Friday, June 1, 2012

A Mooooo-ving Weekend Away- Part I

I suggested it in the post just before this know, the "would you like to hear more about that?" question I shamelessly inserted.  And with the general lack of response to that portion of the post, (y'all were gracious, encouraging, and faith building to the most important news and thoughts - so you shouldn't hear me complaining, ok?), I decided whether or not you want to hear the story, I need to capture it to try and cement it in a more factual rather than "you should see the size of the fish I caught" manner.

So, all the information included in this little story of mine is true - although I might venture to use some hyperbolic adjectives, ok?

Lest I shock my face to face friends and family by departing from my usual verboseness, I do manage to use an abundance of words.  So, this is for fun, for learning, and for preserving the story of Liberty Farm.  You might want to grab a mug of steaming coffee or tea (if you're in the chilly midwest), or a tall iced tea and settle in for a bit - ready?

It started like any other day, early.  Which if you know me at all already puts my ability to have clear thoughts or make good judgements in jeopardy.  But, as I stretched and snuggled up to the midnight sneak who had found her way into my bed sometime in the wee morning hours, I felt compelled to get out of bed and rejoice in the glorious morning we'd been given.

Our house is very tall and we have lots of windows, so I have a habit of walking round from view to view to drink in the new light of the day, look for birds, check if Weekend Farmer Husband has already let the chickens out, and if they are mooooving about for the morning, I do an automatic head count and check on the cows - from the second story that is.

Having been interrupted from sleeping well, I didn't trust my perception when I noticed four cows happily munching on the green grass of the horizon.  Are they a little far?  Huh- I wonder if my depth of field is skewed without my glasses - which by the way I need for reading and seeing up close, but without my morning addiction delight of murky, dark, smoky coffee I didn't really think about that.

I did notice my heartbeat quicken though, something certainly didn't seem right.  So, I lurch back into my room to clutch for my glasses and the phone rings.  This part confuses me, but I ignored it.  I figured that whoever was calling me well before 7am could just call back, after all, I needed to see what my lady friends were up to. Should it have occurred to me that a phone call unusually early might have been to alert me that like Miss Clavel encountering distress in the Madeline books, "All is not well" ? Nope, can't say I'm smart like that.

Glasses on, I reappear at the window, and wow, those girls are messing with my depth of field.  They're right along the back fence line.  So, I figure if I see the fence post disappear as the lovelies walk past they're inside the fence, but if not...

Cardiac Arrest.  And, the phone rings again.

This time I'm pretty sure I know who's calling -
 "Laura, did you know your cows are eating my garden? You better do something about that..."

Long frizzy hair flying out behind me, boots barely on my feet, granny jammies hitched up, I catapult out the door to alert Weekend Farmer Husband.

"Get the kids.  I'll need their help."
 Well now, that's a sensible suggestion.

Hollering, I rush into the house, haul the kids outdoors and tell them game on, the cows are loose.

Poor things don't even get to use the bathroom, have a drink of water, or get dressed.  Good thing a couple of them practically sleep with their boots on, and they consider PJ's an unnecessary piece of laundry since they're gonna wash their clothes anyway why would you introduce a new outfit?

A small diversion here - for those of you (us) old enough to remember a popular TV sitcom Newhart this next little bit will make sense.  For the rest of you, allow us older folks a chuckle, ok?  Our cows have an established and evident social order.  One cow is the leader, two follow closely, and the last is rather independent.  We don't really name our cows per se, but it's helpful to have a means of identifying who's who.  So, the lead cow is Larry...ah ha, you're catching on.  I know, I know they're girls, but just for fun-
"Hi. I'm Larry.  This is my brother Daryl, and this is my other brother Daryl."

This is Larry:

Behind her is Daryl.

And here's her other brother, (sister) Daryl:

And, if you think we cannot give names that are a better fit, here's "Black Cow".

Seems like now is the right time to introduce you to the other main characters in this epic.

