Friday, May 16, 2014

Hey, Look, The Grass Really Is Greener!

My property is divided into two parcels by a dirt road which, though narrow, has a surprising amount of traffic on it. But across from the house, barn and main pasture is a nine acre field which I wanted the cows to graze on occasion. Getting them across the road was the problem. So on Saturday morning, I poured five bowls full of sweet feed, grabbed the cowbell with which I always summon the cows to dinner and began luring them around the barn, out the gate and across the road:

Gracie, being the chow hound that she is, was the first to cross the road and entered the north field. Amy and Scarlett followed her, so I set down the bowls of grain for them. Alas, Jasmine was headed east down the dirt road and Violet, to my horror, was heading west up the dirt road toward the much busier county road:

My neighbor saw what was happening and ran out his door to help me. But before he could get there, both Jasmine and Violet decided they didn't want to be separated from the herd and came trotting back, entered the gate and joined the other cows, eating grain:

So my neighbor and I watched the cows explore their new field. First they followed the fence line:

And then, having decided they liked this taller grass and new view from up on the hill, began picking up speed:

Soon they were running at a high speed - not out of fear, but with great joy:

And then they stopped to graze this wonderful new grass. Those brown patches you see are former depressions which had once been filled with garbage. I hauled away the debris, filled the depressions with soil and then covered the ground with waste hay, left over from winter feeding:

The cows were contented and happy. I was feeling a rare competency:

I let the dogs out into their fenced yard and they immediately began barking at the cows, which had never before been in such plain view. The cows, however, had become accustomed to dogs barking and never batted an eyelash:

The dogs barked, the cattle grazed, the wind chimes tinkled and  my little rooster crowed:

I spent several hours hooking up both ends of the pipe which had been buried beneath the road when the fence was built. I was then able to run water from the barn into a stock tank for the cattle to drink. They had no trouble figuring it out and went immediately over to have some refreshment:

I had a much easier time getting the cows back across the road that evening. The next morning, I brought them back across the road to graze in the north field for the day. Once this routine becomes established, I hope that it will be simple and safe for the future:

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