[Cue Bon Scott] – I ain’t spending my life here.  Gonna make a jailbreak.  Oh, how I wish that I could fly.  All in the name of liberty!

So there I was…fast asleep (had been for at least two solid hours) when the phone rings.  Dad says, “Your cows are out.  Come help me put them in.”

It’s 1:00 in the morning.  I’m asleep and my parents have been out partying with friends.  What kind of geek am I to be in bed when my parents are out?  And why are my parents driving home from a social event at 1:00 in the morning?  I don’t know but thank God my parents are driving home from a social event at 1:00 in the morning.

I step outside and see dad walking behind the girls around the curve in front of my house.  Of course the cows don’t want to be caught.  They are fat as ticks with all the stuff they have eaten along the road but still ornery.  They know they have pulled something off and are not anxious to be caught.  Such children!

Dad walks to their right as we go down the road, I follow behind.  Mom follows with the car in case another car comes around the curve.  They have already opted not to go to my house so now we’re headed to the yellow house where the high-security corral will contain them.

We almost get to the driveway and they decide they’re going to run.  I don’t care if we run, walk or jog.  Just don’t miss the driveway for the yellow house!  Dad races alongside of them to turn them in.  In the dim light the cows see the chance to take a left and, miracle of miracles, they do.  Now they’re in the alfalfa field.

I would like to pause for a moment to say that my father isn’t new anymore.  Along with knee surgery and various other problems he lost a toenail recently and it’s causing him to favor his leg.

OK.  Now the cows are in the alfalfa field.  The good news is they are already fat as ticks and they’re only stopping for a quick bite here and there but they are no less spirited.  Mom and dad go ahead in the car to the barn lot to open up the corral.  The wife (who just caught up to us) and I are following the cows on foot to the barn.  This can’t be more than 1/4 of a mile.  The girls know what’s going to happen.  They lived at the barn all winter.  Every day we would walk to and from the pond in the center of the alfalfa field.  At this point it’s routine.

Then the routine breaks.  They don’t want to go to jail.  We get as far as the barn lot and both dash to hide in the giant hackberry that recently fell.


That led to a couple of rounds at the circus maximus around the barn lot before finally getting them corralled in their jail cell.

Now, I have to admit, I’m not at my best when woken from a sound sleep.  I’m not at my best when woken from a sound sleep and asked to run a marathon in the dark.  I’m not my best when woken from a sound sleep and asked to run a marathon in the dark chasing my cows and all their various liabilities.  I was ready to sell.  2 springing jersey heifers, best first offer.  By morning I was feeling more reasonable.  Because of the drought we’re out of feed.  We have been moving the cows around the yard and into shade every day trying to keep them away from flies and manure but moving them around doesn’t magically make more feed appear.  We’re down to a little bit of dried johnsongrass and baked red clover along with some dormant fescue and maybe a bit of lambsquarter here and there.  Not much to write home about.  I can’t blame the cows for being tired of eating grass hay we baled out of the ditch with a flake or two of alfalfa.  But if they want to protest their treatment they should do it when it’s daylight.  Is that too much to ask?

Nope.  No cows for sale.  I do need summer to cool off so I can build some fence.  Then I can at least contain those girls in a hot perimeter fence and keep them off of the road.

Had another rodeo on Sunday when we tried to move the pigs to a new pasture but that’s another story.

9 thoughts on “Jailbreak

  1. Have your read Anne of Avonlea (book 2 of Anne of Green Gables)? http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rgs/avon-II.html
    In this book, Anne is a young adult (probably about 17), just about to begin her teaching career at the local village school. She has issues with a miscreant cow herself.
    I’d say it was a Jersey thing, but I have personally helped round up a half dozen herefords several times (my neighbours), and about 50 holsteins from what was at the time our local dairy farmer (he’s gone now).
    There’s a rule that says it has to happen at night. always. It’s in the book the cows read when we’re not watching.

    • Being a father of 2 little girls, I really enjoyed reading Anne of Green Gables. My wife thought that was weird so I didn’t continue reading the series…lol.

      I really enjoyed reading Ben K. Green’s books a few years back. His writings in Wild Cow Tales help keep these little problems in perspective.

  2. I’ll have to check “Wild Cow Tales” out…my husband read the first three Anne books as a boy – but his family is from PEI, so maybe that makes a difference :). It’s too bad the drought is forcing you to feed hay this time of year.

  3. I ordered it through ILLO this am – only copy in the province is in the Kelowna library. I love ILLO. It’s an oldtimer/rancher way of taming a horse too – tying it to a horse that’s already well trained. Just tie the two horses together and let the trained one tame the wild one…I think it would have it’s problems – they could get snagged on stuff pretty easily, or if they were chased by a predator, it could be bad, but I’ve read about it more than once, so it must have been common at some point.

  4. Back when we lived in the yellow house – stop rolling your eyes – many summer mornings started earlier than we had intended because of the clop clop of cows hooves as they escaped from the barn lot past our bedroom window. They were limousene (forgive the spelling). This extra tall breed of cattle do not want to stay in the pastures when the corn field is waving at them.

  5. I had to go look up Limousin cattle. In the pictures on the web, they look very long bodied to me. You raised them for beef? I read they are direct descendants from aurochs – you’d never keep one of those in a barn lot either, lol.

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