This morning first thing we loaded up two cows in the trailer.
One was one of our finished cows for our store. As usual, we finish one cow per month and therefore once per month somebody takes the ride to the great pasture in the sky so that we can have steaks in the store.
But also this month, we had a new candidate for taking a ride off of the farm. A few weeks ago, and I just realized that I never posted about this, we had a Ninja Jr episode.
Roxy, our new rescue dog, has decided that nothing is more fun than chasing cows. She’s actually really well trained, but for whatever reason I haven’t been able to break her from her interest in chasing cattle. Really she will chase anything. Squirrels, birds, sticks, balls. Anything. So a cow running is just another game to her.
Well the Mrs and I had run to Lowes to pick up some plants, because, stay at home order meant gardening. We had a friends son over since they had volunteered to deliver medical supplies to first responders all over the state. Their son had inconveniently just fallen through a ceiling and maybe, maybe not, had broken a rib. We were given strict orders to make sure he took it easy. Taking it easy on a farm means you get lighter work, not no work, so we went to work on mulching the garden.
With the morning’s work completed, we left the kids to go fishing or whatever, while we went to Lowes. After shopping for plants, we returned with Grandma, the wife, and I and pulled up to the garden. I saw the kids were indeed fishing, and were coming up to the barn, to say hello I guess.
I hopped out of the truck, and into the backhoe so I could put it away. Grandma and the wife both started unloading plants and futzing about in the garden. Just as I got the tractor cranked, I saw a cow go shooting across the yard. I slammed the backhoe into top gear and raced across the yard, right by the garden at full speed. I could see kids, and a dog, running behind the cow. I made it to just in front of our house and cut the cow off with the backhoe. The cow, as cows will do, wanted to go its own merry way.
I had to do the job of being a cutting horse, with a backhoe, which coincidentally still had a bucket full of chips. Backhoes are not known for being graceful animals. I made it about 4 back and forths before the cow finally made it around me and took off into the woods.
By this point, Spork had locked Roxy in the store, The Princess was in hot pursuit through the woods, and our broken ribbed, please take it easy with him son #2 was booking down the driveway so fast I never saw him.
I took off running because the cow was heading for the front gate. I ran all the way down and manually pulled the gate closed before the cow could arrive. With that done, I collected the Princess and tried to figure out where the cow was and from whence it had come.
As I asked what had happened I learned that the dog had decided to chase the cow while the kids were fishing. To put this in perspective, the last time the kids went fishing, the dog decided that water was fun and jumped in, only to “nearly drown” before the kids could pull her out of the water. At least that is what I was told. 30 minutes later we received a call that “I have your dog.”
Huh? Where are you?
Across the lake in a subdivision. The dog that 30 minutes prior “didn’t know how to swim”, had swam all the way across the lake and walked up on shore to these people to play with them. Never have I ever had a dog end up on the other side of the lake.
So now the same dog, just a few weeks later, had chased the cow and the cow jumped the fence and had escaped, not just the pasture, but then out of the pasture, into the barnyard, out of the barn yard, and into my yard, then into the woods.
About this time, I receive a call from our missing second son who says he’s out on the road, having chased the cow out there. Ugh, I don’t even know how the blasted thing got off the farm!
So I load the kids into the truck and race down to find my borrowed son standing off the side of the road, with some minor bleeding. He’d apparently tried to turn the cow around a few times, and at some point the cow had decided to just run him over. Great. How am I going to explain this to his parents.
So I’m in the truck with a rented kid who is bleeding, and two kids that belong to me, neither of which are wearing shoes, because, farm kids.
I notice that some Latinos are standing out in front of the trailer park and as I proceed down the road I find a group looking back towards our fence. I pull into a old road we are fixing up on that part of the farm and go see that the cow is standing at the bottom of a ditch, on the wrong side of the fence, relatively surrounded by Mexicans. I go down to where the cow is and think to myself,
“Self, if we can get the cow to go back over that relatively broken down fence and onto the farm, we’ll be good. But if that cow comes out of that ditch, it’ll end up in the road and that will be bad.”
So as I ease down towards the cow, he decides that my addition to the numbers means that staying in the ditch is no longer viable, and he decides he’s coming out my way. As he starts coming up, I head down and we meet in the middle, I want the high ground for this shoving match. I push him back a few times trying to get him to turn around. He makes it clear that, “Thank you for your suggestion and guidance Sir, but I’d like to go out the way that you are blocking, so apologies, but I’m going to go through you now.”
When it devolves to that, I grab one ear and knock/push his head aside and body tackle the cow to the ground. I’ve bulldogged cows down before and if you can get them off balance, it is doable. So like any 18 year old would, I went in full force and body checked the cow while controlling his head and wumphf! We hit the ground in a tangle. Easy peasy.
Except I’m not 18 anymore. When I hit the cow, I heard, and felt, a *SNAP*.
Oops. That can’t be good. A rib let go in the collision. We’ll have to worry about that later.
As I’m wrestling the cow who is now trying to get back up, I feel a big weight fall on him. I look back and one of the Mexican men had jumped on his back half and was helping me hold the cow down. Sweet!
We wrangled around with the cow a few minutes before we finally let him up and now between the two of us pushed and shoved the cow till he hopped back onto the farm.
I tried to pay the neighbors who had helped me and despite the language barrier they were clear that no money was needed or wanted and they were happy to help. Great people and I’m appreciative of them.
Now that I was off the ground, it was time to start hurting. Breathing hurt. The rib was definitely broken. My legs were shredded from rolling on the ground in shorts and flip flops (official farmer apparel) and I couldn’t run to chase the cow any longer. Heck I couldnt’ run to do anything. I started walking back, with son #2, while son #1 took my truck and drove it back on the road and down to our main entrance. This was without a license since he’s 15 but in a situation like this you do what you have to do. I do recall something about being able to operate a farm vehicle on the road without a license when moving from one farm property to another. It’s been a decade since I read that statue, but surely it applies in this circumstance.
The cow ended up in our pasture, but not the one where the rest of the cows were so he was standing in the corner alone. We locked down all the gates and exits as best we could and I hobbled over to the house. It was about this time that the wife came up and said, “Hey, what is going on?”
Grandma and the wife were so enamored with their plants in the garden, they were completely oblivious to the entire thing. The backhoe doing 30mph across the yard, the yelling, the running. All of it. I explained that I’d broken myself, the cow was back, and that I needed to sit down. Just as I sat down, son #2’s parents pulled up from their long day of driving, tired and ready to collect their son we’d be “keeping safe.”
Fortunately his parents are the cool kids, and they just rolled with it, bleeding son and all. Just another adventure day on the farm.
So that was a couple of weeks ago. Today, Miguel had a calf he wanted to send off the farm along with our normal monthly cow. He wasn’t performing well and basically didn’t meet Miguel’s standards. I didn’t even ask. My mantra is love your neighbors, forgive your enemies, but do neither for your cattle. One strike and you are out. I didn’t even listen to his reasons, if he wanted him gone, load him and I’d drop him off at the sale barn on my way to the processor. You can imagine my surprise when I looked in the trailer and saw this.
Despite rolling around on the ground with the cow, I couldn’t quite remember what the cows ear tag number was. 147 is what I though I remembered, although maybe it was 143. But regardless, my first guess was 147 and look who is looking back at me when I look in the trailer. Miguel had no idea, he didn’t like this cow for different reasons but I certainly had no qualms about taking him to the sale barn to be someone else’s problem.
I wonder if he’ll end up as someone else’s Ninja Cow?