A couple of weeks ago, we set up temporary fence to move the cattle to new pasture. It was a Saturday evening, and we'd finished a day of farmers markets and farm work by eating supper around a fire. Just one last thing to do, and we could clean up and fall into bed exhausted. Everyone else was gone, and so The Farmer and I slowly moved the cattle to new grass.
Here's where things went south. The parading ladies caught the attention of Mo, the bull, who is in solitary confinement while the calves are being born. As we were slowly walking behind the cows, I looked over and noticed Mo had his head between a gate post and a building. And he was pushing. I left The Farmer and ran over to him, waved him away from the gate, and rejoined the parade.
But he was not finished. He was NOT going to stay in solitary confinement any longer. And before we could say, "I'm tired and I dearly hope this doesn't go south!" he broke the gatepost and was free!
I have requested a few times that this area be beefed up (no pun intended). Mo is not the first to escape through this back gate. Sometimes the twine breaks. Sometimes the gate is left unlatched. But we've always been too busy to fix it up right.
We could see our shower-and-fall-into-bed plan evaporate before our eyes. And, while we were very happy that Mo was loose IN a pasture, the truth is, he was still loose. And wanting to be by the cows. Nothing separated them but seven strands of wire. My parents noticed the commotion and came to help. They and The Farmer quickly set up a few makeshift fences to help herd him in the right direction, and I ran to get a bucket of corn.
There are no pictures of this next part, because Mo was feeling footloose and fancy free. One does not want to be fumbling with a camera when working with a bull. Once as he was running at me, I remember trying to decide which direction to jump at the last minute. I realized later that he was running with his head up, interested in the corn, and still feeling frisky. Much better to have a bull running at you with his head up. You know what his intentions are if he has his head down...
Eventually we coaxed him back into solitary confinement. Animals know where they are supposed to go back to when they've escaped. That helps. A bucket of corn helps. Several people with makeshift fences help. And prayer helps.
The last task on our suddenly longer to-do list was to replace the gatepost. The Farmer found something bigger. (Old broken one on left. New one on right.)
And he added an electrified spring gate on the inside of the pasture. So anyone who wants to put his head between the building and the gatepost has to go through an electric fence first.
Just a little extra much-needed, long-overdue insurance.