charge of the cow calvary
I will forgo writing down the statistics of my Monday night milking shift—my first I’ve had in a month, due to work coverage and vacation—and instead tell of the comical end to my day. But before I do that I will just mention that since last I wrote, a couple changes have happened. The meanie queenie of cows, Stella, is pregnant and is being dried out, therefore is only being milked in the mornings right now. Praise be to God! Stella has this amazing double kick which once made me do a Neo-esque back bend to avoid catching a hoof to the face. We are now also milking two cows new to the Dairy Barn: Joanna (daughter of Josephine) and Tara.
Anyway, during the warmer weather the cows go out into the pastures to enjoy things like alfalfa, which they L-O-V-E! I normally walk them to the pasture kitty corner to the Dairy Barn yard, however, they are now going to the pasture right across from the Dairy Barn, which apparently is a HUGE, CONFUSING change because first the cows decided to just stand in the middle of the road, CONFUSED. Then a couple cows headed towards the pasture that they normally go into, only to be greeted by the closed gate. After I finally got the majority of the cows headed into the correct pasture a few stragglers decided to walk past the open gate, wandering instead down the road toward the highway. I managed to run in front of Sylvia, Stella and Joanna (and with the help of a community member who happened to be driving by, and who used his car to try and help me herd the three girls back into the pasture). Instead of cooperating, however, the terrible three ran past me, pulling a Hail Mary play in the final stretch; Sylvia and Stella splitting in opposite directions, either of them managing to get past me, with Joanna streaking up the middle.
And so the chase began. There are several (if not hundreds) of moments in my life that I am SO glad no one else gets to witness. THIS WAS ONE OF THEM. Me in my cow poop splattered clothes, jeans rolled up to my knees, knee high muck boots on, running down the road after three trotting cows. I am not a runner in any sense, but there is definitely something even more degrading about my pathetically out of shape self running down the street in muck boots screaming “WAIT!” to runaway cows!
After the cows had gotten by Chris (the community member who’d stopped), I’d sent him to get Farmer MacDonald, but there was no sign of him and the cows were already half way down the road towards the highway. Needless to say that at this point I was having visions of cows being hit by cars and me having to leave community due to the shame that would come with an association with this tragedy!! It is safe to say that I was freaking out a bit. Luckily, about the time that the cows got down to where the bee hives are located, Farmer J popped onto the road (followed by his wife M); luckily they had been in their garden; and it was upon him trying to get in front of the cows that they veered left into an empty field (which has an opening off the road). Upon a quick conversation between J and M they decided that the electric fencing (which luckily had not yet been turned on) could be pushed over so that the cows could get back into the alfalfa field and join the rest of the other dairy cows. J and I went into the empty field and tried to herd the three runaways while M held the fencing down and tried to encourage them back into the field. About the time this was happening Farmer MacDonald showed up and joined the effort (having sensed something was awry since I was nowhere in sight and the gate hadn’t been closed behind the cows in the pasture. As he was heading to help, Chris was showing up to tell him that there were cows out!)
And then after the chase, those rascally cows were back in the proper pasture, joining the ranks of dairy cows. Quite a way to end my work day, making for a hilarious retelling the next morning at breakfast; moments like these are fantastic reminders of the good things about living here. Cows never cease to amaze me.