Friday, June 1, 2018

Barnyard Tales: So, I'm basically a cow version of La Llorona.

Sometimes I struggle with anxiety. I don’t know if you have ever seen the web comics of the heart and the brain arguing or the two Kermit the frogs, but that is almost always how mine manifests.

PSSST! There is an emergency.

No, there isn’t.

The beacons are lit. Gondor calls for aid.

WTF, I need to sleep. Nothing is wrong. Shut up.

Yes it. Is. There is something terribly wrong. The house is on fire.

No it isn’t. Go to sleep.

Okay, maybe this house isn’t on fire. I bet someone’s house is on fire. It might be the barn that’s on fire. I meant barn. The barn is on fire.

I call bullshit. Someone would see that and call me. Nothing is on fire, and even if it is what can I do about it? NOTHING. Go the F to sleep.

Hmm, good point. In that case the chickens are open. I bet raccoons are even now slaughtering them. They’re peeping their last peeps. Crying out for a savior that will never come!

… Ugh. Fine. I’ll go check.


The chickens were shut, b****. Can we go to sleep now?

So the other night when I tossed and turned and restlessly threw off the covers at 11 o’clock because I was *certain* that the cows were drowning because we had gotten a lot of rain and they were in the bottom paddock, and 29 was giving birth in a torrent of water and everyone was going to die if I didn’t go look at them; I was pretty sure my anxiety was just screwing with me. Eric, being the awesome husband he is, looked over at me with what I will politely dub "sleepy exasperation" and asked if I would be able to sleep if I didn’t go look. Knowing myself, I figured I would sleep faster if I just drove down to check them. Usually he just lets me go, but this time he sighed and got up to go with me.

So, here we are, driving to the pasture in our PJ’s. I was rocking flip flops and no bra. We have one flashlight between us because this is just my anxiety. We will be asleep in like 15 minutes and laughing about how dumb my brain is over tea in a few hours. HAH.

So, we drive down and glance at the river. It is going down. Perfect. I knew I was just crazy.

Then we look up and there is Harriet, in all her bald faced glory, standing in the middle of the f-ing blacktop. About the time my sleep addled brain registered her, here came 33 trotting out of the black. So Eric goes down to open the gate and get them back in. I pause my herding to fix a downed fence wire, because the water had risen enough to short it out. Joy. As I’m carefully guiding the wire back into the plastic jaws of the insulator I feel the wire tremble.

You know that scene in Jurassic Park where the ground starts to shake and the main character realizes that they’re royally screwed? The camera pans over their face and you see the dawning realization that they aren’t in control? Well, as the wire vibrated its’ way out of my numb fingers that was my face. Suddenly there was a swarm of cows running through the fence to the black top. What I sensed to be the entire herd, because it was dark and starting to rain and I wasn’t the one with the flashlight,  let themselves out of the fence to join Harriet and 33 and started heading down the roadway.

“Incoming! Incoming. You’ve got incoming!” I don’t think Eric could hear me over the wind at the hooves clacking down the road because the next thing I heard was a big ol’ “WTF?!” Miraculously he got them directed into the paddock across the road and safely contained without fuss.

But you know who we didn’t see? That’s right. Freaking 29, the cow who I was convinced was having a God damn water birth. So we started out across this incredibly muddy river bottom. My flip flops made it about five feet before becoming so encrusted with wet clay that every step was like walking on KY Jelly and I had to toss them. So we are wandering around a 25 acre field with one shitty flashlight, in the rain, and I’m barefoot. Every few feet I slip and sprawl like a 19 year old in a mud wrestling contest, and when I wasn’t slipping I was jamming sticks and particularly pokey bits of grass into my bare soles. Lovely.

We make it halfway around and see no evidence of 29. Maybe we just missed her? Then, as we are about to go to the next section we see two sets of eyes. Two calves bedded down away from the herd. Great. Lovely. Perfect! Naturally they run. Eric keeps the flashlight and continues looking for 29; while I try to track two calves in the dark, with only the light from his cellphone (which illuminates just enough of the ground around me to *hopefully* keep me from stepping on a snake). 

It is now almost one am. Screech owls are talking to each other and I am convinced they have killed and eaten the calves, also that they are not screech owls but probably some sort of Sasquatch creature. My world is mud. Nothing has been before, not shall be after. Just rain, and mud, and trying desperately to not impale myself of any wheat stubble. I am herding these calves by the sound of them splashing through puddles, which is getting more and more difficult as they get farther away and as it starts to rain harder. Eric eventually catches back up to me, as I have lost the calves and am now just wandering the pasture next to the river like some sort of parody of La Llorona, wearing incredibly muddy yoga pants instead of a white dress and cursed to search forever for these lost and presumably drowned calves instead of my children.

I slip and slide my way back up to the gate and we see the babies, but do they go in with the herd like good calves? Of F-ing course not. Because they are cows, and it is after one am and raining. So we chase them up and down the blacktop before they disappear into the black of the slightly larger paddock next door and we decide to say F it. We put the slinky gate up a little higher than usual and pray that they figure it out their own damn selves.

We are back over first thing in the morning, you know, when we can see and I have actual shoes; and what do we find? Twelve hundred pounds of beautiful black cow grazing alongside the blacktop. Somehow 29 eluded us on our jaunt around the pasture. We get her put in and a neighbor drives by, and then backs up to yell that we have a calf up the road. Yup. She hid her baby next to the blacktop about a quarter mile away. Did she give birth on it? Who knows. So we load the calf up in the good ole’ farm Fusion and get it reunited with mom, only to be incredibly relived and discover that our two babies from the night before have also made it back to their people.


About that time another neighbor drives by and makes a comment about us getting our cow in. WTF dude, you saw we had a cow out and didn’t call? Thanks, bro.

Perfect fodder for my next bout of anxiety.

Your cows are out.

No they aren’t. The neighbor would call.

But would they though???

… Honey, grab the flashlight!!!

Ah, farm life!

Not pictured is Eric's face as he was tersely telling me to stop taking pictures and drive...

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