I did it. I finished all the tractor mowing in a single day. I started first thing (for non farm people that is 0730, and for those farm people I was awake at 0530). I must be getting more proficient at tractor work because it only took me about 20 minutes to remove the box blade and install the mower onto the tractor. I only had to swear a few times and take my gloves off twice. I told Annmarie tonight that I am not a REAL farmer. I had ear muffs and goggles on while I mowed. The tractor is very loud and running the mower makes it worse. The dust is everywhere. I tried to mow last year without goggles, but I couldn't see.
I mowed the entire barn lot, ram pasture, around my mother-in-law's house, along the driveway, in front our house, around the machine shop, a huge forest of thistles outside the pasture and an entire loop around the upper pasture creek and fence (1.5 miles). I had to gas up a second time after five hours on the tractor. At one point when I was mowing along the back fence the cows came up to the fence to see me. I though it a little odd as they had been running around for the last couple of days wild out on the main pasture. I opened the gate for the sheep and forgot about the cows.
Annmarie came out with Zeke a leash and we went out to get the cows then the sheep. Since we didn't know where either of them was we started on the lower pasture. I had not seen anyone but a doe and some mice when I mowed the upper pasture. Annmarie was directing the dog, this becomes important later. We saw some critters on the upper end of the lower pasture. We hiked down the hill and halfway up found out that it was cows. Annmarie started directing Zeke (on the leash) to herd the cows to the barn lot. The cows started to overshoot the gate and I started trying to give commands to Zeke. This didn't go over well. It is kinda like backseat driving and tolerated about as well. So I had a pissed off wife and a worthless dog. The cows were too far so I turned Zeke loose and told him to get the cows. He took off and chased them, circled them up a few times ran them back toward us and back over to their original starting point. Totally ignored me the entire time. Then he ran them to the bottoms and went off to get a drink out of the creek. I finally caught up and clipped him back on the leash. We then walked down towards the cows, who promptly ducked under the horse fence my brother-in-law just finished, two strands of old barb wire at chest height. The cows just went under it. We hiked another half a mile and the cows ended up going past the gate and into the upper pasture.
It dawned on me that I was screwed. The cows would not come in and it was all my fault. If I had not tried to back seat drive then it could have been a failed attempt of someone else. Nope, my fault. Plus, I let the cows out in the first place. I had an epiphany. The cows may come to the tractor. So I grabbed a bale of hay, in the process the sheep had put themselves in the barn lot, so I lured them into the back barn lot (sheep escape proof). I jumped on the tractor drove over and loaded the bale. Meanwhile, Annmarie and Zeke worked their way uphill of the cows. I drove over and started doing my "here moo cow" impression. It worked. The cows walked past the gate then came back and into the barn lot. They never did come over and eat the hay I dumped out for them. We walked a few miles just trying to get the cows. The cows need to stay close to the house. The sheep come back with little effort and the dog and the sheep seem to have the nighttime routine worked out.