Get cattle they said, it will be fun they said….. Whoever “they” are, I would like to push them down in a pile of cow sh#t right now.
Don’t get me wrong, we have had cattle before and know some of the challenges they bring with them but I guess we have a selective memory and forgot some of the more challenging parts.
We finally got the 3 yearlings home at 8:30pm after a 15 hour road trip. Because we did not want to let the cattle out after dark in a strange pasture we decided to open up the rest of the trailer and let them spend the night in quiet comfort and release them in the daylight hours so they could see their new surroundings and thank us for bringing them to such a beautiful place with lush green grass.
The next morning Barb and I went over and Kevin opened the trailer door while Cheryl filmed. ….
I guess the cattle had a whole different perspective on the scene. It went something like this….
There we were at home hanging with our herd when this truck and trailer pulls up. Two guys get out, one was stunningly handsome and the other guy introduced himself as Kevin. The guy who feeds us was talking to them and everyone was looking at us. Next thing we knew we were forced into a cattle shoot one by one where they took turns poking us with needles. That was no fun but it was kinda funny when the handsome guy poked his own thumb instead of me.
Then they forced us into the trailer and shut the door. Next thing we knew we were bouncing down the road going God knows where. We drove and drove and drove….. what seemed like 3 days later (in cow time) we stopped and thought they were finally going to let us out. But no….. instead they threw in some hay and a bucket of water and shut the door. The next morning when the sun rose we heard a car pull up and people talking. There were eyes peering at us through the windows in the trailer. It was that handsome guy! Oh my God, he is so handsome!
This has been the most terrifying experience of our young lives and were not sure what was going to happen next. Were they going to poke us with more needles? Something even more horrific? When they finally opened the door all we could see was hills and trees. We are flatland cattle and have never seen anything like this before, they are setting us free! Quick guys, run for the trees!....
Well, at least I think that is their perspective because when we opened the trailer door they ran out, ran to the fence, hesitated, lowered their heads, ran through the fence into the woods, over the hill and out of sight!
The 4 of us just sat there and stared at each other thinking did that just F’ing happen!?!? Well, to be honest some of those words were shouted out loud and not just thought. Tensions rose to an 11 out of 10 in like 1.2 seconds.
Barb and I jumped in the jeep and went down the road in an attempt to head them off. We found them about ¼ mile away still trotting. We got ahead of them and got out of the jeep. I went up hill in the hopes of preventing them from going over the top of that hill into thousands of acres of National Forest. Barb stayed at their level and did a stare down with them about 100 yards away. Barb slowly started walking towards them and the cattle turned around and started walking back towards Kevin and Cheryl’s.
I followed along about 100 yards above them to keep them from going up any further. This is not easy walking, we are talking a billy goat hill where your feet slide out from under you if you step wrong. I start to overheat and take off my jacket and hang it on a tree for retrieval later. As slowly and calmly as we could we walked back to Kevin and Cheryl’s. When we got to their fence they started walking along it. I could see an open gate up ahead and could see Kevin and Cheryl standing just beyond the gate. Cheryl was at fence level while Kevin was up high at the same level as me.
The cattle are walking along the fence right towards the open gate. Could we get this lucky?!?!? Continuing slowly we push them towards the gate…. And when they get to it…. They walk right past it not going into the pasture like they are supposed to! Now they have a choice to make. Do they try to bolt past Kevin and Cheryl or turn around and try to bolt past Barb and me? They milled around in place thinking about it while all four of us slowly walk towards them closing the gaps that they can bolt through. Then the miracles of all miracles happens when the smallest one turns around and walks through the gate and the other two followed! They trotted for a hundred yards or so stopped and started eating grass.
We spent the next two hours shoring up the fence to make sure it would be more of a deterrent and put some yummy alfalfa out. By the time we were done with the fence they had found the alfalfa and were content on just eating that.
4 hours later we were done, inside eating lunch and the cattle were laying in the middle of the pasture. I went back to look for my jacket but do you know how many trees are in the National Forest? They all looked alike and not a one had a coat hanging on it. I think a Sasquatch took it!
The next test would be the next morning when we woke up….would they still be there? Barb and I woke up the next morning anxiously awaiting word from Kevin and Cheryl. A text came in a little after 7:00, they were still there! Hallelujah!
With that news Dakota and I jumped in the truck which was already loaded with the camper and all our supplies for the next few weeks and headed to North Dakota where our next adventure awaits. Barb will be joining us in a few days after she flies to Oregon to pick up Zoey, our latest bundle of joy. Let’s hope she reacts a lot better than they cattle do!