I usually feed them sweet feed in the mornings, so I hoped maybe they’d find their way home when they realized it was time to eat. It gets dark so early, I knew the grandson wouldn’t be able to look for them after work. You can’t look for cows in the dark. The valleys at the back of the place are so deep, Cliff and I can’t physically climb up and down them any more. It seemed hopeless. Neither of us slept much Wednesday night.
Thursday morning I went back to the point again, calling the calves. They still didn’t show up. I imagined they got out and were running around the Missouri River bottom farmland. Even if we found them, how would we get them home? We were both depressed about the situation, and neither of us felt at the top of our game. Cliff had vertigo, which gives him a problem every once in awhile. It was worse this time than usual, and he was even nasueous for awhile. We agreed we neither one cared if we ever saw those steers again. We’d already decided we won’t be raising any more calves, and were hoping to get these last ones to butchering time with no problems. Bah humbug.
Thursday night after work, the grandson went looking while it was daylight, then came over and discussed the situation with us. We talked about where they might be, which direction to go looking, and so forth (grandson is off work most Fridays and was going to look for them today). Cliff mentioned one of our pens that is closed off most of the year, a pen we used to rent to a former neighbor for his horse. “I wonder if they could be down there,” he said. “I closed the gate to it a couple days ago, but maybe they jumped the fence.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I said. “If they were down there, they’d be bawling, wanting their feed and some water. They’d be bellowing their fool heads off.”
“OK,” Cliff said.
Today we went to Costco to get Cliff’s hearing aid worked on, and got a text message from the grandson while we were there. He’d sent a picture of the two steers.
Where were they, you ask?
Right in that pen Cliff had been wondering about. He had shut the gate to keep the cows out of there without realizing he was actually shutting them in the pen. Why didn’t I hear them bawling? Surely they did bawl, because that’s the nature of domestic cattle used to being fed regularly. The only form of water in that pen was the snow on the ground, and the grass was all covered with snow. The truth is, I don’t spend all that much time outside, especially in winter. They probably just weren’t bellowing during the approximately 45 minutes total I spend outside daily.
So all’s well that ends well. If we can just keep these boys home for another month or two, it’ll be the last worries we’ll ever have with cows, other than concern about the price of beef when our freezer is empty.
I’m so thankful the grandson is here to help us out in situations like this.