Archive for December, 2009

THE FINAL ANSWER

December 26, 2009

We’re heading into September. We’ve taken a cutting date from another locker plant, nearly sixty miles away, but on a Monday so perhaps we’ll have all of Sunday to “out smart the flying cow.”

Carrie comes up with the rest of the calves to eat oats and cow cookies each night. The rest of the group accepts petting and head rubs with the food. Carrie keeps her distance. Occasionally she stands apart from the group and I remind her that she’s the one who isn’t getting the goodies. So after long minutes of standing apart she comes up to one of the feed buckets.

She goes ballistic every time a man sets foot in the forty acre pasture and refuses to come near when I fill the water tank. I’ve taken to spraying flies off the other’s backs with the hose while I’m filling the tank. Carrie shoots over the hill out of sight when the water comes anywhere near her.

We’ve asked, begged, and pleaded with everyone we know to help on Sunday evening. Most of our previous help has told us that they can’t (or won’t) help. By feeding time, we have four men in the garage, out of sight.

My daughter and I fill the buckets and head for the corral. The calves congregate at the feeding trough and pans, except for….Carrie. Does this animal have psychic abilities?

We wait. We need more feed, every drop of oats and the cow cookies are gone. Carrie stands outside the corral, refusing to go in.

I retrieve a few cups of feed. Before I return to the pasture and put them in the trough, I watch the men move from the garage to the front lawn for a better vantage point.

My daughter puts the feed in the trough. We both sit down on the trailer’s wheel cover and chat quietly. Occasionally I see one of the men peek around our shed to take in the scene.

My daughter stands and walks toward Carrie. I move out of sight, the other direction, behind the trailer.

Carrie looks for long moments in my daughter’s direction and then calmly walks into the corral. I quickly move around the corral and close the gate. After months of frustration, the flying cow is closed in the corral. The men descend from the lawn, surrounding the corral. Within minutes, Carrie steps forward to investigate the chute opening. Our neighbor Pete, slips through the corral fence and spooks her into the trailer. The flying cow–our nemesis– is on her way to town.

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THE CHALLENGERS

December 18, 2009

THE CHALLENGERS

Locals are getting pretty smug about our inability to get Carrie the flying cow trailered. My son’s friend assures us that he has a 4-H roping club and they can handle this animal. We give them the next date for getting Carrie to town.

Despite the lateness of summer sunsets, I am concerned when they haven’t arrived by 6 pm. We feed as usual. Carrie, of course, stays outside the corral but the rest of the calves come in and eat as usual. At about 6:15, the huge horse trailer pulls into our driveway. Five people emerge and begin saddling the two horses. I’m disappointed I was hoping for more horses. Obviously once again, these folks don’t believe in the brevity of the situation.

As the first horse is led to the pasture fence, Carrie sticks her tail in the air and heads in a full run toward the gulch. The five of us station ourselves around the corral to head her in when the riders get her up.

Back and forth across the pasture, they chase her. She manages to duck or turn when she comes near any one of us.

The sun pulls lower onto the horizon. Carrie is still free. One of the young men, trades horses with the friend’s wife and continues the chase.

The sun disappears and in the last glow of the day, one young man tells me he can’t find Carrie and she may by this time be visiting the neighbors. I call them in afraid that one of the horses will step in a hole and break a leg or injure a rider.

It is now Carrie 3 and humans 0. She runs free again.

THE CHALLENGERS

Locals are getting pretty smug about our inability to get Carrie the flying cow trailered. My son’s friend assures us that he has a 4-H roping club and they can handle this animal. We give them the next date for getting Carrie to town.

Despite the lateness of summer sunsets, I am concerned when they haven’t arrived by 6 pm. We feed as usual. Carrie, of course, stays outside the corral but the rest of the calves come in and eat as usual. At about 6:15, the huge horse trailer pulls into our driveway. Five people emerge and begin saddling the two horses. I’m disappointed I was hoping for more horses. Obviously once again, these folks don’t believe in the brevity of the situation.

As the first horse is led to the pasture fence, Carrie sticks her tail in the air and heads in a full run toward the gulch. The five of us station ourselves around the corral to head her in when the riders get her up.

