Tag Archiv: cows

Unlucky and lucky

photo by anitapeppers compliments of morguefile.com

photo by anitapeppers compliments of morguefile.com

Veronica the vicious is a chicken who got unlucky once, lucky twice, unlucky once, and then lucky twice again.

Veroncia was caught pecking open an egg, however, she successfully ran to the chicken witness protection program. Melted into the milieu of other chickens, man and boy couldn’t be positive which one she was so they carried on cleaning out the chicken coop. Veronica being bold, the scenario played out a second time without successful capture.

After the third egg she attacked in broad daylight, my husband leapt, gashed his head on the ceiling, but at last cornered her audacious clucking self. Veronica the vicious was then named, segregated and her tail marked with black spray paint in case she got loose.

Since then, Veronica has been in detention because none of us were in the mood for an execution. This is where she got extremely lucky. Veronica’s execution has been stayed and in fact, she is travelling to a new home today. We are providing a cage, food, and some wood shavings. We may also have stated with confidence that she won’t eat her own eggs, (so an egg a day is bound to follow?) I’m not sure on what authority we speak. In any event, we sincerely hope she doesn’t, and liberties of expression can be taken in capital cases.

Squeaky is not a chicken. Squeaky is a wood chuck. Squeaky’s family took up residence last summer in our barn. We cleaned out their temporary residence, put up no trespassing signs and went inside for the winter where we belonged. This spring, Squeaky and company  came back. They took down the no trespassing signs, hung curtains, and began working in earnest at family expansion. My husband said he would trap them. I said it wouldn’t work. In for breakfast he came the next day. One less wood chuck, was all he said.

You caught one? Wow, okay. I guess now we have to decide what to do with it.

Not too much to decide.

You mean you killed it?

The rest of the conversation can be summed up as followed.

Me: surprised. horrified. mad.

Him: proud. surprised. disappointed (at the lack of congratulations).

The eventual new procedure was distant resettlement of future captures by me. Two of Squeaky’s family have already been released in a forest a few kilometers away. Patient and quiet, they exited (the long rectangular cube of white plastic with air holes) almost as soon as we opened the trap and quickly disappeared into green.

Unlike his predecessors, Squeaky was not quiet about the unluckiness of getting caught. I have always assumed wood chucks to be mute. Squeaky laid that myth to rest. He squeaked so loudly when we got near the trap that we jumped. More than once. I expected from his noises a kind of rocket to shoot forth from the trap once we got to the forest.  We opened the trap door and Squeaky stayed put. We gave up waiting. I upended it and he slid out onto the ground. Squeaky waddle-ran ten feet and then stopped.

I apologized that the barn was no longer available. I had no defense for our lack of hospitality. Then I reminded him he was lucky he wasn’t the first woodchuck caught in the trap. He thought about it, sniffed the air, looked around some more, and disappeared his lucky self into the brush.

 

Cows Plus King Equals Fence Considerations

Man Having Just Painted A Fence. By Jean-Francois  Raefëlli

Man Having Just Painted A Fence.                             By Jean-Francois Raefëlli

The wisdom of the cows finally came to me: it’s all about fences. I’m feeling pretty warmly towards fences at the moment. Emergency fencing is keeping the cows home until we can finish adding more durable electric fencing to the wooden fences that border our property. Fences are protecting a pretty big investment, not to mention the local motorists.

Enter Stephen King, whose book on writing I have almost finished reading. There’s lots of advice, specific and general, but Mr. King’s work space admonition caught my attention. Consider this, consider that, he says, but the one thing you have to have if you’re going to write is a door. I’m guessing there are a lot of things besides writing that work best with doors that shut, protecting from distraction.

God interrupts me incessantly with sick kids and wandering cows, but otherwise I have a door. When the kids are at school, the house is empty. I am hard pressed to find enough time to work on my novel right now. Hard pressed enough to feel the nagging of other little doors. (Technically they’re “windows.”) Like any bad habit, it’s crept up on me, but it’s a door alright. A door I’ve started leaving open to the detriment of quiet spaces.

I like the internet. What’s not to like about a free post office? But I long for a world where connectivity is limited to an hour a day. It’s an interruption I ought to be able to control for. But somehow the cows made me realize how much it needs a door. Better yet an electric fence.

