…except they don’t. Not in reality. Not here on this farm. Seriously. That only happens in the movies.
The other night a truck pulls up late (o.k. 9:00 pm but that’s late for me). It was a neighbor with the glorious news that he saw 3 Jersey’s headed up the road…ON THE ROAD. We are the only ones down this way with Jerseys. This meant that our horse, Dusty, might be gone as well since he was in the same field. He is so dark that it is very hard to locate him at night. We would just have to pray.
Grab the giant spotlight (making a note to self that we need several more of these – they don’t hold the charge very long when chasing cows). The older boys head up the road while Elijah and I stay home to man the phones. There are periodic updates from local neighbors to let me know where they are. They ended up, after 2 hours, in the barn of a neighbor several farms away. Problem…no doors on this barn. We have no cattle/horse trailer so we had no way to haul them home – we needed to be able to drive them home. They were so spooked by this time that it would have been an impossibility. The decision was made to attempt it again at daybreak….yes…I said DAYBREAK! I prayed that Father would keep them from the highway, from causing damage to someone else and from killing themselves…and also that they would be standing on our property at daybreak.
*Note* I don’t mind being up at daybreak – I usually am… in a nice warm house…however trudging through fields at 12 degrees is a different story.
Of course, the next morning, at DAYBREAK, they were gone. The boys were out looking again. I sent Elijah up to look out the windows over the fields and see if he could locate Dusty. Elijah came running to tell me that Dusty was still here but headed towards the escape route that the cows took. I grabbed a fistful or carrots and headed out calling his name. I was waving a giant carrot like a torch in the hopes of catching his eye. He watched me but he didn’t move. Of course not, I had to trudge through 3 fields and get within 20 feet of him before he decided he might like to have a carrot. I was able to lure him back into a contained field and shut the gate behind him.
While I was in that field, I was looking at our neighbors horses. He has quite a few and noticed some “odd” looking horses. My heart leapt at the possibility that our cows were this close (notice my heart leaps not just at romantic things but at the thought of our cows…hmmm…). I have terrible vision for long distances (or short ones for that matter 🙂 so I lured Dusty back up the STEEP sledding hill at a pretty fast clip. I wanted to get him to the fresh hay we put out in the hope it would keep him busy for awhile. I then ran to the house to get the binoculars. Sure enough there were all three of our cows – just over our fence line in our neighbors field. Not on our property…but only about 20 yards away….I still call that answered prayer!! I called Jeremy and told him where they were.
The boys were able to drive them down into the large creek and head them towards home. Then they sent them up a small creek that runs through our property. I was waiting to open the gate and let them into a contained field so they couldn’t plot another escape attempt.
The boys promptly asked for large bowls of hot oatmeal and cups of hot cocoa. I was happy to do this for them since they had spent another 2 hours chasing cows.
I think the cows left looking for food. We have been rationing hay…there is a massive hay shortage here this year due to the drought. Perhaps we have been a bit stingy. We have upped the amount we are putting out and hope that keeps them home.
This reminded me of the Great Cattle Drive of ’03…..I’ll have to tell you about that adventure some time