Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stressful solo herding with toddler in tow

What a stressful morning. I discovered one our five cows had decided the grass was greener on the other side of the fence, and was in an area it was not authorised to be in. I managed to herd it into another paddock, not easy with Dylan in tow, I had to carry him on one hip and wield a large pole in the other to get the cow to shift.
I saw that the cow had broken the fence where it joined onto another fence. While I was looking (from a distance) another cow broke through.. I was unable to herd this one into the same paddock as the other and after much running, again with Dylan in tow (I put him down but he wanted to follow, being the inquisitive toddler he is), I had to abandon the mission. Now I was worried. There were trees that could be eaten, hedging and more concerning, the citrus and fruit orchards. I'd have to keep an eye on the cow to make sure it didn't stray out of the grassy area it had moved to.
After a bit of thought, I decided to park the car across an opening in the hope that the cow would keep away. Unfortunately, I have a lot to learn about cows. When I got back to the house, I looked down to see where the cows were and there were now 2 of them in the prohibited area, the one I'd put into the other paddock had escaped from there too......... arrrgh.
Off again, with Dylan in tow. My efforts to herd them this time were a little futile. Mmm, what to do, hubby at work, broken fences, bovines on the loose...... I went back to the house and thought about calling neighbours to mind Dylan while I chased the cows.
I looked out the window again to check on the escapes. They had moved up past the car and were now by the chicken enclosure. Out I went again, Dylan on hip, big stick in the other arm. This time they were in a good position, the gate to their original paddock was directly opposite. I opened the gate and amazingly they stayed where they were, enjoying the long grass too much no doubt either that or by now they saw me as absolutely no threat whatsoever. Waving wildly with my big stick, at last I managed to direct them through the open gate and shut them in.
Great. Now I had to fix the fence so they couldn't get out all over again! In to the car, back to the house, collected hubby's toolbox for fencing jobs and back down to fix the fence. Dylan was happy in the car seat while I wrestled with the fence. It had come away and the cows had mangled it a bit, but I straightened it and pulled it and secured it as best I could. Hopefully it should last the day at least, until G gets home and can make things more secure.
Lesson to be learned here: firstly, DON'T PANIC. In hindsight I realise I did just that as I should have fixed the fence to start with....... Also inadequate fences don't mix with big four-legged determined munchers. I'm quite exhausted. But at least they fruit trees were saved.

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