Wednesday, May 12, 2010

South East Nebraska Wednesday Morning All-Star Rodeo And Roundup

This is Belle (which APPARENTLY is short for Belle-zebub...). She had a rough morning - which is not to say that WE didn't have a tough go of it - Belle just got the worse end of the deal.

Stupid Gate...

It all started yesterday afternoon (this is the part on TV where everything starts to flicker, get wavy, and fade into a flashback...).....

I figured I'd be real nice to the two younger cows and let them out into the new pasture a few days early. With they not needing milked and all, there was really no reason why they COULDN'T go out there. The grass was nice and lush, and the fence was done. There hadn't been a cow on that part of the place for 3 years so it was about time to re-introduce them.

So, out I went with a bucket of grain to lead the blind guy and Belle to the gate. I figured that Belle would be the tough one, but she walked right in (along with the goats, unfortunately). Chuck, on the other hand, decided that he didn't like a slope he had to negotiate along the way, so he stopped cold. After shoving and pushing, I finally had to let him stick his face INTO the bucket.

Amazing how the taste buds make your feet forget what they are doing - Mr Scaredy Cat walked right down that slope and through the gate without even thinking about it.

Now, I had to figure a way to get the goats back to THEIR pasture. Always the eager ones to explore, they disappeared into the underbrush. A couple were easy to catch, but others knew what I had planned. The one who I figured would be the hardest, turned out to be the easiest - he stuck his head in the - now empty - bucket and didn't see me reaching for his horns. He was so embarrassed, he didn't even put up a fight.

It took about 45 minutes, but I finally got the goats all rounded up and back through the gate.

Little did I know that this was only the first event of the Rodeo.....

Early this morning, Deb hollers "BELLE'S OUT!" Ok, FINE....I wasn't sleeping anyway. To make things even MORE enjoyable - it's RAINING. One of those misty, drizzly, icky types of rains.

So I get dressed and head out to Day Two - the first event - Calf Finding. I head to the barn to grab a bucket of grain, all the while, Belle is watching me from a point about 20' from the barn door. When I come back with the bucket - all of about a MINUTE later - Belle has *POOF* disappeared!

Ok, so I figure, the last place I seen her was east of the barn, so I head off in that direction. I check in and around both sheds I have there but, no Belle. Now I decide to go tromping up the wet hill to see if she ran across the hayfield.

No Belle...

Now that I've walked about 1/8 of a mile in a nasty drizzle - who do you think I see standing by the gate I am hoping she'll go through - clear down by the house? Stupid cow is testing me.....

Ok. I figured that this was where she got out in the first place. I remember going through that gate when I was working on the shed, and not wiring it shut. Upon closer review, I was right, it was open about "cow wide".

At any rate, all my hopes had begun to come true - Belle was standing not 3 FEET from the open gate I wanted her to pass through. I even allowed myself to think "WOW, This is gonna be EASY!"

I SHOULD have known better.

The crazy cow saw me heading her direction, saw the bucket in my hand, and started COMING TO ME. We passed within a foot of each other as she watched me head toward the gate. She stood there, dumbfounded for a few seconds, then walked after me. Life is good, thought I, as I walked through the gate. I turned around just in time to see the blue-green glow of the force-field that stretched across the open gate. Apparently, humans can go through this force-field, but cows cannot.

Belle had stopped cold once again - 3 feet from my freedom....

Ok, time for a little "Cow Physcology 101"..... I'll just feed Chuck, then Belle will see him enjoying breakfast and come running.

Yeah, RIGHT.

I forgot to turn off the force-field.

She STOOD THERE, watching Chuck gobble down the feed. I calmly walked past her to see if I could coax her through from behind. All this made her do was walk PAST the gate. I managed to cut her off at the pass and turn her around. She bounced off the force-field and took off at a dead run toward the barn.

Since that worked so well, I decided to try "Cow Physcology 102". I'd go get Daisy, since I could lead her, walk her through the gate, and Belle would follow. Well, this plan was going nicely until I slipped and let loose of Daisy's halter...Now I had TWO cows that wanted to enjoy front yard freedom.

About this time, Deb came out to help. Daisy, as it turns out, didn't want to miss breakfast, so she headed into the barn and onto the stanchion. Amazingly, Belle was in tow.

Now we had her snookered, albeit, in the BARN, not the pasture where she belonged, but hey, snookered, nevertheless. Deb decided that it would be a good time to put a halter back on Belle so we could (MAYBE) use that, either now or in the future. We had a nice, pretty green one we bought just FOR Belle. Now was the day to put it on.

I'll spare you the details but, suffice it to say, my foot, back, and my milking stool will NEVER be the same again, but we got the halter on Belle.

Now the fun part. I hooked a lead to Belle, and opened the door. We figured that she'd zoom out the door, but she walked out, casually. Of course, she stopped in the middle of the doorway. Deb hooked a lead to Daisy, and let her loose from the stanchion. It took a head butt, but Daisy was successful at removing Belle's behind from her path.

Our hopes were Belle would "follow" Daisy over to the pasture. This proved to be a "sorta" thing. She followed, alright, but begrudgingly. There were several times when Deb had to stop, turn around and bring Daisy back to "nudge" Belle. It took a bit, but there we stood - at the GATE. Daisy walked through fine, but must have hit the switch with her tail because, Belle dug in her hooves and REFUSED to cross that barrier.

I had visions of the halter breaking, or the rope breaking, or my arm breaking - but we SOMEHOW managed to get the wayward calf back where she belongs. I could plant corn in the furrows she made going through the gate, though.

Now she's sulking - mad at me for not letting her roam free, and for forcing her to wear a halter.

Meanwhile, Mabel was hollering over by the barn. She had seen me open the gate for Daisy, then shut it behind her. Then, she saw Daisy out in the yard where SHE wanted to be. Mabel was NOT a happy cow. When I DID come to the barn to milk her, she trotted over to the gate, thinking it was time to let her out. Instead, she had to go through the barn and stand on the stanchion first.

Talk about a MOOD. Give her breakfast and she complains about it.

We got no "action shots" of the events, but I took a couple photos of Belle afterwards. She wasn't in the best of moods. Her last parting shot at me was this "tail whip". I know it was meant TOWARD me and not just an "ordinary" flip.

Tail Whip

She's just biding her time until she can think of something dastardly to do. The last I saw her, she was just standing there, staring at that gate....


  1. Time for halter training Ms. Belle?? ;-)
    Makes (human) life so much easier!

  2. There is a wonderful little invention just perfect for helping stubborn cattle "make up their minds". Got to get a "Hot Shot", it do work EVER so well.

    Crane Man

  3. Yeah, but.....I was holding the other end of the lead and didn't want to get dragged along behind a heifer who'd just been zapped.....

  4. too darned funny and all too believable!!!


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