The Great Escape
I was hanging out laundry. My husband drove by on a four wheeler and asked if I wanted to ride with him and maybe check on the horses. I thought that sounded like great fun. We passed the horses, they looked good, and went out to see what was going on with his dad and the neighbor Clint who were having fun cleaning the corrals. We got out there and of course there was stuff that needed done.
The calves in the pen they were going to clean next needed moved across the lane and out of the way. It wouldn’t take long. After four or five trips around the pen and Clint getting out of the skid steer to help we got them! Yay!
We ran back to the house and got 8 in his backpack to bring along and went back to it.
We put the calves back then noticed that the previous bunch we moved were standing on a snow bank higher than the fence. Oops. Some crossed right over and went exploring.
We hopped on the four wheelers and ran clear through the yard into the wheat field and to the back of the pen to try to get them back over the fence. The four wheelers got stuck in deep wet snow not even half way across the field. We got out and went back through the yard into the pen, climbed over the same way the calves had and tried it on foot. As usual they could find their way out but not back in. One dropped her head pushed through the electric fence wire and lead the bunch off into the distance.
There are no real gates out of that field, nothing convenient for sure. The snow was too deep for four wheelers. It occurred to me that I had a horse, but one horse and a bunch of yearlings, it was unlikely to ever work. But Clint was here! He’s a roper but that doesn’t let that stop him. 😉
8 got dropped off at home. He doesn’t get to come along in his backpack for this.
I asked if Clint was ok riding the kids pony and he thought his pride could handle the blow. I laughed a little inside about the thought of Onna being a quiet kids pony and we hopped on.
They weren’t off at the usual blistering pace but the snow was at least knee deep on them. We made shallower walking and sped up a little, in no time we were around the cattle and they headed back right where we wanted them easy as pie. We walked them right up to the corner where the fence was down into the drive way where we would walk them through the yard and into the corals. They stopped and one at a time, with each going in different directions, went back the other way.
Once it became apparent that our attempts to turn them were futile we let them go back to the corner they got out at in the first place. Of course they still couldn’t find their way in. But! Clint remembered another gate we could open. He ran and got it while I sat with the cattle. Then I gave him Coyotes reins and plunged into the high snow banks in the tree row and pushed the cattle down the fenceline. Other than wading through deep snow, low branches and cockle burrs it went nicely. They followed the fence right down, broke another wire and went in the gate.
Then the leader of the bunch, instead of following the rest out the other gate, ran and leaped the fence like a deer. Knees tucked up high she cleared it by a few inches, a tall guardrail fence. And she was gone. We may have cried a little. Back out the gate we went on ponies that didn’t have the sense to be tired. So Princess Onna hadgotten her first taste of real cow work. She was doing great so far.
We caught up with our calf on the far side of the field. She ran and ducked back into the tree row, I opened yet another gate, into the cow pasture this time and Clint followed her down the trees. This time I lead horses and he got off to walk the fence. She was no where in sight though. He came out to remount and about that time she stuck her head out by the gate. Unfortunately for her we were there and did see her. Fortunately for us she went in the gate. She ran right to the gate we needed to put her in and there were calves on the other side, we couldn’t open it and let her in. We tried to get the calves moved but by then I had lost her. Now she was somewhat contained at least.
We headed down the slippery lane to confer with the two who were still cleaning corrals. I went and brought the rest of the escapees and when I got back Clint was in with the cow heard sorting through looking for her. Alas she was not to be easily found. Our journey is not yet done, she is still out there, hopefully, and taunting us with her presence. She will be found.