Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Morning the Cows turned up Missing...

Our cows annually break out once a year during fly season. This is a story I wrote about last year's breakout. (Note: they'll have to swim a moat if they want to this year!!)

The Morning the Cows turned up Missing...

"I don't know where the cows are, and now I'm not so sure I know where we are." The words are spoken in low, hushed tones as if to not awaken the woods around us. My sister and I gathered closer around the speaker, our brother.

The blazing sun brought the temperatures high above one hundred degrees. The insects were the size of dollar coins and in swarms so thick you couldn't see through them. They drew blood mercilessly on everything that breathed. We had to fight animals that had threatened our lives.. with knives. Luckily, we won and walked away with our only prize—our life. We hunted down food in the wilderness, climbed mountains cliffs and fought through raging rivers. For our source of direction, we followed the stars. We made our own clothes with the ferns that blocked our path and blinded us from all sense of direction. We'd been gone thousands of ... well, more then we could keep track of .... seconds.

Yes, waking up to reality from a call on the walkie-talkie I realized we'd only been gone an hour or so. Rising the instrument of communication to my mouth, I answered the question: "We're at the back northeast corner of our land, and no—no signs of the cows yet. Andrew says we're heading in."
So, in reality, we were dripping sweat, but the temperature was only around 70. We did climb steep ravine edges and had to jump a creek. The bugs were bad so we did make silly looking fern hats to keep the bugs and sun off. I did pluck a few evergreen berries when I was hungry but spat them out because they were so bitter. Andrew was keeping an eye on the sun and where our shadows landed. As far as the life-threatening animals... the ticks were pretty vicious. Andrew had gotten sick of them and started cutting them in half with his knife.

Suddenly, I glanced down. "Andrew, cow hoof prints!" I cried. "You both walked right over them," I continued to a doubtful looking Andrew and a surprised Theresa, who still wore her silly fern hat—though it was slipping sadly over her eyes.
    "Are you sure?" Andrew asked, kneeling beside the pointed-out prints and pulling back underbrush.
    "Yes, see the split hoof?" I answered. Jumping up I pulled my walkie-talkie out of its place at my pocket and rang home. I made contact almost immediately. "We've found prints!" I told Dad.
    "But we've been all over around here," Andrew countered. "They're not here."
    "We have to follow these," I pointed out.
    "They're going this way," Theresa said, pointing south.
    "You see," Andrew defended himself. "I didn't miss the prints. I was leading us is the right way all along."  He tossed a smug smile at us and we started walking again, though the prints disappeared shortly after and Andrew insisted on heading home.
     I called in and told Dad that we were heading home unsuccessful.
    "I thought you had just found their tracks," he answered.
    "Yes, but Andrew says we've seen these before and we've been all over in here, so we're coming in for lunch."
    "Okay, where are you?"
    "Just crossing the fence in back." I jumped the wire and stumbled into the brightness of the closely-eaten 30 acre pasture. Looking up, I could see the house only a half-mile up. Sigh. Fantasy may be more exciting, but it is nice to have a place to go to when you get hungry, I thought.   

So, to finish off the tale, we found 3 of the 4 missing cows in the back of someone's pasture. We'd spotted them from the road while driving in the van. I think I gave Theresa, who was sitting in front of me, a near heart-attack at my sudden outcry of "I SEE THEM!!!". We searched the whole area for cow #4 but found nothing. The foliage was so thick you couldn't see more then 3 ft. into the woods. After a while, we brought the other cows home through the back fence again (we should just make it a revolving door at this point!). It was about 5pm and the cows hadn't been milked yet, so Andrew hurried to it. The next day we finally found the fourth cow's remains. Yes, she'd died, probably from the stress of it all. While we were disappointed, we weren't surprised because she had been very skinny and sickly before we bought her, and we really hadn't expected her to live as long as she had. Though, she'd paid herself off in the milk she'd produced in the few months we'd owned her.

So ended the two day cow marathon.


  1. Wow that was about the most interesting cow story I ever heard!!!

    You make it sound so exciting, and fun. Though I am sorry about your cow, that is kinda sad. Hopefully your cows won't get out like that again, speaking of which the horse that we board got out today also, and if it weren't for our nice neighbors who caught him, we would've had a very upset horse boarder. :) LOL sorry anyway, it was a good post, thanks again Mary!

  2. Oh and sorry that last comment was from Jules, I am not used to this whole Anonymous thing, I might just have to get another homestead blogger blog. :)


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