Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Bit of a Mishap Morning

Life at the dairy is fairly predictable.  The cows are milked in the morning, they have breakfast, go up pasture to graze, late in the afternoon they return to the barn to be milked and fed and so on.  Can't exactly set your clock to it, but it rarely changes much.
Until this morning.
Dinah, I am blaming her, but only because I want to, decided to go a bit out of bounds last night.  Instead of spending the blustery night in the dry barn that was just constructed for such an evening, she decided to venture off of the farm.  Led by Dinah, the others followed suit.
This morning, after having coffee and conches for breakfast with Jorge, I proceeded to bring the cows into the milking parlor to milk Lily and Boo.  To my surprise, they were not there.  I marched up to the upper pasture and looked for them there.  Still no cows.  A bit nervously I walked across the pastures looking here and there for the cows.  Still no cows.  Remember we are looking for five cows, each close to a thousand pounds a piece and you might classify them as bright orange.  Usually hard to miss.
At this point I called Jorge and he began to look as well.  The option at this point is to walk the fence line looking for a problem.  Alas we found the far north west corner had been breached.  The fence was down and hoof prints were apparent.  We each headed in a different directions looking for the lost bovines.  As there were a great deal of paths with hoofs, it was difficult to find the direct route they took to leave the farm.
After another half hour I decided to go back to the house and grab my truck and begin to look far on the other side of the property.  Driving way around on the highway I went up and down driveways until out of the corner of my eye I saw a bit of that caramel colored hide.  Alas, here were my five beasts, lounging in a bit of grass and wind fallen apples looking very content and neither terribly excited nor disappointed to see me.
I called Jorge on his cell phone and began the difficult task of describing which way he needed to head through the woods to where I was. Although I know about where the farm was, and I knew where I was, I had not a clue how they were connected.  The cows were not giving up their secrets at this point.
Eventually I saw Jorge's bright orange rain slicker pop out of the woods and we began to herd up the cows.  With a dog leash and a rope we grabbed a couple of non-interested cows and marched them down a long driveway towards the farm.  As we approached a seemingly abandoned home out came an elderly Japanese woman who began to scream, fearful that the large beasts were after her.  Apparently she had a different vision of dairy cows and had been quite surprised to find them in her yard the evening prior.  Calls to the police did not avail her worries, nor did my pleasant words with the ladies.
We marched on, headed to the woods.  At one point -- did I mention it was pouring down rain at this point?-- Dinah decided that she was not to pleased with the whole project and firmly stepped on my foot.  Although it is an occupational hazard that I am well aware of, it always takes me by surprise.  She was not budging and my screams did not help.  Moments later she decided that her next best option was to turn and bolt back out of the woods.  Unwilling to give up the dog leash that I was holding on to, she proceeded to drag me through the woods, my belly pulled through the wet undergrowth of the woods.  After thirty feet she felt she had made her point and stopped.  Although most un-pleased, I stood up and started to pull her back through the trees, knowing we were close to the far corner of the farm.
With a bit more prodding and pleading we got the small herd back to the pasture and they headed back down the hill to the barn, very much expected a nice breakfast of alfalfa hay.  
All in all a most frustrating morning.  Two hours of plodding through the wet woods, soaked through to the bone, not particularly pleased with Dinah and still curious who that Japanese woman was.  I returned later with a jug of fresh milk as a peace offering for her, but couldn't find her.  In fact I couldn't find the front door of the house, all doors appeared to be grown over with vegetation and to have not been entered for decades.  Somewhere in there I imagine she is sitting, peering out of the dirty windows afraid of another night when the wild cows will return.


  1. I just discovered your website and blog, and I'm really enjoying your stories! I grew up on a dairy and now live in the big city, but I'm really excited about the gaining popularity of raw milk! Would you ever consider giving a tour of your parlor/milkhouse? I'm curious to see how you have it set up for a small herd - especially the cooling & bottling. Thanks & keep up the great work!

  2. Is it bad that I have been laughing through this whole story? :)
    Those crazy cows!!!!

  3. Hilarious. makes me wonder if the life of the intern may of been alot easier then i like to pretend (i was sitting on treasure beach in jamaica drinking coconut milk(easier to harvest)). Hows the book?

  4. LOL! Rolling in the floor laughing! I've recently become a cowgirl! I bought my first two Jersey heifers. I guess the stories will soon begin.

    I'm so sorry about your Dinah.


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