January 25, 2011

Loose Cow

On my way home from work, I came to the intersection of 10th and 199th. From that stop light I can see Grandpa Ed's house and farm. Today I noticed lots of cars at weird angles up ahead, completely blocking both lanes. As I was sitting there watching I realized the cars were corralling a large cow. "OH crap! One of Grandpa Ed's cows must have gotten out."

I drove up to the situation and weaving around cars to get into Ed's driveway with the intention of letting him know his cow was out. While I was pulling into his driveway, he was pulling out of the drive to the barn in his white pickup (circa 1975). He slowly drove towards the cow, pushing it down the road to a pullout and gate to his pasture. I turned around and follow the pickup; parking side long by the pullout to help block the cow in.

Opening the car door and hoping out, I sunk into the soft grass and mud realizing I was in heels, suit pants and a long wool jacket. Not exactly cow wrestling gear. Grandpa Ed was getting out too, wearing work pants and tall rubber boots; much more appropriate. Walking over the him, I eyed the cow and noticed that it was actually an 800 lb steer. My thought, "Holly Cow!" Grandpa Ed gave me a look of confusion until I said I was on my way home and happened to see the situation. Ed said we should get the steer into his pasture. But just then the steer made a break for the road.

Now, I am perfectly willing to jump in front of a sheep or pig, but there was no way on this green earth that I was going to jump in front of a huge, angry steer. Another man had driven up and waved his arms to try and stop the animal. Not surprisingly, that didn't work. The steer was back out on the road. A third man in a large diesel truck drove towards the steer pushing it back up the road to a gate on a the other side where yet another man was standing and let the steer in.

I asked Grandpa Ed if that is his cow and he said "No, it belongs in the pasture next to mine. People are renting that barn but they aren't there much. The steer got into my pasture a couple days ago. He must have found a way out to the road." I went to check if one of three guys standing by the gate where the steer had been let into a confined space happened to know the renters.

What a sight I must have been - thirty something woman in professional clothes, with mud on my heels, walking up to tell them something about a large steer. I started with "Ed is my husband's grandpa." (In a small town, relations equal instant acceptance.) They all thought the animal was Ed's and no one knew the renters; but the waving-arms-man headed up to check and see if anyone was there. Nope, no luck. Turned out that the pasture where the steer was currently trapped belonged to the diesel-truck-man's parents and he just happened to be there checking on the property since his folks were in Arizona. He said the steer could stay there until the renters could be contacted. "Or," I said off-hand, "We could call Wards." That got a chuckle. (Wards is one of local butchers.)

By the time I got back to Grandpa Ed's pasture to fill him in on the plan, he had retrieved wire and tools and was headed out to fix the fence where the steer had gotten out. I explained that the steer would stay where it was for now. He said good and walked off to complete his chore. I hollered after him, "Call Jeremy if you need help with the fence!" Seriously, the man is 92 years old!

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