Saturday, November 01, 2008

Here We Go Again - Up in the Air

Two hot air balloons flew over our house this morning around 9 a.m.

The cows stampeded to the other end of the farm.

The balloonists were flying too low. They are supposed to be a certain height over the area and these fliers were not.

It is the "whoosh" of the propane gas burners that scares the cows. This noise like a dragon sets them off and they will run from one end of the farm and through the fence in order to get away from it.

My husband ran outside and began calling the cows to try to calm them. "Whooo cow... Whooo" he cried.

They were not reassured. They ran off like they had Satan on their heels. I took pictures of the low-flying hot air balloons which I will deliver to the Commonwealth's Attorney's office on Monday.

We also yelled at the balloonists. The balloon operators hit their burners and quickly went higher (where they should have been to begin with) and then the wind currents took them in another direction.

I know they heard us because I went up in a hot air balloon once. You can hear everything on the ground, even conversation at normal volume. Sound apparently travels up.

My husband jumped in the truck and went after the cows. They were on the other side of the farm, huddled in the corner at the fence. He had to fire up the tractor and take them a large round bale of hay to coax them out.

After my husband calmed the cows, we called the sheriff.

If the cows go through the fence or if one breaks a leg while running away from these balloons, we are the ones incurring the loss. Not these hot air balloonists. As it was it cost us time, gasoline and a bale of hay that we can ill afford in these times of drought.

Cows are not cheap. We have many thousands of dollars invested in these animals. I understand horses also go nuts at the sound of a hot balloon. I was told last year that one horse badly injured himself trying to jump out of its stall when a balloon went over.

One of the reasons this is so vexing is that if these people would go just 10 more minutes down the road, they could fly over thousands of acres of public National Forest land and not disturb anyone. With all of that National Forest you'd think they could find some place down that way to take off and land that did not inconvenience others. Not all of the National Forest is wooded; there are open fields.

This is the problem with the world today. Everyone is "hooray for me" and "screw you." I don't think for a moment that these balloonists care that they cost my husband an hour of his morning or that he is very upset.

We have had problems with a balloonist in the past. So this is not new, nor is this the first time we've filed a report. We know the drill and that is how I know to take my photos to the Commonwealth's Attorney.

If I were a hot air balloonist and I knew I had people yelling at me, when I landed and was able to locate a computer with the county's GIS on it, I would figure out who those landowners were and I would contact them and apologize. Even if I had to make several calls to get the right farmer.

However we have never had any contact with any of these balloonists and of course we don't have any way to know who they are. I think one of them operates a ballooning business here but I have never seen the multi-colored balloon before.

I wish people would think about their actions. Hot air balloons are lovely but like everything they have their place.

And that is not over a farm full of scared and frightened cattle.


  1. Awe, poor cows. I love animals and hate to hear that they were scared. I also had no idea that a hot air balloon/propane sound would frighten them. That's so sad. :(

  2. How awful and thoughtless those balloonists are. A lot of people today are really just looking out for themselves. It's not the same as your situation, but we have woman nearby who lets her ducks and dog poop in our yard, even though we've asked her several times to stop. We have kids in our yard all the time and it's so unsanitary. She even takes the dog on a walk on our street and lets it pee and poop in our yard while watching for us to come out and get upset. Nice people, eh? I'd turn her in to the authorities, but she is the kind to take revenge. She's done it before.

    My hubby said to tell your hubby to take a 22 rifle with a scope to shoot out the balloons. Problem solved. Men!

  3. I saw the balloons taking off as I drove to Ikenberry's this morning. They were departing from the "shopping center" site by Layman's and Ikenberry's. I think the cattle would be upset. Someone crashed his car next to our field and the cattle went crazy. A good adrenaline fueled run like that can affect finishing weight by 15%.

  4. Ginger - yes, that is something else I didn't mention, that it could mean fewer dollars for us when we take the cattle to market.

  5. Hi,

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  6. Who is liable if cattle get out onto the road and cause auto accidents? What if the homeowner isn't there to see the balloons go over and know what happened?

    My horses have only seen one balloon go over several years ago. Luckily it wasn't making noise, so they watched calmly. But these are the two mares who were calmly watching fireworks a couple of weeks ago while I searched the field in the dark expecting to find them panicked.

  7. We saw these in the afternoon over LB on Halloween, the same ones!


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