My FB peeps have already heard this story but I thought it should live on in infamy here so…
Friday night Jim and M both worked and it ended up that I had to take them supper later. Around 10:30p I headed out to the car and had that weird feeling that I wasn’t alone… Ike wasn’t barking but I had that strange feeling… so I jumped into the car, locked the doors and headed down the driveway. As my headlight illuminated down the road I saw a pair of eyes reflecting back from the dead center of the road. There stood Leo in all his glory, looking at me like “What?” as I glared at him from the interior of the Rover. So I was thinking “great! My spidey-sense is going off and now I HAVE to get out of the car to deal with Mr. Grass-is-always-greener.” So I climbed out of the car, snagged Leo’s halter and attempted to lead him back into the fence so that I could subsequently fix the breach. Leo would have none of it. He set his feet and refused to budge. So I thought FINE! I’ll just walk him back up to the house and put him in with Woodrow and Leo. But first I had to turn off the car, find my phone and hold on to Leo all at the same time. 20 minutes later Leo was contained, the fence repaired and I was back in my car. As I had started down the driveway (walking back to my car) I commented to Jim (who I had called as soon as I got my phone) that Ike was barking like mad but I figured it was because Leo was not where Ike thought he should be and basically forgot about it.
So I went off to the hospital, dropped off the food, came home. The boys were sacked out on the couch and Sophie was dancing to the iPod (which was turned up louder than normal). I messed around in the house for a while, not really paying attention to the time and finally sat down to do a blog update since, other than the music which wasn’t bad, the house was quiet.
Suddenly I heard Martha come shuffling in from her room and she all but threw the phone at me saying that it was the Fire Department. I noticed the time was very nearly 1am. So I picked up the phone and a voice says it’s the Sheriff Dispatcher and they have an emergency… I say “O…K….?” and he proceeds to ask me whether I own cows. So I say “yeeesss…..” and he says that there have been “multiple calls” about cows running up and down the biggish road above us, running down the railroad tracks and running down the neighbor’s road. I assured him that my cows would not travel that far, but he asked if I would drive over to the next road over (my neighbor’s road) and meet the Deputies there to see if the cows were mine. I, still feeling that this was impossible, told the dispatch guy that I didn’t have beef cows, my cows are milk cows… Jerseys. That threw him and again I felt confident that the cows out were somebody elses. So I drove over to meet the Deputies and what do I see? Maisie’s backside walking away from me down the railroad track.
So I fired a call off to Jim and his work thankfully let him come home to help me. Also we lucked up as the Deputies were kind and very helpful. I attempted to snag Maisie but she uncharacteristically shied away from me and cavorted off towards the middle of the road again. So the deputies and I were finally able to run Maisie Margot and Millie up into my neighbors empty cow pasture where Desmond was already hanging out just as Jim pulled up with the bucket of feed that I didn’t think to bring. So the deputies left, while wishing us luck in finding the fence break and we headed for home to fix the fence and get the cows back in our pasture.
I headed on up to the cow paddock while Jim went in to change and right off I noticed that the electric fence was all up and working. So I walked around behind the barn and found the wire panel broken down as though all four cows had hit it at the same time.
But I figured something had spooked them and cows are weird… so I went to find where they had broken out of the horse pasture. I didn’t have to go far as the gate to our trails was twisted and warped where obviously all four cows had gone over it as well. Which really didn’t make sense as there was an easier to jump fence right beside it.
So as I was fixing the gate and contemplating the weirdness of it all, I was overwhelmed with the vile smell of drunk-vomit. I turned around (remember that weird feeling from earlier?) and saw Jim walking towards me so I asked if he had a drunk patient or a vomiting patient and he said no… then the smell hit him. Then the realization that someone HAD been in our pasture hit.
So we walked a short ways up on to the trails and did find several places where the stench was very strong. I was livid. I fixed the gate and then snooped around the walkover gate in the cow paddock while Jim fixed the panel behind the shed. I found a partial cowboy boot print right where somebody would’ve stepped down from the walkover. None of us wear cowboy boots.
So, now livid, we went to fetch the cows from the neighbor’s field… just as they were contemplating jumping into a different neighbor’s field. Luckily we got them headed in the right direction and past our inquisitive but not helpful horses and into their paddocks. Maisie and Desmond went into their paddock easily, while Millie and Margot had to go into the high-security pen because they were still too strung out and kept blowing by the regular paddock gate. Ike managed to weasel his way out and made a beeline down the road. Seriously… where was he going? IDK! But Jim was able to snatch him up as I was retrieving the snack cart (aka the Ranger) from the horses.
Nearing 3am we decided that everything was properly secure and Jim returned to work. It took another hour for me to calm down as I was (and still am) very livid about the whole experience.
Earlier in the afternoon, while Jim was getting ready to go to work, he heard a 4-wheeler go tearing through our woods, so we think they saw the cows then, got drunk, thought about going cow tipping (which makes sense from the way Maisie was acting) and made their way back over to the farm. IDK if they were up there when I left to go take M and Jim their supper… sort of makes me feel sick thinking about it though. Anyway we figure that they climbed into the pasture, got the cows stirred up and chased them behind the barn where the cows hit the fence together and knocked it down. At that point we think that they attempted to get the cows to go back into their paddock but instead blocked the cows so that they ended up going over the trail gate. After that IDK what they did. We found tracks well up into the woods and the police said they had calls from 2 different roads after midnight plus people calling to say the cows were on the railroad tracks. The tracks are not really visible from anywhere so only somebody on foot would’ve seen them.
The next morning Jim and I investigated the trails and found more boot prints and ATV tracks. Later Julie and I went riding and Baxter was so terribly on edge and snorting that I know he must have smelled the stench of them too.
So now I’m just a little more paranoid than normal. I’ve had to go out and do head counts a least twice every night and I’m sleeping with my handy dandy mega-watt Stanley spot light by my bed just in case Ike starts up his warning barks. And I’m very glad that neither the cows nor an unsuspecting motorist were hurt. Plus the TBs, could’ve easily gotten out had they noticed the gate down, but since they were all crammed up together as far away from the cows as possible, makes me think that someone they didn’t know was in the pasture too. There were no horse tracks around the trail gate so I know they were never near it. But it does scare me. The what ifs have driven me crazy!
Luckily Jim is off tonight so maybe I’ll get over my paranoia while he’s here… otherwise I’m going to drive everybody crazy going out to check on the animals… but what else can I do?