Posts Tagged ‘neighbors’

Cow adventure (yes, again!)

April 30, 2009

Yesterday the cows were out again. They weren’t out there waiting for their treat in the morning when Tim left for work. He had to leave early, so it was up to me to feed them in the morning. I didn’t get around to it right away, but I did notice that they were not in sight. Sometimes that just means that they are up at the top of the hill where I can’t see them from the lane or the garden, so I wasn’t too concerned. Then Tim called from work to ask if I had seen the cows, which I hadn’t. He also asked when we last checked the fence. Well, to be perfectly honest, we had not tested the voltage or walked the fence in days. So, I started up the hill to check the fence and the cows. I checked the fence first and I saw the lights flash (the electricity pulses and the meter we have flashed 1-5 or 6 or 7 red lights, depending on the voltage), but only once. I finally figured out that it wasn’t flashing all the way to where I was looking because it was only flashing 2000 volts. I knew something was wrong and continued to walk up the hill where I noticed a big part of the wire was down. I got all the way to the top of the hill and the cows were not there, so I called Scott.

The one smart thing I did was to grab the following things before I went to check: cell phone, voltage checker, walking stick, and bucket of treats, along with my camera, which was not necessary or helpful, but did allow me take some cool pictures. So anyway, I called Scott and he said he would be over soon and that I should follow their tracks. That’s what I did, but I was thinking to myself that they could have been tracks from the last time they got out, or they could be deer tracks because they would look the same to me. I’m not a tracker, obviously. I followed the tracks to the east end of our property, which is where they went the two previous times. It didn’t look like the went through the fence, but I kind of lost the tracks. I went south towards the woods and found a fresh cow pie and a few more tracks, but I didn’t see them. I tried calling them, but they haven’t really started coming to me when I call them and feed them, so they didn’t come.

I was feeling quite dejected and thinking perhaps we are not ready for cows and it’s time to let Scott take them elsewhere. I was feeling quite disgusted with myself for not checking that fence and not being able to find the cows. I stayed in the woods for a while trying to find where the tracks led and calling them. I couldn’t find them, but I did manage to get a few cool pictures.

No idea what this is, but it's cool looking

No idea what this is, but it's cool looking

Fallen Tree, looks like a broken Y

Fallen Tree, looks like a broken Y

Better view of the Broken Y

Better view of the Broken Y

I finally started back toward the house when Scott called to tell me he and Aidan were heading up the hill. We met up and I told him what I had seen and where I thought they had gone. He told me to take Aidan and go back to the house, so that’s what we did. By the time I got back, the phone was ringing and Scott was heading back with the cows. They had come to his call, thankfully. It took him a little while to get them back because they are so tame (I know that sounds funny because they keep escaping, but they are tame!). I went out with him and we fixed the fence and he showed me how to take one of the fiberglass posts out of the spring that attaches it to the wire and how to put it back on. I’m not sure if I could do it again, but I might be able to figure it out. Then we moved some of the posts out a ways because the wire was all stretched out and was too low. Scott checked the fence with his digital voltage meter and it was still low, so we walked the fence. It looked fine and then he realized he had left the gate open. So he closed that and we were done.

I have to say that Scott is possibly the most patient person I have ever met. Not once has he yelled at us or told us we are idiots, even though we have given him cause to do so. We had not checked the fence visually or with the voltage checker in several days. We had gotten lazy. Now, I can’t say for sure that something was wrong with the fence and we didn’t catch it, but I’m guessing that is what happened. It’s also possible that the cows got spooked by something in the night or early morning hours and trampled the fence getting out. We can’t know for sure, but we do know we need to check the fence more regularly. The cows do come to Tim when he calls them, but I need to work on that and do it more consistently. I need to work on my call, which apparently is not loud enough. I need to really work on getting them to come to me when I call them so that if and when they get out again, I can get them without calling Scott.

Eventually we will have more cattle and better fencing and then Scott will be doing all the work and just paying us some rent for the land. That is the plan for the future. For now, though, these two cows are ours and we need to take care of them ourselves. Someday we will probably have a dairy cow, but we have a bit to learn before then, including how to make our own butter, yogurt, and cheese. For now, we need to focus on taking care of these two cows and keeping them in their pasture.

Here are some pictures of the two cows. The muddy head look is the new fashion for cows, by the way.

Sweetie Cow and Bullseye

Sweetie Cow and Bullseye

Sweetie Cow

Sweetie Cow

Bullseye

Bullseye

P.S. Cows are back

April 21, 2009

I said on twitter that the cows are back, but forgot to mention it here. We woke up late this morning, so by the time we got up Scott and Tim had found the cows and almost had them back. They were right near the edge of our property, so we aren’t sure if they just ended up there or if the neighbor herded them back with his ATV. Tim mentioned ATV tracks in the neighbor’s field, so it seems he might have seen them and tried to herd them back last night or this morning.

