Archive for November, 2009


November 28, 2009

 With no animal to take to the locker plant, and a date on Wednesday, we plot what to do. Dave promises to return on Tuesday evening and get the flying cow, Carrie, into the corral and out of the pasture. She constantly makes the other animals nervous and with no provocation has the entire group running away from the food.

 Tuesday evening, Dave, and his amazing cutting horse arrive. The calves have come up to eat. Carrie won’t come into the corral but the rest do and I close the gate.

Dave enters the pasture with his cutting horse and Carrie heads for the gulch at warp speed. Dave patiently moves around Carries and brings her toward the corral. She slyly approaches the corral but within twenty feet, wheels and is off toward the gulch, kicking and bucking.

My son, daughter, and I spread out to try to keep her from diving between us and heading toward the gulch again. Forty acres has never seemed so huge. She seems to find cracks between our human enclosure and dives between us, leaving us each baffled.

At one point she is easily outrunning Dave’s horse as he tries to head her off.

The sun sets. Carrie disappears. We let the other calves out of the corral and retreat to the house in defeat.


The sad next episode

November 20, 2009


My husband made several pre-emptive strikes during the Great Race, one of them being that since the Angus was so large it should go to town immediately. Never mind that that particular Angus didn’t belong to us. Now we have a July locker date and no animal to take. He discusses the problem with his nephew and they decide that said nephew will take the lone Angus on in the July time slot.

As the date nears, we watch for the Angus. In order to keep the animal from being jittery, I quit my every other day walks in the pasture to locate it. Sometimes when I am up at 5:30 am, I see it standing apart from the other calves on the flat below the house.

With a ship date of Thursday, we ask Dave to bring his cutting horse again and help us get the Angus into the corral for a few days.

Sunday morning Dave arrives with his horse as does friend Joe. With Joe and I on foot and Dave on horse back we begin to search the pasture. No lone Angus. Dave has an appointment and must leave by 11 am.

I ask Joe to look along one side of the last gulch and I take the other side. Joe finds the lone Angus. She has slipped on the gulch bank and fallen about twenty feet into the bottom breaking her leg. She is near death. Dave helps us put a rope around her but she is too heavy to pull out.

Dave leaves his rope. The next morning my son and I break the rope but are finally able to pull the dead animal out of the gulch. We load the carcass on a flat bed trainer. He takes it nearly two hundred miles away to a rendering plant.

I spend several days feeling I stink as an animal steward.











Whose cow is it anyway?

November 13, 2009

Things have been quiet for a few days. For some odd reason the race has calmed the Angus down. It is coming up with the other calves for feed and cow cookies. It had a head butting contest with Big Boy and despite BB’s handicap (He was hit by a vehicle and his right leg is shorter.) Big Boy won the contest for dominance and the Angus is following along with everyone. Big Boy is without a doubt—THE LEADER.

They are moving a quonset building next door at the airport and we have offered to take some photos. My daughter and I drive over. A massive rain/hailstorm arrives while we are there. She stays to help get things in out of the hail and I drive her car home. Racing against the weather, I hurry into the house.

“We have an extra cow.” My husband says the moment I’m in the door.

“No, we don’t”

“Look over there and count.” He declares pointing to the north.

“Okay, one, two, three, four, five, six.”

“Now look over there.” He points to the south.

“Seven!” Yes, there grazing alone is the lone Angus. “Now what?”

It is too late to call most helpful agencies but my husband calls the sheriff’s department to have the deputy infer we are cattle rustling. He calls the Brand Inspector and gets a promise to come check tomorrow.

I call my cousins who have cows and several other folks to find out if they are missing an Angus. All neighboring cows are present and accounted for.

The next morning a young man with a belt buckle nearly as large as he is shows up at the door. He is the Brand Inspector.

After explaining the sequence of events which led to the “extra” animal, we take him down to the corral. My daughter and I use our usual technique and bring the group, minus the lone Angus, up to the corral. He finds a brand and promises to let us know whose animal we’ve been feeding for several days. The Brand Inspector calls later in the day. The animal belongs to a Veterinarian who’s been out of town on vacation.

The Veterinarian comes and retrieves the animal later that day with the help of the supper call of oats and cow cookies. Life returns to a placid existance.












The cows never ending story

November 6, 2009


Sunday morning, Father’s Day

I wake up at about 6 am and scan the eastern horizon looking for the cow. No sign of it. Perhaps it was as tired as I am and decided to bed down for the night in the gulch. I follow my routine of reading and journaling checking every few minutes on the eastern horizon—nothing.

Fixing breakfast, I look from the kitchen window periodically to see if I see a black animal. After clearing the breakfast dishes, my husband looks out the French doors to see the offending animal.

“There it is back in the subdivision. It’s about to get back on the road.”

“I’ll be back in a little while.” I call as I race out the front door. I jump in the car and zip around the road to the subdivision. I park on the subdivision road and run to the top of the hill. The Angus is gone. I head back home.

“Dave called while you were gone. He’ll be here with his horse about 10.” My husband


It is after 9 am and I’ve lost the Angus. I climb back in the car and head out looking. I drive back into the subdivision, then into the subdivision next to it driving at a slow pace and glancing toward the airport. I pray no one decides to take their small plane for a Father’s Day flight and hits a giant Angus. In the very corner of the airport property, I spot the animal munching on grass. At least it ought to be safe for the moment. I head for home.

At the airport entrance, I meet Dave with his horse. I explain where the Angus is and that I need to start Father’s Day dinner so will go home and start everything and return.

When I return to the airport, Dave and his horse are nowhere to be seen. After driving around I return to the hangers and spot Dave on his horse. The Angus is in the lead with a rope around its neck. Dave explains as his exhausted horse walks by that the animal jerked the rope from the saddle horn.

My son arrives. I explain the situation to him and he joins in the race. I go home to finish Father’s Day dinner. All morning I watch from the back deck as the animals match stamina and wits. At last, Dave and his horse get the Angus into our pasture and he herds it toward the corral. I run down to help open the corral gate and guide it into the enclosure.

Once in the Angus runs to the southeast corner puts its head under the bottom rail and lifts nearly collapsing the entire structure. I open the gate and let it out to run with our other calves. The race is over.