Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Cow In the Apple Tree

Before I finish my tale of the cow stuck in the apple tree, I thought some of you might appreciate a few tips on the finer points of bovine personality.  For those of you who have not had the pleasure of knowing cattle up close and personal:
  • If there is trouble to be found, a cow will find it. 
  • If the fence is down/weak/vulnerable in any way, a cow will get through it.
  • Leave a tractor/vehicle/tool in a cow pasture and it will never be the same again.  They will eat the wires/hoses/seat/tires/handles/etc/etc.
  • If property can be damaged, it will be damaged.  They will delight in doing so.
  • If there is a VERY bad place that a cow could get loose on/in, such as the middle of a busy highway, the neighbors prized garden, a tar-pit that will swallow them whole; that is the first place they will go whenever they succeed in breaking free. 
  • The speed at which they get into that very bad place is in direct proportion to the degree of badness.
  • If you WANT a cow to go into an area, they won't go there (unless, of course, you put a bit of broken fence in front of it and let them break in).
  • There are no worse cattle in the world than a bunch of bottle-raised, barn-baby heifers who do not understand or respect fences and have just been turned out on Spring grass for the first time in their adolescent lives.
This is why Border Collies are woman's best friend.

If you are also wondering why I, of all people, would own a pair of white shoes, well, when one has odd-sized, mismatched feet with heel spurs, one takes what one can get.  Even if they are white.  Temporarily. 

And so...How to remove a cow stuck in a tree:
  • Step one: convince Farm Buddy to take a deep breath and hold off any further swearing until it might be of use.
  • Step two: survey the situation and suggest that a chainsaw might be in order.
  • Step three: re-survey when the swearing and muttering about this being the best producing apple tree recommences.
  • Step four: move in close and insert one's own head into the crevice of the tree for a more thorough examination.  Watch out for those @$(*^% horns and the chance that the dratted heifer might choose that moment to freak out and decapitate you.
  • Step five: mutter a few choice expletives about farmers who don't de-horn their calves properly in the first place.
  • Step six: observe that if you can somehow manage to simultaneously tip the cow's chin toward her chest, push her nose down, lift her head and wiggle the horns, the cow might come loose from the tree.
  • Step seven: figure out how to do this when at least four hands are required and there is only room for one.  Maybe.
  • Step eight: perform wild contortions in order to get loop of rope halter around nose of heifer.
  • Step nine: reach under heifer with right hand and insert fingers into her nostrils to pull chin down and in, tell Farm Buddy to pull on rope.  
  • But not to hard dammit!
  • Step ten: use left elbow to push bony head down while using left hand to wiggle horns, right hand pulling nose in, rope pulling head down.
  • But not too fast dammit!
  • Step eleven: try hard to prevent idiot heifer crushing any of said appendages.
  • Step twelve: now is the proper time to employ creative swearing.
  • Step thirteen: sigh with releif when, after 20 minutes of this, the horns start moving and the head finally breaks free.
  • Step fourteen: don't mess around sighing with relief too long as you need to get out of the way in a hurry so as to avoid the ungrateful, wretched heifer as she flings her horns and her tail into the air and takes off at high speed, bawling and screaming for her friends, quite literally high-tailing it back to the rest of the herd.  
  • Who couldn't care less. 
  • Step Fifteen: go to work dirty and smelling like a cow.  
Which is why I work alone, at night.


  1. Great pictures I now have in my head! LOL LOL Glad you could free the ungrateful beast! LOL

  2. You have make beautiful photos!
    Greetings, RW & SK

  3. Great description! Years ago, the husband was hunting on a crazy chestnut mare we used to own. He pulled her up (with some difficulty) when he got to a boundary with a narrow gap & a line of riders waiting to get through. CCM danced and pranced in fury and ended up with her head wedged in the fork of a tree, much like FB's heifer.
    Fortunately she freed herself after a moment or two!

    1. Yikes, that could have been a bad wreck. I'm glad she got out of it without trouble. That's just one of the many reasons I stay away from crazy horses these days. I don't bounce the way I used to.

  4. Glad it all turned out okay! I've got to tell my sister about your blog, today!! They have cows!! Love your stories!!

  5. I'll take you in a crisis any day!! and a donkey over a heifer!

  6. Yeah... I believe you nailed this one!

  7. i laughed at your opening description of cattle. thank goodness you 2 managed to free the silly heifer.

  8. I can't even imagine the frustration! A friend of mine had a similar situation once with a big steer. No matter what, he was not going to let his head be lifted a couple inches out of the gap between two close growing trees. Had to cut one down.

  9. OMG - if I drank coffee it would be all over my screen and keyboard right now!!! You made that so vivid that I am playing my own video in my head, and probably will be all day! So, does that make you Farm Buddy's Cow Buddy?

    Nancy in Iowa

  10. I'm so glad you were able to get the heifer out without too much injury. I grew up on a beef farm and grandpa had left a piece of equipment out in the field this one time that had a V shaped tow bar on it that was open in the middle. A heifer managed to get her head caught in it, but when grandpa was out there trying to get her free, she freaked out and jumped in the wrong way. She managed to flip herself completely over the tow bar and it snapped her neck. It was awful. You weren't lying about cows having a great knack at getting themselves in the worst situations.

    1. Oh, that is awful. I can just see it happening though. Cows are just so good at getting in trouble.

  11. Thank you...I was wondering what had happened! Last winter one of our Dexter gals got out and went in with the donkeys. We discovered the line was not hot and after we fixed it, we let her stay with the donkeys for a week.
    When we got her back in with her herd, they of course decided she was not worthy. After several minutes of chaotic bucking, farting, head wagging, and running, they settled right down.

  12. You are one handy gal. Glad you reserved the creative swearing for just the right time!