Saturday, October 27, 2012

Midnight Roundup

Photo courtesy of Becker Productions
The sky was clear and calm, the stars were shimmering, an almost full moon hung in the sky, and a crisp, autumn chill was in the air reminding us that winter is just around the corner. The forecaster said that it was supposed to be pouring rain and windy, but that weather front was no where to be seen. It was just the sort of night that you can get wrapped up in a fleece blanket in front of the fireplace with a knitting project and a cup of tea and be in a state of perfect bliss, except for the thought of getting up and getting into your bed which is chilly since you haven't put on the flannel sheets yet. Oh well.

The movie credits started to roll; everyone headed to bed. The house was silent; you could hear the humming of the fish tank filter on the other end of the house. RING! RING! That's enough to get you to bolt upright with wide eyes. Something's wrong. Dad answered the disturber of the peace.
Hello? Yes, it is. 
The peeping Tom in me listened to every word trying to catch a hint of what is being discussed.
Well, I'll round up the posse, and we'll be right over. 
Gulp. Everyone's in their doorways now.
"Who was it?" "What's going on?"
"The sheriff. The cows are out." Is that a metaphorical term or an actual dilemma that needs to be addressed now?  "Get changed; we need to get over to the neighbor's." Excuse me for a moment while I try to bring my heart rate down from the initial adrenaline rush of the phone ringing.
We quickly changed into our grubbies, threw on our boots, tossed on our coats, and headed to the truck. "Did you get the flashlights?"
"Do we need grain buckets?"
"Don't forget the halters."
We sat in the truck and waited for Mom, "I couldn't find my boots..." (In her defense, our mud room is in a state of chaos since the washing machine went belly up)
"Did you see any cows in the pasture when you were doing the chores?"
"I saw two cows."
"What color were they?"
"Solid brown."
:facepalm: "Those are the other neighbor's cows..."
"How long have they been out?"
"Since about 3 this afternoon."
"There's only one halter..."
"Watch for cows." How often do you hear that?
"I see lights."
"There's the police car."
"That's a good sign."
"Oh, look. There they are..."
Two meat cows standing in the middle of the neighbor's lawn, munching away like they hadn't done anything wrong. The family was all out to witness the sight, the sheriff was there to do his thing, and there was me. With a halter in my hands. Those cows were on to me. Mom kept the one busy with the grain bucket so I could try to slip the halter on. My hands were shaking from the cold. Bam. Done. Phew! One cow down, one to go. We tied her off to the truck to be taken back to her pasture. While they were slowly herding her back home, I was left with the whipper-snapper of a 'wild' beef cow. Me versus the cow. He won. I can't keep a tidy line by myself. He wanted to stampede down the steep hill. Who was I to argue with a cow that big? By all means, I'm not going to stand in your way. At this point, I really wanted a horse and lasso (not that I would know how to use them, but that's beside the point. An ATV would've been nice too.)
The rest of the crew came back.
"Where's the halter?"
So Jake ran back to get the halter while the rest of stood around 'supervising' the renegade bovine. With the halter in hand and flashlights beaming, we, as a group, headed down the uneven terrain. The cow's all the way at the bottom? Wait, is that a trail into the woods? Oh, please no. Well, Nathan got the cow to start coming up the hill; the runaway started trotting along the pasture fence. If only we could make a part of the fence disappear temporarily; this job would be so much easier.

Oh. My. Word.
"Did you see that?!" Nathan shouted.
The cow had slipped through the supposedly electric fence via slightly farther apart wires. I'm starting to believe that cows could jump over the moon as the old nursery rhyme states.
"Why couldn't he have done that earlier?"
"I think we found our escape route."
"Where do we put the cows for tonight? Will they get out again?"
"We can stick them in the upper pasture."
"You young'ins go herd the cows in the upper pasture. We'll take the truck back." Can I take a ride in the truck?
So up the hill we tromped, uttering things about how tasty those cows are going to be and maybe a butcher call is closer than originally anticipated. Oh look. They're at the feeder munching away like nothing happened. I think that their halos were on fire. :cough: We stowed those two into their new pasture and secured the gate behind us. The gate to get out of the pasture was so well locked that we had to hop the gate (in all our muddy glory).
"Are we sure that the fence is working?"
We tested the fence. Nothing. Drats. We inspected the red snapper box. Still nothing. Double drats. You could grab onto that fence with a death grip and still not get shocked.

An hour. The whole ordeal only took an hour. It could have taken us all night. It could have been a deluge for Noah's second flood. We had the light of a full moon. There wasn't even a wisp of a breeze. Nothing died (the dog that tried defending his territory, well, that's a vet bill...). Of all late night calls to get (from a sheriff!), I guess that a summoning to a midnight roundup is pretty minor. All things considered.

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