Friday, November 30, 2018

The disappearing steers

Day before yesterday, Wednesday, when I called the two steers to come up for a bite or two of alfalfa hay, they didn’t show.  The fence on this place leaves much to be desired.  The newest stretch of it is almost thirty years old, and much of the fence runs under trees, so every winter there is damage done by falling limbs, and repairs are required.  The boys got out once a while back, but thanks to the grandson, they were persuaded to come home.  I went toward the back of the place where they’d gotten out before, calling all the time:  “Sook calf, sook calf”, but they didn’t show up.  

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.  

Yours truly,
Donna


7 comments:

Marlene said...

Geez, Louise......this old Jersey girl has lived through your dogs, your horse, your cows, your cats, your chickens, and a cute little girl.
I’ve learned about tractors, fences and morel mushrooms. Don’t just leave me flat.
You have got to get something. How about some turtles in a bowl. Or a goldfish. That’s it, a
Goldfish would be perfect. It’ll give you something to do without putting your boots on to feed him. And you can still keep us up to date on his antics in his little world. Problem solved.

Margaret said...

I'm glad they were located! It would have continued to worry and depress you.

Margie's Musings said...

You're going to miss those calves! Meat is so high that you should at least get another one to raise for meat.

Charade said...

The guy who owns the property behind ours, but doesn't live there, periodically has an odd lot of cattle in his pasture. Every time he does, we end up with cows right out our kitchen window and cow pies all over our land. This time, though, no one came to get them, and the sheriff said the owner was hiding out and not wanting to be found. Several days later a "caretaker" with a meth record sent his high school aged son to our door to let us know they were going to get the cattle that afternoon, but the fence was so bad they were going to move them to another property. They must have done that with five of them, but two steers and a huge cow showed up the next day. Because I had made the kid at the door give me his dad's name and cell phone number, I texted the guy. He texted right back and said they'd be out in the afternoon. No show. Ever.

The sheriff said they considered them abandoned, and we could do whatever we wanted with them. Finally, another neighbor who raises cattle helped us herd the two steer onto his property where he could isolate them before turning them out, but the cow just ran off and hid in the woods. We see her on the game cameras once in a while, and we spot her when she comes in our back yard, but no one can get her to come closer - even with feed buckets as a lure. I don't know what she's eating, but she's getting energy from something, because she can still run like crazy when there are people around. I just hope we don't find her carcass in the spring in one of our ravines.

TARYTERRE said...

glad you found your steers.

The Feminine Energy said...

I hate it when "the writing's on the wall" but it sounds like that's the case with you folks and cows. We don't like to see some things in life come to an end but when it becomes dangerous for ourselves or others, well... then it's time to face the music. The same is with us and our beloved motorcycle.... the writing on that proverbial wall is snapping into focus very very quickly. :-( Lovingly & understandingly, Andrea xoxo

Sister--Three said...

My advice—listen to Cliff!