Friday, March 21, 2008

Cow Chasing

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cow chasing

My friend, Jessica, said I should write a blog about my cow chasing last Saturday. I admit that this is not something I will do often - possibly never again, if I did a good job mending the fence. Don't I sound like a country girl now?!

So here's the deal. I live on a farm that is enrolled in the CRP program, meaning we get paid by the government to NOT grow crops or have livestock on the land. Now, I am against such programs in general, as it pays us to be lazy and unproductive, somewhat like welfare. However, its free money and over 15 years will more than pay us back for purchasing our farm, so we're taking it!

Our neighbors aren't in this program and have some productive-looking beef cows just down the valley and we have a lovely barbed-wire (bahb-wahr is how people say it here) fence separating the 2 properties. At least that's what we thought, until a small number of cows were on our land several mornings a week for a while. Before we enrolled in the program, I wasn't too concerned, although it made me angry. After we enrolled, I became very concerned that we would "get caught" with livestock and forfeit our deal, so I watched closely!

Unfortunately, the cows were only visiting sporadically and always in the morning when I was already late getting Luke to preschool. By the time we arrived home by lunch, they were always back to the correct side! I would have called the neighbors, but don't know their names or phone numbers or how to find this out. Plus its like a mile with no good way to get there, and I'm not the type to confront anyway.

So...last Saturday was a gorgeous day and I was child-free by 11am, and saw the cows yet again. I grabbed my horse's lead rope and marched down the hill with my 2 puppies right on my heels (literally). I was thinking something like this - cows are stupid, stubborn and slow, I'll have to beat them half to death before they move or get the puppies to bite them...I hope I don't sink in a mudhole, I hope they move - you get the idea.

When I think I may be within earshot, I start yelling, not thinking it will do any good, but didn't want to surprise them and get kicked or something. So I started yelling about how this was my land and they'd better go back home before they regretted it - and those black heads shot up from grazing, looked quickly at each other and RAN. I mean high-tailed it all the way back through that hole in the fence, at least a quarter-mile. I couldn't believe it!

Now I had to find and fix the hole. Me and those puppies marched all the way to the edge of our acreage and find the spot. It wasn't hard - a big muddy patch under a single strand of barbed-wire with tufts of black hair stuck all over it. On my way to the fence, I spotted an old tired and a rusty coffee can that had washed up during a previous flood (monthly creek-rising, really) and hauled them to the hole. I put the tire down and stuck the can inside, directly under the fence. I fought the blackberry bushes back on either side of the hole to grab the wire and twine them together again (no gloves, no tools...but the only scratch I got was from the blackberry thorns!). I found large branches and small and created the best barricade I could, grinding them into the mud and leaning them on trees and each other.

So far, they haven't made their way back over again!

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