Don’t get me wrong, I see the beauty, not just of the post office, but the library. Available whenever needed with some seriously extensive resources. But I wonder if in the internet, humans have invented something which we lack the discipline to access without excess. I don’t know. What I do know, is that plugged into everything I am connected to nothing, most especially my own thoughts or the people around me. Plugged into nothing, everything and everyone remain a possibility.

Ergo, I am currently figuring out the dimensions of a better fence for my library/post office.

 

Why We Don’t Get Bored . . .

Summer 2014 July Aug 058

Recently, Buster wins top spot on this list. He has rapidly developed a taste for whatever’s on the other side of the fence. We don’t have enough money to fix all the fences to perfection. When the pigs started doing this we ended up fixing the fence problem by fixing the pigs. Is there a way to explain to Buster, that that’s why we’re pigless despite our deep and abiding appreciation for pork?

After escaping to the skeet shooting neighbor, Buster kept making his way to our front lawn. Sometimes in the day, sometimes at 10:00 at night. With that escape route was found and fixed, Buster found another. Thursday last week we were just finishing dinner (hoping to leave en masse for choir practice in a few minutes) when a man in a pick-up truck came up the driveway. Turns out Buster, with mother dearest in tow, had gotten out past the skeet shooter and onto the road. Everybody but us seemed to have known about it. The O.P.P. (for the non-Canadians, that would be the Ontario Provincial Police) came. Apparently, our bovines made it a good chase until finally, they were corralled into a nearby pasture with some other cows.

We made minimal attempts to talk Anabelle into coming back that evening, but she was pretty riled up by then. The idea of kids, cars, roads, and half crazed cows against the setting sun seemed more crazy than romantic.

The girls and I took off for choir. My husband made friends with the man who owned the pasture. The boys made friends with his one eyed, three legged dog.

Two days later, new friend (and trailer owner) delivered Anabelle and Buster to the barn, where we left them for a few days to mull over their bad behaviour. After that it was a collar for Buster and we chained him to a tree. Many hours of work on the fence later, they’re both wandering free in the fields again. The only one not wandering free is me, who startles and goes to set eyes on them so I know they haven’t gotten out yet.

I’m working on a letter to Buster.

Dear Buster,

Pick-up truck man offered to buy you straight up for $1500. Feeding you over the winter is worth it as long as we don’t have to sink money into fences. It was before your time, but ask the sheep – we used to have pigs.

Just a little something to think about.

Finding fence holes

"A Herdsmen With Cattle On A Countryroad, Drenthe," by Julius Jacobus Van De Sande Bakhuyzen

“A Herdsmen With Cattle On A Countryroad, Drenthe,” by Julius Jacobus Van De Sande Bakhuyzen

Chasing cows is similar to chasing dreams. I learned this on Monday. My husband had noticed the cows missing. After a bit of searching, we found our two bovines settled in on a neighbor’s property (newly set up for skeet shooting). Finding them was the easy part. Despite the black, “no trespassing,” signs, we got a good sense of the neighbor’s property (who knew he had such nice interconnected paths mowed through his brush and trees?).  But through all that brush and trees we weren’t quite sure precisely which way to head the animals because we didn’t know where they’d broken through the fence.  My idea that we’d just get them moving and they would lead us to the spot of their escape was, as my kids would say, an epic failure.

Anabelle and son Buster were content to wander up and down the fence line crashing through as many trees and bushes as we pleased and not the least bit interested in showing us where a break in the fence might be. So it took an, “us,” (my husband and I) for an hour chasing cows. Of course chasing cows makes it seem like they were running, which they never did for more than thirty feet, and only when they saw a chance to move in the wrong direction. The rest of the time it was pushing cows, prodding cows, and cajoling cows. The dog was of no use.  She would get them moving but then make them crazy going too close. Buster, especially, doesn’t take to having her at his heels.

We finally got them through by guessing that they leapt the fence (due to the slope of the land it’s easier to do going off the property than back on) so we lowered a section and lured them back. Then I went inside and my husband fixed the fence.

I had been annoyed, it is true, to find my afternoon interrupted by lost cows and by forcible teamwork with a man who failed to properly appreciate the magnitude of grievance the interruption caused me, not to mention the good sense in my ideas. Yet somehow I went back to the house encouraged. About writing of all things.

Hopes, dreams, editors, kids and cows . . . it’s all about the same thing. A little confusing, a lot of work, but you figure it out the best you can, consulting the guy beside you as you go. . . and eventually, you find the low spot in the fence.