The sun was setting quickly.
I had planned the mid afternoon cow checking with plenty of time to spare. But the best of plans are often laid to waste by cattle. First there had been the calves out in the wheat. I chased with the pickup and chased on foot. They had mostly gone back to their calling mothers. Walking through the electric fence as though it wasn’t even there.
Trailing the last two down the fence I had the opportunity to check the fence all the way along. The place where the electric wire had been twisted with the barb wire explained a large part of the problem. The calves trailed on past clear to the gate. Racing ahead I was able to open the gate and allow the calves back in.
All the mama cows and their calves had come along for the walk. They would like out the gate please. They may have plenty of grass and the weather is holding but they know when it’s time to go home and the date has come if not the need.
Unfortunately, I needed to get in the gate.
My two biggest pets, or pests, were in the front of the bunch at the gate wanting to visit. I threw cake on the ground off to the side then ran as fast as I could to get the pickup through the gate. Then made a mad dash back to get it closed. I squared off nose to nose with one old girl who was sure she should get to go out. Then I latched the gate behind me.
Then the float needed adjusted. And the trip across the pasture was long and bouncy. By the time I got through the cows and checked all tanks it was nearly dark.
Just one last thing to check.
The cows had been rubbing my woven wire fence down around the old house. A brave few had let themselves in and wandered about. There is a cellar under one part of it. Cattle have died falling in there. I needed to make sure my fence was holding.
If I left now I would have time to get to town and pick up my child on time. If I left the fence as it was one of the cows could die. So I walked back to the pickup for a post to set. I was going to be late and it was going to be dark. So be it.
I love the old house. I would live there if I could. It is a happy friendly place.
But it was nearly dark. If nothing else there were coyotes to worry about. Probably not mountain lions. Not likely at least. I don’t believe in ghosts. There was nothing else to worry about.
Up against the rapidly darkening interior I couldn’t stop myself from peering through the holes in the ceiling above me. Nothing peered back.
I set the post, attached wire clips. and peered into the dark interior. Nothing peered around doorways looking back at me.
The lack of company didn’t leave me any less jumpy. I peeked around the side of the house, under the big tree, to check for more places the cows could get in of course. Nothing there.
In the gathering darkness I looked back at the house one last time as I passed through the gate. Admitting some hope for a farewell wave from an empty window.
The house held as tight as ever to the secrets of its past. If anyone waved farewell they didn’t show themselves. I said my good byes and rushed across the dark pasture towards town.