Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Escapee

Generally the cows stay where they are supposed to, inside the fence. They are not inclined to wander and have no need to, anyway. They have lots of water and grass, hay in the winter, and occasionally we feed them bread or donuts. What a life!

Occasionally, though, a young one will decide he wants the greener grass on the other side of the fence.

This morning I glanced out the front window just as a young steer weighing about 350 pounds moved past. He was following the fence in an effort to find his way back to his mother.

Our house sits in a U-shaped lot that has a fence running down both sides of the driveway, sort of like this: c=== . Once an animal gets in that pipeline of driveway, the choice is through the fence, into the road, or in the yard.

I don't care if a calf is in the yard but I do care if they get in the road. For one thing, I could get charged with a misdemeanor for letting the animal stray. For another, a car could hit it.

I raced out the front door and shouted "whooo calf!" at the little steer. He stopped, looked around, and then started toward me.

For a brief moment I thought I might be able to call him over to the other side of the house where the gate is located. But the steer had that look about him, the stance and the eyeballs that said, "One wrong move and I am outta here!"

Apparently I made that move, for he bolted, heading down the fence line toward the driveway and its pipeline to the road.

I ran back into the house and into the garage. I climbed in my car and hit the garage opener.

In the time it took me to do that, the calf was halfway to the road (and we have a very long driveway).

Of course if I moved forward slowly I would push the calf on toward the road myself, which I did not want to do. He was headed that way without my help anyway.

I called my husband on the cell phone, because of course any time a calf gets out and I need help there is absolutely no one around. He was at work and his parents were out of town for the day. "Get me some help!" I told him.

It is difficult to round up a calf by yourself. You have better luck with a whole herd, really. But one scared little calf that just wants Mama can be a handful. He said he'd make some calls.

I sat watching the calf as it moved toward the road. It was getting closer. I had to do something; I couldn't let the thing into the street.

I hit the gas and sped past the little bugger when it moved to the higher side of the driveway against the fence. Then I hit the brakes and turned the wheel so that the car would stop practically sideways.

That way the car would act as a gate while I ran my little escapee back up the way he came.

This I did, shouting, waving my arms, screeching and huffing and puffing (because it was all up hill) the entire time.

Finally he seemed far enough away that I thought I could get the car turned around and chase him the rest of the way up with the vehicle. No such luck. He came barrelling back down the driveway and I turned around and did the whole scenario again.

I thought briefly about standing in the road and asking one of the drivers of the cars whizzing by if they'd give me a hand. Ten years ago I might have done that but not in this day and age. I was afraid I'd get shot or run over.

Finally the calf headed back toward the house, and I turned the car around. As I followed him back up the driveway, beeping my horn at him if he stopped or seemed to want to turn around, I noticed a vehicle coming up behind me.

Our neighbor, who lives about a half block from my driveway (or would if we actually had blocks, which we don't), had heard my shouts and come to investigate. Bless his heart! Bob is a retired police officer who helps one of our neighbors on her farm all the time.

Once the calf was safely in the yard again, I stopped and went back to talk to Bob. He said he would run the calf back around the fence, so I raced through the yard to open the gate.

The calf nearly beat me there, but finally I let the gate swing open and my miscreant waltzed through and headed straight for his mother.

I was sweating. The front of my sneakers were soaked from the wet grass. The bottoms of my jeans were wet, too. I wasn't really dressed for company!

I thanked Bob profusely for his help and we chatted briefly before I went inside to call my husband and tell him the calf was back where he belonged.

And that is why my morning at my computer, which I had expected to start at 9 a.m., isn't starting until nearly noon.


  1. Enjoyed this tale...given my background and all :-)

  2. sounds like a fun diversion...
    and happy it worked out without an incident.

  3. I've a herded a cow with my pick-up truck before (helps to have a barking border collie in the back!) while a neighbor tried to herd it with her car. Finally the dairy farmer 4-wheeled out with his dogs and herded it home.

    I've also chased a cow out of my yard with a dressage whip. But the time the steer was investigating my flower bed, I left him alone. II couldn't tell from a distance that he was actually a steer, and I didn't want to confront a possible bull.

    The there was the time I took the goat by the horns to stop her from butting my sliding glass door.

    Ah, the joys of rural living!

  4. Bless their little hearts, but God didn't give em any sense. I grew up with horses, but my neighbors raised cows. They would break out of their fence and into our yard all of the time. I remember many mornings that we had to round them up before we left for school. I have two sisters. Between us, some brooms and a mop, we'd get them out of the garden. They used to make me so mad! I feel for ya!

  5. My goodness, you sure got your morning workout, didn't you? :-) I'm glad you were able to get the calf to mooooove back up into the fence and could "steer" him back towards his mom. (Sorry--I couldn't resist!)

  6. Who needs Wii Fit after all that? I'm not sure I could have done what you did. I have enough trouble getting my two dogs to stay in my yard!

  7. I felt for you after reading that post! Don't you hate it when you get them almost to their destination and they break loose again and end up back at point A? It was a sweaty morning, too.

    If it is a big break out and you get in a real big jam, just call. Park by the gate and we can be there in 15 minutes to help! SOunds like you managed just fine this time!

  8. Well thank goodness for Bob... Hero of the Day Award goes out to you, Bob. Life always hands us difficulties and it sounds as though you handled this one perfectly, Anita! Sounds like an awful lot of work.

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  9. Hahaha, this one made my day. Who needs to leave the house to get a story?


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