Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Barnyard Revolt

We have 17 cows, 4 chickens, 3 dogs, 2 horses and 1 cat. We also have assorted bats and mice, but they are uninvited, so they don’t count.

Hubby is in Washington this weekend with the boy. I had visions of time to putter around the house, some leisurely reading and perhaps even a nap.

This weekend each and every one of our farm animals has broken out of their fences and run willy-nilly through the neighborhood. Several times.

It all began on Thursday morning with a major break out in a major fog. Bovines in the mist if you will. They were in the field across the road, in the road, in the yard. One of them knocked on the door and asked what’s for breakfast for Pete’s sake!! Hubby was still in town so he rounded them all up as the boy and I scooted off to Mass.

We decided to load up a pick up truck with hay and drive it out to the middle of the field to help keep them interested in staying put. And it worked, for the 12 hours it took them to eat up all the hay.

No worry. Hubby had loaded up the truck so I could take more out over the weekend. And that’s just what I decided to do at 6:00am Friday when one of the dog’s piercing barks jolted me out of bed alerting me to the cattle in the road. Again.

6:00am is so early and so dark and I’m so not awake and I’m not really thinking about all the rain the day before, until the truck sinks…before I make it into the fenced area as I’m trying to entice the cows back in. GERRR.

Not to worry, the neighbor will get me out after daylight so I throw a few bails into the fence and head for the yard to try to entice Lewis and Clark back inside. Takes a while, but all good in the end.

How do you know you have good neighbors? When you are heading back to the truck to turn off the lights and make sure you remembered to close the gate and low and behold there is a second pair of head lights behind the truck hooking up to pull you out, when you hadn’t even spoken to them about the situation yet. Perhaps one of the cows knocked on their door to ask about breakfast and being multi generation farmers they knew I would need help. Too, too awesome.

And on the third day apparently word had gotten around the farmyard that I could be had so they all broke out together, many of them several times. I’d get them in and out they would come, like a toddler throwing cheerios on the floor just to see if you really meant it when you told her not to throw her food. A stranger pulled into the yard to let me know they were out and at one point there were six other people helping me to get these little suckers back in, and I didn’t even know two of my newly acquired farm hands.

So they all get rounded up and I sit down to read, glance out the window and sure enough there’s a cow in the yard. The ground has firmed up from the rain so I take another crack at getting the hay to the middle of the field and all goes well this time. OK, now I can get all the cows moved into the back field and pray they stay put while the hay lasts.

So I rig up a shoot between the pastures and open the first fence. From somewhere out in the field some primal instinct farm animals apparently have when they know they can outwit the human in charge cues the horses. They see the open gate and know that their time has come.

Out bolts Mr. Cancer, the I'm not quite ready to be put down yet wonder horse, followed closely on his heel by Mr. Bossy. Neither of which have on a halter. OK, they’ve been out before, no big deal, couple of steps and they stop to eat in the yard. Grab a coffee can of sweet feed to entice them back into the pasture and I’m done.

Ah, not this time. No, this time it’s down the road full speed to visit with Mr. Older than Methuselah who’s penned up at the neighbor’s farm. So silly me I’m half way down the road, coffee can in hand, horses with no halters blazing ahead of me thinking, “Oh great, now what, it’s not like they’re dogs where I can go back to the house, get the car and load them up once I get caught up to them”.

They get to Methuselah, offer up equine greetings, get as fired up as antique horses one of whom has cancer can get and pretty much strut around the neighbor’s yard a bit. I find a string of bailing twine in the barn, manage to get Mr. Bossy “haltered” up with it, back him up from Mr. Methuselah, turn to head back to our house knowing Mr. Cancer will follow only to see that Mr. Methuselah has somehow been sprung from his pasture and is following us too!!


Let Mr. Bossy loose to get Mr. Methuselah back in his pasture, get Mr. Bossy back, again, and head down the road, thinking that maybe suburban living might have been the way to go after all.

All of which is topped off by the last loose cow meandering into the yard and glory be to God heading into the pasture when the gate was opened for him without the herd stampeding to trample me to top off the day.

So how was your weekend?

St. Isidore, Pray for Me.