(I tremble ever so slightly in the telling of their names as I'm aware of a currently influential woman, home educating mom to six kids, farming, blogging, best selling gal, and she speaks so highly of her husband who bears one of these names.  No, silly, not black cow.  No association, ok?)

Back to my gripping tail tale - These girlz are skittish to the max.  So anything that's ever worked before in getting the cows to where we want/need them to go isn't working.  We encircle them and try to use their natural instincts to turn them towards home.  Treats come out far earlier in the day than they are accustomed to, and let me tell ya', we'll fill their buckets to overflowing trying to lure them into the pasture we've just opened up.

And then, the neighbors dogs start barking like crazy, and those cows turn tail and bust into the woods just behind our property line.

Weekend Farmer Husband and three kids follow them into the woods.  We've never gone in there before and remember,we're relocated suburbanites who are learning this country life as we go.  So, off into the woods with no idea of why or what now.  But, there are school buses whizzing up and down the street, farm equipment lumbering by on the way to fields, commuters pulling out of driveways - and have I mentioned we live on a fairly busy road and our cows are loose?

It's been an hour, a few of the kids have had the sense to come back and get a couple of radios, cell phones, and a bicycle since we're suddenly trying to cover better than 100 acres on foot.  None of them have seen their dad or the cows.  And I don't know what to do.  So I make a really rookie decision.

I decide to alert "the authorities".  My stress level is though the roof, not so much for the cows, but for all the traffic, and those are big animals, and what if they get on the road, and what if... And, we live in a rural agricultural county so animal control must have had a call like this before, right?  Oh- they're not open.  So, I feel like it's in the public's best interest to alert another layer of authority and after some time a serious looking public servant pulls up in a pretty impressive vehicle.

 And he's not pleased that I called because they don't deal with this sort of thing, and he needs to know why I alerted them, and could he please have my name and birth date (exit to fancy vehicle to run background check...), and my simple answer of trying to exhibit diligence in alerting the community at large of the beasts careening in the woods was insufficient.

Thankfully, an interested, pleasant, and kind county deputy with Animal Control had made himself present and was willing to relieve the other stern public servant of this distasteful responsibility of dealing with a caffeine deprived, granny jammied, rookie country girl. For several hours he helped, was unceasingly courteous, and continuously encouraging.

The deputy suggested I call some friends for help, and do we know anybody who knows anything about cows?  Huh.  We figured we'd learn on the job so we clearly didn't know enough about cows, and being still pretty new to the area sure didn't know folks who know about cows.

But, one dear friend took my call, heard the desperation in my voice, and shortly thereafter her husband and son arrived to help.


  1. "caffeine deprived, granny jammied, rookie country girl" this so describes me 90% of the it

  2. Hi Pat - yup, I'm quite comfortable with this description - probably b/c it's true! Glad you stopped by...

  3. Hi Laura- I happened upon your blog this morning from your comment on August Fields and am so glad I did! What a gift you have for writing and beautiful pictures. I found myself reading through your posts back into the beginning of the year. I have to tell you, what I appreciate most about your blog, your your heart to share in truth, fear, weaknesses and all. This is dear to my heart as this is what the Lord has been working on in me...and I shared it publicly as well-soul bared (ugh) but it was good because yes, it is to His glory and not my own. And His beautiful gift to us (one of the many), freedom in truth and humility and a true joy. Good stuff :)

    Love the sharing of the farm experience! LOL! I too would "love" to have a farm-I keep telling my husband! It is good to see the real side of it, helps me to be a bit more realistic! God is good!

    Looking forward to more reading. Have a blessed weekend!

  4. Bree, What a delightful comment and I'm so glad you stopped by. Congratulations on Baby #5- what a wonderful season of life you're in. Hard work and stamina required,yes, but oh so tender. I'll look forward to checking back in with you. Thanks for your encouraging words of affirmation about this writing I'm compelled to capture - Soli Deo Gloria!