The Day the Cattle Got Out

Life on the farm is kinda laid back, ain’t nothing that a country girl like me can’t hack. Early to bed, early in the sack, thank God I’m a county girl.

Oh, hello. I was in the middle of a John Denver-inspired tune. Except I was singing the Dolly Parton version, of course. Now, about those cattle …

Last week the guys took advantage of those short-lived springtime days and worked some cattle. Country Man and his father own a few, most of them belonging to my father-in-law. The total of over roughly 200 head is a modest number for a one-man operation. While they are spread out, the ones that hang around the farm are just a snowballs throw from the house. I am often serenaded with the melodious sound of cattle conversations.

This led to a few concerns early on. When I moved to the farm, my in-laws would ask with a half-smile if “the cattle aren’t going to be too much trouble for me.” Ha! Little did they know I love the sights and sounds of bawling calves, fighting bulls, anxious heifers and slow moooving cows.

A few of the surrounding men gathered together to work cattle the other day, which, let’s be honest, involves little work for the old ones – unless you consider their moving jaws laboring … why, then yes, they have indeed put in a long days work – but this also means a lot of kicked shins for the young ones. It’s the circle of ranch life.

I stood on the south deck, cup of coffee in one hand, camera in the other, and yapping dogs at my feet, ready for the shouting and cursing to commence.

But then, the cattle got out.

South Dakota cattle

The cattle should be on the OTHER side of the fence

This isn’t as bad as it sounds. It would be if the garden were in place. Then this girl wouldn’t be laughing. With two of the helpers non-farmers/ranchers, one a new retired neighbor who fancies himself a pheasant hunt and poker game now and then, and the other a fresh-faced 25 year-old taxidermist hopeful, it makes it a little more difficult to gather them back in line. Still, it’s prone to happen, and just takes a little more time to get the job done. Inconvenient.

South Dakota cattle

What a bunch of porkers ... they're in corn, hay and silage heaven right about now.

Out of respect for their situation, I tried to be as conspicuous as possible while taking photos. Also, I had to hide, lest they yell for me to quit laughing and come help. I have helped before and will again in the future, but not this time. Not a day for being bossed. Must have had something to do with that wrong side of the bed. Or ants in my pants. Or the hair that welcomed me in the mirror that morning. Or burnt coffee. Burnt toast. Oh, heck if I know. Just one of those days.

South Dakota cattleSouth Dakota cattleSouth Dakota cattleSouth Dakota cattle
Phew! What a day. I was wiped, I tell ya.

South Dakota birf

This full days work (and snow) is for the birds.


31 thoughts on “The Day the Cattle Got Out

  1. Thanks for the laugh today, I was never lucky enough to hide when the cattle got out, sometimes I got to be on the front line or chase the strays and this girl hates to run! Maybe they were just feeling spring in their blood as well, trying to enjoy a little exercise.
    Stay on the porch when you can!

  2. Oh wow, I’d love to see how they get all those cows back into the field! How long did it take them?

    Why do animals always think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence….even if there’s NO grass on the other side of the fence?! Love the bird photo!

  3. I’m impressed that anyone can line up a group of cows and get them to go anywhere. I have a hard enough time getting my kids to take their dirty dishes to the sink, let along wrangle a herd.

  4. I’m loving the pic where the men are running one way and the cows are running past them the other way. Heehee!

    Is that really mounds of corn and hay there? How are they protected from the weather?

    • The crops would need covering if it wasn’t being used up this year. Since it is, there is no worry of it rotting due to the snow/rain weather. Some farmers have buildings to store it in, if they have the monetary resources/space/quantity to do so. My father-in-law, with his mere 200+ head, doesn’t really need another storage building just for that.

      Hope that answers your question. Good to see you! πŸ™‚

  5. The herd mentality! One goes, they all go? I was wondering how long it took them to round them up too. I live right next to a farm and we have some cows in our backyard, but not nearly as many as you, maybe about 20. My kids and I constantly go over and talk to them. Rarely does a day go by without us hearing a loud, long, MOOOOO! Gotta love it. πŸ™‚

  6. I never liked country music growing up, but for some reason John Denver was the exception. And I definitely used to sing “Country Boy” with those same “girl” lyrics! πŸ™‚

    Hehe! I love that you hid while taking photos of them. So great!

  7. Great story and photos; one thing about cows getting out, they will usually all go back as a group .. eventually. Pigs are another story. They scatter like rats and will use every trick to NOT go back in; they’re the underestimated brain of the barnyard in my experience.

    Glad the doggies stayed back; they might have been cow fodder had they gotten too close. πŸ™‚

    Cheers! MJ

  8. I love John Denver! Rocky Mountain High and Country Roads are my favs! My grandparents lived out in the country…Cows in one field and alfalfa & onions in another! Wish I could wrangle my husband into living on a farm when we are done in the military…One thing is for certain… if you’ve got cows, you can always tell which way the wind is blowing!! πŸ™‚

  9. I remember days like this! I’m loving your blog (it makes me miss SD!). I will have to get my “SD-fix” by continuing to read your posts and enjoy the pictures! πŸ™‚

  10. Love it! The neighbor’s cows just got in my haystack this morning (and they don’t know the first thing about herding cows) so I had to single handedly, in 15 degree sideways snow and wind, get them out and back to their place a mile away. I should have played dead and let my husband take care of it πŸ™‚

    • Wow – that is very impressive! The bulls got out last week, and they were walking right by window. I called up my father-in-law, who was chatting with the new, retired neighbor, and they put them back. I cannot believe you did that all by yourself – you’re a super nice neighbor! I’d be suggesting if it’s nice enough for you to herd them in, it’s nice enough for them to fix some fence πŸ™‚

  11. I loved reading about this. When I was at home (and living there temporarily last year) getting the cows in was always an ordeal. Never bothered me but mum used to say it was easy but was scared stiff of the cows. I and the kids last year would find our stick and waved them about if they came running our way. Mum tended to ignore that the cows were coming her way and let them slip through the gap. This would cause disagreements between parents and then it took a while to get the cows back in order – I think an outsider would find it quite amusing. My sister and I would often giggle at the hilarity of it all.
    Loved the pictures, bought back great memories πŸ˜‰

  12. Hi, Yes I think they are the same thing. The Aberdeen refers to the breed originating from Scotland and Black is generally what they are called outside of the U.K.

  13. Pingback: Calves are leaving and men are relieving « The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife

  14. Pingback: Calves are leaving and men are relieving « The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife

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