Cattle on the Loose ....

September 2, 2020

I apologize for being a little late getting this newsletter out to y'all but there's good reason for the delay.  So much of our life here on the farm is subject to forces beyond our control.  I've always been a person who thrives on order and routine.  I love planning out my schedule for the week ahead, menu planning, and generally finding ways to make our family and farm life run more smoothly and efficiently but life on the farm is always full of surprises ...Yesterday I headed out to the far reaches of our property to move our herd to their next grazing paddock only to find that they weren't all there.  

What?!?!  I know right?!  A herd of cattle doesn't just up and disappear.

No way says I, just keep looking ... well after bushwhacking through some of the densest wooded areas in the now steady rain for several hours I had to conclude that more than 1/2 of our herd had mysteriously disappeared into thin air.   

Feeling a wee bit troubled I headed back at dark hoping I had missed them somewhere along the way.  Not so.  Reaching the pond I thought I'd take a few minutes to top up their water troughs and see if any came wandering in.  Started the generator and flipped the switch for the pump.  Nothing happened. 

- Checked to make sure the line wasn't kinked.  Nope.

- Checked to make sure the pump was actually plugged in (elementary I know but still a possibility).   No problems there.  

- Checked for suction on the pump.  Nothing.   

Proceeded to MacGyver a paper clip into 6 different tools and took said pump apart in the dark, in the rain, to find silt from the pond had clogged the impeller.  Cleaned it all out, put the pump back together with the paper clip (okaaaaay  maybe I had a swiss army knife at my disposal but still) and got it running and filled the water tanks.  Still no cows.  Thoroughly soaked to the bone at this point I rode the quad home to the music of my chattering teeth.  

Headed out fresh this morning with renewed optimism and positivity.  How does that old nursery rhyme go?  Leave them alone and they'll come home wagging their tails behind them.  Well I tell you what - Little Bo Peep lied!  That girl is a liar!  Turns out they will NOT come home wagging their tails behind them, ohhhhhhh noooooo, turns out they will find the one place in a full 50 acres where a single tree has fallen on the fence line and crawl over that fence to go gallivanting in no man's land all the way down to river.  Oh yes, turns out you will spend a FULL day finding, calling and chasing those cows back to their home, re-uniting them with their calves, giving them fresh pastures, filling their waterers and do you think you will get a single thank you for all that effort?  No sir!  Bunch of ingrates!  

So there you have it ... a day in the life of a farmer ... definitely not all sunshiny and glamorous!  The bad news?  The newsletter is late.  The good news?  I think I will sleep very well tonight.  Who needs cross fit when you live farm fit!

Joy Stephens

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