Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Party When the Cows Go Home

When you live on a farm, you are always at work. My alarm clock now is the sound of heavy machinery and I listen to the sounds of the cattle at night. This particular Saturday night the farm was settling in for the evening. The workers had gone home, the machinery was off, the cattle were quiet. I took advantage of the long summer twilight to settle into the computer for messages when I heard something that didn't seem right. It was just a mother calling to her calf---but the sound seemed too close.

I went to the window and saw one cow where there shouldn't be any and then another. I called to my husband, making a kind of doppler effect of his name as I hurried down from the third floor. By the time I reached the second floor, he was up and all business, so I pulled on warmer clothes and headed for the back door and my Wellies.

There were reluctant cows and a few wandering calves in the beginnings of our kitchen garden. Because this is a favorite project of mine, I was not as diffident with these animals as their bulk usually warrants. I was also emboldened by the fact that the cows looked as if they knew they should not be there and had reluctantly followed their errant offspring. The chase was on to get the cattle back where they belonged and avoid having any of them run down the farm road onto the highway.

One cow called her calf in a tone that even I knew meant no more nonsense and they both headed back to the pen they had recently left. The rest of the runaways, unfortunately, headed down the farm road and began to pick up speed. I tried a flanking maneuver and managed to slow one of them down, but only temporarily. And then looking for all the world like the cavalry coming over the hill, our stockman drove into the road with three of his friends. They jumped out of their car and shooed the animals back into their pen. He had stopped by to pick up something on his way into town and left as soon as the gate on the pen had been double tied.

My husband and I stood trying to settle back into some routine after the adrenaline of cattle chasing. "Let's go somewhere," he said.
"We can't go anywhere dressed like this. We'll look like local yokels."
Without a moment's hesitation he explained, "We are the local yokels."
"Right," I nod, shrug, smile and clamber into the car still grappling with my new identity. We drove to the only convenience store open later than 8pm and bought Diet Coke and ice cream and sat on the steps in front of the store with a handful of other locals.


At 9:52 AM, Blogger ZACL said...

Welcome to the local yokel club - I haven't quite got there yet, maybe never will, even though I am only a few miles from you in the Northern Highlands of Scotland.

One of my memorable cow events occurred in the quiet leafy lanes in the county of Surrey, one of London's home counties,where I came to a careful stop while a large herd encircled me and their curiosity took over. They stopped to 'discover' what this article was that strayed into the middle of their path. Big doe-eyes peered in one by one like a line of kids moving in to a wondrous place.

All I could do was sit and wait patiently till they got bored and one decided it was time to move on somewhere else, then its other pals followed suit.

At 5:11 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

Good story structure.

At 4:40 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Cattle, like cats, are curious. My first walk through a field with cows was like yours in the sense that they followed me lloking for all the world as if they were expecting me to answer some unasked question. Analogies with cattle and cats are limited. Their tails, for example, serve very different purposes.


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