After a 7-year stint in Southern California, Mikey (my now ex-husband) had been a cowboy without a cow for far too long. The ink had barely dried on the mortgage agreement before he had located steer calves for sale. The following is an email that went out to family not long after:
Well, we still do not have furniture in the house, but we do have cows in the pasture!
This would be prioritizing according to Mikey.
The two steer calves (about 300 lbs each) were delivered a couple hours after Mikey had to leave for Packwood. That meant I had to be the one to greet the people delivering them, make sure the cows were the correct ones, and help get them into the pasture. No problem. And really, that part wasn’t a problem. However, soon after the real cowboys left, one of the calves decided he wanted out, and he went right through the hot wire and ran towards Edison Street.
Yes, we are not far from Edison Street, meaning that we are not far from Clearwater Ave, one of the busiest streets in Kennewick. When I imagined moving to Kennewick, I was thinking shopping mall and movie theater and midnight Walmart grocery shopping…. I was not thinking of chasing cows through Kennewick.
However, here I was, and after allowing myself about 15 seconds of flowery language aimed at Mikey-poo who was safely on the other side of the mountains, I immobilized Cassie and Heather to do what we could. Cass was delighted. She gets this look in her eyes of “adrenaline rush!” and announces that this is great –definitely worth a diary entry! I blinked a couple times at her; I raised her to be positive in all things, but sometimes she really amazes me.
Luckily we had help. Neighbors came pouring out of their homes. We happen to live in a neighborhood where almost every house is comprised of a mom, a dad, and on average three kids, and most kids are teens (meaning they come with friends). We had a mob of people able to surround the equivalent of two city blocks, and together we went after that cow. The large group I was in managed to cut it off at Edison, and we were running in and out of some poor lady’s yard, who came out dressed in a moo-moo and asking with a Slavic accent, “There is problem?!”
We managed to chase the problem back towards the homes with acreage, and the steer calf managed to escape the mob by going into another person’s pasture – a person who happened to be a real cowboy. He even had the hat. The steer charged him a couple of times, and the second time the cowboy took him down and hog-tied him. Amazing. All the kids were going nuts. This was quite the show!
Unfortunately, when our steer calf jumped into that pasture, it scared the sheep who in turn jumped out and ran across 10th Street into somebody’s else property. It was a fruit basket upset of animals. However, it kept the kids entertained because they still had animals to chase.
While the cowboy and some of our cow-chasing team worked at getting the steer calf on a trailer to bring him back to my house, the rest of us returned there immediately to figure out how to keep him in this time. Talking to Mikey on my cell, we decided that we needed more juice, so I brought out a different electric fence charger — the one that knocked his dad unconscious some years ago. Some were tightening up wire where the calf had escaped, and another was hooking up the monster fence charger. The other calf was eyeing the area where his friend had escaped, and finally he decided to go for it. We all yelled for Ron to plug in the fence, and he did while the calf was part-way through; luckily the calf came back in instead of the rest of way out.
Unsure of whether a section was working, Ron decided to tap on the fence and was zapped! It didn’t knock him out, but figuring we didn’t want to have a repeat of what happened to Mikey’s dad, we used a fence-tester for the rest of the perimeter. The fence tester is just supposed to light up when a wire is hot, but instead it snapped and sparked when near the wire. Good sign.
I rinsed out a trough to put in our mini-barn; that calf was going into time-out! When the cow arrived on the trailer, several of us managed to push him into the barn stall, and that is where he gets to stay until Mikey gets home.
I woke up this morning, checked to make sure that both cows were in the pasture, and decided that it was a good day. Good day / bad day is now measured on whether or not all animals are contained. At a future spring neighborhood BBQ, we will definitely be contributing the meat.
Next week, we have 25 chickens being delivered on Wednesday. Only, Mikey has to be in Packwood to work, which means I have to be here when they are delivered…