Anyway, they are back, and we are leaving them alone. They are up the hill, as far away from the house as they can get. I’m not sure they’ve had much water since the water bucket is near the house. Scott will be coming by later to take care of them and work on taming them. Then I think we will introduce them to me, then Tim, then we’ll see.

Doing our part to help out the wild cow population

April 20, 2009

Well, it’s dark out and our cows are still out adventuring. Scott couldn’t stop the truck from picking up his wheat, which is just fine. I would have felt really bad if he had missed out on that opportunity to sell his organic wheat. I think he’s been waiting a while to sell it, so it’s good he got to do that.

I’m sure the cows are just out in the neighbor’s woods. They went far enough that they weren’t spooked and then stopped and probably grazed out there most of the day. The woods are big, so Scott will look for them tomorrow and Tim will go help him. I’m sure we’ll get them back somehow. Scott is great with them and herds them almost silently, from what Tim told me.

I’m really quite mad at the cows and upset at the same time. I feel bad for them because it was quite an ordeal for them to be taken from the herd of 15 or so that they were used to. Then they get here and are totally afraid of these little kids. It seemed silly that they could be scared of someone so small, but after you see a cow go under an electric fence and one jump over because they are scared of a 5 year old, it’s not silly any more. I don’t know why they are so scared of kids, but they are. I knew they were and I shouldn’t have taken Aidan up with me. They aren’t used to me yet, though they seem OK with me. Just OK, though, not happy or relaxed, just wary. They are obviously not comfortable enough with me to be OK with Aidan and me.

Scott has said a couple of times that this is a bit unusual and that he learns something all the time. I suppose I have learned some things, too. First, chickens are way easier than cows. Second, cows are not stupid. They may be pretty simple animals, but they aren’t stupid. They know how to get out of that electric fence and they know how to get through the rusty barbed-wire fence, too. They did it once and then they remembered. Third, size is unimportant. Just because the cows are big does not mean that they are not scared of animals smaller than them. And despite their size, they are quite nimble. One of those cows jumped over a fence! I don’t even think she was scared, I think she was just following the one who was scared. Fourth, I know nothing about cows so I need to relax and be patient and learn. I need to watch Scott and let him teach us instead of thinking I can try something. I should also have listened to my own instincts. I KNEW those cows were not OK with Aidan and I still took him up the hill with me.

Anyway, here is a picture of the one that didn’t bolt on Saturday. Aidan and I got pretty close to her, close enough that Aidan took some of these pictures. She was fine, so I am sure it is the other one who is scared of him for some reason. The funny thing is that the one who is so scared is the one that the Cow People called Sweetie Pie. Scott got a good laugh about that name since she ran off Saturday. She also kicked the crap out of the Cow People’s Son when he tried to get her out of the truck and inside the fence.

The good part of the day is that I met some other neighbors and they all seemed understanding and said they would watch out for our cows. They didn’t seem surprised or annoyed at all. I even met an Amish neighbor that lives right by the neighbor behind us (the one who came over to complain) and she was very understanding and mentioned that sometimes their horses get out onto his land and he’s not very happy about that. So, maybe he’s just a big grump. He did help the other day, so I should be grateful for that.

I’ll be happier when the cows are back and I can look back and laugh about this experience, that’s for sure!

Those darn cows

April 20, 2009

OK, the cows are out again. I took Aidan up the hill with me to check on them again today and they saw him and got spooked. One went under the electric fence, one went over. They are off in the neighbor’s land and Scott the Farmer has to call and cancel a semi coming to get his organic wheat, which he has been trying to arrange for some time, I’m sure.

The neighbor who helped us the other day came over to basically yell at me because our livestock are on his property again. He called our farmer an idiot for not improving the barbed-wire fence and said we’re going to need an ATV to get them out of his timber. This was the first time I met him, so I was polite and pleasant and apologetic. I explained to him the steps we’ve taken already: changing out the fence charger to increase the amps, testing the voltage daily. I told him what we are planning on doing to keep the cows on our property: repairing some of the barbed-wire, which he said will cost lots of money because it’s older than me, totally rusted, and will not hold the cows back at all and introducing the cows to the kids slowly.

Nonetheless, he was upset because none of the previous owners had livestock and now we have it and are causing him problems. Though part of me doesn’t see how it’s causing him problems as his fields aren’t plowed or planted yet, so it’s not as if the cows are tearing up his fields. Right now, as far as I know, they are in his woods grazing and not hurting a thing. However, I also understand that it’s not fun to see some cows on your land when you don’t have cows of your own. So I can understand his upset, but would have preferred not to be yelled at and basically called an idiot. Looking on the bright side, at least we met another neighbor.