The Cows are Out
by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO— We have some cool customers around here when it comes to ranchers. You can tell them Sasquatch was spotted on the back forty. You can tell them the IRS is on its way to do an audit. You can tell them their wife’s car was just hit by a meteor. They never break a sweat. But if you call them and say, “Your cows are out,” they may actually utter an expletive like Leepin Lizards or Bull Hockey. That’s because cows make life so darned complicated. They rarely escape right next to the house. They go through a broken fence on a leased place about 50 miles away, in the middle of a driving snowstorm, in December, during the best dinner in a month of Sundays. And it’s dark.
Putting cows back inside the fence involves more than just showing up and yelling, “Heeeere cowies! Go back inside the fence you little rascals!” That won’t work. And neither will, “Head ‘em up, move ‘em out rawHIDE.” Nope, they don’t WANT to go back inside the fence. Why do you think they escaped in the first place? One of them has had a premonition that the grass is greener anywhere else and has talked the rest of them into running amok. When the rancher arrives, they will just stare at him with that glazed over clueless look that only a cow can truly accomplish (ok, ok, maybe it’s because they ARE totally clueless).
If you live next to a field of cows and they get out, you know how fun that is. First of all, they have apparently waited all week to poop, because they start dropping pies all over the place. If you run out in the yard to chase them out of your marigolds, you are going to step in one of these pies – guaranteed. The cows will drive your dogs crazy, especially if they are tromping around your lawn in the middle of the night. And they will start bawling at daybreak – forget the alarm clock. They will eat everything in sight: flowers, weeds, straw, grape vines, vegetables, dog food, fence posts. Nothing is outside their menu for producing a good cud.
So there’s some chasing involved when the cows are out, usually on a trusty steed who would rather be somewhere else too. And the cows act like they’ve never seen this field before in their lives, or maybe they think there’s a wombat waiting to leap upon them if they go back. But eventually every last one has been hypnotized into returning, and then the fun part comes.
What could be more fun than repairing a fence? It has to be fixed, even if it’s a mile long. And duct tape won’t do the job (at least not most of the time). So the rancher, whose wife usually opts to stay at home and do the dishes and whose hired man is off at a football game or is busy washing his hair, has to wire the fence back together, and the trusty steed isn’t much help at this point because it’s all thumbs, so to speak. Usually the hole is not a mile long – rather it’s about as wide as the vehicle of the drunk driver who ran through it, then panicked and drove out a different way.
Thus the normally stoic rancher will groan in pain when he hears that the cows are out. So please be patient with him when he shows up to fix things. He’d sure as shootin’ rather be at the mall shopping for craft supplies than rounding up the cows when they’re out.