Tue 5 Jan 2010
During the summer, Alderspring beef cattle graze on green pasture. The yearlings and two-year-olds bound for the online market stay home on the ranch. Once the mother cows have “calved out”, we turn them out on the range.
Green pasture on Alderspring.
When the grass is growing two inches a minute during the hot months, the cattle are moved every one or two days. During past years, the job of hotwire has fallen to my younger sister, my friend who works during the summer, and I. It is pretty funny to be laying out a hotwire with two hundred head of hungry cows bawling across the fence at you.
I remember one time a year or two ago. My friend and I were working on the hotwire. The cattle hadn’t been moved for a while, and they were hungry. “Don’t make too much noise,” my friend told me, hoping not to rouse the critters, who were grazing up the pasture from us. She didn’t have to warn me; I knew that the smallest thing could capture their attention.
We set to work on the hotwire. Those fractious critters began to drift down toward us. We worked faster. The sun beat down on our backs.
I don’t know exactly what set them off. Maybe our worthless ranch dog Amos ran in front of them. Perhaps they thought the hotwire was down and they could go into the next pasture. Regardless of why, they began to run right toward the fence and us! There wasn’t any way that we could stop ‘em.
Nobody ever taught a cow patience.
As the two hundred cows approached the fence, they began to slam on the brakes, having seen the fence. About five head, pushed by the critters behind them, ran through the fence. Thankfully, the electric wire rebounded and the rest of the herd were slowed from their stampede.
From an incident that could have been a day in repairing to a small mishap. We were both pretty relieved. Finishing the fence that we were working on, we released the cattle into their new pasture. As we tied the last few pieces together and switched on the wire, we breathed sighs of relief. Then we jumped into the Toyota (some jobs just can’t be done on a ranch horse) and went off to the next task for the day.
REAL ranch vehicle, the little Toy.
In spite of the work to get there, its really pretty satisfying to see all of those critters with their heads down in the alfalfa, grazing and gaining. Job well done.