Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A bad call

When I was growing up, the cows getting out was always a big deal. A big, scary deal.

They always seemed to do it in the middle of the night. I particularly remember one July 4th when fireworks scared them and they ran several miles away. My mom’s particular fear was that someone would hit one with a car.

The first month we moved here the cattle got out and a cop stopped … at my parents’ house. My parents were a little annoyed, because they’d thought by moving they’d avoid being woken up to hear this bad news.

It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s a community event. Earlier this year the heifers got out at 3am. All of them. At once. They’d managed to maneuver the fence open. We got calls from every direction – eight heifers were a mile down one road, 20 were a mile down a different road, ten were in our employee’s yard.

My parents, Kris, two employees and I were all trying to get them in. Kris took a truck down the road and chased them with the truck back to the barn. We’d closed the gate to keep the other ones in. I looked down the road and could see the heifers coming, illuminated by Kris’ headlights. It was dark and quiet – the only sounds you could hear were the heifers’ hooves, running on the paved road.

Meanwhile, I was frantically trying to get the gate back open. If I didn’t get the gate open when the herd was running toward me … they’d just pass the barn by and keep running. Not only would this prolong the couple of hours it was taking to get them back in, but I was really going to be mocked for it later. In the dark I fumbled with the gate and the wire we’d wound around it, and I kept glancing up at the herd running closer. Finally, I got it open and they all ran right back where they belonged. I felt like I was in a movie. You know, like those agricultural-suspense ones that are so popular.

Kris was eating lunch today, and an employee called to tell him that a calf had gotten out. She’d climbed out through the feeder and was kicking up her heels near the road. Cattle love being in new places! And running in the road! They got her in in less than five minutes. He continued his lunch where he’d left off.

Of course it’s not the last time, but it wasn’t bad as cows-getting-out goes.
But I’ll tell you one of the best feelings - even though you always help - when someone stops and you go outside, adrenaline racing, to chase the cows in and see … they’re not your cattle.

Doesn't look like she could fit through there, does it?

1 comment:

Jules said...

Hee hee! I hope it was the calf I helped deliver (yes, I will bring that up every chance I get)!