase. The Angus jumps the fence into our neighbor’s field without even slowing down. Perhaps this one is related to our flying cow!

I jump in the car with my husband and ride to the closest road in a frantic effort to head the animal back into our pasture, all the while running possible places where the escape could have been made through my mind.

The fence is in pitiful condition in the subdivision and I am afraid the animal will get back out on the road. Folks drive 60mph+ on this road, not conducive to good cow/auto relations. A local sheriff’s deputy arrives, but rather than assisting stands at the side of his car and shouts at my new best friend and me to “get off the road.” Apparently he would rather have a 800-pound animal on the road. Several cars speed past but seem oblivious of how much damage this animal could cause should it decide to jump back into the road. A car full of hecklers drive by laughing and pointing at our dilemma

The Angus takes off again heading south, away from the road but not toward our pasture. And the chase continues. By now it is nearly dark, of course there’s no moon. A black animal in a field of five-foot high grass is akin to finding a pebble in a bucket of clams. By now my neighbor has joined in the chase. We follow the animal to the far end of the nearby airport and then back in the direction of our pasture. I explain to my new friend that I can’t risk snagging my best clothes on the barbed wire fence; she crawls through and joins the chase with our neighbor.

My new friend’s husband urges me to get into their car and ride back to the subdivision road or to take me home so I can call help. It is a black night now. I can’t see the cow, my neighbor, my new friend or anything else so I relent. Minutes tick by and I call to everyone but no one answers. Defeated I stand on the road hoping to help drive the animal toward our pasture. Out of the black, my new friend materializes almost beside me, says my neighbor is behind the cow coming this way and that she must really get home with her ice cream. I thank her profusely, promise her a steak from the meat we get and watch the car drive away.

I’m sure it is nearly 9 pm. still no moon. Out of the dark, the black cow appears running full tilt toward our pasture with my neighbor close behind. Wow, can that woman run!

I’m worried about her stepping in a hole and breaking an ankle. I finally beg her to just drive the animal as far south as possible and come back to her house before she is injured.

It is almost 10pm. when we arrive back home. We call and leave a pleading message for the man with the cutting horse to come help us the next morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Week two of the summer

October 16, 2009

WEEK TWO

Big Boy and the little guys, now dubbed Lewis and Clark for their adventurous spirits, are thriving in the corral. We are ready to release them into the pasture. The Angus, now called Lover and Carrie the flying cow, come up and hang around the corral every evening for a “meet and greet” with the boys. The Lonesome Angus refuses to leave the gulch so I continue to walk the pasture every other day to check on her.

With “Pasture Day” slated for the next day, I spend extra time around the feed pen talking with the boys insuring that they will come when called. “HUMM…” I take a second look at Lewis and Clark then walk to the house.

“We have a problem.” I tell my husband.

“What now?” he sighs.

“I thought you told me, Lewis and Clark were steers.”

“They are!”

“Mighty funny looking steers. I think you’d better call around and see if you can find some equipment.”

“They are steers. See it says right here on the paperwork from the auction. They are St…oh, they are bulls.” He says with a dejected tone.

Big Boy is released into the pasture, but Lewis and Clark are forced to stay in the corral for a few more days.

After searching for several days, my brother-in-law locates his equipment. Neighbor Pete comes to the rescue. Pete, my son, and his friend perform the all-important banding.

After two days of observation, Lewis and Clark earn their freedom and join the Merry Cow Band in the pasture.

Everything is quiet in Cow Land for a few days.

Summer 4-More cow misadventures

October 6, 2009

DAY THREE through SEVEN

Things have a reasonable routine now. The calves are still skittish but one Angus and the Flying Cow occasionally come up to the water tank. For some reason I’m not able to discern the other Angus rarely leaves the gulch and I have taken to walking the entire pasture to find her and make sure she is all right.

My son and daughter build me a corral for Mother’s Day. Not exactly flowers, but very functional and important.

On day seven, I explain that I can not take off any more time from work and my husband returns to the auction to purchase two more calves. He has strict instructions—no roping calves and NOTHING that threatens to fly over fences.

At 1 pm. he calls “There’s just nothing today,” he reports.

At 3 pm. he calls again. “Well, I got one but it’s a little big.”

“Big?”

“He’s good looking but he weighs 675 pounds. I know we need one more.” I think that 675 pounds is large enough for two we wanted but won’t work well for the Calf Coop. “You’d better get one more.” I sigh.

At 4 pm he calls again. Judging from the continuous calls I think I should have just gone to the auction again, I’m not getting any work done.

“I found two more but they’re little guys.”

“Two, we only needed one.”

“Yeah, but these guys need to be together. We can find someone else for the other one. We’ll be home soon. Bye.”

Now we have six, we only need five. I wait to see what “little guys” look like.

In two hours my brother-in-law’s truck roars into the driveway, I rush from the house to open the pasture and the corral gates. We stand alongside the corral gate as the trailer moves into place. My brother-in-law hops out and opens the trailer door.

Two very small Holsteins rush into the corral. They look pathetic. They look half-starved and barely able to move to the feed bin which is almost too tall for their little legs. The second door opens and a huge Hereford emerges from the trailer’s front. He is immediately dubbed Big Boy.

We’ve purchased an alfalfa bale. I decide we are going to need some feed. I think but don’t say that if the “little guys” make it through the week it is going to be miraculous.

Summer part 3

October 1, 2009

MEET THE FLYING COW

After walking to the far end of the pasture, my daughter and I resigned ourselves to the fact that our new residents were not interested in eating or drinking just yet. We returned to the house.

MORNING ONE

“I’m worried about those heifers,” I told my son. “After breakfast I think we’d better go down and see if we can’t find them and bring them up here so they know where the water tank is.”

We jumped into his pickup and drive through the pasture at a turtle pace trying to find “the cows.”

“We’ll park here,” he says. “You go that way (pointing toward the south) and I’ll go this way until we find them.”

I head toward the south end of the pasture looking in each gulch, under bushes, and trees. I see nothing.

Son, Andy heads north. I am half way to the truck when I hear him yell, “I have to go get a rope.”

My 65-year-old knees do not run, so I walk hurriedly toward the sound of his voice. Catching up with him near the north end of the pasture. He explains that the flying cow jumped the five-strand, almost five-foot high fence like a deer and is now on the county road. I urge him to go back and get his pick-up.

We spend all morning and most of the afternoon looking for the heifer, now dubbed Carrie after an aerial artist we know. The cow is nowhere to be found. We call the brand inspector, our neighbors, and sheriff’s departments in three surrounding counties explaining the problem. Most of the dispatchers are credulous that we have lost a 300 pound “cat.” “That’s Calf,” we correct

Satisfied that we have done everything in our power to find Carrie. We resign ourselves to wait by the telephone for the call we hope will come. It doesn’t.

DAY TWO

Still concerned about the remaining two calves, I beg my neighbor and former cattle rancher Pete to bring over his 4-wheeler to herd the calves toward the water. He tells us he will find them but is afraid the 4-wheeler will only scare them further. He suggests we contact another neighbor Dave who has a cutting horse to come herd the calves to the water tank.

Pete drives off on the 4-wheeler to locate the animals. In a few moments, he returns, a huge grin covering his face and announces. “They’re all three down there in the gulch.”

“Three?” I scream.

“Yup, two Angus and a Holstein. Who bought the roping calf?” he snorts as he leaves the pasture. “You know you should have a corral.” He adds.

Where was he when we asked for help?

That evening Dave and his friend Joe arrive with horses and drive the calves (all three) from the far side of the pasture to the water tank. I’m relieved at least they know where the water is now.