Back and forth across the pasture, they chase her. She manages to duck or turn when she comes near any one of us.

The sun pulls lower onto the horizon. Carrie is still free. One of the young men, trades horses with the friend’s wife and continues the chase.

The sun disappears and in the last glow of the day, one young man tells me he can’t find Carrie and she may by this time be visiting the neighbors. I call them in afraid that one of the horses will step in a hole and break a leg or injure a rider.

It is now Carrie 3 and humans 0. She runs free again.

DEAL, OR MAYBE, NO DEAL

December 11, 2009

Our frustration over the flying cow has now reached local ears and everyone has a suggestion about how to capture the wily animal.

“Put the feed in the trailer and she will walk right in.” is a common suggestion. Worth a try.

I move one of the feed buckets into the trailer and begin putting nightly feed in it. Beginning at approximately a foot from the door, I’ve been told to move the bucket further into the trailer. Lewis walks into the trailer. The next night Lewis and Clark both walk into the trailer. The third night Lover gets both of her front feet into the trailer and finally even Big Boy, with his bad back leg, manages to get both of his front feet in. But Carrie would rather starve than participate in this exercise.

For several nights the group eat the food in the trailer bucket, but Carrie turns and with her tail high in the air runs off toward the gulch. I continue the practice but she is not interested.

After a two weeks, the calves, minus Carrie, all hop in and out of the trailer. One evening I look down from my kitchen window to see Lewis still in the trailer. The others have moved off toward the north. I step out on the deck and try to convince Lewis he needs to follow his friends. He stares at me. I grab a cow cookie and walk down into the pasture to coax him out of the trailer. The calves are nowhere in sight. Lewis steps from the trailer and comes after the cookie. I coax him over the hill until I spy the group. Making sure he sees them, I turn and head for the house. He follows me.

Turning around I walk further into the pasture with the darling little Holstein following, like Mary’s little lamb. He must see the herd. Everyone on the adjacent road stops to watch. The drivers see the herd! I walk within ten feet of the herd. The calves turn around. I give Lewis a lecture on how he is a steer and must stay with the herd. He moves next to his buddy Clark.

I turn and head back to the house. Hearing a noise, I turn around. The entire herd is following me back to the house.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL

December 4, 2009

Things have been quiet in cowland. We are confident that other than Carrie’s unwillingness to take a trailer ride, we have finally solved our cow problems. We are sitting down to a calm Friday morning breakfast when the telephone rings. When we reach our neighbor, she informs us the big red cow (really a steer) is in her yard.

“Big Boy?” I’m credulous. Big Boy doesn’t like barbed wire, vehicles, or fences. Why would he be out? And further more how did he get out? At 675 pounds, Big Boy is like a small Sherman tank.

My daughter and I grab the feed bucket and head for the adjoining subdivision, AGAIN. We drive up the road with the window down calling “Big Boy.” My daughter jumps from the car and heads toward our neighbor’s house. I drive to the end of the cul-de-sac, park the car and start walking toward our pasture. I see nothing. Soon my daughter calls that she has found him and will try to bring him home via the road. THIS DOES NOT WORK! Apparently Big Boy has had a previous encounter with a car or truck and wants nothing to do with any motorized contraption. D-W21’s are working on the adjoining airport runway and Big Boy refuses to go that way. No going east, south, or north. That leaves us with making a Deal with Big Boy; we will take him back through the fence in a new spot. I drive home to get the fence pliers, wire, and more calf food.

My husband decides to return with me. My daughter has Big Boy to a likely spot in the fence. We cut the bottom two wires after some discussion about where to cut the fence and why it might not be a bad idea to have a gate here. I stretch the top two wires as high as possible. She tries to coax Big Boy under. NO DEAL!

The lower of the top wires touches his back and he backs out. He now has the rest of the herd as an audience. In desperation, we cut all four strands of the wire, Big Boy walks through like it was no problem.

My daughter and I walk the entire group to the corral and sequester them until my son arrives to repair the fence. It is 10 a.m. and a very cold breakfast awaits us.