Even with cows involved
Sometimes things work out the way I dared to hope they would, even with cows involved. It's rare, but it happened again today.
Yesterday the kids and I had to gather the cows that had come down off the mountain and collected in our middle field. It's the midway point between the lease pastures and our private pastures, so we didn't have to go very far with them. We had to convince them that climbing the hill we pointed them at was indeed the right decision. I'll even admit in public that there was one point when all of the cows were at a standstill on the hill and one bull decided he didn't care to stay with the herd. I circled around him and pushed him back to the cows and noticed how close they were to the gate. I opened the gate and called them...yep. Husbeast's trick.
"C'mooooooonnnnnnn!" They looked at me. They saw the gate. They suddenly found renewed strength and made the last climb. I'm not even kidding. Worked like a charm.
We didn't take them much past the gate because most of them trickled out on their own and that spot needed to be grazed anyway.
When I went back that night to check on things, there was 1 calf and 1 cow in the wrong meadow and a single calf half way up the switch back going the wrong way about a mile away, from his mother.
"Neat," I thought. "Husbeast give me one job..."
This morning I left early to drive down and assess the situation. I took all the dogs with me, including my puppy who isn't a year old yet and the corgi.
My first observation was that the only thing in the meadow was still the 1 cow and 1 calf who didn't belong together. That was good news.
My second observation was that every mother lovin' pig face cow was back at the wrong fence, bawling at me like I'd abused them. I knew I'd be riding later on but I couldn't walk away from them and risk them busting back into the wrong place. So I let all the dogs out. Super good idea.................................not. really.
Seven dogs: 1 is blind, 1 turns everything back, 1 had heat stroke, 1 doesn't listen to me period, 1 doesn't think she needs a human, 1 is a puppy and 1 is a corgi. You can probably guess how this went down.
I could send the 1 who doesn't think she needs a human, but I had to be pretty quiet about it or the stroke dog, the turn-back dog and the blind dog would take off with her and one would be on heels while the other two were trying to mash the wrong way. I nearly wound up with a bull in my lap on account of this commotion. I bellered at all of them (using zero cuss words). The corgi beat feet back to the truck, the stroke dog ignored me, the blind dog and the turn-back dog hid in the brush and my puppy was long gone. I finished my walk with the dog who doesn't need a human and took the cows about half way. When I was confident they were still moving forward, I turned around and ran back to the truck with all but the corgi, who was already there, and my puppy, who was long gone.
I had to get the Weebeast ready for a phone call with his teacher. While we waited, I caught my horse. I was getting pretty anxious about getting cows where they needed to be and finding my puppy, so I left the Weebeast with his sister and instructions on the teacher meeting.
As I trotted down the road and through the first couple of meadows I kept hoping that I could pull all of this off without totally blowing things. Like I said, I had one job and so far I was in half-ass mode and not real thrilled about my results. When I popped up over the first rise, I could see that some of my lead cows had crossed the river and made it out where I wanted them to go. I breathed a small sigh of relief at that. I scanned the area of the switch back for the calf that had gone on "walk-about." When my eyes came back the road ahead, I saw him in the meadow where the other cow and calf were. Or so I thought. Right about then I also decided I'd yell for my puppy. "Banjo!!!!!" I called. From the fence we had crossed over, a red and white streak came running toward me and "Dog Who Needs No Human." She was pretty happy to see us.
Again, relief at the fact that I found my puppy and the calf was there and I thought I could bump him along the fence line to the other cows. I rode through my first gate and stepped on my horse. Only then did I notice that he had been in the same field I was in.
So I opened that gate again and made a big circle around him. I wont credit any super skills of my own for the fact that he walked up to the gate and through it, like he was leading me. He had been away from his mom long enough and could hear her down there. He was on a mission!
We picked up a few other cows who hadn't made it out and cleaned out that pasture. They came out of there nicely and headed for the direction of the river, which was my goal.
I soon learned though that two calves were on the wrong side of the fence with no gate nearby and no cows near one that I could bait them to. I looked at the H brace in the corner of the fence and remembered that we had been in this pickle once before. I undid the top two wires, tied my horse up, down fence and took the two wonder dogs with me to circle around the calves. Normally they would have spooked and blown out of there in two different directions, at 100 miles an hour. This time, they walked along the fence and found the downed wires that they neatly stepped over and walked to their moms. (This stuff never happens with witnesses.)
The cow? Yeah. I hadn't seen her yet. I put my two wires back on the post and got back on to look for said cow. When I rode over the next hill that borders the meadow I saw her laying in the brush, across the fence from the cows who were in the right spot.
I actually asked my horse "Isn't there a gate down there? Let's go check..."
And I'll be danged if that old cow wasn't laying right next to it. I dropped that one for her and let her out. By this point I was basically in disbelief at the way things had played out.
My puppy learned her lesson and didn't get very far from the other dog the whole way home. Cows were where they needed to be, calves were accounted for and with their mothers and the rogue cow was an easy fix.
I'm sharing this story with you because, as I mentioned, this never happens when someone is there to witness it. And also because Husbeast will need to read it when he gets back...he'll not believe it either!